Before presenting at the 2020 end-of-year workshop on the future of Webasto's IT strategy, Daniel Weidel was given specific instructions by his CIO — Dr. Thomas Mannmeusel. Mannmeusel's request was clear: Make holistic strategy planning in LeanIX a more significant part of the IT management of Webasto.
As Head of Digital Technologies for the global top 100 supplier with headquarters in Germany, Weidel knew precisely why his award-winning CIO wanted to embed LeanIX's SaaS-based EA tool deeper in the company's IT and business networks. Since 2017, in addition to enterprise architecture (EA) management, his role has been to drive digital transformation and IT cost optimization — responsibilities that led him to use LeanIX's collaboration-based platform to generate new forms of IT transparency. Weidel and his colleagues could no longer interpret global networks of application data through Excel-like software to create this visibility. To prepare for the 2030 roadmap of Webasto, they adopted a dedicated EA tool in 2018 to make architecture:
"LeanIX has fundamentally changed attitudes at Webasto towards data sharing and collaboration. Thanks to its accessibility and dynamic features, more of my colleagues contribute information and exchange feedback transparently. LeanIX is the bedrock of this community, and thanks to it, we have once again risen to meet the demands of the digital future."
Head of Digital Technologies, Webasto
Weidel knew right away that LeanIX's intuitive user interface and capability-based approach to mapping IT assets could support Webasto's long-term plans. From a general IT perspective, its cloud-based platform would allow large groups of users to update application attributes in parallel while exchanging insights throughout enterprise channels. Quality seals and completeness levels, two built-in LeanIX features to verify crowdsourced data, would help users trust in the accuracy of its information and make more informed decisions on IT for their various teams — the results of which are then tracked in the tool.
From an EA point of view, target IT landscapes can be simulated more quickly and comprehensively than before thanks to the tool's configurable, out-of-the-box analytics reports. In particular, the LeanIX Application Matrix (showing the functional and technical ratings of applications across business units and business capabilities) and the LeanIX Application Landscape (showing the IT support of business capabilities at specific points in time) were two dynamic options for Weidel to convey architectural gaps to stakeholders and gain buy-in during IT projects. And most importantly, whatever questions surfaced during these interactions or throughout a transformation could be addressed via interactive charts and diagrams — perhaps even without the help of an EA.
A tool implementation period lasting only seven weeks confirmed Weidel's opinions on LeanIX. This roll-out consisted simply of giving the tool's first users — those spanning across business and IT departments — an introductory workshop on its basic features (lasting 10 minutes, reported Weidel) and an explanation of the exercise's purpose. These early users began working with the tool right away and with only the bare minimum of further guidance, a joint testament to LeanIX's ease-of-use and the versatile employee base of Webasto. Not only did these participants instinctively understand how to navigate LeanIX's UI, the first crop of insights generated by these users led some to propose even more value-adding opportunities through LeanIX to the team — thus broadening the scope beyond what Weidel initially thought possible.
At the end of these seven weeks, a foundation of business capabilities, IT components (lifecycles plus functional and technical fit), and IT applications (lifecycles plus functional and technical fit) were established to produce a unified map of IT assets across Webasto's five operational and one central domain.
Mapping business capabilities with LeanIX gave Webasto's business and IT teams a precise way to contextualize one another's needs. Though both sides had a long history of working well together, these connection points needed to be made clear — and unbreakable — to build, run, and manage new services co-operatively.
The organization for Global Process Optimization (GPO) at Webasto is a positive example of its constant efforts to improve the IT-business relationship. A stand-alone program dedicated to enhancing end-to-end processes across all 11 company domains (e.g., R&D, HR, Supply Chain Management, Engineering), GPO aims to build a unified project roadmap based on fully standardized global processes and serves as a vital point of alignment for IT and business. This consistency is essential for letting the automotive supplier create and deliver goods for recipients worldwide, and by using the LeanIX Application Matrix, they can instantaneously display which tools correspond to which processes and business capability.
In the not-so-distant past, this information was collected and arranged via Excel — a painstaking task accomplished by manually exchanging spreadsheets to those throughout regions and specific factories. The work was time-consuming and error-prone. The final results neither impressed decision-makers nor made it easier to reveal hidden flaws in Webasto's otherwise pitch-perfect process network. However, by presenting findings and conducting analysis with LeanIX, Weidel and his EA team have helped key stakeholders evaluate global processes according to more sets of requirements to fortify long-standing solutions.
As it does with every topic related to technological innovation, the EA program at Webasto is encouraged by upper management to challenge the thinking of itself and others. For Weidel and his team, this means using LeanIX's easy-to-use data repository and interactive reports to turn EA into an enterprise-wide engine for collaboration — not just another governance program.
Webasto colleagues from IT and business have seen the benefits of storing their once-prized information on applications within the EA tool's central repository. As a result, they have become active participants in creating a more transparent environment. In particular, since implementing the EA tool and abandoning Excel-based architecture reviews, this community is now dedicated to allowing data-driven feedback — both good and bad — to shape the future of their GPO organization and larger digital future.
Webasto Group Headquarters — Stockdorf, Germany
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