Aerospace and Defense
Over its 20+ year history, RUAG has developed rapidly through mergers and acquisitions and the globalization of its business. As a consequence of investments in various technology, space, and defense companies, the RUAG IT landscape has grown more and more complex. For example, in 2014, RUAG operated over 150 Enterprise Resource Planning-like systems and 17 SAP instances.
This lack of transparency, especially regarding technology risks, had become a major concern of the management team. RUAG needed to establish a unified IT inventory quickly to achieve an overview of the complete IT landscape of the company. The establishment of transparency was a critical first step to enable all further activities.
“The key activity for more transparency in our IT Architecture was to build the LeanIX inventory platform – in a collaborative approach."
VP IT Architecture, RUAG
Creating a virtual EA team
The Board of Directors audit committee agreed on a set of activities to address those challenges. Establishing an Enterprise Architecture practice for the RUAG group was one of them. Juha Mylläri was assigned the role of VP IT Architecture and set off to build a company-wide EA team. He identified suitable candidates in corporate IT and across business divisions to organize them in a virtual Enterprise Architecture community.
The soon-to-be business, application, and technology architects from Austria, Germany, Switzerland, and Sweden came together in Bern to be certified in TOGAF and prepare for their new roles. While the foundation was established, the virtual team still lacked a common collaboration platform to create the IT inventory in a highly distributed setup.
Building the inventory through collaboration
The first step to achieve transparency was to establish an inventory that could be accessed and updated by everybody. Rather than trying to populate the inventory with a central team, RUAG decided on a decentralized approach. The team had seen other approaches to EA fail in the past. Lengthy implementation phases that took over months killed EA activities before they really started. That is where LeanIX came in.
LeanIX was a perfect fit for this collaborative approach: it can be accessed from every browser, which makes collaboration and roll-out easy. In addition, it fits well into the existing tool landscape with its open REST API – RUAG even created their own iPhone app based on it. The LeanIX meta-model contributed to that: “The out-of-the-box meta-model helped us to focus on the real task, instead of discussing a model over weeks.”
Reducing IT complexity in an agile way
With the basic structure and understanding of the IT landscape in place, RUAG established Project Magellan to define its target architecture and transform the companywide ERP landscape. Thanks to new transparency enabled by heat maps and roadmap views, the team was able to clearly visualize technology risks and plan the roadmap for the desired business transformation. Based on out-of-the-box LeanIX visualizations, the team identified a set of harmonization activities around consistent master data creation and the deactivation of redundant systems and interfaces. But they did not stop with the planning.
RUAG improved the ERP landscape in small iterations. At the end of each iteration stood a solution with clear business benefits. To ensure this, the domain business architects engaged with related decision-making boards (e.g. HR, Finance, or PR) on a regular basis to work out the next iteration of the harmonized target architecture. Each one of the divisional CEOs became responsible for realizing and measuring the resulting business outcomes.
RUAG’s success shows that in today’s world, actionable enterprise architecture is more important than the perfect model:
“IT architecture will indeed never be 100% complete, it adapts dynamically to the needs of our business. LeanIX was the only feasible approach to do this, we couldn’t have allowed to investigate and implement solutions over a long time.”
“The out-of-the-box meta-model helped us to focus on the real task, instead of discussing a model over weeks.”
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