This article explains how RUAG harmonizes their post-merger IT landscape by implementing a virtual EA team.
RUAG Fast Facts:
- Industry: Aviation, Space, Technology & Defense
- Headquarters: Bern, Switzerland
- Revenue: €1.6 bn
- Successful creation of a virtual Enterprise Architecture team on one common platform
- Decentralized data maintenance of EA landscape
- Visualization of technology risks in best-practice reports
- Identification of data & application redundancies
- Clearly assigned responsibilities across all divisions
Over a 15-year history, RUAG has developed rapidly through M&A and internationalization. As a consequence of the investments in various technology, space and defense companies, the RUAG IT landscape has grown more and more complex. In 2014 RUAG operated over 150 ERP-like systems and 17 SAP instances. The lack of transparency, especially on related risks, had become a major concern of the management. RUAG needed to establish a unified IT inventory quickly to achieve an overview of the complete IT landscape of the company. Establishment of transparency was the crucial first step to enable all further activities.
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. RUAG VP of IT architecture had the responsibility to build a company wide EA team. The appointed VP of IT architecture identified suitable candidates in Corporate IT and the business divisions and organized 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 to prepare for their new roles. While the basis 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 by a central team, RUAG decided on a decentralized approach. The team had seen other approaches to EA fail in the past. Lengthy implementation phases over months had 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 complexity in an agile way
With the basic structures and understanding of the post-merger IT landscape in place, Project Magellan was established with the goal to define the RUAG target architecture and to transform the company-wide ERP landscape. Thanks to the new transparency based on 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.
From there, 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, and 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 business benefits.
The RUAG success shows that in today’s world speed in EA 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.”
Has your company completed a successful Merger & Acquisition? If so, which methods were used?