BOS’ Enterprise Architecture Project: A Single Source of Truth

31 Jan 2023

by Deborah Theseira

Headquartered in Norway, Bertel O. Steen (BOS) has been a leader in the car retail industry in Norway with over 120 years of experience. Their main holding group is one of Norway’s largest service and trading companies, with a turnover of 22,789 million NOK (approximately USD 2.23 billion) and 2,773 full-time employees. The group is divided into 2 main segments, automotive operations and other business. 

Like many legacy companies of their size, they experienced the pain of too many accumulated applications and systems. They kickstarted their Enterprise Architecture project to get a clear overview of what they owned, and how those assets supported the business’s capabilities.

Leveraging Ardoq, the Enterprise Architecture expertise of their digitalization partner Accenture, and our best practices, they developed a single source of truth for the whole organization. This gave them real-time insights for swifter planning and more effective, informed decision-making.

“It's not only IT but also the business side that uses this. You could say that it builds a bridge between the two.”

Per-Christian Aubert, Head of Integrations and Architecture at BOS

Challenges BOS Was Facing

1) Seismic Shifts in the Automobile Industry Towards Direct Sales

The car industry is rapidly changing towards a direct sales model. BOS needed to keep abreast of the substantial technological implications from this change. They were set up to support more traditional means of car sales and after-sales services. The move to direct sales meant shifting their processes and systems to become more flexible, scalable, and real-time. 

2) No Clear Overview for Business and IT

BOS had an existing integrations and architecture department but no dedicated Enterprise Architects or Enterprise Architecture tool to provide a clear overview of their applications, who owned them, and most importantly, how these supported the business’ capabilities and processes. They had a high-level plan for how they needed to evolve, but needed a tool that could help them understand their As-Is landscape in detail and what needed to be done to get to the target future state, the To-Be.

Their old ERP system did not have an overview of the relationships between applications, integrations, and their business capabilities. They needed a clear understanding of their present state from a technological perspective and so were not equipped to see how and where they needed to support the business's future needs better. 

A company of their size also often ran many separate projects internally, and it was difficult for teams within the organization to see the complete picture. It was crucial to get the organization on one page to see how changes would affect everyone. They had tried to do an as-is analysis to understand better how they stood from a resource perspective. Unfortunately, they had found their landscape was too complex to effectively present in the solutions they usually used such as PowerPoint presentations with business stakeholders.

3) Reliance on Painful, Manual Processes to Conduct Analysis or Communicate Insights

Their process for analysis and sharing insights relied heavily on manually updating several formats of static documents spanning the usual suspects, such as Excel, Powerpoint, and Visio. This was an incredibly time-consuming and ineffective use of manpower that could be deployed to more strategic functions. The dependence on static documents also made it difficult for decision-makers to access relevant, up-to-date information to make timely, data-driven decisions about the business.

Fortunately, BOS’ leadership agreed with the problems that the IT team highlighted and saw that gaining an overview was critical to the business, giving them the green light to begin their first venture into enterprise architecture.

BOS’ Approach with Ardoq and Starting a New Enterprise Architecture Project

Gaining Strong C-suite Support for This New Transformation Program

One of BOS’s greatest supporters for the digital transformation program is their CFO, Sverre R. Kjær. He wanted to get a greater understanding of BOS’s IT costs and manage them more effectively. For example, when BOS looked at procuring a strategic planning tool, the architecture team saw that this could be done in Ardoq also. They were able to put together a quick overview to demonstrate this and cut out the need to procure a new tool, saving substantial time and resources.

“We needed a way to understand better our IT infrastructure and how it’s creating value for us as a business.”

Sverre Kjær, CFO at BOS

Kickstarting EA Leveraging Accenture’s Know-How

BOS came into this project without an existing enterprise architecture team or tool, so they chose to partner with Accenture, borrowing their methodology for the domain to hasten the process. Accenture was a natural choice of partner, they were BOS’s existing digitalization partner, and had competence in running transformation initiatives through Enterprise Architecture.

Accenture knew how BOS worked and quickly leveraged that understanding to bring them into Ardoq. Accenture also had an automotive capability model that BOS could use as a starting point without spending hours interviewing people to develop a model from scratch. This considerably sped up BOS’s time to value with Ardoq. They set out to put together the As-Is of BOS’s application landscape, for them to get a real, up-to-date overview of all applications. 

As early as the first 2 weeks into the project, they saw that with Ardoq they would be able to deliver much faster and cover a much bigger scope. Instead of spending those hours on painful documentation, Accenture could devote them to more impactful activities, creating much more value for BOS based on this foundation they had developed in Ardoq.

“The progress we made in just 3 weeks with Ardoq was beyond what we have usually seen in similar projects with other customers. Without Ardoq, this project would have taken us many more hours to execute with Excel.”

Johan Blom, Senior Manager Retail at Accenture

Accenture also found that they were able to deliver a much cleaner customer handover. Instead of static documents, their work with BOS using Ardoq resulted in a tool that the customer could easily use and maintain, offering them sustainable benefits long after the initial engagement was concluded. Going forward, BOS could build off this strong foundation in Ardoq that Accenture had established with their As-Is state. Ardoq enabled a high level of visibility and understanding around how BOS’s capabilities and their applications are related. This understanding can now be leveraged for deeper, valuable analysis of the business. 

Another factor in the quicker time to value that BOS enjoyed with Ardoq was having access to direct support for this partner project. Being able to collaborate closely with Ardoq’s project team saved them an estimated 30% of the time they might have otherwise needed to make this first phase of implementation successful.

Leveraging the Out-of-the-Box Guide for Application Portfolio Management (APM) and Key Collaboration Features

BOS quickly got the critical overview they needed by using Ardoq’s Application Portfolio Management best practice guide, taking advantage of a formula based on years of domain experience and customer feedback. This guide provided them with an expert approach and tested recipe to carrying out APM, detailing recommended techniques and pre-built assets that they could adapt to their needs.

Ardoq’s features to facilitate collaboration also helped BOS swiftly automate and import capabilities, bringing their data together and keeping it up to date with minimal manual maintenance. Broadcasts were critical in helping BOS identify application owners. 

BOS enterprise architecture project with Ardoq

Benefits BOS Now Enjoys

1) More Flexible, Scalable With Real-Time Insights to Inform Planning

With Ardoq, they developed a clear, detailed As-Is and To-Be, getting a clear overview over how systems support capabilities and can support future capabilities. This helped them do detailed gap analysis between their As-Is and To-Be. BOS now has the information and insights it needs to be able to shift processes and systems with the market. Now when they begin a change project that impacts IT and the business, they can quickly pull up an overview of their application integrations and dependencies. They can evaluate the impact of changes, map out responsibility and achieve greater transparency around these big decisions which they say has been “a game-changer” for the organization.

2) A Single Source of Truth on the Business

BOS’ lack of a prior tool was inadvertently a benefit as they could choose to focus completely on Ardoq as the one platform for all their applications and business capabilities. To make Ardoq more familiar and easier to use for the rest of the organization, they tried to avoid using typical architectural terminology and instead used terms that the rest of the business could connect with more easily, “business functionality” instead of “business capabilities” for example.

Ardoq now serves as the single source of truth on the business, containing a complete picture of everything they do at BOS. This was something they had never been able to have before and the most significant benefit of Ardoq to them. Their To-Be architecture is also connected to this overview and leveraged in top-level discussions on digital transformation across the business. Everyone in the organization has read access to this overview in Ardoq as needed. They also use Ardoq to document and demonstrate in Confluence how they are working with APM.

This high-level implementation and commitment to the platform has enabled the business to drive innovation and change through the overview in Ardoq. They are now able to map out the health for different applications in terms of business and technical fit, uncovering which applications to invest in and which to get rid of. Their new single source of truth was also helpful in quickly onboarding their new CTO, saving valuable time so they could focus on activities that will drive value for BOS in the future.

“We now see better how our applications can support the business and we have the tool to visualize this to the business side. We can have that map to plan the business around understanding where we are today.”

Per-Christian Aubert

3) Easily-Accessible Up-To-Date Presentations and Analysis With a Few Clicks

High-quality, real-time analysis, and architectural insight replaced manual processes and static documents. In addition, everything is always up to date and automatically maintained with minimal effort. It empowered other teams in the organization and reduced the reliance on the IT team. This made Ardoq a platform they could operate sustainably, enabling BOS to reallocate resources to more strategic work.

Ardoq also saves them substantial amounts of time as they no longer need to update several spreadsheets or slides manually. The platform provides them easy access to visualizations with real-time data with a few clicks of a button. Ardoq’s visualizations provide them with useful flexibility and can be presented as a high-level overview for discussions with management with the option to drill into the details as needed.

Looking Forward

BOS used the successful implementation of APM as a stepping stone in their digital transformation journey, setting the foundation for future use cases to help with their strategic business objectives. BOS has progressed to implementing several other of Ardoq’s best practice guides including:

  • Business Capability Modeling to get an overview of what they can do and compare to other businesses to see opportunities to change, adapt, and evolve. This overview means that they can now use business capabilities as a starting point for discussions with the business and in high-level discussions.
  • Application Integration Management to get a full overview of their application interdependencies, so they can quickly identify the relevant applications and their integrations when an issue arises or change happens. From starting new projects to understanding the ripple effects of changes from partners, it is now much easier for BOS to know which systems and integrations are affected when anything is updated. The architecture team also no longer need to check with developers to know if BOS has integrations with a specific company, reducing the number of people involved in the process and improving digital governance. Even better is that this overview is kept up-to-date semi-automatically, reducing the effort needed to maintain it. 
  • GDPR data processing with the help of Broadcasts where other teams fully own the GDPR process with the architecture team only stepping in to help with initial set up. This GDPR initiative can be connected with all the data they have imported into Ardoq. 
  • Technical Capability Modeling and Realization to define, establish, and map their technical capabilities and the applications these capabilities are dependent on.

Infrastructure Technology Cost Management is the next use case they plan to embark while also considering Ardoq as a way to document their high-level processes.  

Armed with Ardoq, BOS is empowered with the knowledge to make good decisions in the future on technology for the whole organization. They can understand the repercussions and effort for new systems, assessing if they have good technological support for the business’s needs. As Ardoq allows them to easily track respective system owners, BOS’s IT and architecture department can now entrust development and the purchasing of new systems to others in the organization. They can also conduct yearly surveys to benchmark and document progress in the platform.

When it comes to Strategic Planning and Execution, they have also begun using Ardoq when kickstarting new business initiatives, as it helps them understand the technological implications of these projects very early on. They currently maintain an overview of over 60 initiatives in Ardoq.

Find out more about how BOS has created a single source of truth to align the business and make better decisions faster. Book a demo with an Ardoq specialist.
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Deborah Theseira Deborah Theseira Deborah is a Content Specialist at Ardoq. She wields words in the hope of demystifying the complex and ever-evolving world of Enterprise Architecture. She is excited about helping the curious understand the immense potential it has for driving effective change.
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