Enterprise Architects Drive Better Conversations Across the Business
Enabling business change by mapping the organizations application portfolio is what Nebraska state’s largest hospital, Nebraska Medicine, is using Ardoq for. Nebraska Medicine has an international reputation for breakthroughs in oncology, transplant and biocontainment. Their mission is to create a healthy future for all individuals, by innovative research and extraordinary patient care. The Enterprise Architect team at Nebraska Medicine is instrumental in bringing that mission to life.
Bridging the Gaps
“When I can build the visualizations and send it to the VP, the VP can go to the discussions armed with data. This enables higher level executives to make good decisions without needing to know all the details. That is the value I provide.” - Audrey Honeycutt, Enterprise Architect at Nebraska Medicine.
Research from a 2019 Forrester report commissioned by Ardoq* finds that the business insight potential is greatest when there is a deep understanding of the companywide capabilities and technology assets. The report states that digital businesses thrive when they can harness data-driven insights for operational and strategic business making, and that the Enterprise Architect has become a key enabler for reaching these goals.
Nebraska Medicine and their research and education partner, The University of Nebraska Medical Center, share the same mission. The hospital has a 1.2 billion dollar academic health system, and 8000 employees. Honeycutt says:
“For us in IT, we use Ardoq to drive best practices for better processes. Ardoq has helped us move towards the process of seeing how everything fits together, instead of having to deal with our many applications separately.”
Honeycutt describes a system with many different niches: clinical labs, infrastructure and 600 documented applications where the IT department bridges the gaps and creates the overview, to bring everything together from an IT architectural perspective.
Bringing Value to the Business
The IT department at Nebraska Medicine has gone from facing challenges keeping information about applications up to date, to providing the organization with an enterprise architecture as the “source of truth” for information. The challenges they previously were facing, having the supporter of the apps filling out shared and unstable Excel documents, are now replaced with Ardoq Surveys. Honeycutt says: - “We have made it easier for the owner of the applications by sending surveys with questions for them to answer. They complete the documentation and that’s it, they’re done and everything is automatically updated.”
Ardoq Surveys are used to personalize the user interface in order to ensure the best quality and collaboration when gathering data from the wider organization. Ardoq Surveys can be automatically generated, follow pre-configured best practices or be tailored to your organization’s needs directly in app. When these are combined with living dashboards, you are able to not only maintain an overview of your newly gathered information and KPIs, but you are also able to manage the quality and process of collaborating across large numbers of contributors.
By using Ardoq Dashboards to follow business critical KPIs, Honeycutt and her team have implemented an accountability factor. This makes it possible to make sure that the Surveys are completed, and that the data stays fresh.
By democratizing maintenance and accountability to those most familiar with the data, they relieve the architects to do value adding work and improving the detail and quality of the data needed for decision making. At Nebraska Medicine many contribute to the documentation in Ardoq: – “Our VP of Information Technology is a visionary that wants to modernize and he drives the mission of digitalization. He really supports the project, and in addition we have important inputs from our Enterprise, IT and Solution Architects, Application owners, Business owners, IT Operations and Clinical Program Chiefs”.
"Our VP of Information Technology is a visionary that wants to modernize and he drives the mission of digitalization."
Enables Focus and Prioritization
Getting critical data documented in Ardoq and using the platform as a communication tool, is one of the IT team’s foremost tasks today. Previously being in a “best guess”-situation going into new areas, they were looking for the tool that could give them exactly what they need - a tool where they could add structure and capture knowledge. - “In order to get things automated, we have to document it. The tool (Ardoq) is so flexible that you could just throw stuff in there, but to make sure that we work towards our preferred outcome we are trying to keep focus and be strict around the implementation of data.”
About 90% of business and EA professionals list flexibility as a top requirement for an enterprise architecture tool. Digital businesses need architectures that support them in their efforts to be customer-centric, insight-driven, to deliver faster value to market, and to connect stakeholders across the enterprise. - Research from a 2019 Forrester report commissioned by Ardoq*
To show the level of criticality for the enterprise, Honeycutt has a business value rating attached to the applications. This is accomplished by using Calculated Fields, a combination of Ardoq’s visualization capabilities and a powerful graph engine that enables you to visualize more complex properties of your data. - “This allows us to understand what our most critical applications are and where we need to invest, because we know this is top of the stack labor."
"For me, the “wow”- and deciding factor when choosing Ardoq as our tool for enterprise architecture was the Dynamic Visualization. I wanted to save time not having to manually do updates every time something changes”.
The hospital’s Enterprise Architect explains that by getting a good overview of the business, the time and effort spent in building connectivity is outweighed by the increase in speed for critical processes: – “When we are looking to fund projects, we can go to Ardoq and check the data. Do we have this already? Do we need it? If it goes through, we can get support for the project quicker, also because Ardoq shows us what domains we need to engage.”
She says: – “It might seem that collecting all this data is slowing the work in progress. But that's the nice thing in our continued use of Ardoq; what seems to slow down processes can actually speed them up. We can use Ardoq as a stop gate by identifying our hotlist over our most critical projects. We also know that we have a disaster recovery plan if something unexpected were to happen. We can see what the apps depend on, what they run on and therefore also know what we need to get the app back up running. Being able to quickly provide information of what applications are affected if servers are down is key.”
Nebraska Medicine's IT department counts about 70 people. The team consists of business and IT owners in addition to the architecture team. The architecture team has been using Ardoq to enable better conversations with the business stakeholders. Honeycutt sums it up: – “Really, it is about having better conversations across the business. The ability of the platform to pull in all these data sources, and have them automatically update dynamic visualizations, was what made me fall in love with Ardoq.”
*The 2019 Forrester report, “Simplify Your EA With Context And Automation”, commissioned by Ardoq to evaluate how well organizations can activate operational and business data to support business priorities.