An ambitious and innovative organization, The Prince’s Trust is constantly seeking new and more efficient ways to provide even better support to youths in need. In this article, Brett Derry, Head of Architecture at The Prince's Trust, and David Foreman, Lead Business Analyst, answer five questions about how Ardoq and Enterprise Architecture are helping The Trust reach its 2021-2023 strategy.
The Prince’s Trust, founded by His Majesty King Charles III in 1976, supports disadvantaged young people in the UK. The charity is tackling increasing unemployment and has, to date, helped over 1 million young people move into work, education, or training.
The Trust offers courses, resources and other opportunities to people aged 11 to 30. This helps them develop essential life skills, get ready for work and find employment. There’s no doubt having a job or running a business can lead to a more stable, fulfilling life.
Better Control Leads to Better Financial Decisions
We asked Brett and Dave five questions about their vision for Enterprise Architecture and what they've been working on so far. Here's what they had to say:
1. What were the key opportunities you saw for EA?
It was difficult and time-consuming to keep track of the applications and technologies we were running across our organization. This is crucial as we want to expand our business and technical capabilities, have better control costs, and make better financial decisions. We need to know where we can reduce IT spending and where we should invest in projects that will deliver better digital services to partners, donors, and young people.
To make this possible, we need to know at any given time what systems we are running, who are the owners and experts, and what are the costs of the various applications. And, more importantly, how many applications do we have doing the same thing?
It isn’t easy to keep on top of this sort of information because it usually sits in the heads of different people, and it never stays the same. We saw an opportunity to centralize this information, however, and keep it up to date with better routines and workflows. We discussed internally, agreed on a plan, and chose Ardoq as our EA platform.
2. Why is an Enterprise Architecture platform important?
The best-run organizations have a full overview of their technology stacks. This was also our goal because we have limited resources to run a number of core programs for young people. We must eliminate waste and use funds in the best way possible.
By following EA principles, we can make sure we are using the right technology across our organization. We can also pick out potential ways to improve our existing business and technical capabilities. One simple example is we ensure each application has assigned owners who regularly review performance levels and give input into development. This means we can better deliver on our technology visions and strategies, which feed into our overall organizational strategies.
3. What have you been doing so far?
Our main objective has been to understand how our business relies on various technologies from a holistic view. We started with our own Technology department and then expanded out to each of our other departments.
We have been capturing data on applications, owners, experts, costs, contracts, and supplier details. This is used to score each application’s business fit and technical fit in the organization. Based on this, we can see which applications are adding value and which ones are adding costs.
We’ve also captured our business and technical capabilities, documented these in Ardoq, and aligned those with the people, processes, and applications that fulfill these capabilities. This helps us see where we can improve IT services and which areas are most important. Each of the capabilities must align to our business strategies and goals.
4. What have been the key results to date?
We’ve captured data about all the applications across the organization and built out routines for keeping it updated. This has benefited us in so many ways: We know what we own, who uses it, and for what purpose. We know their value and the benefits applications deliver, both functionally and financially. This means we also know where we can start to make changes that will really benefit the business.
Our next steps are to capture projects across the organization, get a better understanding of our application interfaces, and run learning sessions with the business to show how Ardoq can support them and help them make better business and technical decisions.
Project data is key for us as it can highlight where multiple projects may be dependent on the same resource and applications and how we can then manage potential clashes and impacts.
5. What do you think about Ardoq?
Ardoq has been a godsend! It’s really easy to use, and the virtual training programs were very engaging. We’ve started to get other people outside of the technology department to use Ardoq and the feedback is really positive.
We love the way we can rate applications based on various criteria. Diagrams that would take hours to put together are created in a matter of seconds. The surveys are also a great way of getting data into the system.
We used to rely on face-to-face conversations, handmade drawings, and spreadsheets. I bet we use 30-40% less time with Ardoq compared to our old way. That enables us to get work done faster and more efficiently.
-Brett Derry, Head of Architecture at The Prince’s Trust
We see almost endless potential with the Ardoq platform. We’ve put together a 12-month roadmap, which has been approved by our CTO. This will allow us to not only build on the data we have captured so far but also explore new areas, like improving Risk Management and C4 modeling. We are really looking forward to the journey ahead.
Thank you Brett and David, for your time, and for sharing your insights with us.
Protection of customer data is critical to Ardoq, and information security is considered a high priority by senior management. Read on to learn more about Ardoq’s approach to safeguarding the confidentiality, integrity and availability of information stored and processed by the Ardoq Cloud platform.