Mapping the Future: Ordnance Survey’s IT Transformation Journey With Ardoq

22 May 2024

by Deborah Theseira

Ordnance Survey (OS), the national mapping agency of the UK, plays a critical role in providing accurate and up-to-date geospatial data for businesses, governments, and citizens alike. With over 1200 staff headquartered in Southampton, OS has a long and rich history of ensuring its data remains reliable and serves ever-evolving customer needs.

This blog post dives into a recent webinar where Ian Rolls and Alex Waugh from Ordnance Survey presented their journey of implementing Ardoq, our Enterprise Architecture (EA) tool, to drive their IT transformation efforts. 

The full webinar is also available to watch on-demand.

From Fragmented Landscape to Strategic Vision

Prior to Ardoq, OS faced a challenge common to many organizations: an organically developed IT infrastructure with numerous point solutions. While these solutions served immediate needs, they lacked a central, strategic view, making decision-making and long-term planning difficult. Additionally, valuable knowledge resided with experienced personnel, creating a vulnerability when that knowledge transitioned out.

The need for a data-driven, evidence-based approach for informed decision-making became paramount. This is where Ardoq entered the picture.

Why Ardoq: The Perfect Platform For Flexible, Data-Centric IT Transformation

OS chose Ardoq as their EA partner two and a half years ago based on some key differentiating factors:

  • Flexibility: Ardoq's adaptable metamodel allows OS to seamlessly map their unique organizational structure and complex geospatial data processes
  • Data-Driven: With a vast amount of data from various sources, Ardoq's ability to handle large data volumes is a crucial benefit for a complex organization with a long legacy like OS.
  • Licensing Model: The cost-effective, usage-based licensing model aligns with OS's needs, providing scalability without incurring additional upfront costs.

OS can also leverage Ardoq's intuitive interface and collaborative engagement features to empower subject matter experts to contribute their knowledge. This not only helps drive more accuracy around the data but also fosters a sense of ownership within the organization.

Partnership With Ardoq

After selecting Ardoq as their Enterprise Architecture partner in 2022, OS focused on setting up all their applications in the platform and implemented Application Portfolio Management to gain better control over their cost management and data landscape. In 2023, they proceeded to expand their program to include components like third-party data catalogs and building a Technology Reference Model. OS also defined their onboarding process to make it easier for new employees to learn and use Ardoq. More recently, they started to use the Information Asset Register to better manage the use of personal data within the organization.

Ordnance Survey’s IT Transformation Journey and Roadmap

ordnance survey IT transformation journey roadmap

Building the OS Ardoq Metamodel

The core of OS's Ardoq implementation lies in the Metamodel. This model maps various aspects of the organization into Ardoq, including business capabilities and applications. Future strategic considerations include innovation and objectives, technical capabilities, as well as the mapping of individual roles.

This comprehensive model allows OS to create a holistic view of their operations, fostering better collaboration and informed decision-making.

Unlocking the Power of Ardoq

Ardoq's capabilities extend beyond creating a simple inventory. Here are some key benefits realized by OS:

  • Unified View: Ardoq acts as a central hub, connecting previously siloed information like the Technology Reference Model (TRM) and application landscape. This interconnectedness provides a clearer picture of potential risks and opportunities.
  • Risk Management: Identifying application owners and users within Ardoq effectively exposes potential technology risks, allowing for proactive mitigation strategies.
  • Management Insights: Ardoq provides valuable insights for management via real-time dashboards. By having all applications, data, and processes mapped, leadership gains a comprehensive overview of the organization's technological landscape (see APM Analysis below, which was designated as "gold dust for management" by Ian Rolls during the webinar)


Beyond Implementation: Lessons Learned

While Ardoq offers a powerful platform, OS emphasizes the importance of ongoing maintenance and user engagement for successful IT transformation. Here are some key takeaways from their experience:

  • Quick Wins: Prioritizing achievable use cases early on fosters user buy-in and drives continued engagement.
  • Executive Visibility: Demonstrating the potential of Ardoq and their EA initiatives to senior executives secures long-term support.
  • Continuous Improvement: Business analysts need to be embedded within business processes to drive continuous improvements.
  • Collaboration is Key: Overlapping use cases highlight the importance of collaboration across teams to ensure efficient data management.

Eliminating Pain Points

As with any new system, the OS team identified some pain points and worked closely with Ardoq’s in-house exports to solve them along the way. For instance, the core team in charge of the Ardoq platform lacked the time to properly onboard new users to ensure they could make the most of the technology. The solution they put in place was to build a self-serve onboarding process with one-to-one access after completion of the training. 

Engagement and accountability can also be issues, so the OS team works hard to continuously evangelize benefits and lower technical barriers. One way they do this is by leveraging collaborative features like Ardoq Surveys, which make contributing data easier for non-technical users. Like any system, Ardoq relies upon the quality of the data coming in. Reducing errors and monitoring quality are essential to maintaining the accuracy of the reports and fostering trust in the system.

Other challenges, such data model evolution and integration with new systems, are addressed by making the most of the technology and partnership with Ardoq’s responsive support team and in-house architecture expertise.


At the end of the webinar, OS shared their recommendations for ensuring the smooth and efficient implementation of an Enterprise Architecture platform like Ardoq:

  • Focus on realizing business value early through focused use cases
  • Start small and scale up
  • Use actual business needs to drive the evolution of the metamodel 
  • Make sure users understand “what’s in it for them”
  • Democratize data maintenance through Surveys
  • Monitor data quality and provide feedback to users 
  • Utilize Ardoq’s Best Practice modules to deliver value fast
  • Engage with Ardoq’s in-house teams to leverage their knowledge and support

A Rewarding Journey

"Engaging with Ardoq has been very rewarding… Ardoq has been very responsive to our demands”.
- Ian Rolls, Solutions Architect at Ordnance Survey

This quote from OS underscores the transformational impact Ardoq has had on their ability to manage, maintain, and leverage its critical data resources. By embracing a data-driven approach with Ardoq as a central tool, OS is well-positioned to navigate its ever-evolving landscape and deliver exceptional value to its customers.

For more inspiration and insights into how to drive successful transformation initiatives, dive into our latest ebook: Find Your 'Aha' With Ardoq!

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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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