Stanley Black & Decker: Succeeding With Modern Enterprise Architecture

18 Aug 2023

by Alexa Abul

Mike Faga, a Director of Enterprise Architecture at Stanley Black & Decker (SB&D), has over 20 years of experience in the IT space. He’s been instrumental in the development, management, and implementation of many software projects. He joined SB&D in 2016 to build up their Enterprise Architecture practice. Here are some highlights from his presentation with our VP of Product at Ardoq, Ian Stendera, at the Gartner Application Innovation and Business Solution Summit, on 15 May 2023. In it, they cover how they successfully implemented modern Enterprise Architecture at SB&D and discuss the three major prerequisites for success in building a modern Enterprise Architecture practice. 

Stanley Black and Decker in a Nutshell

Stanley Black & Decker is a globally recognized manufacturing and distribution company with a rich history dating back to 1843. Over the last 180 years, they’ve grown to employ over 60,000 people across 60 countries and over 100 manufacturing facilities. With a strong global presence and a commitment to quality and customer satisfaction, SB&D has firmly established itself as a trusted industry leader, becoming the world leader in the tools industry. Driven by a culture of innovation and a relentless pursuit of excellence, SB&D continues to set new benchmarks in the manufacturing industry, positioning itself at the forefront of technological advancements and delivering cutting-edge solutions to customers worldwide.

How This Manufacturing Giant Successfully Implemented Modern Enterprise Architecture

1. Redefining Enterprise Architecture

Many associate traditional Enterprise Architecture (EA) with governance, bureaucracy, and documentation. However, the evolution of Enterprise Architecture since the 1980s and the digital complexity of business today have led to a radical shift away from manual diagrams to data-driven collaboration and visualization. SB&D's approach to redefining Enterprise Architecture demonstrates this shifting paradigm. 

“We wanted to bring a tool that was going to support our operating model rather than drive our operating model."
- Mike Faga, a Director of Enterprise Architecture at Stanley Black & Decker 

Their primary goal was not to get static maps or catalogs of their applications but to align their architecture practice with innovation and agility, fostering data-driven decision-making and adapting swiftly to dynamic business demands. This new approach with modern Enterprise Architecture enables organizations to leverage inspiring technologies at speed and drive business outcomes more effectively.

2. Ensuring Success With Data-Driven Insights

Implementing new technologies often comes with a high failure rate due to budget and timeline constraints. However, Mike's proactive engagement during the ideation and strategic part of the project process helped the EA team to gain a comprehensive understanding of the organization's IT landscape and potential challenges.

"Our goal is to continue to ensure our data is right, so we can have educated conversations."
- Mike Faga

By analyzing existing architectures and assessing technical dependencies early in initiatives, they could provide valuable insights to project teams and stakeholders, ensuring well-informed decision-making. This holistic view empowered them to identify areas for improvement, optimize resource allocation, and facilitate seamless integration of new technologies, ultimately contributing to a more efficient and successful technology implementation journey for Stanley Black & Decker. Moreover, SB&D's Enterprise Architecture team's data-driven approach enabled them to continuously monitor and evaluate the impact of implemented technologies, leading to iterative improvements and a culture of adaptability, ensuring that the organization remained at the forefront of technological innovation in the manufacturing industry.

3. Critical Prerequisites for Successful Enterprise Architecture 

The pain in rebooting an Enterprise Architecture practice lies in the challenges of fulfilling essential prerequisites for success:

  • Getting senior-level sponsorship: Ensuring that you have buy-in and support from senior management will help establish Enterprise Architecture’s strategic position and value within the organization
  • Adequate funding and staffing: Allocate sufficient resources to hire experienced enterprise architects with deep expertise in their respective domains to ensure your EA team has the right professionals to build a strong foundation for success.

However, these two prerequisites are just the foundation for establishing a modern Enterprise Architecture practice. The process also requires investing in soft skills and careful relationship building. It is important to be able to effectively articulate business strategy, gain stakeholder trust, and contribute meaningfully to decision-making. 

Possessing these skills are critical for Enterprise Architecture professionals to effectively communicate the value of Enterprise Architecture and actively participate in decision-making processes. Early investment in relationship building establishes trust and collaboration, creating a strong foundation for future successful Enterprise Architecture initiatives.

Key Challenges: “Ivory Tower” Mindsets and Data Quality

“One of the key challenges we had was data quality. When we started, we really focused on staffing up and finding the right resources to be experts in their field.”
- Mike Faga

On their digital transformation journey, Stanley Black & Decker encountered many of the same challenges organizations encounter when kickstarting Enterprise Architecture efforts, such as data quality and technical landscape complexity. Overcoming these challenges required collaboration, clear communication, and a continuous improvement mindset. Mike emphasized the need to prioritize accurate and up-to-date information to enable informed decision-making and drive successful technology strategy implementation

SB&D's team also recognized the prevalent "ivory tower" mindset in Enterprise Architecture. Traditionally Enterprise Architects worked largely in isolation from the rest of the organization to develop their solutions, immersed in EA lingo, making collaboration and communication challenging. The SB&D team understood the importance of shifting away from this stereotype to the collaborative, business-focused approach of modern enterprise architecture. They had to ensure their Enterprise Architecture practice aligned with the organization's objectives and strategies so they could effectively demonstrate the value of Enterprise Architecture to the entire organization. One way they bridged the communication gap was to create a business capability model that allowed them to better organize their discussions and projects, leading to more informed decision-making and building trust within the organization. 

"We now have the ability of a public portal to the rest of the team. They can come in, they can search for information by business capability or project and see what we have out there to support them."
- Mike Faga

Uncover the potential of a collaborative public EA portal: Ardoq Discover. See how its intuitive interface, designed for everyone, will help offer real-time insights without the need for specialization. Learn to challenge Enterprise Architecture stereotypes and communicate the benefits of Enterprise Architecture across the organization. 

Embracing Agile, Data-Driven Enterprise Architecture

By aligning enterprise architecture with business objectives, organizations can leverage emerging technologies effectively. Through senior-level sponsorship, funding, staffing, and relationship building, enterprise architecture can become a strategic enabler. The journey of Stanley Black & Decker exemplifies the transformative power of Enterprise Architecture and offers valuable lessons for organizations seeking to redefine their Enterprise Architecture practices. As organizations navigate the ever-changing technology landscape, it is crucial to view Enterprise Architecture as a catalyst for innovation, collaboration, and strategic planning.

Embracing an agile and data-driven Enterprise Architecture approach can help organizations adapt swiftly to market changes, capitalize on emerging opportunities, and foster a culture of continuous improvement. This proactive mindset, combined with the right leadership support and a focus on business alignment, enables Enterprise Architecture to drive sustainable growth and competitive advantage in today's rapidly evolving business landscape. By embracing the insights and lessons shared by Mike and his journey with SB&D, enterprises can learn how to harness the full potential of modern enterprise architecture and drive successful implementation.

Learn more about how you can unlock the value of new Enterprise Architecture in your organization. 

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Alexa Abul Alexa Abul Alexa Abul serves as the Marketing Manager for North America at Ardoq, skillfully intertwining her passion for technology and creative insights to cultivate meaningful industry connections.
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