What Is Ardoq and How Does It Work?

16 Jan 2024

by Cynthia Kristensen

Ardoq is a global SaaS company recognized by Gartner as a leading provider of  Enterprise Architecture (EA) tools.

What is Ardoq?

Ardoq is a cloud data platform that goes far beyond standard software, built with powerful graph technology and enhanced by dynamic visualizations. It’s designed to help organizations understand the relationships between people, processes, technology, and data and use this knowledge to reach their goals and strategic objectives.

A more specific answer to "What is Ardoq?" is that it's a platform with almost limitless flexibility, a future-proof solution that will evolve as organizational requirements inevitably change with time. It includes out-of-the-box solutions that enable customers to quickly realize value from their EA practice. Get a quick overview of what Ardoq has to offer in under two minutes:

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Why Use Ardoq?

As organizations grow and the world becomes more complex, the more difficult it is for businesses to identify opportunities for improvement and run effective change processes. There are more people, processes, and products running on a wider and ever-growing multilayered web of applications, technologies, and infrastructure that is difficult to understand. Changing one element affects the other, potentially having a far-reaching impact on the business’s operations, performance, and, ultimately, ability to succeed. 

It's no surprise then that, according to McKinsey, up to 70% of digital transformation fails. Transformation projects are often poorly defined and poorly communicated. Senior leaders and decision-makers may disagree on what changes are needed, what the impact will be on the organization's already chaotic technology landscape, and what alternatives are available. Furthermore, the company culture may be resistant to change.

All this complexity creates uncertainty and leaves senior leaders in a risky situation struggling with key questions such as:

  • How to identify which key initiatives should be prioritized
  • How to build consensus and get everyone to agree on the investments that are needed
  • How to understand the consequences of decisions and who will be affected

These are challenging questions to answer when organizations are held back by:

  • Disorganized, low-quality data: Continuously changing information about the business processes, organizational structure, applications, data, and infrastructure is often stored in static spreadsheets and disparate databases - and likely out-of-date.
  • Lack of time: The time and cost of doing a proper business assessment, building models, doing impact analysis, getting estimates, and discussing options outweighs the benefits.
  • Disconnect between IT and business: Different people have different perspectives on requirements, resources, and risks - blocking progress and causing friction.

We built Ardoq to simplify the complexity and overcome these challenges. 

Ardoq enables organizations to:

  1. Better achieve business objectives by having a clear understanding of the current operations, processes, capabilities, software, hardware, business systems, data and integrations, technology risks, and costs. 
  2. Use architectural insights to identify, prioritize, and reprioritize strategic initiatives and IT projects - improving efficiency and collaboration. 
  3. Successfully navigate digital change by understanding the impact changes can have on the organization.
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Disclaimer: This image reflects the personal opinion of the author and not the official standpoint of NRK.

What Can Ardoq Do?

Ardoq can help organizations achieve a wide range of objectives and answer many key business questions. 

No more manual processes and separate tools to capture, model, and assess an organization’s architecture. Ardoq pulls data, views, and shareable reports together in one place. This data-driven approach means better quality data, fewer repetitive tasks, and more time to focus on value-adding activities.

These are some key business outcomes organizations can achieve with Ardoq:

1) Drive Business Transformation and Innovation

Does your organization have the capabilities it needs to reach strategic objectives? Do you know what is the best way forward when sudden changes require quick shifts in your business’s direction? Ardoq enables you to analyze, plan, prioritize and share the company’s strategy, objectives, and change initiatives. This includes answering questions about the stage of initiatives, timelines, ownership, costs, dependencies, and more.

2) Improve Strategic (Re)prioritization and Planning

Every business has strategic objectives, but prioritizing and implementing them effectively is a challenge. Does your organization have the capabilities it needs to reach strategic objectives? Ardoq enables you to map out alternative roadmaps and evaluate the differences. It also enables you to re-prioritize projects when the need arises.

3) Improve Impact Analysis (Change or Incident)

How can you know the effect a major change to your business or IT environments will have? Do you have the tools you need to understand how a new digital process will impact your organization or customers? Ardoq enables you to map dependencies between people, processes, and technologies and use scenario modeling to understand the impact a change in one part will have on the other. Whenever a change is planned, Ardoq also makes it easy to unite people and communicate the changes across the organization.

4) Optimize IT: Reduce Complexity, Improve Quality, and Agility

Your organization may have hundreds of IT systems at different levels of performance and lifecycle stage. Some are becoming outdated and need to be modernized. Maybe you have acquired or merged with another company and need a plan for managing overlapping applications and infrastructure. Ardoq helps you improve IT efficiency and reach key objectives such as lower costs and improved IT services.

5) Improve Business-IT Transparency and Collaboration

Forbes research shows that “CIOs and the leaders of various business functions are not aligned on the drivers, vision, priorities, technology selection or investments required.” Business leaders and IT can disagree on the type and extent of IT changes, raising concerns about whether IT investments pay off. Ardoq helps architects align IT and business by answering tough questions such as: How well does IT support the business? Which parts of the business are using IT? And how are IT costs assigned to business capabilities and departments?

6) Perform IT Governance, Risk and Compliance

Getting an overview of business systems, software applications, hardware, and technologies can be challenging but is essential to managing risk and easing compliance. The IT portfolio can be unwieldy, and it is continuously changing. The IT landscape is often a complete mystery to those outside IT. Ardoq enables you to structure and model a complex web of IT systems and integrations, enabling you to maintain a well-governed portfolio in accordance with frameworks, policies, and legal requirements.

7) Perform Data Governance, Risk and Control

Does your organization have control of its data? Do you know where it is located and how sensitive it is? Effective data governance involves understanding data, categorizing it, using it, analyzing it, tracking it, and deriving conclusions from it. It is, therefore, critical for the success of any organization. Using Ardoq, you can make your business data's logical and physical location transparent, enabling you to make effective business decisions based on trustworthy data.

How Does Ardoq Work?

Ardoq is a centralized platform that helps you organize data about business strategy, projects, processes, software systems, data integrations, infrastructure, and more. This means being able to quickly add fields to build an enterprise architecture repository and then search, filter, and find information as needed. From this repository, models, roadmaps, reports, and dashboards can be created to analyze the business’s current state and plan the optimal future state for the business.

Ardoq’s immense flexibility allows users to customize and create custom fields, processes, and reports and integrate with other software products. Ardoq also provides workflow automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities.

With these capabilities, Ardoq supports and enhances key enterprise architecture processes. Here is a high-level overview of these key steps and how Ardoq supports each of one of them.

Step 1: Define the Desired Outcomes

Enterprise Architects can provide valuable insight in many situations. To be successful, Enterprise Architects must be skilled at defining and communicating the problems they want to solve and the outcomes they want to achieve.

Step 2: Implement Out-of–The Box Solutions or Build Your Own Models

Depending on the outcomes you want to achieve, you can build your own models as you go or you can use Ardoq’s out-of-the box solutions. 

Each solution helps you realize value as fast as possible by providing pre-configured metamodels, analytic techniques, and assets that can be populated with data to deliver business outcomes. 

Ardoq’s Solutions help you to clarify objectives, quickly generate insights, measure KPIs, and set the right expectations with key stakeholders. Each Solution answers a set of fundamental questions business stakeholders may have related to topics such as governance, risk, control, and IT optimization. Solutions also include out-of-the-box dashboards, reports, and visualizations that help you communicate your findings to key stakeholders. 

Our Solutions include step-by-step guidance that has been reviewed by a team of veteran EAs who have decades of experience at industry-leading enterprises so you don’t have to worry about figuring out every detail on your own.

Some of Ardoq’s solutions include:

These Solutions are often the starting point for many of our customers' journeys because they are a fast and easy way to solve problems instead of painstakingly creating models from scratch.

Each solution builds on the next, so you will have an incremental approach to modeling architecture that generates insights your stakeholders will appreciate. 

Step 3: Gather and Structure Data

Once you have defined the objectives, it is time to start capturing data and building your enterprise architecture repository. 

Ardoq provides several templates and features that work together to help you gather data and maintain its quality.

  • Integrations and Rest API: Ardoq has many built-in integrations and Rest API, which will help you integrate with your preferred solutions. Please visit our integrations page for an updated list.
  • Surveys and Broadcasts: Surveys are one of the most popular methods of data collection because they help you gather information and build relationships with key stakeholders at the same time. Ardoq has many pre-configured surveys you can use as inspiration, and they are easily distributed with Broadcasts, Ardoq’s automated messaging and workflow system.  
  • Excel Import: Ardoq provides a range of templates and options for you to upload data directly from spreadsheets and start working with data straight away.
  • Manual Edits: There is an intuitive spreadsheet-like interface you can use to punch in data or make edits at any time.

Ardoq keeps all your data organized and makes it easy to search, find, and filter. Some examples include an application repository, risk registers, control library, physical IT assets register, organization structure, business capabilities, and product library. 

It’s easy to add fields and make connections between data elements.  Fields can have several formats, including links to external URLs and calculated values.

As data is added or updated, Ardoq will automatically update models, calculations, visualizations, reports, and dashboards. Compared to manual processes, this dramatically simplifies modeling. You can save hours or weeks, and the likelihood of error is virtually eliminated.

Once data is gathered, Ardoq offers several mechanisms to keep it accurate and up-to-date. This supports corporate and IT governance and keeps your architecture from decaying by ensuring you have one reliable source for architectural information. 

Step 4: Model, Map, Analyze, and Visualize

Ardoq has a large set of analytics tools, diagrams, charts, reports, and other visualizations that help you carry out assessments, identify opportunities and risks, and share the results in a way that is automated and business-friendly.  Visualizations enable you to quickly spot relationships between components, identify dependencies, visualize the roadmap, and do impact analysis. 

Visualizations are updated automatically based on the underlying data. You don’t need to draw and then redraw diagrams by hand, or manually refresh diagrams. Senior management can also feel confident that they will always be making decisions based on the same, single source of updated information.

💡 See our blog for tips on assessing your IT portfolio.

Step 5: Look Into the Future

Now that you have accurate and trustworthy baseline data about the current state of your business and IT architecture in Ardoq, you can run scenarios and start thinking about the future state: What are the different approaches you can take to reach your business objectives? How will they look? What should you avoid?
Download: Infographic for ScenariosBecause you are using updated data, you don’t have to make decisions about the future based on ‘best-guess’.  For example, when a change to one of your IT applications is being suggested, you can test how it will look and what this might mean in terms of cost, risk, or complexity and then share that information with decision-makers. This provides them with the understanding they need about options that are available and which ones to avoid. 

"The true architects of our business are the leadership team. We are enabling them to continue to have better data, better models, and better insights. With Ardoq, we can funnel the details and massage them into an understandable message."

- Scott Brooker, Business Architecture Director at Premier Tech

Step 6: Collaborate With Key Stakeholders

When you need to involve the wider business in business decisions and build a culture that supports change, engagement is critical. Here is where Ardoq Discover is indispensable.  Ardoq Discover makes the knowledge within your organization accessible to everyone on demand.

Ardoq Discover is a ‘Google-like’ self-service portal that enables people in your organization to effectively collaborate, contribute and consume architectural insights.  It includes customizable dashboards and reports that are easy for non-technical users to review and understand. Ardoq administrators can decide which information is most relevant and customize Ardoq Discover accordingly.

Ardoq Discover can also include a list of tasks that business unit owners, application owners, and other people are expected to perform.  Enterprise Architects can’t bring about change alone; everyone in the organization has to contribute to ensure a company can effectively keep up with new demands. 

Each stakeholder can view the business from a perspective that is relevant for them, and evaluate various courses of action as part of fact-based decision-making. The most common business stakeholders are:

  • Enterprise and Business Architects
  • IT and Business Analysts
  • Head of Technology or Digital Transformation
  • Strategic Portfolio Management or Strategic Planning
  • Knowledge Managers
  • Security, Risk, Legal Governance, and Compliance Specialists

For example, you can highlight the results of your IT portfolio assessment with recommendations for which applications to tolerate, invest in, migrate or eliminate and present the recommendations in concise reports to application owners or business unit leaders. You may also provide key project members with a timeline diagram that gives them much needed visibility into ERP consolidation projects, share KPIs related to IT Risk, data governance or other relevant information. The possibilities are almost limitless.

"Our goal was to reduce the amount of effort needed to get information on our applications. It requires about a month's worth of time for one person—about €20,000—so Ardoq already pays off because we get the information in just one click."

- Robert Pröber, Manager of Cloud and Data Governance at Stihl

Who Are Ardoq’s Customers? 

Ardoq’s customers span the globe, coming from both the public and private sector.

Some of the global brands who have chosen Ardoq are ExxonMobil, STIHL, ABB, Carlsberg Group, Stanley Black & Decker, British Telecom, University Medical Center Groningen, Shasta Networks, and ETH Zurich.

Read about how these companies and many more are aligning their business and technology, enhancing strategic execution, and generating value for their business in Ardoq Customer Stories. 

How Do I Get Started?

Getting started with Ardoq is easy. Ardoq has a complete set of features and a dedicated team of consultants, business architects, and Enterprise Architects to support you along the way. 

Don’t let your organization get trapped in old routines or held back by manual modeling tools. Ardoq will enable you to take your enterprise’s architecture - and the discussions you have with key stakeholders - to a new level. No matter what stage of maturity your organization is at with EA, our platform and industry expertise will ensure swift time-to-value.  

Reach out to see Ardoq in action.
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Cynthia Kristensen Cynthia Kristensen Cynthia is a Product Marketing Manager at Ardoq and has over 20 years experience in senior marketing roles and management teams at B2B tech companies.
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