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Digital Transformation in Transport: How Sporveien is Improving Transparency and Cost-Efficiency

  • Greater transparency over application portfolio, unearthing 120 more applications than were documented
  • Reduced 350 applications to 250, substantial savings in cost and risk exposure
  • Easily accessible charts and visualizations on technical debt that their CIO uses to inform prioritization

217 M
Passengers in 2022

Showing people things in the Ardoq platform makes them understand in a way that we couldn’t before.

Arisa Plecan
Enterprise Architecture Team Lead at Sporveien
Push Factors

Why Digitalize?

As an organization with a long and rich history, one of Sporveien's key drivers with Ardoq is to lay the foundation for effective digitalization across their fragmented business siloes. Modern transportation is anchored in digital technology, which means a huge organizational change for them. 


While they currently maintain several generations of pre-digital tram models, their newest generation, acquired in 2018, is much more advanced and requires completely different support systems. This investment really highlighted their need to find ways to integrate these varying generations and support digital change more effectively.

“We needed to set a foundation that would enable our subsidiaries to communicate and consolidate, making Sporveien more efficient in cost and operations.”
- Arisa Plecan, Enterprise Architecture Team Lead at Sporveien

However, there were several hurdles to overcome when it came to digital transformation in this transport company.


Lack of Transparency and Cultural Resistance to Digital Transformation in Transport

  • Siloed information and subsidiaries: Sporveien is split into different subsidies for the trams, metro, and buses. They operated independently, which meant their data and systems were also very fragmented and isolated from each other.

  • Shadow IT with no clear overview of their systems: As with many legacy organizations, they had accumulated many systems and applications over the years. Without overarching governance, no one had a clear overview of all their applications. This was an expensive problem they needed to address urgently, and outdated spreadsheets were not giving them the information they needed for more efficient cost control. This was also a problem because, as a public service owned by the municipality, they need to ensure efficiency and maintain transparency about their spend.

  • Organizational resistance to change: Sporveien has been in operation for so long and in a way that was largely not digital. It was only in 2021 that their architecture function began, but as a new team, they found it challenging to get buy-in from the rest of the organization for what they were trying to achieve. Many were resistant to changing their ways of working and did not see the value in what the EA team was proposing. So it was especially critical to get a platform that would be helpful in demonstrating value of EA to non-architects.

How Ardoq Helped Them To Bridge the Businesses and Build Trust

The Ardoq platform empowers Sporveien to get the critical overview they need quickly and keep it up to date to reliably inform decisions. With this data-driven insight, they are empowered to make more informed decisions, better understand impact, and preempt potential issues.

1) Getting an Overview of Their Systems, Capabilities and Infrastructure

Ardoq’s out-of-the-box solutions for Application Portfolio Management and Application Lifecycle Management enabled them to quickly build the overview they needed of all their applications and systems. They were also able to leverage Ardoq’s solutions to:

  • Document their integrations
  • Define their business capabilities
  • Model the different layers of their technical infrastructure and dependencies to other technologies.

Ardoq’s engagement features also help to ease data maintenance. Now, around 70 people are prompted across Sporveien at regular intervals to update information in the platform instead of relying on the 6-person EA team to do it all.

2. Building Trust and Connections With The Wider Organization

“If you’re not willing to do the organizational change work in a huge digital transformation, then no tool can help you, and you will fail.”
- Jo Ring Giske, Enterprise Architect at Sporveien

The Ardoq platform equipped them with the functionality they needed as an EA function but not the buy-in they would also need on a cultural level to be effective. They needed to work on getting the rest of the organization to understand and support this relatively new function. To accomplish this, they needed to navigate the delicate balance of being perceived as the enforcers of IT standards with their role as facilitators of positive change. Given that most people often prefer existing systems and are resistant to change, EA teams, Sporveien included, find themselves in a quasi-sales role, advocating for the replacement of outdated or inefficient IT with superior solutions.

A Bottom-Up Approach: Meeting People Where They Work

They knew that imposing top-down architectural frameworks would not get them the buy-in they needed, so they took a bottom-up approach. They went to meet people where they were working, engaged them in the challenges they faced, and proposed ways the EA function could address some of these challenges. This meant going beyond their immediate responsibilities to help solve problems and demonstrate the tangible value of their work.

Considering the non-architect consumer’s needs is also key to why they chose Ardoq over other platforms. Ardoq allows them to empower project managers, technical leaders, business developers, and even leaders to get the information they need to understand impact and pre-empt potential concerns.

“A lot of the architect’s role is about communication, being able to talk to leaders as well as tram drivers. Good communication skills are so important.”

- Arisa Plecan, Enterprise Architecture Team Lead at Sporveien

Sporveien’s approach, centered on building trust and showcasing value, is crucial for Enterprise Architecture teams to effectively influence and guide their organizations through technological evolution. By stepping in to aid with various issues that mattered to other teams, delivering operational value, and educating, the EA team was able to build the trust and connections across departments that were vital to making their own work effective.

This laid the groundwork for becoming more involved in strategic arenas like key leadership meetings and decision-making processes rather than pure IT governance or data maintenance work.


Key Outcomes With Ardoq: Reducing Costs, Risk, and Complexity


For the IT organization:

    • Greater transparency over systems: From having an outdated spreadsheet documenting around 230 applications, with Ardoq, they uncovered 350 applications. 
    • More efficient spending on IT: With Ardoq, they could identify opportunities to retire, replace, or consolidate supporting systems to reduce duplication. After clean-up, they reduced 350 applications to 250, substantial savings in cost and risk exposure.
    • Improved overview of security risk and version control of software across different generations of trams

A vital testament to the EA team’s success with building connections with the other teams is that the rest of the organization is beginning to rely on them and the Ardoq platform more and more to:

    • Understand their capabilities and improved alignment between teams across different siloes, seeing now that they share the same needs
    • Improved transparency on their spending as a public service, especially in IT, and ensuring compliance with the needs of Ruter, the organization that plans and coordinates the public transport routes in Oslo, will build greater trust.
    • Get easily accessible, up-to-date insights and data needed to make better-informed decisions. For example, their group CIO uses solution architect bubble charts on technical debt from the Ardoq platform to advise on what needs to be prioritized in senior leadership meetings. Technical leads in the tram division of Sporveien also share visualizations in Ardoq with other stakeholders and use them in meetings.

“Sporveien has the perfect blend of being ambitious and pragmatic while being driven by outcomes that are beneficial to the business. An absolute joy to work with!"
- Krishan Thangavadivel
Senior Customer Success Manager at Ardoq

Looking Forward

Further areas they hope to delve deeper into are understanding the interdependencies when it comes to data management via data lineage. With their application portfolio better documented, they will next focus on building out their business architecture, such as capabilities and processes. This will help them better understand the connections between people, trams, systems, vendors, and data, which will improve transparency around pricing and how much their capabilities are really costing the organization.


ardoq views block diagram business capabilities applications

Sporveien’s EA team hopes to maximize its value in guiding strategic execution by eventually having enough dedicated architects to advise on big organizational projects and aid informed decision-making.

For their new step in digital transformation as a transport company, they also hope to eventually leverage the Ardoq platform to build a digital twin of the organization. This will help even new people in Sporveien to easily see their services and capabilities, better understand their roles and responsibilities, and find the information they need when they need it

About Sporveien

Sporveien is a municipally owned public transport operator in Oslo, Norway, founded in 1870. It currently operates the trackage and maintains the stock of the Oslo Metro and Oslo Tramway, as well as bus services in the region. As of 2022, it had over 3000 employees, and its combined services transported 217 million passengers.

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