The Canton of Jura is one of the 26 cantons that form the Swiss Confederation – an integral part of Switzerland with a high degree of autonomy in matters of internal affairs. Exercising this autonomy also means deciding on their own IT infrastructure development policy.
Prior to iServer, Canton of Jura’s IT unit lacked a tool to act as a central repository for all projects. The responsibility of managing current assets as well as planning for future expansion had been getting increasingly severe over the past several years. An already complex environment was becoming increasingly difficult to manage with the addition of new initiatives, technological advances and newly emerging practices, the governing authority eventually decided to address the issue by starting an EA initiative.
Canton of Jura’s IT unit lacked a tool to act as a central repository for all projects - an already complex environment was becoming increasingly difficult to manage with the addition of new initiatives, technological advances and newly emerging practices,
Although the mandate and enthusiasm were certainly present, progress was slow in the beginning. Some early obstacles included a working culture where architects would create their own version of the architecture (with their preferred icon set) independently of changes made by others.
Additionally, there was no agreed-upon standard for documentation and as a result, the department could not answer large-scale questions, such as what a certain technology replacement initiative meant to the enterprise as a whole, or any other impact of change. Since different parts of the organization communicated infrequently and each project was different, it became difficult to create valid roadmaps or provide any useful insights to decision makers.
At the beginning of 2015, it became evident they needed an Enterprise Architecture platform. This started the department on a comprehensive evaluation of different vendors. Out of four tools, iServer emerged as the tool of choice. The first key feature was its integration with the Microsoft Office Suite and use of Visio as a modeling environment, which the team was already employing for diagram creation. iServer’s user experience and easily navigable Office style and feel were also important aspects. They ensured quick adoption, and opened the tool up for stakeholders outside the IT department.
The pre-sale and deployment processes went smoothly. As part of Orbus’s customer centric-approach, the Canton of Jura team learned everything they needed from our sales consultants during a cycle that included an initial meeting, tailored demonstrations of the tool’s capability as per their requirements, and a Proof of Concept so they could test it themselves. This enabled the decision makers to be certain that iServer was the best choice for their team and organization.
As for the deployment and implementation stage, the architects reported their satisfaction at the quality of the training provided as well as the ease of getting started with the tool. The Swiss team were able to arrange almost everything themselves. Today, when introducing new recruits to the platform, the training usually lasts no longer than two hours.
A couple of years into their transformation initiative, Canton of Jura’s EA department has completely changed the way they work. Being able to intelligently enhance their efforts with a mature, comprehensive platform like iServer has allowed the Swiss team to build an efficient and transparent EA practice. Architects and business analysts can carry out their individual tasks effectively, aware at all times of what their colleagues are doing. This has eliminated duplication of effort and removed the risk of corrupting the integrity of others’ work.
In addition, because of the collaborative environment enforced by the platform, employees from different areas of the organization can easily access content. This includes both granting access to users, as well as being able to create visualizations and dashboards intended for non-IT stakeholders. Perhaps the most important change though, is the centralization and standardization of the architecture through enhanced governance. It was this solid foundation that enabled them to competently plan roadmaps for the future and welcome projects that otherwise might have been condemned to failure.
The result is a successful transition from ungoverned and unstandardized working practices to a department that is centralized, comprehensive, well organized and transparent. A department that is no longer seen as a cost to the organization. Rather an enabler of important projects that generate real business value.
With their iServer environment set up, the IT department started working on unifying their practice. iServer’s connectivity was tested immediately when they successfully imported data from ServiceNow. Moving forward, the platform’s central repository and content governing capabilities proved essential in the consolidation effort. As did the preconfigured ArchiMate meta-model, which saved users significant time and effort – particularly valuable when considering the team manage the IT side of the entire Canton of Jura.
Having all their activity centralized enabled the architects to think and act holistically. Now when a project progresses, there is an internal architecture release. Furthermore, the release is connected to the strategy through architecture principles. As the practice matures, architecture deliverables are also increasingly more often tied to actual processes.
Every new iteration of the architecture tends to spread across the technology, applications and strategy domains, as part of a conscious effort to create a cross-layer architecture. To aid the task of working on processes, the IT department also bought the BPA module, which proved very helpful in speeding up process modeling work.
The EA initiative started small initially but thanks to their CIO’s sponsorship and support they gradually expanded their practice. As a result, the communication capabilities of the iServer platform became increasingly well-known – not just among architects and IT stakeholders, but the organization at large. As such, thanks to Canton of Jura’s culture of transparency, any employee asking for access to the content can be quickly accommodated via the Portal module. That way, content integrity is safeguarded at all times while different stakeholders are encouraged to participate and engage.
As for upper management stakeholders, they are properly served with the help of BI Connect, an iServer integration module that allows architects to create insightful but concise dashboards to support decision making. Using the content created within iServer which is easily exported to Power BI, senior ministers have better visibility on EA activity. iServer has now become central in Jura’s effort to maintain and manage the state’s current and future IT strategy.
"iServer Was Definitely The Best Tool. iServer Is Great For Presentations And A Central Actor For The Future Transformation We Are Planning. Orbus Support Is Excellent – Every Time I Get An Opportunity To Say That, I Do." Luc Dobler - Head Of Solution Architecture
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