A Customer Success Story

Cathay Pacific selects iServer for their Strategic Architecture Initiative

Customer at a glance

    "Through the use of iServer, we are ensuring the quality, fit and integrity of the overall Enterprise Architecture".

    Leyton Brownlie
    Architecture Practice Manager at Cathay Pacific





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The Challenge

As part of an IT department transformation in 2009/10, the Cathay Pacific Information Management Team (IMT) reestablished the enterprise and solution architecture capability with the ambition of moving from ‘architecture by luck’ to ‘architecture on purpose’.

The federated organization structure created inefficiencies in delivery and prevented long-term enterprise IT planning. The cyclical nature of the industry required long term planning and diligent cost control. The need for a strong architecture process, a clear vision for the future and the path to achieving it were evident.

The company selected Orbus Software’s iServer as its Architecture Repository tool for this initiative, to rebuild the architecture function as part of the reorganized IT department.

Selecting iServer

Selecting and implementing an Architecture Repository tool was an early step for the team. Cathay Pacific wanted a ‘fit for purpose’ tool to facilitate representation and communication of the Enterprise Architecture strategies, blueprints and reference architecture as well as standardised delivery of solution architecture and design.

After assessing EA tool vendors and products, Cathay Pacific selected the full product suite of iServer, developed by Orbus Software, because it met the airline’s key architecture requirements, its functional fit, its alignment to principles (i.e. Open Standards - TOGAF 9) and its cost comparison.

iServer is an enterprise architecture repository and modeling environment for Microsoft Office and Visio users where Visio shapes (such as business services, applications, technology components, organizational units, etc.) and Office document components are stored and managed as Repository objects.

The key concepts that determined the selection of iServer as the EA tool at Cathay Pacific included:

  • Use of familiar Microsoft Office and Visio ensured minimal user resistance from the architecture team.
  • Support for Office documents meant TOGAF® 9 deliverables could be managed in the same central environment as the architecture building blocks.
  • Flexibility of the system allowed Cathay to quickly customize the system to implement only the aspects of TOGAF 9 which were useful and to extend as necessary (i.e. CXAF).
  • Production of extremely high quality EA deliverables which were visually appealing to stakeholders, an essential requirement due to the need to ‘sell’ the benefits of architecture to the business.
  • Dependency analysis tools ensured the Cathay team could interrogate the architecture to answer key business questions such as which applications are affected by particular project(s).
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The Result

Some of the benefits that the architecture practice at Cathay Pacific has seen through the use of the iServer Architecture Repository and establishment of the Cathay Pacific Architecture Framework (CXAF) include:

  • A repeatable and consistent solution architecture and design methodology that has improved quality and reduced the time needed to deliver architecture deliverables.
  • Through application impact analysis (i.e. which projects will introduce or change which applications) of the airline’s key business projects, and through capturing project dependencies, it has improved decision making and planning, project interdependency management and has enabled assessment of the feasibility of parallel dev/testing execution of multiple projects.
  • Representation of the airline’s Enterprise Architecture - what the business does (Business Functions/Services) and how it does it (Information, Applications and Technology) - to help bridge some business and IT gaps and to drive enterprise-focused decisions and design.

"As our Architecture Practice continues to improve and deliver, we are looking to iServer to help further mature our practice by enabling infrastructure design, architecture standards definition and use, road mapping and transition states, SOA modeling as well as to help us calculate and improve enterprise debt."


iServer is helping the architecture function of the IM team at Cathay Pacific to ensure the quality, fit and integrity of the overall Enterprise Architecture.

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Why iServer?

The low-risk, low-cost combination factored heavily in the decision-making process, especially as many team members had concerns about the ease of adoption of EA tools within a fairly new team, based on less-than favourable previous experiences with more complex and costly solutions at other organizations.

In summary, iServer provided a comprehensive architecture repository and modeling environment that has enabled the Cathay Pacific architecture team to make rapid progress, achieving significant productivity gains and improvements in the quality and value of architecture throughout the change program.

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