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A Case Study on Enterprise Architecture

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  1. A Case Study on Enterprise Architecture Syngenta: A global agribusiness

  2. Syngenta: Background • Formed by a merger between Novartis and AstraZeneca in 2000 • 20,000 end users in 420 site around the world • Agribusiness focusing on improving crop production by supplying products like insecticides, herbicides, etc. • Because of the merger the company had multiple SAP, Microsoft, and customer-facing applications • Servers and infrastructure software was Microsoft and business applications was SAP • Even though they had 2 technology providers for their software there were still redundancies they could cull out • For the R&D division, however, there was no preferred vendors for software and systems were more diverse • This area was identified as having a high-potential for consolidation and ‘clean-up’ to foster reuse and efficiency

  3. Syngenta: Background • EA team formed with people from both merging companies • People from each company had a different POVs in terms of directing the business: strategy-driven and technology-driven POVs • Epiphany for them was that including these 2 types of people in the architecture team meant that both IT and business problems didn’t fall through the cracks if the team only comprised 1 type of person be it a strategy-driven or technology-driver type person • Although they differed in their view points they had a common goal of aligning business strategy with technology

  4. Syngenta: Experiences from 3 perspectives • EA evolved in the company in 3 perspectives: people, process, and technology in the 6-year evolution phase from getting from their base architecture to their target architecture

  5. Syngenta: People Perspective • Skills: • Architects developed both technical skills & soft skills • Provide training for them in project management skills and this helped their soft skills improve too because they had to interact more with other teams

  6. Syngenta: People Perspective • Architect’s Role • Initially ill defined and then become more generic role and as experience built become more defined • Important to regularly review this role as it continually evolves

  7. Syngenta: People Perspective • Organization • Committee sizes to decide on architecture and design issues for solutions needed to be small or else decisions and movement in milestones became very hard to achieve

  8. Syngenta: Process Perspective • Governance • Deciding when and how much the architecture group should be involved in projects • Managing ownership of solutions from architecture to services • Get buy-in from middle management about importance of EA • Deciding what to govern

  9. Syngenta: Process Perspective • Communications • Need to know how much detail to provide for each stakeholder • Need to know in what form and when to provide information for each stakeholder This was identified as one of the hardest parts of the whole EA effort.

  10. Syngenta: Process Perspective • Architecture Development • Architects to review any design proposals for solutions for each project to ensure they conform to the enterprise's architecture

  11. Syngenta: Technology Perspective • Documentation • Evolved from unstructured to structured • Communications & Collaboration • Initially using simple technologies like email, then transitioned to real-time solutions like webcasts, and ended with more preference towards asynchronous tools like knowledge bases (Microsoft Sharepoint)

  12. Syngenta: Business Objectives • Reduce number of servers by 40% • Have integrated go-to-market platform • Reuse was better at system level rather than at component level • Allow flexibility for local implementations and understand that reuse will be limited in these instances • Provide a unified research platform • Common document storage system • Common system to record chemical and test data • Common dictionary and reference data • Enterprise-wide Business Intelligence

  13. Syngenta: Execution of their EA • Adapted homegrown frameworks to the Zachman framework and used TOGAF to help map old processes to new processes

  14. Syngenta: Reduce number of servers by 40% • Contracted a 3rd party to architect and design the server architecture and infrastructure • Syngenta architects would provide direction, challenged and validated the architecture proposals • Together with the 3rd party, a baseline architecture framework was built providing the following services: • Database • Web server • Thin clients • Directory, messaging and applications

  15. Syngenta: Reduce number of servers by 40% • Based on the baseline architecture, detailed architectural proposals were created for services being provided • These were validated by holding review & approval workshops for all major stakeholders • Key challenge was to strike a balance of not blowing the lid on network bandwidth usage when reducing the number of servers • Ie, less servers meant more network traffic load to and from the servers • The realized that ownership of architecture was with their in-house architects, but others (3rd party implementer, eg.) can and should contribute • Arrange for smooth transition out of the architecture group to the implementation team and monitor closely the designs that are made from the architecture

  16. Syngenta: An integrated go-to-mark platform • The idea was to provide a baseline platform that made it easy to expand into other markets while adapting that baseline to locale-specific business requirements • The platform comprised the following application classes: • B2B • CRM • Sales Team Support • Marketing • Contact Center Support

  17. Syngenta: An integrated go-to-mark platform • The CRM would use a common technology platform with approved templates for locale-specific customizations • Common business rules could be reused at this level • B2B would be centrally hosted using standard middleware software for connecting different systems • The CRM/B2B network was managed by both IT and business people

  18. Syngenta: An integrated go-to-mark platform • Challenges • Striking a balance between global architecture and local-customizations at the design level • Consult the data flows and data processes before architecting technology solutions • The transition from architecture to design is dangerous and should be monitored closely because: • It’s hard for an architect to do this since they lack the detail-perspective that an implementer has • The architecture could be too rigid to allow flexible designs

  19. Syngenta: Provide a unified research platform • Requirements were: • Common doc storage system • Common system for recording chemical and test information • Common, single instance dictionary/reference data system for use across all systems • Most systems were implemented using the SOA approach

  20. Syngenta: Provide a unified research platform • Challenges • Some problems emerged from the particular technology especially with SOA where problems of authentication, transactions, and performance were encountered • Design teams were still stuck in thinking of designs based on historical legacy systems

  21. Syngenta: Enterprise-wide Business Intelligence • Too many redundant systems meant data was inconsistent and lacked transparency • New requirements required new solutions

  22. Syngenta: Enterprise-wide Business Intelligence • Built a single source of truth for data about the enterprise and housed it in an EDW – Enterprise Data Warehouse • A layer in the EDW was called the SPOT – Single Point of Truth – where all data extracts to other systems were done at. This allowed reuse and avoided having to do extracts from individual information silos

  23. Syngenta: Conclusion • Their key finding was that architects needed both technical and soft skills expertise – ie, EA is as much a social activity as it is a technical one • IT people have to focus on problems from a business perspective and not from a technical one