EAM: Focus on Change and Adaptability

Information on the 2020 Conference: 


The potential impact of EAM as source of design, advice, and guidance for the digital transformation is increasing. At the CBA Lab’s EAM Conference in mid-May in Berlin, enterprise architects from companies in various business sectors presented impressive evidence of the value and benefits EAM offers as it points the way forward for the digital transformation.

As the digital transformation continues (e.g. Industry 4.0, smart cities), EAM is now a critical factor of success in the competitive field in virtually every sector of the economy. That’s because the digital transformation thrives on data and the data analyses that reveal relevant relationships and interconnections. Architecture frameworks such as TOGAF remain extremely important tools for acquiring such knowledge, but they alone no longer form the core component of a modern and effective EAM system. This is due to the fact that the role of EAM itself has changed: It no longer focuses on risk avoidance or risk prevention but instead on adaptability and addressing uncertainties. Similarly, rather than focusing on governance, EAM is designed to offer guidance, recommendations, and transparency, whereby its scope has extended beyond the field of IT to encompass all different aspects of (digitalized) business.

“The digital transformation is very high up on the agenda at large organizations,” says Dr. Johannes Helbig, Chairman of the Board of CBA Lab. “These companies view the digital transformation as a management task and are asking themselves how it can be effectively shaped as a whole in an ongoing process.” Dr. Karsten Schweichhart, Data Economy Executive at Deutsche Telekom and Member of the Board of CAB Lab e. V., adds the following: “EAM makes companies more successful, and that also includes small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), as was clearly demonstrated at our conference.”

Always on top of things with EAM

The strengths of EAM really come to the fore at SMEs when sudden changes occur on the market, according to Hendrik Gedicke, Chief Architect at KTR Systems GmbH, and Olaf Korbanek, the company’s CIO and Authorized Representative. KTR manufactures drive systems and brake and cooling systems, as well as hydraulic components for mechanical and plant engineering applications. “EAM is a means to an end for us, whereby the end is to be able to respond to changes and new challenges at any time,” the two explain. “Architecture management helps us stay on top of things in an environment that we as a relatively small component manufacturer are unable to shape directly – unlike a big company like Siemens, for example. We need to be able to react quickly because conditions around us can change rapidly.” Korbanek offers a sports analogy to illustrate this point: “It’s like volleyball: We always have to be ready to quickly shift the direction we’re moving in.”

Digitalization at KTR focuses on three areas: products, internal value creation, and changes to the market (i.e. the platform economy). The architects at KTR are particularly interested in market changes. “For example, if a partner suddenly wants services instead of products, you need to be able to react quickly and switch over to a pay-per-use model, for example,” says Gedicke.

EAM has served as KTR’s strategic foundation for around three years now – a type of playing field that is used as a basis for the stringent planning of all activities. EAM documents all systems, projects, and associated processes, including all SAP and Microsoft platform strategies. “This gives us an overview of everything, including what our competitors are doing,” Gedicke explains. “When I say competitors, I don’t just mean direct competitors but also companies that provide services in the cloud. Our services are better; they’re not something you can just quickly put together with a couple of clicks. We can provide these superior services because our processes are stable and data is always quickly available – and EAM is one of the main reasons why this is the case.

Dr. Sebastian Saxe, CDO and Member of the Management Board of Hamburg Port Authority (HPA), also believes agility is one of the decisive benefits offered by a stringent architecture management approach. He dreams of a time when it will be possible to run the entire port with a notebook or tablet. Operating such a port is in fact a mammoth task, as “the port is embedded in the entire city – it’s all one huge logistics system.” Good architecture is absolutely necessary here. “The architectures that we’ve developed can be overlapped and linked,” Saxe explains, adding that road, rail, and water transport operations in the port are already managed with digital systems. The port’s architectures and the experience the port has gained are important for the entire city and can be applied to Hamburg’s complex traffic and transport system as well. Plans call for additional sensors, drones and AI and 5G systems to be added to the port infrastructure in order to enable the predictive maintenance of quay walls and bridges and allow for the autonomous operation of trucks, for example. “For architecture design, this means speed, speed, and more speed,” says Saxe.

EAM: Enterprises become ecosystems

The digital twin has proven its effectiveness in promoting the development of ecosystems. “We need to eliminate the silo mentality and silo structures because everything is connected,” says Uwe Weber, Managing Partner of Detecon International GmbH and a CBA Lab Ambassador. For Weber, EAM “no longer means enterprise architecture management but instead ecosystem architecture management.” Weber believes ecosystem architecture management should focus on digital twins, which can reveal all the connections. “An architect needs to put information at the center of everything, whereby all the stakeholders are aware of the information sources, contexts, and semantics, as well as the need for information in each case,” he explains. “This leads to the creation of a value network.” To illustrate his point, Weber offers the example of predictive maintenance for a crane at a port:

“The process chain begins with the structural design of the crane and ends with the insurance rates charged for it.” All the complex aspects in between require information architecture that consists of different building blocks that not only describe the components and relationships between them but also how the architecture was created and how it can be further developed.

The use of different data models in digital building management systems makes it possible to combine a large amount of geometric data, process and product information, and material data, and then make these available as needed. Digital twins can be used to virtually depict and examine certain attributes in advance without having to spend the time and money to build and test physical prototypes.

The days when the introduction of new products and technologies were planned long in advance with the help of company architectures are over, according to Clemens Utschig-Utschig, Executive Director and Head of IT Technology Strategy/CTO BI X Digital Lab at Boehringer Ingelheim. Speed is the top priority for Utschig-Utschig.

BI X is a digital lab that Boehringer Ingelheim created two years ago as a startup that develops new concepts and digital solutions on an open-source basis for the company’s Human Pharma and Animal Health divisions. “We have a development stack that allows developers to focus on the specific features of their digital solutions,” Utschig-Utschig explains. “When creating a minimum viable product, they don’t need to deal with the question of how they should design the environment or where they need to store data and documents in order to ensure compliance with all rules.” Once the minimum viable product (MVP) has been successfully brought to market, all the knowledge, including the code basis and documentation, is handed over to IT and the business organization – just like that. Utschig-Utschig refers to this as “one click migration of the entire infrastructure.” The result is greater speed and compliance.

According to Dr. Schweichhart, the EAM Conference organized by Cross-Business-Architecture Lab e. V. in cooperation with Inside Business was a great success: “Our conference truly delivered on its motto of ‘Pointing the Way Forward for the Digital Transformation.’ We had top-notch experts on hand and we focused on those best practices from application specialists that architects view as crucial in this era of digital transformation. Not surprisingly, the feedback we received from participants was quite positive, so naturally we be holding the conference again next year – offering the best of EAM on March 18-19, 2020 in Berlin.”

Dr. Sebastian Saxe,
CDO and Member of the Management Board of Hamburg Port Authority

The port is embedded in the entire city – it’s all one huge logistics system