ACCA’s architecture shapes digital transformation

ACCA

ACCA’s Trailblazing Architecture Shapes Digital Transformation

“We used Bizzdesign to change the enterprise architecture model from a siloed, ivory-tower position into a collaborative activity with our strategy and portfolio and program teams. We achieved this with a rapid deployment over six months, which substantially increased the value and raised the profile of enterprise architecture within our business.”

Jonny Mallabar, Head of Architecture, Design & Planning at ACCA

Country: United Kingdom
Industry: Finance and Accountancy
Company size:  >1500
Revenue: USD 200 million

Results:

  • Strategic insights shaping  80% of investment decisions
  • Effective communication leads to exec buy-in
  • Scaling enterprise architecture for different use cases
  • Adopting a repeatable, standardized approach saves time

ACCA’s architecture shapes digital transformation efforts

ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is a non-profit organization that supports its 750k members and students in 181 countries, helping them to develop successful careers in accounting and business.

The Challenge – Why ACCA wants a unified enterprise architecture platform?

The accountancy profession is continuously evolving, necessitating that professional qualifications stay relevant. ACCA, therefore, focuses heavily on servicing their diverse global customer base. They implemented a new business operating model, however, digital transformation was key to super-charge the wider organization’s ambitions and transform the experience of ACCA’s customers.

The business case for their transformation change program relied heavily on decommissioning the current ERP and CRM systems. ACCA grappled with technical debt due to these legacy systems that were expensive to update or replace.  Furthermore, the complexity and scale of the digital transformation program led to delivery delays and a corresponding risk of business outages from the legacy systems, and stalled efforts to transform the customer experience.

ACCA, therefore, needed to understand better how business processes would be realized on the new systems and which parts of the existing IT estate could be safely decommissioned. ACCA had a history of architecture thinking and practices, so taking an enterprise view and analyzing business, application, and data architectures was not new. However, these artifacts were created in silos across 30 separate enterprise architecture repositories and spreadsheets. This made it difficult to get a unified architectural view.

Challenges emerged when ACCA wanted to develop an accurate and updated application catalog. They struggled to find the right data and confirm its accuracy. An additional constraint was time. An answer was needed on decommissioning as soon as possible due to the financial implications of running the current state applications longer than planned.

ACCA chose Bizzdesign Horizzon to get complete visibility into their technology estate. They also wanted to use the enterprise architecture tool to facilitate organizational-wide transformation and create consistency and economies of scale in their international operations to enable them to establish new ventures.

The Solution – How a connected digital architecture supports change

ACCA had specific requirements to create a connected digital architecture to give them end-to-end visibility. They wanted to consolidate all information while ensuring that projects and products complied with standardized architecture guardrails (policies, patterns, and standards).

The first step was to build foundations for working on architecture in a structured and consistent way. ACCA created re-usable assets such as a metamodel, a look and feel for visualizations, and defined responsibilities for managing architecture deliverables going forward.

ACCA then quickly harnessed its wealth of existing architecture content from the different repositories by migrating these artifacts into Horizzon. Examples included a functional capability model for applications, data models, and a business capability model. However, the core artifact was a partial application catalog, which was being managed in a spreadsheet. These artifacts were loaded into Horizzon using the elements and relationships defined in the ArchiMate standard.

The next step was capturing and inputting data into the application catalog within the tool. This made the information available to the entire team for analysis and exploitation on the various projects they worked on. Additionally, to deliver this use case, a critical aspect was to define a stakeholder map that would drive which insights were required and how they would be visualized.

The team also wanted to ensure that the architectural insights were easy for executive team members to understand. They were shown examples early on to manage expectations and gather feedback on how they wanted to see the information.

This fed into a final presentation of the recommendations on decommissioning, which were reviewed and approved for implementation. The application catalog, which links to the enterprise business capability model and the associated business processes, has enabled ACCA to finally make decisions on decommissioning after previous attempts were unsuccessful.

Benefits of creating a unified architecture

Strategic insights drive 80% of investment decisions 
Insights gained from architectural artifacts in Horizzon currently inform most of the strategic investment decisions being made and set the stage for progression into subsequent change programs.

Effective communication leads to executive buy-in 
The architecture team was essential in streamlining decision-making and making the strategy tangible and executable amidst tech complexity. They used Horizzon, which provided architecture views and interactive dashboards in an easily consumable layout. These were fed by the ArchiMate model but presented in a familiar way that senior business stakeholders could interpret.

Scaling enterprise architecture for different use cases 
The application functions and business capabilities in the tool serve a much wider set of use cases than decommissioning. Coupled with the executive team’s familiarity with consuming architecture insights, this provided a solid basis from which architecture thinking was extended into other areas of decision-making.

Adopting a repeatable, standardized approach saves time 
ACCA can now use the methodology in Horizzon – which accelerated planning and ensured that all key aspects were covered – for subsequent use cases. This ensures a standardized approach is followed, saving considerable time when starting from scratch with each new project.

“We created consumable architecture insights in Bizzdesign Horizzon for our executive team. By delivering architecture insights with clarity and impact, we’ve bridged the gap between complex IT concepts and business decision-making. With a solid understanding of architecture thinking, our executive team is geared for strategic decision-making.”

Benefits of creating a unified architecture for digital transformation

Strategic insights drive 80% of investment decisions 
Insights gained from architectural artifacts in Horizzon currently inform most of the strategic investment decisions for digital transformation being made and set the stage for progression into subsequent change programs.

Effective communication leads to executive buy-in 
The architecture team was essential in streamlining decision-making and making the strategy tangible and executable amidst tech complexity. They used Horizzon, which provided architecture views and interactive dashboards in an easily consumable layout. These were fed by the ArchiMate model but presented in a familiar way that senior business stakeholders could interpret.

Scaling enterprise architecture for different use cases 
The application functions and business capabilities in the tool serve a much wider set of use cases than decommissioning. Coupled with the executive team’s familiarity with consuming architecture insights, this provided a solid basis from which architecture thinking was extended into other areas of decision-making.

Adopting a repeatable, standardized approach saves time 
ACCA can now use the methodology in Horizzon – which accelerated planning and ensured that all key aspects were covered – for subsequent use cases. This ensures a standardized approach is followed, saving considerable time when starting from scratch with each new project.