The 2018 Enterprise Architecture Awards

This year’s winning EA initiatives, brought to you by Forrester and InfoWorld, focused on making digital transformation real, usually with agile techniques

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Verizon: Virtual services drive agile transformation to enterprise-scale capabilities

2018 enterprise architecture awards logo IDG

As a trailblazer in virtual services and software-defined networking (SDN), Verizon’s Network Systems has experienced significant growth in unified communications and network connectivity.

The old, centralized, and rigid enterprise architecture and product life cycle management (PLM) organization could not scale for virtual services with the same effectiveness as it did for traditional telco services in the past. So it needed to pivot from a traditional and rigid PLM cycle to a highly agile delivery model, evolve a strong EA organization to enable dynamic design and delivery of applications, and foster innovation through an amalgamation of physical and virtual services by dropping the rigid stovepipes of a centralized architecture.

Verizon EA designed a Lean business framework and trained stable agile teams to provide direction for the transformation. The Lean business framework instituted an EA model that was anchored on a small team of 30 people, but it maintained an option to dip into the “big team” pool of shared resources across functions to ensure that critical projects received the priority and velocity needed. Verizon EA established a project management office to enable working collaboratively across business execs, product managers, architects, developers, testers, devops, vendors, and other participating stakeholders to identify requirements and key capabilities, establish EA roles and service alignment, define the EA strategy, define and implement the roadmap, and institute control, governance, and performance processes.

Systematic planning and meticulous project management yielded great results over 12 months. Verizon EA increased the velocity of service introduction, slashing overall design time for new products and reducing quote-to-cash time by 65 percent. Processes to conceive, design and deliver products were reengineered with powerful enablers to reduce end-to-end cycle time from months down to days.

Verizon EA delivered a market-responsive architecture that relied on telemetry-driven microservices to orchestrate among domains deployed globally on a commercial off-the-shelf infrastructure. This made it possible to design and deliver products/services that are responsive to immediate market needs. In addition, a world-class portal served as the customer experience point and delivered the 360-degree digital experience that Verizon was aiming for to provide its customers.

In addition to the technology architecture, Verizon’s EA framework is also comprised of process and organization components. It developed a collaborative environment that fosters innovation, and alignment among product, engineering, operations, and IT enabled a high degree of partnership between teams. It developed custom tools such as the Blueprint Designer, a collaborative virtual services development tool providing GUI-based interactive environments where multiple functional teams could work together to design innovative products. It also implemented an elaborate change-management procedure to ensure that any change in the agreed EA is communicated and discussed for enterprise-wide impact.

Coen de Bruijn, head of business architecture at ABN AMRO, said, “Verizon was able to establish a well-thought-out, mature, elaborate, comprehensive, and still-practical enterprise architecture. This was one of the best descriptions of what should be made available for the organization from an EA team.”

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