The 2021 Enterprise Architecture Awards

The 2021 Forrester and InfoWorld EA Awards contest winners focus on agility and enabling innovation.

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Deutsche Telekom

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Deutsche Telekom (DT) is one of the world’s leading providers of telecommunications and information technology. DT’s Europe operating segment comprises all fixed-network and mobile operations of the national companies in Greece, Romania, Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Slovakia, Austria, North Macedonia, and Montenegro.

DT’s EA program launched in 2018 with a small team of architects working in a collaborative but distributed team structure. Now the central team consists of four EAs and six solution architects, while each of the national companies (NatCOs) has their own architecture team. Together they have formed four different communities: the EU Architecture board headed by the central chief architect and represented by NatCO chief architects; Digital Platform Services (DPS) community focusing on governance and review of DPS as they are introduced and evolved; a digital Integration community focusing on best practices, patterns, and maturity assessment; and a data enablement community responsible for driving adoption and evolution of the data strategy.

In 2018, DT’s European CEO prioritized digitalization efforts across Europe to improve customer experience, simplify and digitalize customer interactions, and deliver new innovative solutions. The ambition was to deliver mobile-first, omnichannel, and intelligent interactions across all products and services. The IT landscape across all the countries was heterogenous and the company needed to transform legacy applications, capitalize on digital technologies, and adopt an agile and devops model.

DT EA took this opportunity to create a group-wide EA framework, the European IT Reference Architecture (EIRA), that articulates how to transform legacy IT architecture. The EIRA framework manifesto established principles for focusing on business value over technical strategy, strategic goals over project-specific benefits, and agility over efficiency.

The DT EA program’s key focus areas included:

Business capability viewpoint. DT EA identified core and emerging capabilities to enable delivery of innovative products and services. Each of the NatCOs put together a set of future business capabilities across all the domains.

Business transition planning. Once the future business capabilities roadmap were defined, DT EA defined the transition architecture. They organized each of the capabilities across multiple value streams including sales, delivery, customer management, assurance, revenue assurance, and product lifecycle management.

Enterprise IT architecture. The EIRA framework that DT EA created consists of application strategy and architecture; harmonized APIs; transition architecture patterns; integration architecture; data enablement capabilities; reference architectures for integrating digital platform ecosystems; technical architecture including products, solutions, and a devops approach; a strategy execution framework that covers maturity assessment and transition steps covering organization, architecture, release management, continuous integration, quality assurance, and incident management; and community-oriented collaboration across countries.

Application architecture. One of the major technical drivers was to transform legacy applications into a set of business-aligned, cloud-native, and agile reusable services. Business capabilities were also mapped to enabling applications, which DT EA classified based on technical and business fitness.

Harmonized API approach. It was critical for DT EA to achieve the benefits of economies of scale, particularly in developing solutions once that could be reused across multiple countries. One of the key enablers for that was harmonization of APIs across the NatCOs to integrate them with centrally developed cloud-native solutions. For this purpose DT EA built the Harmonized API Layer (HAL) framework and specification, which is being used by all the NatCOs. DT EA has deployed 45 APIs used by multiple products like OneApp, OneShop, OneTV, sales force automation, and others.

Digital platform services. One of the key drivers is to move away from monolithic applications into agile-developed, cloud-native services. Each of these digital platform services delivers a well-defined business capability​, and can be designed, developed, tested, and deployed independently of other services.

Digital integration platform. The integration strategy identified key integration capabilities and defined 12 different integration patterns to address most common integration needs. A community of integration experts was formed to define best practices, share implementation challenges, and track progress.

Digital enablement platform. One of the key components of EIRA, the digital enablement platform (DEP) plays an important role in personalizing digital interactions, simplifying operations, and optimizing cost. The main focus areas are adoption of open source, enterprise-grade commodity hardware and increased use of analytics and data-driven decision making for customer experience, service operations, automation, campaigns, and operational excellence. DT EA established data architecture principles for the data architecture environments across NatCOs.

Digital ecosystems and platforms. Partnering with third-party products and services to enable new business models is one of the key elements of DT’s digitalization strategy. Over the last two years, DT EA has implemented a variety of SaaS solutions that decouple NatCO APIs from SaaS provider APIs to benefit from the agility of innovation.

Transition architecture framework. It was critically important to have a well-defined strategy for transition that ensured that the transition architecture was driven by business ambitions and goals and that it clearly lay down the path towards the target in an adaptive fashion. Each NatCO owned its transition architecture and was prepared as a joint business and IT exercise.

Software automation framework. As part of the EIRA framework, DT EA also delivered an automation framework that addressed major concerns like organization, architecture, release management, continuous integration, quality assurance, and incident management. Each of the NatCOs has prepared KPIs for time to market and number of releases along with detailed plans to deliver required capabilities to achieve those KPIs.

Business and IT governance. The DT EA team classified the application landscape using future business fitness and technology fitness and prioritized those applications that would contribute the most to business outcomes.

Business outcomes and KPIs. Over the last three years DT EA launched a number of products based on EIRA: 1) OneApp, a mobile app delivered across all 10 different NatCOs with a single code base, covering multiple sales and self-care capabilities; 2) OneShop, a multi-instance, cloud-native, open source e-commerce solution delivered across five NatCOs; 3) OneTV, an implementation of SaaS TV platforms across multiple NatCOs using harmonised APIs and EIRA-based architecture; 4) OneBroadband, improving customer experience by providing capabilities like router management, parental controls, and device management; and 5) OneMind, a central data lake to provide personalized experiences, automated operations, and data analytics across all products and services.

Overall 140 digital platform services (DPS) are in production, 15 of which are developed centrally and the remainder are developed by various NatCOs. DT EA has created a marketplace where DPSs are available for different NatCOs to reuse. They have delivered 48 harmonized APIs. Each of the NatCOs has a well-maintained transition architecture, plus data enablement and a digital integration strategy with well-defined business outcomes.

2020 EA Award winner and final judge panel member Movi Bannerjee of CSL Behring summed up DT’s entry thusly: “A well-functioning EA team that has established a robust methodology and utilizes a solid framework (EIRA) and KPIs to produce business outcomes such as OneApp, OneShop, OneTV, etc.”

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