- Efficiently monitor and manage more than 1,000 applications and technologies
- Support IT and enterprise architecture management
- Share information about the IT portfolio across the whole organization
- Better plan software investments
- Improve IT standardization and compliance
- Higher transparency and superior data quality in the application and technology portfolio
- Better decision-making through reports personalized for IT architects, project managers, application managers and IT audit managers
- Higher level of standardization of the IT landscape
- Greater visibility into how applications support business processes
ZF has created transparency and predictability for its global application and technology portfolio
At a glance
ZF Friedrichshafen AG is a German car parts maker headquartered in Friedrichshafen, in the southwest German region of Baden-Württemberg. As a globally operating technology group with some 230 locations, ZF currently uses approximately 1,500 software products of all types, and the number continues to grow.
ZF’s IT Architecture Management (ITAM) department was looking for a solution that could keep track of the company’s IT assets and help plan further expansion of the IT landscape. Thanks to MEGA’s HOPEX, ZF achieved greater visibility into applications and technologies and more efficient IT support of business processes. Also, the company succeeded in better planning of software investments and accomplishing greater IT standardization.
Improve IT standardization to achieve technology leadership
As a global technology group in the automotive industry, ZF employs a wide range of software solutions that include approximately 1,500 types of applications - from classic office tools to applications supporting production, logistics and R&D, including specific developments for testing purposes used in research labs
The number of applications is still growing:
“Digitization and new topics such as autonomous cars require solid support of IT for the business,” explains Walter Geirhos, Head of IT Strategy, Architecture & Innovation at ZF Friedrichshafen AG. “We are aiming for technology leadership. To support this goal, we need the right applications, especially in research and development.”
In the past, there was a lack of transparency regarding application use: the team didn’t know exactly whether an application was used or not, by which department or location and the processes that the application supported. Due to this lack of visibility, different departments could purchase the same applications, resulting in software redundancy. ZF also had difficulties getting a comprehensive view into data flows for the effort of company-wide standardization or when ensuring compliance with external bodies.
There were undetected gaps in the support of processes: some company functions and processes didn’t have any software tools to support them or used obsolete applications, while other processes had too many applications, with many of them often being redundant.
The new IT architecture solution: a comprehensive inventory
The company started an IT architecture initiative ten years ago, in 2007. The team initially acquired an IT architecture solution in 2008, but it soon reached its limits because it lacked support for data flows, especially after the group entered into a major reorganization in 2011. To support the IT transformation resulting from the reorganization, the ITAM team had to inventory the entire portfolio of applications and technologies used across ZF, and link them to the company’s global processes and organizational units. The objective was to implement a robust IT strategic plan that would ensure a sustainable, efficient and agile development of the group-wide IT landscape.
Specifically, ZF wanted to know:
1. Which applications were used in which locations and business units
2. Which business processes were already supported by applications and which ones were not
The selection process began in the first half of 2014. “We looked at all the leading tools through an RFP process,” explains Geirhos. “Only the solution from MEGA met our needs.”
HOPEX Platform: an easy-to-use tool with a wide range of features
MEGA’s HOPEX platform impressed Geirhos and his team by integrating a wide range of functionalities, including the support of data flows that allows them to make very complex representations of their IT systems.
Additionally, it gave them the tools to inventory and assess the IT portfolio, thus enabling the transformation of the IT landscape.
Geirhos explains, “The solution is also very intuitive and uses a role-based concept so project managers and application managers can easily work with it, retrieve information and fill in data. The option to easily add other features in the same repository also supported our choice of MEGA.”
ZF chose the following MEGA solutions:
- HOPEX IT Architecture
- HOPEX IT Portfolio Management
ZF uses HOPEX IT Architecture to create navigable graphical models of the IT landscape, including applications and infrastructures. The solution offers IT architects numerous templates, graphical tools and search functions, as well as a variety of reports to help our leaders improve their decisions. The solution uses a service-oriented IT architecture management approach to define services independently of the physical implementation. By doing so, the team can make changes more effectively to the IT landscape to respond to new market conditions.”
With HOPEX IT Portfolio Management, ITAM has been able to create an inventory of IT assets and assess them to modernize the IT landscape, reduce costs, and be more flexible.
Implement standard roadmaps and achieve transparent processes
ITAM quickly transferred existing data into the new system through a custom data model. Today, the department handles nearly all software procurement at ZF.
- If a department wants to introduce a new software solution, ZF’s IT architects use the information from the HOPEX solution to evaluate whether the related project contributes to the targeted IT landscape and implements the company’s long-term IT strategy.
- Within the solution, project managers can easily find out the applications and technologies that have already been used in the organization for similar projects, as well as the vendor history.
- Data and reports from the MEGA solutions allow project managers and IT managers to make informed investment decisions.
The new transparency gained through the HOPEX solution had a positive impact on the entire organization.
For example, the inventory of all applications and technologies is now done using HOPEX IT Portfolio Management and published on the intranet, available to every employee.
IT planning – including IT strategy, standards and roadmaps – is built based on the information stored in the HOPEX repository. The target architecture is compared against the actual state to identify redundancies and requirements that still need to be met. The solutions provided another important advantage: standards defined in the roadmap can now be effectively implemented. This includes the acquisition of new software solutions as well as targeted audits to adhere to standards and compliance requirements.
“Our CIO often asks us to provide application usage by a particular vendor. Thanks to MEGA’s HOPEX solutions, we can provide this information quickly and at any time.” Walter Geirhos, Head of IT Strategy, Architecture & Innovation, ZF Friedrichshafen AG
Transparency of IT assets to guide business decisions
Geirhos has been very pleased by the implementation of HOPEX solutions by the department. “We’ve already completed the first implementation phase. It’s now up to us to continuously improve the solution along with our planning processes. For instance, capability maps will be used to plan our target IT landscape.
In particular, they are intended to help us integrate the IT landscape of TRW Automotive, a supplier group we acquired in 2014.”
- HOPEX IT Portfolio Management
- HOPEX IT Architecture
- HOPEX platform
- MEGA Services Team
About ZF Friedrichshafen AG
As a leading technology group for drive and chassis technology, along with active and passive safety technology, ZF Friedrichshafen is one of the world’s largest automotive suppliers. ZF’s product range includes, among other things, gearbox systems and drive modules, axle and steering systems, chassis and safety components for passenger cars and commercial vehicles, as well as systems and drive technology for other industries, such as marine, aviation, wind power or e-mobility. With 137,000 employees at about 230 locations in nearly 40 countries, the company generates sales of approximately 35 billion euros annually.