Mars: EA adapts next-generation practices to drive digital business transformation
Mars, Incorporated is a global leader in confectionery, food, pet nutrition, and veterinary services. Faced with continued marketplace disruption, organizations in Mars’ vertical must use digital-first mindsets to maintain competitive advantage. The Mars digital transformation—DigitalMars—seeks to enable their associates to move much faster through new growth opportunities, efficiency, and risk avoidance. The business embarked on an enterprise digital transformation in 2017 and has instituted EA practices to establish and operationalize the digital transformation roadmap, including data, analytics, AI, machine learning, automation, IT modernization, and continuous improvement.
Mars has invested in user centricity, agile, and next-generation technologies to deliver solutions. Its strategy includes a top-down approach, fed from business priorities, as well as a bottom-up approach of rationalizing applications and legacy technology—reducing TCO and IT debt.
The EA practices Mars established to deliver continuous success were:
- Speed and agility: Mars EA established fast-track EA workouts with well-defined minimum viable architecture (MVA) guidelines, target state architecture, and standards for self-service. Mars introduced a three-mode architecture to deliver fit-for-purpose services and to increase speed, leverage accelerators, drive simplicity, and improve customer value. Their workshops developed strategic plans, transformation roadmaps, future state architectures, and solutions.
- A collaboration culture: Digital transformations need collaboration between traditional IT services and new digital resources. Aligning these teams behind a common purpose and business outcomes led to better decision-making and higher associate engagement. Mars’ architecture workouts brought these teams, vendors, and integration partners together to foster collaborative decision-making.
- An outward-facing approach to knowledge and experience: Mars partners with industry peers, integration partners, and vendors to broaden the perspective of its digital business and IT leadership teams. The outside-in approach to industry knowledge equips stakeholders with external experience to develop better solutions, increase operational efficiency, and work with agility. By benchmarking their strengths and gaps against industry peers, Mars was better prepared to differentiate and innovate.
- Aligning digital transformation to IT modernization: Core technology lays the foundation for the Mars digital transformation. The EA team created a blueprint for success that employed a digital reference model and connected to capabilities, priorities, trends, and goals. This blueprint for digital further aligns transformation and rationalization roadmaps to modernization opportunities.
- Continuous iteration cycles: Mars EA established continuous cycles to rationalize IT applications and technologies aimed at deriving operational efficiencies, eliminating cost, reducing risk, and simplifying core and legacy systems.
Today, Mars has operationalized enterprise architecture as a key transformation enabler to support digital transformation. Global IT modernization has been an integral part of driving simplification, standardization, and transformation initiatives.
Sergei Shelchkov, enterprise architect at Sberbank, said: “This is a sound case where EA has been driving business and IT alignment as well as moving transformation forward. The EA team defined scope and created a new level of EA services. They show the importance of collaboration and communication as key weapons of the enterprise architect especially within an agile culture.”
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