I started working in ICT in 1980. Five years later, I came in contact with ANWB. They hired me for the first 7 years as an external ICT employee and I’ve been directly employed there since 1992. We’re a large organization, employing 4,000 people, 1,800 of whom work at our head office. There are 9 architects working at ANWB. We have a lot of software in-house and many systems that interact with each other. Our Enterprise Architect Chantal Kools wondered in mid-2018: “What do we have in-house and what are we actually doing with it?” There was no overview of the software and systems. No one had a complete list. Most of it was in people’s heads.
So we had to get that overview and we needed a tool to do it. We held a selection process. And because we were mainly looking for a pragmatic and accessible platform, BlueDolphin came out on top. Chantal was familiar with BlueDolphin from her previous job and she liked the product. Of course there are always some improvements possible – they’re on your roadmap – but the great advantage of BlueDolphin over other tools is its accessibility, perhaps the most important element for winning the support of everyone in the organization.
Engagement, that’s what it’s all about!
Fourteen years ago, we had the largest architecture tool in existence, a French tool called MEGA. I was its administrator at the time. We used it throughout ANWB. To give you an idea, it contained 70,000 objects. A manager who regarded architecture as important left ANWB and everybody suddenly stopped using MEGA. It’s never been used since then. So, no engagement at all – even though that’s what it’s all about.
Over the years I’ve completed three CMDB-projects, all with varying degrees of success. One major problem in ICT involves keeping records. People are willing to create systems, adjust programs and make all sorts of great things, but keeping records of what they’ve done is not something ICT people like to do, to put it mildly. This means that people aren’t inclined to keep the data in any tool up to date.
So, the moment we ask them to use BlueDolphin to record who is the system owner of this or that application or what the interactions are between two systems, people will look for reasons not to do it. They’ll say that the data isn’t correct or that it’s a terrible system and then they’ll think they’re off the hook. Okay, I’m exaggerating a bit, but that’s what it comes down to.