JSE-listed MiX Telematics, a global provider of driver safety, vehicle tracking and fleet management services and solutions, has formalised its business operating model and modelled its enterprise processes with the help of enterprise architecture specialist Real IRM.
“MiX Telematics has shown strong growth and as a result we needed to find a better way of doing business,” says Quinton Pienaar, divisional director of business systems at MiX Telematics. “Our objective was to find greater efficiency in our business model and to create a model that would meet the needs of an organisation that has flourished as a result of a number of mergers and acquisitions.”
The solution was to combine agile development with the rigours of enterprise architecture to deliver fast results to the organisation. Once MiX Telematics had determined that the best way to achieve its goals was through an enterprise architecture approach, the company brought Real IRM on board because of its excellent reputation in the enterprise architecture sector.
Along with its enhanced business model, the MiX Telematics has also been able to establish enterprise processes that can be replicated in all regions and functions across the group. “The reality is that well-designed organisations perform better because they are set up to deliver the products and services that customers want, in the way that they want them,” says Pienaar.
He adds that the organisation believed in taking a process view of the business and in understanding how all the enterprise processes work together as a whole, rather than keeping them in silos. “We also needed to determine how our process impact the customer value chain, which is critical in today’s economy where customers are at the centre of every organisation,” he says.
“Our approach integrates both business architecture and technical architecture,” says Stuart Macgregor, MD of Real IRM. “It’s also an agile one that focuses continually on the practical value that enterprise architecture can provide. Throughout the MiX Telematics implementation, which began in September 2011, we focused on the benefit that EA would deliver to the business, entrenching improved architecture decision making into the organisation and engaging key stakeholders to make EA real across the organisation.”
The active involvement of the CEO in workshops and the regular use of deliverables such as the business capabilities map in board meetings was a key factor in the success of the project. “A project such as this one is a catalyst for growing and transforming the business, but it can only deliver value with support from the top,” says Macgregor. “This support was achieved through both parties identifying and prioritising project deliverables, and delivering each component on time and within budget.”
The project was carried out in three phases. First, the executive team formalised a new operating model for the business. Next, new business processes were designed in accordance with the operating model, taking into account the entire customer management lifecycle and turning the components into implementable business processes. Lastly, the processes were implemented on a new technology platform.
“We took an iterative approach to the EA development, which meant that we were able to get people using the business capability map quickly,” says Macgregor. “This was used to drive alignment between business and technology, guiding strategic direction and business prioritisation of systems. It enabled us to identify important requirements as we went along. Most importantly, our iterative approach allowed us to produce business value from day one, which is unusual for a project of this scope.”
Agile development accommodates change easily and results in higher quality development with few defects. Developing in short bursts means that you can easily rework elements as and when you need to. Pienaar says one of the biggest benefits that agile enterprise architecture has brought to MiX Telematics was that choosing the technology and implementing the technology platform was easier because of the focus on enterprise processes. “That meant we knew what we wanted to achieve and how to do it,” adds Pienaar.
Pienaar and Macgregor agree that the success of the project was built on a relationship of trust between the two organisations. “It’s imperative that you undertake such a project with a partner you can believe in, who has your best interests at heart, and with whom you share similar values,” Pienaar says.