Meet our customer hero
Getting to one
NTT Ltd. represents a new standard in global technology services and information and communication technology. The company was born in 2019 through the merger of 31 independent firms. The new business, whose customers represent 85 percent of the Global Fortune 500, is a data-driven, digital powerhouse. But bringing together so many disparate systems to create an efficient, agile and fast industry leader in so little time was a monumental task.
“To succeed, we needed to capture and assess information from 31 companies, 56 unique IT architectures, and over 2,400 business, IT and infrastructure applications—and map all this to 160 architecture capabilities just to understand our as-is situation,” says Johan Schoeman, Enterprise Architect, NTT Ltd..
It soon became evident that Microsoft® Excel® and enterprise architecture (EA) solutions that NTT Ltd. had used in the past would not be capable of dealing with the level of complexity that this comprehensive transformation required.
“Using an Excel-based approach to handle this mammoth task quickly proved impractical,” says Schoeman. “We were building tabs and tabs and links and links of data that only one person could edit at a time—and the complexity and level of data management was simply overwhelming.”
With the success of the newly merged entity at stake, Schoeman and team recognized they needed to find a platform to bring order to the chaos—and quickly. They went in search of an enterprise architecture tool that would be robust enough to help.
So NTT Ltd., with Schoeman leading the way, interviewed other leaders in their respective industries to see what they were using. The discovery sessions led to a clear choice: Software AG’s Alfabet. The company's execs were convinced, and a demo was immediately set up in June 2019, with Schoeman able to import data from Excel in just hours.
And because NTT Ltd. ran its demo with real data in a cloud-based, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) “accelerator” configuration, the company was able to pivot from pilot to production by August of the same year.
“The company had had limited success with IT portfolio management and enterprise architecture tools in the past,” says Schoeman. “But Alfabet changed everything. It’s helped us slash complexity, improve agility and save tremendously on costs. No other solution was mature enough to do the level of analysis we needed to bring together assets from 31 global companies.”
Speed is key, and Software AG’s accelerator package and cloud offering for Alfabet were fundamental to getting NTT Ltd. up and running quickly. Now, just partway through its transformation, the company has already reduced some of its core application instances—like its sales platforms—from over 20 to 10, with the goal of getting to a single instance. Its technology blueprint is unified, and its first steps have already delivered major benefits in reduced complexity, increased automation and massive improvements in digital innovation agility and costs.
NTT Ltd.'s great success relies on Alfabet’s powerful, multiuser environments, strong visualizations and built-in meta model. Alfabet aided the company during the unification process by mapping all applications to capabilities, and understanding what tools or apps were used—and how widely—to make smart, data-driven decisions about its global blueprint to enable common platforms and systems.
As a result, NTT Ltd. has been able to document the as-is application landscape, perform the analysis to inform the future IT architecture blueprint strategy, and can plan and track the journey to the target architecture blueprint. One example of the benefits of this: the number of sales platform instances used has been cut by half, and the company has a clearly defined road map for how and when it will get to just one.
“We didn’t just look at all these apps,” says Schoeman. “We also looked at additional information such as user numbers, licenses, contracts and their timelines, platforms, number of records in our database, planned application lifetime and support, maturity of technology and a whole host of considerations to inform the future blueprint and road map, which we could only wrap our heads around thanks to Alfabet.”
Similarly, NTT Ltd. are in the process of unifying over 200 marketing technologies into one core set around 20 platforms. “This isn’t just a matter of consolidating existing platforms, but also driving digital transformation by enabling new capabilities in the business at the same time.” says Schoeman.
Executive Vice President for Digital Platform Architecture at NTT Ltd. Mark van Bavel says: “Creating operational efficiencies through consolidation and rationalization—which is required for the NTT Ltd. integration—while driving digital transformation to enable us for the future, feels like flying a plane while changing the engine at the same time. Alfabet is instrumental in helping us deal with this complex challenge.”
“Things are changing all the time, and Alfabet keeps us ahead of the curve,” says Schoeman. “That’s the power behind a transactional data system. It’s important to have the most current data in order to understand the situation right now—and make decisions for change based on information that is up to date.”
Alfabet is seen as a key strategic platform at NTT Ltd. and is helping inform decision making at the executive level to help the organization turn its 31 founding companies into a single global leader. “And demand is growing,” says Schoeman. “I’ve literally got meetings every week where people are knocking down my door with new requests for Alfabet to help inform strategy and decision making.”