This article is a summary of that presentation and introduces the objectives of the Airbus business transformation strategy, the importance of breaking down silos, and the way EA has enabled the entire program.
Airbus’ Digital Design and Manufacturing Services (DDMS) program was launched to lay the foundation for the future of air travel, increase environmental efficiency, and provide a platform for digital continuity across systems and processes.
According to Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury, the efforts of the DDMS Program “focuses on digital methods and tools for end-to-end business process that ensure we can reduce costs and time to market for our products”. The ambitious program encapsulates the manufacturing processes from design all the way to fine-tuning services that reduce the time-to-market for new products.
Due to the nature of this strategic transformation, the first step of the DDMS Program was to understand capabilities and processes that implement the new airplanes and their systems. With a clear view of these in place, processes can be automated and optimized where possible. In addition, it is possible to provide leaders with clear visibility of potential risks in order to satisfy governance and regulatory requirements.
To make the program successful, a service-oriented architecture was therefore adopted in the HOPEX platform. This has provided the basis for Airbus to focus on providing wider-ranging services instead of simply a series of tactical, siloed applications.
As with any large organization, one of the challenges for Airbus was to break down the natural silos between business divisions, teams and job functions.
With ten different departments involved in the DDMS program, it was vital to enable IT teams, enterprise architects, security managers, designers, and other stakeholders to collaborate effectively.
The company adopted the BPMN notation to standardize three levels of data in a simple way. With it, key stakeholders are able to work together to understand key concepts, regardless of their team or department.
For example, rather than simply providing an applications catalog that would be available in a Configuration Management Database (CMDB), Enterprise Architecture allows Airbus to focus on the business outcomes of its applications. By representing business data in this way from the conceptual level to its logical and physical layers, siloed data that was previously useful only to particular teams is now available to many new stakeholders. It enables informed decisions to be taken on which applications support which service, whether there are capability overlaps or gaps, or whether some applications are obsolete.
The bottom line is that this strategic transformation has been achieved by making previously siloed data compatible with multiple tools, as well as adaptable to the different approaches across teams. The creation of the logical layer links existing representations, while the technology layer defines how data is stored.
The Airbus business transformation model has made it possible to carry out strategic transformation and change across the entire organization. With it, the DDMS Program is able to achieve its longer-term efforts to develop next generation aircraft, and the systems to support them.
Using EA as the basis of this business transformation has enabled Airbus to build a digital representation of the company. This supports the efforts of the company to align business objectives and process management, IT resources, data, and risk perspectives in a single repository. Key stakeholders and leadership are then able to better understand the business context and evaluate the risks and opportunities of ongoing projects.
Listen to the full recording of the Airbus' business transformation presentation.