When it became clear in 2014 that the Dutch Federal Government had no control over its IT projects and was wasting valuable tax money, Mavim created the Application Portfolio Management (APM) solution to give them the necessary insight to regain control. By building the solution on top of the Government standard, Microsoft Office and Visio, Mavim was able to ensure that this custom solution would be used by the workforce. This solution paved the way to a Microsoft-based private cloud and organization-wide portal based on Microsoft SharePoint.
The Compact Government
In an effort to become a more efficient, service-oriented organization, the Dutch government initiated a far-reaching plan, entitled the “Compact Government”. In 2012, the Dutch government laid out an iStrategy plan for streamlining operations and civil services as a subsection of this “Compact Government” program. The Dutch Government believes that the iStrategy will enable it to realize its objectives and create an IT infrastructure that will respond flexibly to new trends and developments, reduce costs, and enable ministries to work more efficiently together. The iStrategy is also seen as an important, long-term investment in increasing the professionalism, effectiveness, and efficiency of the Dutch government. While this initiative was and is still good in its conception, in reality, the iStrategy had failed to deliver concretely. This became clear in 2014, when the Dutch Government was made accountable to the Committee Elias – a special committee created for investigating the reasons why many of the IT projects within the Dutch Government failed, leading to the loss of millions euros. Research done by the Committee Elias suggested that the Dutch Government had very little insight in the costs and benefits of its IT environment and almost no control over its IT projects. (Source) This, among other issues such as a lack of clear decision making processes, led to a waste of almost €5 billion per year! To put that in perspective, that is upwards of 50% of the budget, since the total IT budget per year is around €10 billion. The realization that almost half of the total IT budget was being wasted on an annual basis was the trigger needed to make concrete steps towards realizing the goals of the iStrategy plan! Part of that iStrategy plan is to:
- Reduce the number of datacenters from 64 to 4
- Move everything from Oracle to Microsoft SQL
- Create a private ‘Government’ cloud
- Provide all 200.000 employees with access to a government portal accessible any place, any time
- Provide the ministries with adequate procedures and measures for controlling information security risks
In order to do all this, the Dutch Government needed insight in its IT landscape and to gain control over the thousands of existing applications. This is where Mavim came in. The Mavim software, fully Microsoft based, was already used by most ministries for Business Process Management. For this particular case Mavim created the APM solution. This solution helped kick start the Dutch government’s initiative. To begin, all information about the application landscape, previously stored in numerous Word, Excel, Visio & PowerPoint documents as well as Active Directory, was imported into the Mavim software where the information was then structured and related. Connecting this massive amount of data in the Mavim software created a 360 degree view of the Dutch Government’s application landscape. This helped generate insight into usage, costs, number of applications, duplications, but also the connected owners and documentation. Furthermore, it clearly illustrated the business value of each application, the potential impact of changing this environment and the information security risks involved. Using the powerful Visio designer, the APM model could be created according to ArchiMate standards. For monitoring and quickly interpreting the information to support the decision making process, SharePoint is currently used, with plans to integrate PowerBI dashboards into the SharePoint portal in the future. This information is then communicated to all stakeholders through the Government’s intranet portal, which is also based on Microsoft SharePoint.
One Platform, One Business
Where most suppliers offer partial solutions, the Mavim solution created one environment (database) containing all solutions and information related to each other. The insight created helps the Dutch Government to make decisions on how to share, harmonize and rationalize the application landscape, eventually leading to €2 billion in cost savings. Furthermore, this has enabled the Dutch Government to make the transition to the (private) cloud. While APM is often implemented to achieve tactical and operational goals, Mavim APM can also be used to realize strategic, long-term ambitions. The Dutch government’s use of Mavim APM exemplifies this; not only did it aid the government by generating insight into the application landscape and facilitating collaboration among stakeholders, but Mavim APM was also used to help get a grip on the entire IT landscape, including where they were and where they wanted to go. The solution empowers the achievement of strategic goals by providing fact-based support for long-term decision making. With Mavim APM, the Dutch Government was able to create an organizational standard which is used by a number of other government programs. When stored separately, the multitude of government standards had very little impact, but when combined in Mavim APM, they became a powerful instrument. Mavim APM:
- Established one single source of truth
- Provided fact-based support for strategic decision-making
- Supported Enterprise Architects by adhering to Archimate standards
- Created insight into the application landscape and the impact of potential change
- Provided support for IT maintenance and management
- Provided insight in the information security risks and the required circumstances for moving to the cloud
Based on the current success of the joint IT initiative, the Dutch government has chosen to implement Mavim more broadly across the organization. By connecting the dots between business processes and the supporting application landscape, the Dutch government will be able to use IT effectively to achieve business objectives, thereby improving the ROI of the IT infrastructure. For getting a grip on the IT projects the Dutch Government is planning to work with Microsoft Project Portfolio Management, with which Mavim has a tight integration. With plans to further connect and relate business processes, enterprise architecture, the IT landscape and projects in Mavim, the Dutch government is well on their way towards becoming a more efficient and effective organization. Since its implementation, the Dutch Government APM solution has been translated to the local level, such as the regional water authorities, municipalities and educational institutions. In addition, many non-governmental organizations have shown their interest in the solution because they deal with the same problem as the Dutch Government: creating one standard IT landscape.