Large European Commercial Bank WestLB Reduces IT Costs, Redundancies With Alfabet’s PlanningIT

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Increases Transparency and Data Standardization; Improves Communication Between Business Units and IT

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Oct. 30, 2007 — alfabet Inc., a leading software provider in strategic IT planning and management, today announced that WestLB AG, a large European commercial bank and financial services provider, has reduced its IT costs and redundancies, while increasing transparency and data standardization with alfabet’s planningIT.

As in many large corporations, the IT application landscape at WestLB has grown in complexity over the years to more than 500 IT systems and 1,500 interfaces. By the 1990s, the challenge of documenting and maintaining an overview of the applications and interfaces running throughout the enterprise proved to be enormously difficult.

Whenever a large project was being planned, the time and costs involved in verifying the relevant application interdependencies affected by the project caused major bottlenecks. In 2000, a Java-based system called SPICE (Systems & Projects Integration Controlling Environment) was introduced to provide better information and control over IT applications, projects and governance processes. While the system alleviated some of the IT planning and control issues of the business processes, it couldn’t generate graphical models or analysis of the complex architectural relationships between artifacts.

Planning solution with graphic support
After a thorough examination of solutions available on the market, WestLB selected planningIT from alfabet.

“While some of the solutions we looked at could graphically represent the current enterprise architecture (EA), alfabet’s solution went much further,” according to Dieter Fehser, IT strategy and architecture project leader at WestLB. “The software provides a transparent overview of existing applications, interfaces, processes, technical components and roles in the IT organization. Moreover, it provides each stakeholder the means to collaborate and contribute to the continuous improvement of our IT-business support and governance processes. As all stakeholders are now working from the same platform, the information remains consistent and accurate and our planning cycles are much more effective and efficient.”

First benefits
Not long after going live with planningIT the benefits became apparent. At a strategy board meeting, one of the central questions was which applications supported which business processes and products in the bank’s portfolio. Another request for the IT department was to list the top 100 cost-intensive applications. planningIT provided immediate answers to each of those questions.

“The ability to pull up information and run analysis reports that would otherwise, at best, have taken a great deal of time and effort to produce is one of the great advantages of having a system like planningIT,” said Fehser. “In the early stages, we didn’t have the answers to all such questions at our fingertips, but we had the information in a discernable and clear format and that was a major improvement. We’ve come a long way since then and we are now in a position to perform on-demand cross-functional analysis for almost any pertinent aspect of our IT landscape at the touch of a button.”

planningIT’s Logical IT Inventory is a transactional based system that automatically propagates status changes made by users to artifacts anywhere they occur in the IT landscape and in all related analysis reports.

Fehser added “With planningIT, our solution and system architects, the project managers and the CIO office all have a clear picture of who is planning what changes to applications, when they will take effect and what impact they will have on other planned projects.”

From information baseline to master planning
With a solid information base in place and a methodology that ensures it remains up-to-date, WestLB has also leveraged alfabet’s master planning capabilities. Master plans generated by planningIT provide a matrix overview of the logical relationships between processes, products, organizational units, applications and their planned lifecycles and associated workflows over time. They are used in many industries as best-practices to plan the evolution of the IT landscape on a relatively abstract and strategic level. Master plans help not only answer questions like ‘Where do we want our IT to be in three years, but also how are we going to get there?’

“The concept of master planning was not new for us,” Fehser said. “Master plans show us if it is sensible to implement an application or not, if the interfaces are optimal and where the redundancies lie. Previously, we painstakingly cobbled together this information in MS Word or Visio. After introducing planningIT for master planning in one of the business units, the results were so compelling we rolled-out the capabilities to the other business units and coached them through. With master planning capabilities, our CIO can quickly discover synergies, overlaps, redundancies, inefficient processes and use of non-standardized products in planned projects, which can amount to considerable cost savings when remedied.”

In addition, Fehser noted the enhanced ability to couple business strategy with IT planning and architecture has created long-term benefits: “Perhaps one of the most significant benefits as a result of our master planning is the vast improvement in communication between the business units and IT segments. Ultimately, we are evolving our master planning capabilities to directly tie our business field and IT strategies.”

About alfabet (www.alfabetinc.com)
alfabet enables companies to see, analyze, control and align IT initiatives with business priorities continuously. Its planningIT® software is unique in tightly coupling business priorities and IT returns with current and future initiatives. Competitive point solutions offer modeling or repository functions with a static view of priorities, architecture and infrastructure. alfabet provides a holistic, integrated and collaborative approach that offers continuous transparency into how IT and business information, processes and roles are changing and need to be managed over time.

The company serves a global user community of 15,000 IT professionals in more than 40 countries in a variety of industries, including automotive, financial services, telecommunications, logistics, high-tech and others. Its customers include international corporations such as AMB Generali, BP, DaimlerChrysler, Deutsche Bahn and T-Systems. Founded in 1997, alfabet is based in Berlin with U.S. headquarters in Cambridge, Mass.
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For Additional Information
Contact:
Elyse Familant
GCC, Inc.
978-725-3637
[email protected]

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