Case Study

Enabling ERP modernization for the US Army

Technology strategy advising for modernization of one of the largest and most complex enterprise business system environments in the world

A US military organization undertook an enterprise-wide modernization of its business systems. Its existing ad hoc collection of nearly 600 businesses was fragile and relied on outdated technologies and platforms. Wilson Perumal & Company provided an independent, holistic evaluation of the current IT enterprise architecture and advised senior executives on the creation of a strategy for modernizing both its IT systems and IT architecture (along with processes and organizational structures) to support the future mission of the enterprise.

A US military organization had built a highly complex architecture consisting of hundreds of enterprise business systems, including several of the most complex ERP implementations ever created. The existing architecture was developed with a primary focus on domain-specific monolithic solutions, which lack effective systems and data integration. This fragile IT ecosystem limited the organization’s ability to quickly implement new functionality or adopt modern technologies.

Facing the end-of-life support for some of its major ERPs, the organization decided to modernize its entire IT ecosystem with a focus on:
        1. Rationalizing systems
        2. Improving integration between systems
        3. Supporting agile software development
        4. Leveraging advanced analytics

However, the complexity and fragility of the architecture posed significant operational risks and the cost of transformation would have to be managed within the existing budget. In addition to the technical challenges of modernization, the organization was not designed to support an enterprise-centric effort. The organization was highly siloed, with multiple decision-makers across various groups, each with unique budgets. The client relied heavily on direction and support from legacy vendors and contractors, as the organization lacked the awareness of the organic skillsets and modern technologies required to transition to an effective and modern IT architecture.

To best develop an overall IT strategy and paint a clear picture of current-state complexity, our team created tools the client could use as it planned its modernization. These tools were designed to support decision-making at the senior leadership level and influence the design approach being developed at lower levels.

  • Created a framework that provided an understanding of how to think about modern technology architecture, including types of technologies and underlying capabilities/skillsets
  • Conducted educational workshops where we advocated our perspective on technology with a broad audience — sessions included overviews of technologies, case studies highlighting industry best practices, and executive-level guest speakers from leading technology organizations
  • Mapped the current-state business system ecosystem to illustrate the complexity of the architecture and other organizational factors
  • Demonstrated additional tools and capabilities the client could leverage to support the modernization, including graph modeling and analytics, system-centric value stream mapping, and data governance

technology strategy image v2

Using a holistic approach to understanding the nature of the client’s challenge, WP&C developed recommendations to support the modernization effort:

  • An optimized mix of custom microservices and standard Commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) solutions to provide differentiated capabilities for processes most essential to mission execution while utilizing standardized COTS functionality on non-differentiated processes
  • Organic technology capabilities to provide the foundation on which to build its architecture, utilizing modern technologies and software management approaches (e.g., CI/CD, agile, etc.)
  • Streamlined operating model to manage the design, migration, and management of the new technology architecture with a focus on improving the governance structure
  • User-centric business process re-engineering based on value-creation to capture how work is performed at the user level rather than relying solely on high-level reference models

During the engagement, the client implemented a number of our recommendations to support its modernization effort:

  • The client created a dedicated team to manage the transformation journey and cut across organizational siloes; it installed a governance structure with a single, accountable leader
  • While the client previously only contemplated transitioning to monolithic ERP solutions without any customization, the client is now actively discussing and strategizing how to use microservices as an approach to effectively customize where differentiation is needed most
  • The client gained an improved awareness of the risks and challenges associated with the modernization and their current transformation approach
  • Senior leaders leveraged our tools to better understand the complexity of the current state architecture, allowing them to better manage risk during the transformation journey
  • The client implemented a business process re-engineering (BPR) effort as the first step in the transformation journey

AMC003 case study graphic v3-1

A US military organization had built a highly complex architecture consisting of hundreds of enterprise business systems, including several of the most complex ERP implementations ever created. The existing architecture was developed with a primary focus on domain-specific monolithic solutions, which lack effective systems and data integration. This fragile IT ecosystem limited the organization’s ability to quickly implement new functionality or adopt modern technologies.

Facing the end-of-life support for some of its major ERPs, the organization decided to modernize its entire IT ecosystem with a focus on:
        1. Rationalizing systems
        2. Improving integration between systems
        3. Supporting agile software development
        4. Leveraging advanced analytics

However, the complexity and fragility of the architecture posed significant operational risks and the cost of transformation would have to be managed within the existing budget. In addition to the technical challenges of modernization, the organization was not designed to support an enterprise-centric effort. The organization was highly siloed, with multiple decision-makers across various groups, each with unique budgets. The client relied heavily on direction and support from legacy vendors and contractors, as the organization lacked the awareness of the organic skillsets and modern technologies required to transition to an effective and modern IT architecture.

To best develop an overall IT strategy and paint a clear picture of current-state complexity, our team created tools the client could use as it planned its modernization. These tools were designed to support decision-making at the senior leadership level and influence the design approach being developed at lower levels.

  • Created a framework that provided an understanding of how to think about modern technology architecture, including types of technologies and underlying capabilities/skillsets
  • Conducted educational workshops where we advocated our perspective on technology with a broad audience — sessions included overviews of technologies, case studies highlighting industry best practices, and executive-level guest speakers from leading technology organizations
  • Mapped the current-state business system ecosystem to illustrate the complexity of the architecture and other organizational factors
  • Demonstrated additional tools and capabilities the client could leverage to support the modernization, including graph modeling and analytics, system-centric value stream mapping, and data governance

technology strategy image v2

Using a holistic approach to understanding the nature of the client’s challenge, WP&C developed recommendations to support the modernization effort:

  • An optimized mix of custom microservices and standard Commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) solutions to provide differentiated capabilities for processes most essential to mission execution while utilizing standardized COTS functionality on non-differentiated processes
  • Organic technology capabilities to provide the foundation on which to build its architecture, utilizing modern technologies and software management approaches (e.g., CI/CD, agile, etc.)
  • Streamlined operating model to manage the design, migration, and management of the new technology architecture with a focus on improving the governance structure
  • User-centric business process re-engineering based on value-creation to capture how work is performed at the user level rather than relying solely on high-level reference models

During the engagement, the client implemented a number of our recommendations to support its modernization effort:

  • The client created a dedicated team to manage the transformation journey and cut across organizational siloes; it installed a governance structure with a single, accountable leader
  • While the client previously only contemplated transitioning to monolithic ERP solutions without any customization, the client is now actively discussing and strategizing how to use microservices as an approach to effectively customize where differentiation is needed most
  • The client gained an improved awareness of the risks and challenges associated with the modernization and their current transformation approach
  • Senior leaders leveraged our tools to better understand the complexity of the current state architecture, allowing them to better manage risk during the transformation journey
  • The client implemented a business process re-engineering (BPR) effort as the first step in the transformation journey

AMC003 case study graphic v3-1

Is your company ready for transformation?

Get Started Today