2021-07-27 | Verena Stiegler | 5 min read
Affiliate company of a large German automobile manufacturer
AI-based driver assistance systems, e-mobility and autonomous driving
Topic | Agile Transformation with the "Enterprise Network" Technology | Spring Boot, Java Persistence API, Hibernate, PostgreSQL, Apache
Our client is an affiliate company of a large German automobile manufacturer and operates in the software industry to create the future of the automobile industry. More than 750 employees are working on AI-based driver assistance systems, new technologies for e-mobility and autonomous driving. In doing so, they are building the foundation for the Group's transformation in order to remain competitive in the future. The company just started the journey of a transformation process towards an agile corporate structure, with the aim of being able to respond proactively and flexibly to the requirements of its customers, trends and environmental developments. Hierarchies are to be dismantled and self-organization and personal responsibility are to be strengthened, because success only comes with the know-how and competence of each individual employee.
If employees need to identify the right capacities for the progress of projects in an agile environment, it is increasingly important that they can easily access the knowledge collected within the company at any point in time. Colleagues with expertise in a specific area should be able to be quickly identified and immediately contacted. At the same time, an enterprise-wide overview of the individual elements of the puzzle - teams, clusters, and domains - should result in an organization-wide overall picture. Therefore, an easily accessable and rearchable corporate network is required, that maps the values and skills of each employee, as well as the companystructure itself. Since the customer already manages their collected knowledge in Atlassian Confluence, access via Confluence to this corporate network is essential. At the same time, however, it is important that the corporate networks' content is easily accessible to other applications within the organization, which is why a standalone application is required that doesn't depend on Confluence.
As an Atlassian Platinum Solution Partner, Scandio has therefore combined its expertise in Atlassian Confluence app development, Spring Boot applications and agile software development in a single project team to launch the High Utility Multi Purpose Enterprise Network (Enterprise Network) together with the customers project managers. A network in which each employee can create a personal card with his/her values, skills and a biography. A team leader can then assign individual employee cards to the team in order to display the employee's involvement in the team's projects. In addition, the team can present its own values, goals, and focus for the company transparently on its own card. Teams dealing with related topics are subordinated to domain cards that gather expertise of broadly diversified areas. A domain manager can define the contents of the domain on the card and add appropriate teams to the domain. Finally, all domains are combined under the collective organizational card, which provides a clear overview of the entire company.
To achieve the best possible result and seamless integration with Confluence, the Scandio project team combined several modern technologies. The Enterprise Network content is stored in a standalone Spring Boot application which is connected to a PostgreSQL database via the Java Persistence API and Hibernate. In a connected Apache Solr application, employee and team content is indexed for search functionality. Content retrieval and editing is enabled via an HTTP REST API, which is also easy to use via a Swagger user interface and thus via the browser. In that way, content is accessible even without Confluence and can thus be easily adapted by system administrators or even used by other applications.
Using a custom-built app, Confluence can authenticate with the Spring Boot application and then retrieve content via the REST API. Once prepared in the Confluence app, the content is then consumed by an embedded React application, which then renders the respective card in the user's browser. This React application integrates in various places in Confluence, where it provides the content from the Spring Boot application to the employees. For example, if an employee's profile is accessed, the employee card is displayed instead of the default Confluence profile, providing an overview of the employee's work area, skills, and biography.
With the implementation of new Confluence macros, individual content from the Spring Boot application can now be displayed anywhere in Confluence. For example, a team can use the Cards macro to present its own team with its content, values and members in the organization. A team leader can add or remove Confluence users from the team. If a team leader is looking for a new team member with certain skills, or if an employee is looking for a colleague who is well qualified in a specific subject, the search interface of the Enterprise Network is the right place to go. Employees can also search for teams here.
With the Enterprise Network, Scandio's customer has received an important tool for the journey to an agile company. It enables self-organized employees and teams to get a comprehensive, quick overview of the distribution of knowledge within the entire company and to approach individual colleagues accordingly. In addition, the various linked cards represent the entire organizational structure via domains, clusters, teams and the individual employees. Each individual unit in this overall picture is enabled to present itself freely with its content, values and character traits as part of the company.