Constellation Energy’s proposed merger with Exelon Corporation will combine the nation’s leading wholesale and retail energy supplier with one of the nation’s largest generation fleets. The potential transaction will also pose technological challenges as Constellation transforms and optimizes its Enterprise Architecture to integrate incoming IT systems with its existing systems. Currently, Constellation Energy Group, Inc. (CEG or Constellation Energy) uses Sybase PowerDesigner, a powerful architectural modeling tool to improve the collaboration between its business and IT infrastructure.
Working as Architecture Tool
As a tried and tested system within Constellation Energy, much will be asked of PowerDesigner’s capacity as an architectural tool to provide support for all aspects of the merging IT and business architectures as part of the proposed merger.
CEG has a long, pioneering history. From its roots nearly 200 years ago as the nation’s first gas light utility, CEG has evolved into one of the largest and most innovative energy companies in America. Publicly traded (NYSE ticker: CEG) as a Fortune 500 leader, it is headquartered in Baltimore, with nearly 10,000 employees, approximately 12,000 megawatts of generation capacity and $13.8 billion in annual revenues (2011).
CEG still innovates at Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (“BGE”), Maryland’s oldest and largest utility. BGE is preparing to roll out one of the most comprehensive Smart Grid programs in the nation.
CEG has a diversified mix of electrical generating plants, and also operates several nuclear power plants. Baltimore Gas and Electric will keep its name and headquarters but will become a subsidiary of Exelon, headquartered in Chicago, with 2011 revenues of $18.9 billion, more than 19,000 employees and about 26,000 megawatts of generation capacity.
The combined company will be one of the largest competitive suppliers of electricity, gas and other energy products and services to commercial, industrial and residential customers and will have operations and business in 46 states, D.C. and the provinces of Alberta and Ontario, Canada.
Well positioned for growth, CEG is a constantly evolving organization that embraces multiple cultures, inherited architectures and diverse standards from previous acquisitions.
Modeling to Implement Risk Monitoring
PowerDesigner’s implementation at CEG started about four years ago, when the IT organization began using it as a data modeling tool to implement Risk Monitoring when the Wall Street credit crunch took hold and liquidity suddenly became a major objective for the company.
Not long after this implementation, the expanded value of PowerDesigner was realized and the Enterprise Architecture team got involved. The EA team benefits from using PowerDesigner because it is able to incorporate the two remaining disciplines within IT architecture—object modeling, and business process modeling—using a single tool. Enterprise Architecture has pressed for the widespread acceptance of PowerDesigner’s function to provide a series of enterprise models to behave as the equivalent to a blueprint from which to implement CEG’s IT architecture, especially with those responsible for managing the company’s business processes.
Initially used to provide CEG’s business analysts with access to information to perform impact analysis and to periodically make forecasts to identify the possible consequences of certain decisions, PowerDesigner now helps CEG’s knowledge workers to understand business problems, data flows, organizational structures and dependencies. PowerDesigner has integrated well with existing tools and systems without affecting the team’s roles and performance.
Using PowerDesigner as part of its Enterprise Architecture implementation has improved communications between the business and IT. It also allowed users to recognize patterns and to find opportunities to reuse their work.
Along with the effectiveness the data architects derived from using PowerDesigner for conceptual, logical and physical models to design, troubleshoot and document their data, the Process Managers and Solution Architects are also using it for diagramming business processes, data flows, and organizational responsibilities. Technical architects are modeling infrastructure components and system dependencies. Enterprise Architects are modeling high-level business blueprints and using a portfolio management approach to understand the impact of projects.
In the four years since, CEG has embraced PowerDesigner’s support for modeling the Enterprise Architecture. This effort focuses mostly on exposing the business architecture to bring clarity to the business structure, resources and enterprise processes. Higher-level IT architecture diagrams in PowerDesigner improve the alignment between the business and IT organizations.
A key takeaway for CEG has been a movement from an environment where all systems were documented in its code to an environment that uses PowerDesigner to manage the architecture to drive the development of systems.