Monthly Archives: September 2011

A momentous first year for The Open Group EMMMv™ Forum

By Sarina Viljoen, The Open Group South Africa

It’s been nearly a year since The Open Group published its first set of best practices for the natural resources industry, the Exploration and Mining Business Reference Model (EM Model). The EM Model, which was developed under the auspices of The Open Group Exploration, Mining, Metals and Minerals Vertical (EMMMv™) Forum and The Open Group South Africa, establishes a blueprint for organizations in the natural resources industry to help implement Enterprise Architectures within their organizations and provide standard operating best practices and support for vendors delivering technical and business solutions to the industry. Designed to cater to business activities across a variety of different types of mining organizations, the model is helping companies align both their business and technical procedures to provide better measures for shared services, health, safety and environmental processes.

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How EA is leading enterprise transformation in France

By Eric Boulay, The Open Group France

Earlier this week, in Paris, The Open Group France held the latest in a series of one-day conferences focused on Enterprise Architecture. As usual, the event delivered high-value content in the form of an excellent keynote presentation and case studies. These covered the retail, gambling, and financial industries — including two from CIOs of major French corporations: Continue reading

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Are Business Process Management and Business Architecture a perfect match?

by Serge Thorn, Architecting the Enterprise

Whenever I suggest collaboration between these two worlds, I always observe some sort of astonishment from my interlocutors. Many Enterprise Architects or Business Architects do not realise there may be synergies. Business Process Management (BPM) team have not understood what Enterprise Architecture is all about and the other way around… There is no a single definition of Business Process Management, often it means different things to different people. To keep it very generic, BPM relates to any activities an organization does to support its process efforts.

There are many activities which can be included in such efforts:

  • The use of industry Business Reference Model (or Business Process Reference Model), a reference for the operational activities of an organization, a framework facilitating a functional Lines of Business, such as
      • The Federal Enterprise Architecture Business Reference Model of the US Federal Government
      • The DoD Business Reference Model
      • The Open Group Exploration and Mining Business Reference Model
      • Frameworx (eTOM) for Telco companies
      • The Supply Chain Operations Reference (SCOR®) model
      • The SAP R/3 Reference Model
      • The Oracle Business Models : Oracle Industry Reference Model for Banking, (IRM), Oracle Retail Reference Model
      • And others…
  • The use of organization specific Business Reference models
  • The use of Business process improvement methodologies
      • Lean, a quantitative data driven methodology based on statistics, process understanding and process control
      • Six Sigma, a methodology that mainly focuses on eliminating bad products or services to clients by using statistical evaluation
  • Business Process Reengineering, which in reality is a facet of BPM
  • The understanding of Business Change Management, the process that empowers staff to accept changes that will improve performance and productivity
  • The understanding of Business Transformation, the continuous process, essential to any organization in implementing its business strategy and achieving its vision
  • The use of Business Rules Management which enables organizations to manage business rules for decision automation
  • The understanding of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) services to reduce costs and increase efficiency
  • The support of Business Process modeling and design, which is illustrated description of business processes, usually created with flow diagrams. The model contains the relationship between activities, processes, sub-processes and information, as well as roles, the organization and resources. This can done with many notations such as flow chart, functional flow block diagram, control flow diagram, Gantt chart, PERT diagram, IDEF, and nowadays with the standard de facto notations such as UML and BPMN
  • The support of BPM tools and suites implementation. With the right, process models can be simulated, to drive workflow or BPMS systems, and can be used as the basis for an automated process monitoring system (BAM)
  • The support of Business Activity Monitoring (BAM), the ability to have end-to-end visibility and control over all parts of a process or transaction that spans multiple applications and people in one or even more companies

To combine Business Process Management and Enterprise Architecture for better business outcomes is definitely the way forward, where BPM provides the business context, understanding, and- metrics, and Enterprise Architecture provides the discipline to translate business vision and strategy into architectural changes. Both are needed for sustainable continuous improvement. When referring to Enterprise Architecture, we would mainly refer to Business Architecture. Business Architecture involves more than just the structure of business processes. It also entails the organization of departments, roles, documents, assets, and all other process-related information.

Business Architects may be defining and implementing the Business Process framework and, in parallel, influencing the strategic direction for Business Process Management and improvement methodologies (e.g. Lean, Six Sigma). The business process owners and Business Analysts are working within their guidelines at multiple levels throughout the organizations’ business process. They have roles and responsibilities to manage, monitor and control their processes.

An important tool in developing Business Architecture is a Business Reference Model. These types of models are enormously beneficial. They can be developed in the organization to build and extend the information architecture. The shared vocabulary (verbal and visual) that emerges from these efforts promotes clear and effective communication.

To illustrate the touch points between Enterprise Architecture and Business Process Management, I have illustrated in the table below the synergies between the two approaches using TOGAF® 9.

In this table, we observe that, there is a perfect match between Business Process Management and the use of an Enterprise Architecture framework such as TOGAF. BPM is often project based and the Business Architect (or Enterprise Architect) may be responsible for identifying cross-project and cross-process capabilities. It can be considered as being the backbone of an Enterprise Architecture program. We can also add to this, that Service Oriented Architecture is the core operational or transactional capability while BPM does the coordination and integration into business processes.

When using BPM tools and suites, you should also consider the following functionalities: workflow, enterprise application integration, content management and business activity monitoring. These four components are traditionally provided by vendors as separate applications which are merged through BPM into a single application with high levels of integration. The implementation of a BPM solution should theoretically eliminate the maintenance and support cost of these four applications resulting in reducing the total cost of ownership.

Business Architecture provides the governance, alignment and transformational context for BPM across business units and silos. Enterprise Architects, Business Architects, Business Analysts should work together with BPM teams, when approaching the topic of Business Process Management. BPM efforts need structures and appropriate methodologies. It needs a structure to guide efforts at different levels of abstraction (separating “the what“ (the hierarchical structure of business functions) from “the how” (how the desired results are achieved), a documented approach and structure to navigate among the business processes of the organization, i.e. a Business Architecture. They also need a methodology such as an Enterprise Architecture framework to retain and leverage what they have learned about managing and conducting BPM projects.

Editor’s note: The Open Group Architecture Forum and the TM Forum have published a technical report exploring the synergies and identifying integration points between TOGAF and Frameworx. Download it here

This article has previously appeared in Serge Thorn’s personal blog and appears here with his permission.

Serge Thorn is CIO of Architecting the Enterprise.  He has worked in the IT Industry for over 25 years, in a variety of roles, which include; Development and Systems Design, Project Management, Business Analysis, IT Operations, IT Management, IT Strategy, Research and Innovation, IT Governance, Architecture and Service Management (ITIL). He has more than 20 years of experience in Banking and Finance and 5 years of experience in the Pharmaceuticals industry. Among various roles, he has been responsible for the Architecture team in an international bank, where he gained wide experience in the deployment and management of information systems in Private Banking, Wealth Management, and also in IT architecture domains such as the Internet, dealing rooms, inter-banking networks, and Middle and Back-office. He then took charge of IT Research and Innovation (a function which consisted of motivating, encouraging creativity, and innovation in the IT Units), with a mission to help to deploy a TOGAF based Enterprise Architecture, taking into account the company IT Governance Framework. He also chaired the Enterprise Architecture Governance worldwide program, integrating the IT Innovation initiative in order to identify new business capabilities that were creating and sustaining competitive advantage for his organization. Serge has been a regular speaker at various conferences, including those by The Open Group. His topics have included, “IT Service Management and Enterprise Architecture”, “IT Governance”, “SOA and Service Management”, and “Innovation”. Serge has also written several articles and whitepapers for different magazines (Pharma Asia, Open Source Magazine). He is the Chairman of the itSMF (IT Service Management forum) Swiss chapter and is based in Geneva, Switzerland.

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New Cloud Computing book from The Open Group helps organizations develop the case for key Cloud operating metrics and ROI

By Mark Skilton, Capgemini

Cloud Computing is more than just a utility cost reduction exercise of your IT storage and computing assets through subscribing or purchasing to an on-demand, pay-as-you-go model. Cloud Computing is evolving into an ecosystem of services from storage, computing and network infrastructure to impacting the integration and application software to transform the business processes and market service models. The many public discussions on search engines, edge networks and the myriad of mobile and tablet device technologies and operating systems are some of the many visible indicators of the high profile Cloud Computing has achieved today.

From an international perspective, The Open Group is well placed to see these large-scale effects on architecture in IT sourcing and delivery of on-demand, “always on” services. Major public Clouds provide significant social networking, computing and productivity services reaching across all industries.

A key challenge for companies is to understand key business and IT metrics that Cloud Computing can help achieve in operating cost efficiency savings, and how it can drive revenue and growth potential. This applies across the industry from private to public federal sectors.

Key challenges include:

  • How to identify the key model definitions for Cloud Computing?
  • Why is Cloud creating new business opportunities for large and small companies?
  • How to define key metrics for both the risk and value of Cloud Computing?
  • What are the successful case studies for a strong and sustainable business case for Cloud Computing?

The Open Group recently published a new book, Cloud Computing for Business: The Open Group Guide  to address these issues through specific guidance on business drivers for Cloud; defining the Cloud vision and buying requirements criteria; assessing  risk; and building the return on investment metrics and case for Cloud Computing. The book gives managers reliable and independent guidance that will help to support decisions and actions in this key operational area.

Download the book now (Open Group members only)
Buy a hard copy
Read the press announcement
Read an excerpt of the book
Read the blog post announcing the book, or Mark’s previous blog post on the book

Mark Skilton, Director, Capgemini, is the Co-Chair of The Open Group Cloud Computing Work Group. He has been involved in advising clients and developing of strategic portfolio services in Cloud Computing and business transformation. His recent contributions include the publication of Return on Investment models on Cloud Computing widely syndicated that achieved 50,000 hits on CIO.com and in the British Computer Society 2010 Annual Review. His current activities include development of a new Cloud Computing Model standards and best practices on the subject of Cloud Computing impact on Outsourcing and Off-shoring models and contributed to the second edition of the Handbook of Global Outsourcing and Off-shoring published through his involvement with Warwick Business School UK Specialist Masters Degree Program in Information Systems Management.

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Adoption of Cloud Computing raises key challenges for the industry

By Mark Skilton, Capgemini

Recently, The Open Group published the book, Cloud Computing for Business: The Open Group Guide, to help businesses navigate the complexities of the value and ROI that can be gained from Cloud Computing. While there are aspirations and evidence that Cloud Computing is now a mainstream business and IT strategic paradigm for operations and services, for most organizations there still remains the challenge of making the right selection and choice of Cloud services, and the question of what savings and potential benefits may be achieved from making this shift as a customer or provider.

Many large and small companies are seeking similar benefits from Cloud Computing, but with a different emphasis on coordination and control. Core services such as risk and security management, service level management, and demand and supply availability have weighed heavily on all companies in assessing options in committing key operations to private or public Cloud services. Specific software and platform workloads also need to be identified and matched to real company needs. The alignment, coordination and transition to new business on-demand models can also take effect in the back office IT function as well as with front- end users consuming the services,  particularly in larger corporations made up of many departments and disparate business units.

Yet the Cloud phenomenon is not just corporate enterprise; it is also now part of mobility and social networking and network media. Companies are seeing new supply and customer channels being created through online social networks and web portals that can fundamentally alter provisioning strategies, restructuring operations and competitive advantage positions for customers and providers alike.  This “ecosystem” effect is the long-tail — sourcing and utility computing turning full circle as companies and customer expectations become catalog and on-demand oriented.

Key challenges include:

  • What are the growth markets and opportunities for Cloud Computing?
  • How is Cloud Computing changing the business and IT services landscape?
  • How do I define a robust Cloud risk assessment method for transitioning to Cloud Computing?
  • What are the cost, time and performance metrics that matter for Cloud Computing?

Cloud Computing for Business: The Open Group Guide offers specific guidance that address many of Cloud Computing’s key challenges, which include choosing the appropriate Cloud solution, buying requirements and measuring return on investment. The book also gives managers reliable and independent guidance that will help to support decisions and actions in this key operational area.

Download the book now
Buy a hard copy
Read the press announcement
Read an excerpt of the book
Read the previous blog post announcing the book

Mark Skilton, Director, Capgemini, is the Co-Chair of The Open Group Cloud Computing Work Group. He has been involved in advising clients and developing of strategic portfolio services in Cloud Computing and business transformation. His recent contributions include the publication of Return on Investment models on Cloud Computing widely syndicated that achieved 50,000 hits on CIO.com and in the British Computer Society 2010 Annual Review. His current activities include development of a new Cloud Computing Model standards and best practices on the subject of Cloud Computing impact on Outsourcing and Off-shoring models and contributed to the second edition of the Handbook of Global Outsourcing and Off-shoring published through his involvement with Warwick Business School UK Specialist Masters Degree Program in Information Systems Management.

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Introducing our new book: Cloud Computing For Business

By Stuart Boardman, Getronics

Today was a dream day for cloud spotters. In the course of a 90-minute drive I could have ticked off at least 10 of the distinct cloud types documented in my “Cloud Collector’s Handbook” (No, I’m not a cloud nerd – it was given to me as a joke). It doesn’t do to stretch a metaphor too far but it’s quite interesting how what I saw could reflect the variety of situations with which a consumer (or even provider) of Cloud services might be confronted: well-defined shapes with a clearly substantial content; fine-grained but still well-defined little packages; vast, vague shapes that require great expertise to understand what they promise; thin, wispy layers linking other things together; but also every type mixed through and layered on each other. At the end I experienced (thanks to an immense downpour) what it’s like to be right inside a cloud – you can’t see a damn thing – including the other folks you’re sharing the service with – but they’re there and one way or another they might have an effect on you.

What I really want to talk about is The Open Group’s new book, Cloud Computing For Business, which you can download from The Open Group online bookstore or buy in hardback from van Haren Publishing. There’s no shortage of books about Cloud, so you might reasonably ask what could make this one so interesting. Well, that’s partly down to what it is and partly to what it isn’t. The title ought to give a clue. It’s not a Cloud collector’s handbook. It’s not interested in tying down the fine-grained differences between different types of Cloud service. It’s not concerned with marginal decisions about exactly what is and is not a Cloud service.

It IS concerned with helping you understand what you might be able to get out of a Cloud service, and how to ensure that it really delivers what you expect.

This book is concerned with value, as you might expect from a book with the word “Business” in the title. The sub-title is “The Open Group Guide”. That word Guide is also important. The book’s goal is to be a guide that will help you make your own decisions. It doesn’t offer potted solutions. It looks at the different kinds of value you could obtain from the Cloud and how to develop a strategy for Cloud that is correct for your own organization’s specific situation and goals. The main sections are about understanding what your organization might gain from using Cloud services (and why), how to select the right service (and provider), how to identify and manage risk and how to go about setting, measuring and assuring ROI expectations. There is, of course, an introduction explaining the key features of Cloud. The basis for this is the NIST definition. The Open Group promotes standards, so it’s natural that it makes the maximum use of standards developed elsewhere. In this case that’s the NIST definition – the models and characteristics. What the book adds to this is an exploration of what the different elements of the definition actually mean to Cloud users – why you should care, and also where you should not care.

What makes this book special, though, is the fact that it pulls together the knowledge and experience of a broad group of people from provider and consumer organizations, from business, government and education and from multiple geographies. It’s a product of The Open Group Cloud Computing Work Group and has therefore been the subject of discussion, review and improvement even before it appeared in the book. The Work Group is a focus for exchange of experiences and insights, for collaborative development of practical material and a forum for good, honest debate in a non-partisan environment. Its various projects have produced a series of white papers and reference documents, which in turn have contributed to the development of the book.

The book itself was actively reviewed by an even broader group. So what you get is something that reflects the experiences and opinions of a considerable number of people, who have nothing to gain from these activities apart from what they learn from each other in the process. There aren’t many books of which that can be said and certainly not your typical technical book.

And what I also admire is the refreshing lack of fluff. So many technical books seem to suffer from a need to be priced by weight. The result is that you might as well start reading at page 100, because you won’t have missed anything. This book get straight down to business.

If you’ll bear with me stretching my metaphor a bit further, in the end there is perhaps a similarity to the Cloud Collector’s Handbook (really a rather admirable and amusing little book, by the way) because both will help you to read the Cloud landscape and know what to expect – and that’s what really matters, isn’t it?

Download the book now
Buy a hard copy
Read the press announcement
Read an excerpt of the book

Stuart Boardman is a Senior Business Consultant with Getronics Consulting where he co-leads the Enterprise Architecture practice as well as the Cloud Computing solutions group. He is co-lead of The Open Group Cloud Computing Work Group’s Security for the Cloud and SOA project and a founding member of both The Open Group Cloud Computing Work Group and The Open Group SOA Work Group. Stuart is the author of publications by the Information Security Platform (PvIB) in The Netherlands and of his previous employer, CGI. He is a frequent speaker at conferences on the topics of Cloud, SOA, and Identity. 

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Finding the value in SOA

by Stephen Bennett, Oracle

Republished with permission from CIO Update from an article published on behalf of The Open Group.

Confronted with the age old problems of agility and complexity, today’s CIOs are under more pressure than ever to improve the strategic value of IT to the business. At best, these challenges have increased costs, limited innovation and increased risk. At worst, they have reduced IT’s ability to respond to changing business needs in a timely fashion.

Yet, changes for business and IT are continuing to occur at an ever-increasing pace. To keep up, enterprises need to adopt an agile, flexible architecture style with a proven strategic approach to delivering IT to the business.

Over the last year, I have seen a resurgence of CIOs using Enterprise Architecture (EA) as a key tool to address these challenges. In the past, EA has experienced difficulties within the enterprise. It has been unfairly seen as primarily a documentation exercise and, when applied incorrectly, EA can — ironically — become a silo in of itself. To make sure that EA has better success this time, CIOs must make their EA efforts more actionable.

Step back: SOA

Service oriented architecture (SOA) has been positioned as an architectural style specifically intended to reduce costs, increase agility and, most importantly, simplify the business and the interoperation of different parts of that business.

A key principle of SOA is the structuring of business capabilities into meaningful, granular services as opposed to opaque and siloed business functions. This makes it possible to quickly identify and reuse any existing realized functional capabilities, thus avoiding the duplication of similar capabilities across the organization. By standardizing the behavior and interoperation of these services, it’s possible to limit the impacts of change and to forecast the likely chain of impacts.

Despite its popularity, relatively few enterprises have been able to measure and demonstrate the value of SOA. This is due primarily to the approach that enterprises have taken when adopting and applying SOA. In most cases, enterprises interpret SOA as simply another solution development approach. As a result, SOA has been relegated or wrongly positioned as a purely integration technology, rather than the strategic enabler that it can be.

Because of this, SOA must not be seen as a solution development approach that starts and ends once a solution is delivered. It must be seen as an on-going process that, when coupled with a strategic framework, can change and evolve with the business over time. Unfortunately, many enterprises adopt SOA without utilizing a strategic framework, causing a host of challenges for their business.

Just a few of the challenges I have seen include:

  • More complexity and moving parts
  • Increased costs
  • Projects taking longer than before
  • Solutions more fragile than ever
  • Little or no agility
  • Difficulty identifying and discovering services
  • Exponentially growing governance challenges
  • Limited service re-use
  • Duplication of effort leading to service sprawl
  • Multiple siloed technology focused SOAs
  • Funding for service oriented projects being cut

It’s no wonder that SOA has a bad reputation.

To address these challenges, enterprises utilizing or considering adopting SOA must align it with an EA framework that elevates the importance of the needs of the enterprise rather than only considering the requirements of individual projects.

Step forward: TOGAF® 9

Now used by 80 percent of the Fortune Global 50, TOGAF® , an Open Group standard, is an architecture framework that contains a detailed method and set of supporting resources for developing an EA. As a comprehensive, open method for EA, TOGAF 9 complements and can be used in conjunction with other frameworks that are more focused on specific aspects of architecture, such as MDA and ITIL.

The Open Group’s new guide, Using TOGAF to Define and Govern Service-Oriented Architectures, aims to facilitate common understanding of the development of SOA while offering a phased approach to maximizing its business impact based on the popular TOGAF methodology. Let’s take a look at the main takeaways from the guide:

Organization readiness - An enterprise first needs to adopt the principle of service-orientation. However, successful SOA depends on the readiness of the enterprise to become service-oriented. To get started with SOA, the guide recommends conducting a maturity assessment. Such an assessment is available from The Open Group and enables a practitioner to assess an organization’s SOA maturity level and define a roadmap for incremental adoption to maximize business benefits at each stage along the way.

Scope - The size and complexity of an enterprise affects the way its architecture develops. Where there are many different organizational and business models, it is not practical to integrate them within a single architecture. It is therefore generally not appropriate to develop a single, integrated SOA for a large and complex enterprise.

TOGAF defines enterprise as any collection of organizations that has a common set of goals. For example, an enterprise could be a government agency, a whole corporation, a division of a corporation, a single department, or a chain of geographically distant organizations linked together by common ownership.

The guide highlights an approach for enterprise architects to identify the business areas where SOA will be of greatest benefit and make a significant impact so that they can be prioritized. This approach will help organizations avoid using SOA with the wrong situations to maximize their investment and overall business impact.

Communication, communication, communication - Aspects of TOGAF 9 were extended and enhanced to cover specific service-oriented concepts and terminology such as service contracts. Service contracts formalize the functional and non-functional characteristics of a business service and how it interacts with other business services. This enables a business vocabulary to be derived that allows IT to converse with the business in terms of business process and business services and abstracting away the complexity of the underlying technical services.

Governance - The identification of service and service portfolios is a key task for SOA. The questions of what service and service portfolios the enterprise will have, and how they will be managed must be taken with an enterprise level view.

Just because you have identified a number of services does not automatically mean they will add value to the enterprise and that they should be realized (at least not initially). Governance plays a key role here and the guide recommends the establishment of a SOA governance and creating a linkage to both IT and EA governance in the enterprise.

The Open Group has a wealth of information available in this area, specifically an SOA governance framework that provides context and definitions that enable organizations to understand, customize, and deploy SOA governance.

The relationship between EA and SOA is a powerful and synergistic one. They are key enablers for one another, making EA actionable while making the wider business benefits of SOA obtainable.

SOA is certainly not the only architectural approach that your enterprise will require. But it can smooth the alignment and adoption of other architecture styles (e.g., business process management, event-driven architecture) into an EA framework. So rather than reinvent the wheel, organizations should consider using a well-established framework such as TOGAF to elevate and extend the value of SOA.

The Open Group’s new guide is a must-read for any enterprise architect currently using TOGAF, but remember that it needs to be customized and extended to your enterprises unique situation. Now, if only The Open Group had a guide on using TOGAF to define and govern Cloud Computing!

Stephen Bennett is a senior enterprise architect at Oracle, an author, and a 25-year technologist focused on providing thought leadership, best practices, and architecture guidance around SOA and Cloud Computing. He has co-chaired a number of Work Groups within The Open Group around SOA Governance and TOGAF/SOA.

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