Monthly Archives: January 2014

What I learnt at The Open Group Bangalore Conference last weekend

By Sreekanth Iyer, Executive IT Architect, IBM

It was quite a lot of learning on a Saturday attending The Open Group conference at Bangalore. Actually it was a two day program this year. I could not make it on Friday because of other work commitments. I heard from the people who attended that it was a great session on Friday. At least I knew about a fellow IBMer Jithesh Kozhipurath’s presentation on Friday. I’d the chance to look at that excellent material on applying TOGAF® practices for integrated IT Operations Enterprise Architecture which was his experience sharing of the lab infra optimization work that he was leading.

I started bit late on Saturday, thinking it was happening at the Leela Palace which was near to my home (Ah.. that was in 2008) Realized late that it was at the Philips Innovation Campus at Manyata. But managed to reach just on time before the start of the sessions.

The day started with an Architecture as a Service discussion. The presentation was short but there were lot of interesting questions and interactions post the session.  I was curious know more about the “self-service” aspect on that topic.

Then we had Jason Uppal of ClinicialMessage Inc. on stage (see picture below) , who gave a wonderful presentation on the human touch to the architecture and how to leverage EA to make disruptive changes without disrupting the working systems.

Jason bangaloreLots of take-aways from the session. Importantly the typical reasons why certain Architectures can fail… caused many a times we have a solution already in our mind and we are trying to fit that into the requirement. And most of these times if we look at the Requirements artifact we will be see that the problems are not rightly captured. Couldn’t agree more with the good practices that he discussed.

Starting with  “Identifying the Problem Right” – I thought that is definitely the first and important step in Architecture.  Then Jason talked about significance of communicating and engaging people and stakeholders in the architecture — point that he drove home with a good example from the health care industry. He talked about the criticality of communicating and engaging the stakeholders — engagement of course improves quality. Building the right levers in the architecture and solving the whole problem were some of the other key points that I noted down. More importantly the key message was as Architects, we have to go beyond drawing the lines and boxes to deliver the change, may be look to deliver things that can create an impact in 30 days balancing the short term and long term goals.

I got the stage for couple of minutes to update on the AEA Bangalore Chapter activities. My request to the attendees was to leverage the chapter for their own professional development – using that as a platform to share expertise, get answers to queries, connect with other professionals of similar interest and build the network. Hopefully will see more participation in the Bangalore chapter events this year.

On the security track, had multiple interesting sessions. Began with Jim Hietala of The Open Group discussing the Risk Management Framework. I’ve been attending a course on the subject. But this one provided a lot of insight on the taxonomy (O-RT) and the analysis part – more of taking a quantitative approach than a qualitative approach. Though the example was based on risks with regard to laptop thefts, there is no reason we can’t apply the principles to real issues like quantifying the threats for moving workloads to cloud. (that’s another to-do added to my list).

Then it was my session on the Best practices for moving workloads to cloud for Indian Banks. Talked about the progress so far with the whitepaper. The attendees were limited as there was Jason’s EA workshop happening in parallel. But those who attended were really interested in the subject. We did have a good discussion on the benefits, challenges and regulations with regard to the Indian Banking workloads and their movement to cloud.  We discussed few interesting case studies. There are areas that need more content and I’ve requested the people who attended the session to participate in the workgroup. We are looking at getting a first draft done in the next 30 days.

Finally, also sat in the presentation by Ajit A. Matthew on the security implementation at Intel. Everywhere the message is clear. You need to implement context based security and security intelligence to enable the new age innovation but at the same time protect your core assets.

It was a Saturday well spent. Added had some opportunities to connect with few new folks and understand their security challenges with cloud.  Looking to keep the dialog going and have an AEA Bangalore chapter event sometime during Q1. In that direction, I took the first step to write this up and share with my network.

Event Details:
The Open Group Bangalore, India
January 24-25, 2014

Sreekanth IyerSreekanth Iyer is an Executive IT Architect in IBM Security Systems CTO office and works on developing IBM’s Cloud Security Technical Strategy. He is an Open Group Certified Distinguished Architect and is a core member of the Bangalore Chapter of the Association of Enterprise Architects. He has over 18 years’ industry experience and has led several client solutions across multiple industries. His key areas of work include Information Security, Cloud Computing, SOA, Event Processing, and Business Process management. He has authored several technical articles, blogs and is a core contributor to multiple Open Group as well as IBM publications. He works out of the IBM India Software Lab Bangalore and you can follow him on Twitter @sreek.

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The ArchiMate® Certification for People Program 2014 Updates

By Andrew Josey, The Open Group

Following on from the news in December of the 1000th certification in the ArchiMate certification program, The Open Group has made some changes to the program that will make the certification program more accessible. As of January 2014, it is now possible to self study for both certification levels.  Previously to achieve the Level 2 certification, known as ArchiMate 2 Certified, attendance at a course was mandatory.

To accommodate this, a revised examination structure has been introduced as shown in the diagram below:ArchiMate_2_exam

There are two levels of certification:

  • ArchiMate Foundation: Knowledge of the notation, terminology, structure, and concepts of the ArchiMate modeling language.
  • ArchiMate Certified: In addition to Knowledge and comprehension, the ability to analyze and apply the ArchiMate modeling language.

Candidates are able to choose whether they wish to become certified in a stepwise manner by starting with ArchiMate 2 Foundation and then at a later date ArchiMate 2 Certified, or bypass ArchiMate 2 Foundation and go directly to ArchiMate 2 Certified.

For those going directly to ArchiMate 2 Certified there is a choice of taking the two examinations separately or a Combined examination. The advantage of taking the two examinations over the single Combined examination is that if you pass Part 1 but fail Part 2 you can still qualify for ArchiMate 2 Foundation.

The ArchiMate 2 Part 1 examination comprises 40 questions in simple multiple choice format. The ArchiMate 2 Part 2 examination comprises 8 question using a gradient scored, scenario based format. Practice examinations are included as part of an Accredited ArchiMate Training course and available with the Study Guide.

The examinations are delivered either at Prometric test centers or by Accredited Training Course Providers through The Open Group Internet Based Testing portal.

You can find an available accredited training course either by viewing the public Calendar of Accredited Training Courses or by contacting a provider using the Register of Accredited Training Courses.

The ArchiMate 2 Certification Self-Study Pack is available at http://www.opengroup.org/bookstore/catalog/b132.htm.

The hardcopy of the ArchiMate 2 Certification Study Guide is available to order from Van Haren Publishing at http://www.vanharen.net/9789401800020

ArchiMate is a registered trademark of The Open Group.

 Andrew Josey is Director of Standards within The Open Group. He is currently managing the standards process for The Open Group, and has recently led the standards development projects for TOGAF 9.1, ArchiMate 2.1, IEEE Std 1003.1-2008 (POSIX), and the core specifications of the Single UNIX Specification, Version 4. Previously, he has led the development and operation of many of The Open Group certification development projects, including industry-wide certification programs for the UNIX system, the Linux Standard Base, TOGAF, and IEEE POSIX. He is a member of the IEEE, USENIX, UKUUG, and the Association of Enterprise Architects.

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Future Shock: Why IT Needs to Embrace Agile Development or Be Left Behind

By Allen Brown, President and CEO, The Open Group

In his 1970 bestseller, Future Shock, futurist Alvin Toffler predicted that the rate of technological change and progress was beginning to accelerate at a rate faster than what people are often ready for or can handle. Looking over the course of history—from agrarian societies through the industrial age to our current post-industrial age in which more people work in service-oriented fields than agricultural ones—Toffler noted that the rapid changes brought on by technology often leave people in a state of “future shock.”

Future shock, Toffler argued, can cause not only disorientation for those who are caught up in it, but it can also induce a kind of paralysis brought on by being confronted with too many choices. In its worst form, future shock can lead to alienation and a breakdown of the social order due to “information overload” (a term originally coined by Toffler).

Toffler’s predictions were amazingly accurate for the time. We are most certainly in an era where we can barely keep up with the constant technological changes we are faced with on a daily basis. This is certainly true of how consumer technologies have changed our lives. Not only is the laptop or phone you buy today practically obsolete by the time you get it home, but we constantly struggle to keep up with our technologies and the volume of information—via email, text messages, the Internet, Twitter, etc.—that we consume on a daily basis. We are all likely suffering from some degree of information overload.

Similarly, technology change is accelerating business drivers at rates that are increasingly difficult for organizations to keep up with, not only for IT, but also for management. Trends such as Cloud, BYOD, Big Data and the Internet of Things are driving information overload for today’s enterprises putting intense pressure on lines of business to respond quickly to market drivers, data-driven imperatives and internal demands. Organizations are being forced to change—whether they are ready or not.

According to Toffler, the only way to combat future shock is to learn to adapt and to do so constantly. Toffler likens an inability to adapt to a new kind of illiteracy, with those who cannot adapt being left behind. “The illiterate of the 21st Century are not those who cannot read and write but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn” he said.

The problem is that most organizations today are not in a position to handle rapid change or to adapt quickly. In The Open Group Convergent Technologies Survey, only 52 percent of organizations surveyed felt they were equipped to deal with convergence of new technologies, while 27% said they were ill-prepared. Prepared or not, the tide of convergence is coming whether organizations like it or not. But to survive in our current economy, companies must learn to architect themselves in the moment.

Using Agile Development as a Model
Over the past ten years, agile software development has emerged as one of the ways for IT developers to adapt to the requirements of constant change. Based on a definition coined in the Manifesto for Agile Software Development in 2001, agile development is characterized by iterative, incremental and rapid development that evolves through collaboration. Rather than making development a process that takes years of painstaking planning before execution, the agile method puts a product out into the market at the earliest convenience, tests it with users and then adapts it accordingly. The process is then repeated with feedback and upgrades on a constant, iterative loop.

Agile development is driven by flexibility and the ability to respond rapidly to keep up with the endless change in the market. With agile principles, organizational focus shifts from processes and tools to individuals and interactions, the organization to the customer, from negotiation to collaboration, and to responding to change rather than sticking to rigid plans.

For many readers, “agile” is a loaded term and largely associated with solutions rather than the enterprise architecture but there are some appealing aspects to it.  An adaptation of the twelve principles of Agile Development to the discipline of Enterprise Architecture would be an interesting place to start.  I have just picked out half of the principles and adapted them here by way of example – using parenthesis to show possible deletions and adding a few words here and there in italics.

  •  Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of (valuable software) valuable architecture guidance to the enterprise
  •  Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.
  • Business people and (developers) architects must work together (daily) throughout the project.
  • Simplicity–the art of maximizing the amount of work not done–is essential.
  • The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
  • At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.

What Organizations Can Learn from Agile Development
As Toffler predicted, the rate of business change is happening so quickly that if you take too much time to do anything, your organization is likely to lose out. Business schools have even taken a page from IT development and have begun teaching the principles of agile development to graduate students. As Toffler noted, “if you don’t have a strategy, you’re part of someone else’s strategy.” In business today, as in combatting “future shock,” adaptability must be at the core of every organization’s strategy.

Organizations that want to survive and thrive in this paradigm will need to take a page from IT, agile development and start-up cultures to become more nimble and move more quickly. Becoming agile will take significant shifts in culture for many organizations. Business and IT must work together in order to facilitate changes that will work for each organization. Enterprise architects and IT leaders can help lead the charge for change within their organizations by helping the C-Suite not only understand how to apply agile development principles to the business, but by showing the potential consequences of being slow to adapt and how business imperatives are the real drivers for these changes.

Architecting things as you go is a difficult thing for most organizations and most industries. Most of us are not used to that level of flexibility or a need to adapt that quickly. We are more comfortable with planning ahead and sticking to a well-thought out plan. Agility does not preclude planning or forethought—rather it is part of the process and action plan instead of being a precursor to action. Although many organizations are likely in for a large dose of “future” or culture shock, adaptation and business transformation is necessary for today’s organizations if they don’t want to be left behind in the face of constant change.

Allen BrownAllen Brown is President and CEO, The Open Group – a global consortium that enables the achievement of business objectives through IT standards.  For over 15 years Allen has been responsible for driving The Open Group’s strategic plan and day-to-day operations, including extending its reach into new global markets, such as China, the Middle East, South Africa and India. In addition, he was instrumental in the creation of the AEA, which was formed to increase job opportunities for all of its members and elevate their market value by advancing professional excellence.

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