By The Open Group
Last month, The Open Group hosted its San Francisco 2014 conference themed “Toward Boundaryless Information Flow™.” Boundaryless Information Flow has been the pillar of The Open Group’s mission since 2002 when it was adopted as the organization’s vision for Enterprise Architecture. We sat down at the conference with The Open Group President and CEO Allen Brown to discuss the industry’s progress toward that goal and the industries that could most benefit from it now as well as The Open Group’s new Dependability through Assuredness™ Standard and what the organization’s Forums are working on in 2014.
The Open Group adopted Boundaryless Information Flow as its vision in 2002, and the theme of the San Francisco Conference has been “Towards Boundaryless Information Flow.” Where do you think the industry is at this point in progressing toward that goal?
Well, it’s progressing reasonably well but the challenge is, of course, when we established that vision back in 2002, life was a little less complex, a little bit less fast moving, a little bit less fast-paced. Although organizations are improving the way that they act in a boundaryless manner – and of course that changes by industry – some industries still have big silos and stovepipes, they still have big boundaries. But generally speaking we are moving and everyone understands the need for information to flow in a boundaryless manner, for people to be able to access and integrate information and to provide it to the teams that they need.
One of the keynotes on Day One focused on the opportunities within the healthcare industry and The Open Group recently started a Healthcare Forum. Do you see Healthcare industry as a test case for Boundaryless Information Flow and why?
Healthcare is one of the verticals that we’ve focused on. And it is not so much a test case, but it is an area that absolutely seems to need information to flow in a boundaryless manner so that everyone involved – from the patient through the administrator through the medical teams – have all got access to the right information at the right time. We know that in many situations there are shifts of medical teams, and from one medical team to another they don’t have access to the same information. Information isn’t easily shared between medical doctors, hospitals and payers. What we’re trying to do is to focus on the needs of the patient and improve the information flow so that you get better outcomes for the patient.
Are there other industries where this vision might be enabled sooner rather than later?
I think that we’re already making significant progress in what we call the Exploration, Mining and Minerals industry. Our EMMM™ Forum has produced an industry-wide model that is being adopted throughout that industry. We’re also looking at whether we can have an influence in the airline industry, automotive industry, manufacturing industry. There are many, many others, government and retail included.
The plenary on Day Two of the conference focused on The Open Group’s Dependability through Assuredness standard, which was released last August. Why is The Open Group looking at dependability and why is it important?
Dependability is ultimately what you need from any system. You need to be able to rely on that system to perform when needed. Systems are becoming more complex, they’re becoming bigger. We’re not just thinking about the things that arrive on the desktop, we’re thinking about systems like the barriers at subway stations or Tube stations, we’re looking at systems that operate any number of complex activities. And they bring an awful lot of things together that you have to rely upon.
Now in all of these systems, what we’re trying to do is to minimize the amount of downtime because downtime can result in financial loss or at worst human life, and we’re trying to focus on that. What is interesting about the Dependability through Assuredness Standard is that it brings together so many other aspects of what The Open Group is working on. Obviously the architecture is at the core, so it’s critical that there’s an architecture. It’s critical that we understand the requirements of that system. It’s also critical that we understand the risks, so that fits in with the work of the Security Forum, and the work that they’ve done on Risk Analysis, Dependency Modeling, and out of the dependency modeling we can get the use cases so that we can understand where the vulnerabilities are, what action has to be taken if we identify a vulnerability or what action needs to be taken in the event of a failure of the system. If we do that and assign accountability to people for who will do what by when, in the event of an anomaly being detected or a failure happening, we can actually minimize that downtime or remove it completely.
Now the other great thing about this is it’s not only a focus on the architecture for the actual system development, and as the system changes over time, requirements change, legislation changes that might affect it, external changes, that all goes into that system, but also there’s another circle within that system that deals with failure and analyzes it and makes sure it doesn’t happen again. But there have been so many evidences of failure recently. In the banks for example in the UK, a bank recently was unable to process debit cards or credit cards for customers for about three or four hours. And that was probably caused by the work done on a routine basis over a weekend. But if Dependability through Assuredness had been in place, that could have been averted, it could have saved an awfully lot of difficulty for an awful lot of people.
How does the Dependability through Assuredness Standard also move the industry toward Boundaryless Information Flow?
It’s part of it. It’s critical that with big systems the information has to flow. But this is not so much the information but how a system is going to work in a dependable manner.
Business Architecture was another featured topic in the San Francisco plenary. What role can business architecture play in enterprise transformation vis a vis the Enterprise Architecture as a whole?
A lot of people in the industry are talking about Business Architecture right now and trying to focus on that as a separate discipline. We see it as a fundamental part of Enterprise Architecture. And, in fact, there are three legs to Enterprise Architecture, there’s Business Architecture, there’s the need for business analysts, which are critical to supplying the information, and then there are the solutions, and other architects, data, applications architects and so on that are needed. So those three legs are needed.
We find that there are two or three different types of Business Architect. Those that are using the analysis to understand what the business is doing in order that they can inform the solutions architects and other architects for the development of solutions. There are those that are more integrated with the business that can understand what is going on and provide input into how that might be improved through technology. And there are those that can actually go another step and talk about here we have the advances and the technology and here are the opportunities for advancing our competitiveness and organization.
What are some of the other key initiatives that The Open Group’s forum and work groups will be working on in 2014?
That kind question is like if you’ve got an award, you’ve got to thank your friends, so apologies to anyone that I leave out. Let me start alphabetically with the Architecture Forum. The Architecture Forum obviously is working on the evolution of TOGAF®, they’re also working with the harmonization of TOGAF with Archimate® and they have a number of projects within that, of course Business Architecture is on one of the projects going on in the Architecture space. The Archimate Forum are pushing ahead with Archimate—they’ve got two interesting activities going on at the moment, one is called ArchiMetals, which is going to be a sister publication to the ArchiSurance case study, where the ArchiSurance provides the example of Archimate is used in the insurance industry, ArchiMetals is going to be used in a manufacturing context, so there will be a whitepaper on that and there will be examples and artifacts that we can use. They’re also working on in Archimate a standard for interoperability for modeling tools. There are four tools that are accredited and certified by The Open Group right now and we’re looking for that interoperability to help organizations that have multiple tools as many of them do.
Going down the alphabet, there’s DirecNet. Not many people know about DirecNet, but Direcnet™ is work that we do around the U.S. Navy. They’re working on standards for long range, high bandwidth mobile networking. We can go to the FACE™ Consortium, the Future Airborne Capability Environment. The FACE Consortium are working on their next version of their standard, they’re working toward accreditation, a certification program and the uptake of that through procurement is absolutely amazing, we’re thrilled about that.
Healthcare we’ve talked about. The Open Group Trusted Technology Forum, where they’re working on how we can trust the supply chain in developed systems, they’ve released the Open Trusted Technology Provider™ Standard (O-TTPS) Accreditation Program, that was launched this week, and we already have one accredited vendor and two certified test labs, assessment labs. That is really exciting because now we’ve got a way of helping any organization that has large complex systems that are developed through a global supply chain to make sure that they can trust their supply chain. And that is going to be invaluable to many industries but also to the safety of citizens and the infrastructure of many countries. So the other part of the O-TTPS is that standard we are planning to move toward ISO standardization shortly.
The next one moving down the list would be Open Platform 3.0™. This is really exciting part of Boundaryless Information Flow, it really is. This is talking about the convergence of SOA, Cloud, Social, Mobile, Internet of Things, Big Data, and bringing all of that together, this convergence, this bringing together of all of those activities is really something that is critical right now, and we need to focus on. In the different areas, some of our Cloud computing standards have already gone to ISO and have been adopted by ISO. We’re working right now on the next products that are going to move through. We have a governance standard in process and an ecosystem standard has recently been published. In the area of Big Data there’s a whitepaper that’s 25 percent completed, there’s also a lot of work on the definition of what Open Platform 3.0 is, so this week the members have been working on trying to define Open Platform 3.0. One of the really interesting activities that’s gone on, the members of the Open Platform 3.0 Forum have produced something like 22 different use cases and they’re really good. They’re concise and they’re precise and the cover a number of different industries, including healthcare and others, and the next stage is to look at those and work on the ROI of those, the monetization, the value from those use cases, and that’s really exciting, I’m looking forward to peeping at that from time to time.
The Real Time and Embedded Systems Forum (RTES) is next. Real-Time is where we incubated the Dependability through Assuredness Framework and that was where that happened and is continuing to develop and that’s really good. The core focus of the RTES Forum is high assurance system, and they’re doing some work with ISO on that and a lot of other areas with multicore and, of course, they have a number of EC projects that we’re partnering with other partners in the EC around RTES.
The Security Forum, as I mentioned earlier, they’ve done a lot of work on risk and dependability. So they’ve not only their standards for the Risk Taxonomy and Risk Analysis, but they’ve now also developed the Open FAIR Certification for People, which is based on those two standards of Risk Analysis and Risk Taxonomy. And we’re already starting to see people being trained and being certified under that Open FAIR Certification Program that the Security Forum developed.
A lot of other activities are going on. Like I said, I probably left a lot of things out, but I hope that gives you a flavor of what’s going on in The Open Group right now.
The Open Group will be hosting a summit in Amsterdam May 12-14, 2014. What can we look forward to at that conference?
In Amsterdam we have a summit – that’s going to bring together a lot of things, it’s going to be a bigger conference that we had here. We’ve got a lot of activity in all of our activities; we’re going to bring together top-level speakers, so we’re looking forward to some interesting work during that week.