Author Archives: The Open Group Blog

Agile Enterprise Architecture – A Good to Great Evolution

By Priya Patra, Sr. Manager at IGATE Global Solutions

I have been an Agile Practitioner for years now, have been in many successful Agile executed projects. But as an Enterprise Architect I am somewhat skeptical about the fact how the eXtereme Programming and other Agile methodologies dismiss the value of analysis and design.

In this write-up I will try to blend in the flavors of Agile along with Enterprise Architecture to bring in the concept of Agile Architecture.

Enterprise Architecture is good, but when we make it agile t0 embraces change, it is great. Let’s see how we can embark on the Good to Great journey of making an Enterprise Architecture and Agile Enterprise Architecture.

Emerging and Intentional Architecture

SCRUM and XP have seen broadest adoptions in the enterprises. These methodologies are based on the assumptions that the architecture emerges out of the iterations of delivery of value driven user stories and continuous refactoring, this is what we call Emerging Architecture. What if we have to scale this to the enterprise, will it stand up to the test of scalability, here comes in the Intentional Architecture.

Intentional Architecture is a practice which is designed to produce robust architectures in an Agile fashion. The objectives of Intentional Architecture are as follows:

  1. Build Application Architecture vision
  2. Alignment of Application Architecture with Enterprise Architecture vision
  3. Leverage Architecture patterns, implementation strategies and best practices – Build robust Architecture Principles
  4. Sponsor innovation and continuous Improvement

Agile Architecture – Looking beyond the current Sprint

With the foundation laid for an intentional architecture, we will now look to see if we can make the enterprise architecture Agile.

Characteristics of an Agile Architecture

  1. Intentional Architecture, rather than an emerging architecture
  2. Integration points to facilitate Agile Development rather than hindering the same
  3. Embrace change without over building

This does not happen by accident but by design.

By The Open Group

 The Agile Enterprise Architecture

Role of an Agile Architect

There are substantial benefits when we effectively apply the intentional architecture, provided the iteration is not slowed down. An Agile Architect is a role in an agile team who provides inputs and technical direction based on the Architecture vision to the enterprise and ensures that the design and architecture of an individual application is in conformance with enterprise architecture vision.

Let’s see how an Agile Developer and Agile Architect embrace change?

Agile Developer Agile Enterprise Architect
Works to satisfy the customer and business Balances needs of all stakeholders and knows when to say “no”
Embraces change quickly assuming change is inevitable Plans for change, embraces it, by understanding it and through a flexible design
Follows “YAGNI” principle of XP Follows “Separations of concerns”, plans and designs for scalability and reliability in conformance with Enterprise Standards
Uses quick   solutions to solve problems Implement Long tern solutions to reduce technical risk / debt and improve maintainability

Evolution Strategies – Good to GreatBy The Open GroupBuild strong foundations: Agility depends on strong foundations; we can never be agile, if we keep spending time in fixing the core or Architectural building blocks.

Establish Implementation strategy: Implementation strategy to be aligned to the Architecture vision and communicated to the Agile team to ensure alignment to the vision.

Adopt a layered structure:   Layer data as well as the software. We need to separate out things with specific purpose or which changes with different rates than others. Separate the core from the business rules, loosely couple components and apply abstraction for growth and scalability.

Practice change continually: Being Great at anything requires practice. Agile teams needs to use tools and techniques which support constant change e.g. Continuous Integration, testing and refactoring

Bottom line “Think long term and act short term “. Understand the agility the business needs, understand what helps you to align to the Enterprise Architecture Vision and choose design wisely!

By Priya Patra, Sr. Manager at IGATE Global SolutionsPriya Patra is Sr. Manager at IGATE Global Solutions. She has extensive experience in managing and executing product / framework development and Technology CoE projects. She is a Certified Scrum Master, a certified TOGAF® practitioner and a member of the Association of Enterprise Architects (AEA).

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The Open Group Madrid 2015 – Day Two Highlights

By The Open Group

On Tuesday, April 21, Allen Brown, President & CEO of The Open Group, began the plenary presenting highlights of the work going on in The Open Group Forums. The Open Group is approaching 500 memberships in 40 countries.

Big Data & Open Platform 3.0™ – a Big Deal for Open Standards

Ron Tolido, Senior Vice President of Capgemini’s group CTO network and Open Group Board Member, discussed the digital platform as the “fuel” of enterprise transformation today, citing a study published in the book “Leading Digital.” The DNA of companies that successfully achieve transform has the following factors:

  • There is no escaping from mastering the digital technology – this is an essential part of leading transformation. CEO leadership is a success factor.
  • You need a sustainable technology platform embraced by both the business and technical functions

Mastering digital transformation shows a payoff in financial results, both from the standpoint of efficient revenue generation and maintaining and growing market share. The building blocks of digital capability are:

  • Customer Experience
  • Operations
  • New business models

Security technology must move from being a constraint or “passion killer” to being a driver for digital transformation. Data handling must change it’s model – the old structured and siloed approach to managing data no longer works, resulting in business units bypassing or ignoring the “single souce” data repository. He recommended the “Business Data Lake” approach as a approach to overcoming this, and suggested it should be considered as an open standard as part of the work of the Open Platform 3.0 Forum.

In the Q&A session, Ron suggested establishing hands-on labs to help people embrace digital transformation, and presented the analogy of DatOps as an analogy to DevOps for business data.

Challengers in the Digital Era

Mariano Arnaiz, Chief Information Officer in the CESCE Group, presented the experiences of CESCE in facing challenges of:

  • Changing regulation
  • Changing consumer expectations
  • Changing technology
  • Changing competition and market entrants based on new technology

The digital era represents a new language for many businesses, which CESCE faced during the financial crisis of 2008. They chose the “path less traveled” of becoming a data-driven company, using data and analytics to improve business insight, predict behavior and act on it. CESCE receives over 8000 risk analysis requests per day; using analytics, over 85% are answered in real time, when it used to take more than 20 days. Using analytics has given them unique competitive products such as variable pricing and targeted credit risk coverage while reducing loss ratio.

To drive transformation, the CIO must move beyond IT service supporting the business to helping drive business process improvement. Aligning IT to business is no longer enough for EA – EA must also help align business to transformational technology.

In the Q&A, Mariano said that the approach of using analytics and simulation for financial risk modeling could be applied to some cybersecurity risk analysis cases.

Architecting the Internet of Things

Kary Främling,  CEO of the Finnish company ControlThings and Professor of Practice in Building Information Modeling (BIM) at Aalto University, Finland, gave a history of the Internet of Things (IoT), the standards landscape, issues on security in IoT, and real-world examples.

IoT today is characterized by an increasing number of sensors and devices each pushing large amounts of data to their own silos, with communication limited to their own network. Gaining benefit from IoT requires standards to take a systems view of IoT providing horizontal integration among IoT devices and sensors with data collected as and when needed, and two-way data flows between trusted entities within a vision of Closed-Loop Lifecycle Management. These standards are being developed in The Open Group Open Platform 3.0 Forum’s IoT work stream; published standards such as Open Messaging interface (O-MI) and Open Data Format (O-DF) that allow discovery and interoperability of sensors using open protocols, similar to the way http and html enable interoperability on the Web.

Kary addressed the issues of security and privacy in IoT, noting this is an opportunity for The Open Group to use our EA and Security work to to assess these issues at the scale IoT will bring.By The Open Group

Kary Främling

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Filed under big data, Boundaryless Information Flow™, Cybersecurity, Enterprise Architecture, Internet of Things

The Open Group Madrid 2015 – Day One Highlights

By The Open Group

On Monday, April 20, Allen Brown, President & CEO of The Open Group, welcomed 150 attendees to the Enabling Boundaryless Information Flow™ summit held at the Madrid Eurobuilding Hotel.  Following are highlights from the plenary:

The Digital Transformation of the Public Administration of Spain – Domingo Javier Molina Moscoso

Domingo Molina, the first Spanish national CIO, said that governments must transform digitally to meet public expectations, stay nationally competitive, and control costs – the common theme in transformation of doing more with less. Their CORA commission studied what commercial businesses did, and saw the need for an ICT platform as part of the reform, along with coordination and centralization of ICT decision making across agencies.

Three Projects:

  • Telecom consolidation – €125M savings, reduction in infrastructure and vendors
  • Reduction in number of data centers
  • Standardizing and strengething security platform for central administration – only possible because of consolidation of telecom.

The Future: Increasing use of mobile, social networks, online commercial services such as banking – these are the expectations of young people. The administration must therefore be in the forefront of providing digital services to citizens. They have set a transformation target of having citizens being able to interact digitally with all government services by 2020.

Q&A:

  • Any use of formal methods for transformation such as EA? Looked at other countries – seen models such as outsourcing. They are taking a combined approach of reusing their experts and externalizing.
  • How difficult has it been to achieve savings in Europe given labor laws? Model is to re-assign people to higher-value tasks.
  • How do you measure progress: Each unit has own ERP for IT governance – no unified reporting. CIO requests and consolidates data. Working on common IT tool to do this.

An Enterprise Transformation Approach for Today’s Digital Business – Fernando García Velasco

Computing has moved from tabulating systems to the internet and moving into an era of “third platform” of Cloud, Analytics, Mobile and Social (CAMS) and cognitive computing. The creates a “perfect storm” for disruption of enterprise IT delivery.

  • 58% say SMAC will reduce barriers to entry
  • 69% say it will increase competition
  • 41% expect this competition to come from outside traditional market players

These trends are being collected and consolidated in The Open Group Open Platform 3.0™ standard.

He sees the transformation happening in three ways:

  1. Top-down – a transformation view
  2. Meet in the middle: Achieving innovation through EA
  3. Bottom-up: the normal drive for incremental improvement

Gartner: EA is the discipline for leading enterprise response to disruptive forces. IDC: EA is mandatory for managing transformation to third platform.

EA Challenges & Evolution – a Younger Perspective

Steve Nunn, COO of The Open Group and CEO of the Association of Enterprise Architects (AEA), noted the AEA is leading the development of EA as a profession, and is holding the session to recognize the younger voices joining the EA profession. He introduced the panelists: Juan Abal, Itziar Leguinazabal, Mario Gómez Velasco, Daniel Aguado Pérez, Ignacio Macias Jareño.

The panelists talked about their journey as EAs, noting that their training focused on development with little exposure to EA or Computer Science concepts. Schools aren’t currently very interested in teaching EA, so it is hard to get a start. Steve Nunn noted the question of how to enter EA as a profession is a worldwide concern. The panelists said they started looking at EA as a way of gaining a wider perspective of the development or administrative projects they were working on. Mentoring is important, and there is a challenge in learning about the business side when coming from a technical world. Juan Abal said such guidance and mentoring by senior architects is one of the benefits the AEA chapter offers.

Q: What advice would you give to someone entering into the EA career? A: If you are starting from a CS or engineering perspective, you need to start learning about the business. Gain a deep knowledge of your industry. Expect a lot of hard work, but it will have the reward of having more impact on decisions. Q: EA is really about business and strategy. Does the AEA have a strategy for making the market aware of this? A: The Spanish AEA chapter focuses on communicating that EA is a mix, and that EAs need to develop business skills. It is a concern that young architects are focused on IT aspects of EA, and how they can be shown the path to understand the business side.

Q: Should EA be part of the IT program or the CS program in schools? A: We have seen around the world a history of architects coming from IT and that only a few universities have specific IT programs. Some offer it at the postgraduate level. The EA is trying globally to raise awareness of the need for EA education. continuing education as part of a career development path is a good way to manage the breadth of skills a good EA needs; organizations should also be aware of the levels of The Open Group Open CA certifications.

Q: If EA is connected to business, should EAs be specialized to the vertical sector, or should EA be business agnostic? A: Core EA skills are industry-agnostic, and these need to be supplemented by industry-specific reference models. Methodology, Industry knowledge and interpersonal skills are all critical, and these are developed over time.

Q: Do you use EA tools in your job? A: Not really – the experience to use complex tools comes over time.

Q: Are telecom companies adopting EA? A: Telecom companies are adopting standard reference architectures. This sector has not made much progress in EA, though it is critical for transformation in the current market. Time pressure in a changing market is also a barrier.

Q: Is EA being grown in-house or outsourced? A: We are seeing increased uptake among end-user companies in using EA to achieve transformation – this is happening across sectors and is a big opportunity in Spain right now.

Join the conversation! @theopengroup #ogMAD

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Survey Shows Organizations Are Experiencing an Identity Crisis When it Comes to IT Risk Management

By Jim Hietala, VP, Business Development & Security, The Open Group

Last fall, The Open Group Security Forum fielded its first IT Risk Management Survey in conjunction with the Society of Information Risk Analysts (SIRA) and CXOWARE The purpose of the survey was to better understand how mature organizations are when it comes to IT Risk Management today. The survey also aimed to discover which risk management frameworks are currently most prevalent within organizations and how successful those frameworks are in measuring and managing risk.

Consisting of an online questionnaire that included both multiple choice and open text answer formats with questions, the survey explored a number of different parameters in regard to the principles, frameworks and processes organizations are using to manage risk. The sampling included more than 100 information technology and security executives, professionals, analysts and architects that have some responsibility for risk management, as well as full-time risk management professionals within their respective organizations.

Considering the fragmented state of security within most organizations today, it should not come as much surprise that the primary survey finding is that many organizations today are experiencing what might be called an identity crisis when it comes to IT Risk Management. Although many of the organizations surveyed generally believe their Risk Management teams and efforts are providing value to their organizations, they are also experiencing considerable difficulty when it comes to understanding, demonstrating and creating business value for those efforts.

This is likely due to the lack of a common definition for risk relative to IT Risk Management, in particular, as well as the resulting difficulty in communicating the value of something organizations are struggling to clearly define. In addition, the IT Risk Management teams among the companies surveyed do not have much visibility within their organizations and the departments to which they report are inconsistent across the organizations surveyed, with some reporting to senior management and others reporting to IT or to Risk Managers.

Today, Risk Management is becoming increasingly important for IT departments. With the increased digitalization of business and data becoming ever more valuable, companies of all shapes and sizes must begin looking to apply risk management principles to their IT infrastructure in order to guard against the potentially negative financial, competitive and reputational loss that data breaches may bring. A myriad of high-profile breaches at large retailers, financial services firms, entertainment companies and government agencies over the past couple of years serve as frightening examples of what can—and will—happen to more and more companies if they fail to better assess their vulnerability to risk.

This IT Risk Management survey essentially serves as a benchmark for the state of IT Risk Management today. When it comes to IT risk, the ways and means to manage it are still emerging, and IT Risk Management programs are still in the nascent stages within most organizations. We believe that there is not only a lot of room for growth within the discipline of IT Risk Management but are optimistic that organizations will continue to mature in this area as they learn to better understand and prove their intrinsic value within their organizations.

The full survey summary can be viewed here. We recommend that those interested in Risk Management review the full summary as there are a number of deeper observations explored there that look at the value risk teams believe they are providing to their organizations and the level of maturity of those organizations.

By Jim Hietala, The Open GroupJim Hietala, Open FAIR, CISSP, GSEC, is Vice President, Business Development and Security for The Open Group, where he manages the business team, as well as Security and Risk Management programs and standards activities,  He has participated in the development of several industry standards including O-ISM3, O-ESA, O-RT (Risk Taxonomy Standard), O-RA (Risk Analysis Standard), and O-ACEML. He also led the development of compliance and audit guidance for the Cloud Security Alliance v2 publication.

Jim is a frequent speaker at industry conferences. He has participated in the SANS Analyst/Expert program, having written several research white papers and participated in several webcasts for SANS. He has also published numerous articles on information security, risk management, and compliance topics in publications including CSO, The ISSA Journal, Bank Accounting & Finance, Risk Factor, SC Magazine, and others.

An IT security industry veteran, he has held leadership roles at several IT security vendors.

Jim holds a B.S. in Marketing from Southern Illinois University.

Join the conversation @theopengroup #ogchat #ogSecurity

 

 

 

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Filed under Cybersecurity, Enterprise Transformation, Information security, IT, RISK Management, Security, Security Architecture, Uncategorized

Risk, Security and the Internet of Things: Madrid 2015 Preview

By Jim Hietala, Vice President, Business Development & Security, The Open Group

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a fast evolving phenomenon. From smartphones and tablets to connected cars and industrial control systems, the number of IoT devices is continuing to explode. In fact, according to a report by Cisco, the number of connected devices is set to reach 30 billion in 2020, creating a $19 trillion opportunity for businesses around the world.

However as this technology grows, it’s important to consider the potential risks that IoT could introduce to the enterprise and even to society. To put it simply, not much is being done at the moment in terms of IoT security.

The risks brought about by IoT aren’t just restricted to industries handling highly-sensitive personal data, such as Healthcare. Look at industries like energy, transport, manufacturing and mining, which are all starting to report the benefits of IoT ranging from faster time to market, better equipment efficiency and improved productivity. In any industrial setting, if high-value IoT data that gives an organization a competitive advantage was to leave the company, it could have serious consequences.

Arguably there are many vendors producing IoT enabled devices which are not taking risk or basic security mechanisms into account. Vendors are putting Internet Protocols (IPs) onto devices without any consideration about how to properly secure them. It’s fair to say, there are currently more problems than solutions.

This is happening, and it’s happening fast. As IoT technology continues to race way ahead, security standards are trying to catch up. Currently, there isn’t a consensus around the right way to secure the vast number of connected devices.

It’s important that we as an industry get to grips with IoT Security and start to apply a common sense strategy as soon as possible. That’s why we want people to start thinking about the risks and where best practices are lacking, a key issue we’ll be discussing at The Open Group Madrid 2015.

We’ll be exploring the implications of IoT from the standpoint of Security and Risk, looking at the areas where work will need to be done and where The Open Group Security Forum can help. What are the burning issues in each vertical industry – from retail to Healthcare – and what is the best way to identify the key IoT-enabled assets that need securing?

As organizations start to permit IoT-enabled equipment, whether it’s connected cars or factory equipment, IT departments need to consider the Security requirements of those networks. From a Security Architecture point of view, it’s vital that organizations do everything in their power to ensure they meet customers’ needs.

Registration for The Open Group Madrid 2015 is open now and available to members and non-members.  Please visit here.

By Jim Hietala, The Open GroupJim Hietala, Open FAIR, CISSP, GSEC, is Vice President, Business Development and Security for The Open Group, where he manages the business team, as well as Security and Risk Management programs and standards activities,  He has participated in the development of several industry standards including O-ISM3, O-ESA, O-RT (Risk Taxonomy Standard), O-RA (Risk Analysis Standard), and O-ACEML. He also led the development of compliance and audit guidance for the Cloud Security Alliance v2 publication.

Jim is a frequent speaker at industry conferences. He has participated in the SANS Analyst/Expert program, having written several research white papers and participated in several webcasts for SANS. He has also published numerous articles on information security, risk management, and compliance topics in publications including CSO, The ISSA Journal, Bank Accounting & Finance, Risk Factor, SC Magazine, and others.

An IT security industry veteran, he has held leadership roles at several IT security vendors.

Jim holds a B.S. in Marketing from Southern Illinois University.

Join the conversation @theopengroup #ogchat #ogMAD

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The Open Group Madrid Summit 2015 – An Interview with Steve Nunn

By The Open Group

The Open Group will be hosting its Spring 2015 summit in Madrid from April 20-23. Focused on Enabling Boundaryless Information Flow™, the summit will explore the increasing digitalization of business today and how Enterprise Architecture will be a critical factor in helping organizations to adapt to the changes that digitalization and rapidly evolving technologies are bringing.

In advance of the summit, we spoke to Steve Nunn, Vice President and COO of The Open Group and CEO of the Association of Enterprise Architects (AEA) about two speaking tracks he will be participating in at the event—a panel on the challenges facing young Enterprise Architects today, and a session addressing the need for Enterprise Architects to consider their personal brand when it comes to their career path.

Tell us about the panel you’ll be moderating at the Madrid Summit on EA Challenges.

The idea for the panel really came from the last meeting we had in San Diego. We had a panel of experienced Enterprise Architects, including John Zachman, giving their perspectives on the state of Enterprise Architecture and answering questions from the audience. It gave us the idea that, we’ve heard from the experienced architects, what if we also heard from younger folks in the industry, maybe those newer to the profession than the previous panel? We decided to put together a panel of young architects, ideally local to Madrid, to get what we hope will be a different set of perspectives on what they have to deal with on a day-to-day basis and what they see as the challenges for the profession, what’s working well and what’s working less well. In conjunction with the local Madrid chapter of the AEA, we put the panel together. I believe it’s a panel of four young architects, plus a gentleman named Juan Abel, who is the chair of the local chapter in Madrid, who helped put it together, with me moderating. The Madrid chapter of the AEA has been very helpful in putting together the summit in Madrid and with details on the ground, and we thank them for all their help.

We’ll be putting some questions together ahead of time, and there will be questions from the audience. We hope it will be a different set of perspectives from folks entering the profession and in a different geography as well, so there may be some things that are particular to practicing Enterprise Architecture in Spain which come out as well. It’s a long panel—over an hour—so, hopefully, we’ll be able to not just hit things at a cursory level, but get into more detail.

What are some of the challenges that younger Enterprise Architects are facing these days?

We’re hoping to learn what the challenges are for those individuals, and we’re also hoping to hear what they think is attracting people to the profession. That’s a part that I’m particularly interested in. In terms of what I think going in to the panel session, the thing I hear about the most from young architects in the profession is about the career path. What is the career path for Enterprise Architects? How do I get in? How do I justify the practice of Enterprise Architecture in my organization if it doesn’t exist already? And if it does exist, how do I get to be part of it?

In the case of those individuals coming out of university—what are the relevant qualifications and certifications that they might be looking at to give themselves the best shot at a career in Enterprise Architecture. I expect it will be a lot of discussion about getting into Enterprise Architecture and how do you best position yourself and equip yourself to be an Enterprise Architect.

Were there things that came out of the San Diego session that will be relevant to the Madrid panel?

There were certainly some things discussed about frameworks and the use of frameworks in Enterprise Architecture. Being an Open Group event, obviously a lot of it was around TOGAF®, an Open Group standard, and with John Zachman as part of it, naturally the Zachman Framework too. There was some discussion about looking into how the two can play more naturally together. There was less discussion about the career development aspect, by and large because, when these people started out in their careers, they weren’t Enterprise Architects because it wasn’t called that. They got into it along the way, rather than starting out with a goal to be an Enterprise Architect, so there wasn’t as much about the career aspect, but I do think that will be a big part of what will come out in Madrid.

I think where there are overlaps is the area around the value proposition for Enterprise Architecture inside an organization. That’s something that experienced architects and less experienced architects will face on a day-to-day basis in an organization that hasn’t yet bought into an Enterprise Architecture approach. The common theme is, how do you justify taking Enterprise Architecture inside an organization in a way that delivers value quick enough for people to see that something is happening? So that it’s not just a multi-year project that will eventually produce something that’s nicely tied up in a bow that may or may not do what they wanted because, chances are, the business need has moved on in that time anyway. It’s being able to show that Enterprise Architecture can deliver things in the short term as well as the long term. I think that’s something that’s common to architects at all stages of their careers.

You’re also doing a session on creating a personal brand in Madrid. Why is branding important for Enterprise Architects these days?

I have to say, it’s a lot of fun doing that presentation. It really is. Why is it important? I think at a time, not just for Enterprise Architects but for any of us, when our identities are out there so much now in social media—whatever it may be, Facebook, LinkedIn, other social media profiles— people get a perception of you, many times never having met you. It is important to control that perception. If you don’t do it, someone else may get a perception that you may or may not want from it. It’s really the idea of taking charge of your own brand and image and how you are perceived, what values you have, what you want to be known for, the type of organization you want to work in, the types of projects that you want to be involved in. Not all of those things happen at once, they don’t all land on a plate, but by taking more control of it in a planned way, there’s more chance of you realizing some of those goals than if you don’t. That’s really the essence of it.

The timing and particular relevance to Enterprise Architects is that, more and more, as organizations do see value in Enterprise Architecture, Enterprise Architects are getting a seat at the top table. They’re being listened to by senior management, and are sometimes playing an active role in strategy and important decisions being made in organizations. So, now more than ever, how Enterprise Architects are being perceived is important. They need to be seen to be the people that can bring together the business people and IT, who have the soft skills, being able to talk to and understand enough about different aspects of the business to get their job done. They don’t have to be experts in everything, of course, but they have to have a good enough understanding to have meaningful discussions with the people with whom they’re working. That’s why it’s crucial at this time that those who are Enterprise Architects, as we build the profession, are perceived in a positive way, and the value of that is highlighted and consistently delivered.

A lot of technologists don’t always feel comfortable with overtly marketing themselves—how do you help them get over the perception that having a personal brand is just “marketing speak?”

That’s something that we go through in the presentation. There are 11 steps that we recommend following. This goes back to an old Tom Peters article that was written years ago titled ‘The Brand Called You’ . Many of us aren’t comfortable doing this and it’s hard, but it is important to force yourself to go through this so your name and your work and what you stand for are what you want them to be.

Some of the suggestions are to think of the things that you’re good at and what your strengths are, and to test those out with people that you know and trust. You can have some fun with it along the way. Think about what those strengths are, and think about what it is that you offer that differentiates you.

A big part of the personal brand concept is to help individuals differentiate themselves from everyone else in the workplace, and that’s a message that seems to resonate very well. How do you stand out from lots of other people that claim to have the same skills and similar experience to yourself? Think of what those strengths are, pick a few things that you want to be known for. Maybe it’s that you never miss a deadline, you’re great at summarizing meetings or you’re a great facilitator—I’m not suggesting you focus on one—but what combination of things do you want to be known for? Once you know what that is—one of the examples I use is, if you want to be known for being punctual, which is an important thing, make sure you are—set the alarm earlier, make sure you show up for meetings on time, then that’s one of the things you’re known for. All these things help build the personal brand, and when people think of you, they think of how they can rely on you, and think of the attributes and experience that they can get from working with you.

That’s really what it comes down to—as human beings, we all prefer to work with people we can trust. Ideally people that we like, but certainly people that we can trust and rely on. You’re far more likely to get the right doors opening for you and more widely if you’ve built a brand that you maintain, and people you work with know what you stand for and know they can rely on you. It’s going to work in your favor and help you get the opportunities that you hope for in your career.

But there’s a big fun aspect to the presentation, as well. I start the presentation looking at branding and the types of brands that people know what they stand for. I think it has scope for workshop-type sessions, as well, where people follow some of the steps and start developing their personal brands. Feedback on this presentation has been very positive because it stands out as a non-technical presentation, and people can see that they can use it privately to further their careers, or to use it with their teams within their organizations. People really seem to resonate with it.

As CEO of the Association of Enterprise Architects, what are you seeing in terms of career opportunities available for architects right now?

We are seeing a lot of demand for Enterprise Architects all over the place, not just in the U.S., but globally. One of the things we have on the AEA website is a job board and career center, and we’ve been trying to increase the number of jobs posted there and make it a useful place for our members to go when they’re considering another position, and a good place for recruiters to promote their openings. We are growing that and it’s being populated more and more. Generally, I hear that there is a lot of demand for Enterprise Architects, and the demand outweighs the supply at the moment. It’s a good time to get into the profession. It’s a good time to be making the most of the demand that’s out there in the market right now. To back that up, the latest Foote Report showed that the OpenCA and TOGAF certifications were among the most valuable certifications in the IT industry. I think there is demand for certified architects and what we’re doing in the AEA is building the professional body to the point, ultimately, where people not only want to be AEA members, but effectively need to be AEA members in order to be taken seriously in Enterprise Architecture.

We’re also seeing an increasing number of inquiries from organizations that are recruiting Enterprise Architects to check that the applicant is indeed an AEA member. So clearly that tells us that people are putting it down on their resumes as something that differentiates them. It’s good that we get these inquiries, because it shows that there is perceived value in membership.

What’s new with the AEA? What’s happening within the organization right now?

Other things we have going on are a couple of webinar series running in parallel. One is a series of 13 webinars led by Jason Uppal of QRS Systems. He’s giving one a month for 13 months—we’ve done seven or eight already. The other is a series of 10 webinars given by Chris Armstrong of the Armstrong Process Group. What they have in common is that they are tutorials, they’re educational webinars and learning opportunities, and we’re seeing the number of attendees for those increasing. It’s a value of being an AEA member to be able to participate in these webinars. Our focus is on giving more value to the members, and those are a couple of examples of how we’re doing that.

The other thing that we have introduced is a series of blogs on ‘What Enterprise Architects Need to Know About…’ We’ve covered a couple of topics like Internet of Things and Big Data—we have more planned in that series. That’s an attempt to get people thinking about the changing environment in which we’re all operating now and the technologies coming down the pike at us, and what it means for Enterprise Architects. It’s not that architects have to be an expert in everything, but they do need to know about them because they will eventually change how organizations put together their architectures.

By The Open GroupSteve Nunn is the VP and Chief Operating Officer of The Open Group. Steve’s primary responsibility for The Open Group is to ensure the legal protection of its assets, particularly its intellectual property. This involves the development, maintenance and policing of the trademark portfolio of The Open Group, including the registered trade marks behind the Open Brand and, therefore, the various Open Group certification programs, including TOGAF®, Open CA, Open CITS, and UNIX® system certification. The licensing, protection and promotion of TOGAF also falls within his remit.

In addition, Steve is CEO of the Association of Enterprise Architects (AEA) and is focused on creating and developing the definitive professional association for enterprise architects around the globe. To achieve this, Steve is dedicated to advancing professional excellence amongst AEA’s 20,000+ members, whilst raising the status of the profession as a whole.

Steve is a lawyer by training and has an L.L.B. (Hons) in Law with French and retains a current legal practising certificate.

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The Open Group Johannesburg 2015 – Conference Highlights

By Stuart Macgregor, CEO, The Open Group South Africa

A packed agenda drew over 125 delegates to  The Open Group Johannesburg Conference on 17 March 2015, the seventh to be hosted by The Open Group South Africa. The theme this year was “The State of Enterprise Architecture Globally” which explored the transformative benefits of EA and how to reach the ultimate state of “business-focused, sustainable EA” through a series of presentations, discussions and an exhibition.

Conference exhibitors Avolution, Troux and BIC Platform showcased their Enterprise Architecture tools at the event. Avolution gave delegates a preview of the new release of the flagship toolset ABACUS 4.4.

It’s not hard to see why Enterprise Architecture is capturing the attention of business and technology professionals. Keynote speaker and The Open Group President & CEO Allen Brown pointed out that vehicle manufacturer Nissan attributes more than $1-billion in savings to Enterprise Architecture over a 10 year period.

Brown drew attention to The Open Group vision of Boundaryless Information Flow™, which enables the breakdown of barriers to create a cross-functional organisation. He also noted that Enterprise Architecture is not a technologically-driven conversation; instead, it must be aligned with the customer journey. “The organisation needs to learn more about people so as not to segment, since people are not ‘one size fits all’; business architecture, as a component of Enterprise Architecture, helps with understanding the customer journey,” he said.

Brown noted growth in successful implementations of EA around the world, including the remarkable case of Nissan. The carmaker faced challenges familiar to many technology professionals in large enterprises: multiple demands to align IT with business, the necessity to document rapidly changing information, and standardise processes. Nissan applied EA to create a comprehensive, readily accessible view of its technology environment.

Closer to home, Brown said Sasol is a local case study which shows the capabilities which flow from an EA implementation. It’s not only corporations that benefit; skilled individuals are making their mark, too. “Enterprise Architects are in high demand around the world and it’s one of the highest paid skills,” he added.

In addition to Brown’s keynote address, presentations by Paul van der Merwe, Enterprise Architect, Nedbank and Vusi Mdlalose, head of Reference Architecture and Tooling for the Barclays Africa Group, provided direct insights into how South African companies are harnessing the power of EA – and the TOGAF® and ArchiMate® standards (both Open Group standards) – to achieve predictable outcomes from complex technology environments.

“The Enterprise Architecture team played an instrumental role in defining this transformational journey for the bank through their adoption of TOGAF as the EA method,” noted van der Merwe, “This journey was defined by applying a capability-based approach to understanding the business requirements and priorities, a layered model for organising technology solutions and a managed evolution rollout strategy.”

Vusi Mdlalose’s talk gave insight into how ArchiMate informed the building and implementation of their meta model, and how they then built their architecture reference models and underlying architectures.

And, taking delegates outside of technology to consider the psychology of change, Real IRM’s Joanne Macgregor, Specialist Consultant and Trainer, presented on the necessity for effective change management as an integral part of EA implementations. Her aptly named presentation title, “You can lead a horse to water…” explored how many EA implementations do not succeed in realising their full potential due to a failure in managing the “fuzzy” human aspects of organisational transformation.

James Thomas, Lead Enterprise Architect at the South African Reserve Bank, took a different approach in his presentation titled, “The state of Enterprise Architecture globally”.

Thomas noted that the EA discipline is growing globally, but that there are business and IT stakeholders with concerns, misconceptions and downright scepticism – and set about dispelling the unknown. Fortunately his final conclusion stated “Long live Enterprise Architects!”

Lunch was followed by three tracks which focused on EA Frameworks, Practical TOGAF® and Realising EA Value. The topics and speakers included:

  • Frameworks of the IBM Systems Journal by Adriaan Vorster, Industry Consultant, Gijima
  • Successfully doing TOGAF in a Scrum Project; Marvin Williams, Associate Director Architect, Cognizant Technology USA
  • Less is more: putting EA at the heart of top-level decision-making; Jerome Bugnet, Senior Solution Director, Troux Technologies UK
  • Enterprise Security Architecture at Eskom – TOGAF and SABSA; Maganathin Veeraragaloo, Chief Advisor Information Security, Eskom
  • Enterprise Architecture as a core capability in successful transformation programmes; Roar Engen, Partner and Chief Enterprise Architect, Primesource EA Norway

The afternoon plenary included a presentation by Louw Labuschagne, Managing Partner, CS Interactive, who gave an overview of the Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA) and showed how the adoption of this framework is impacting the definition of Enterprise Architecture (EA) skills.

The Open Group Johannesburg 2015 was declared a resounding success. “Not only have delegates enjoyed executive insights directly from The Open Group, they have also seen how leading South African companies are applying EA principles to take charge of complex technology environments. And, of course, an event like this also presents an unmatched opportunity for global networking in a specialist field which is growing rapidly.”

In the closing presentation, Brown urged the delegates to view and download the publications from The Open Group for further insight and knowledge and more importantly to talk to the people who are doing EA. (Whether it’s IT4IT™, TOGAF or ArchiMate)

“It’s the networking at events like these that are ten times more valuable than anything else,” concluded Brown.

By Stuart Macgregor, The Open GroupStuart Macgregor, CEO of The Open Group South Africa, is also the Chief Executive of the South African company, Real IRM Solutions. Through his personal achievements, he has gained the reputation of an Enterprise Architecture and IT Governance specialist, both in South Africa and internationally.

Macgregor participated in the development of the Microsoft Enterprise Computing Roadmap in Seattle. He was then invited by John Zachman to Scottsdale, Arizona to present a paper on using the Zachman framework to implement ERP systems. In addition, Macgregor was selected as a member of both the SAP AG Global Customer Council for Knowledge Management, and of the panel that developed COBIT 3rd Edition Management Guidelines. He has also assisted a global Life Sciences manufacturer to define their IT Governance framework, a major financial institution to define their global, regional and local IT organizational designs and strategy. He was also selected as a core member of the team that developed the South African Breweries (SABMiller) plc global IT strategy.

Stuart, as the lead researcher, assisted the IT Governance Institute map CobiT 4.0 to TOGAF® . This mapping document was published by ISACA and The Open Group.

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