Category Archives: architecture

The New Generation IT Operating Model

By Yan Zhao, Ph.D, President, Chief Architect, ArchiTech Group LLC

  1. Introduction

The New Generation IT Operating Model is mostly associated with the current trend of service orientation. A service-oriented IT operating model should be based on service-oriented IT architecture. More precisely, a service-oriented IT operating model should be part of service-oriented IT architecture, also as a part of enterprise architecture. We know that models are what architecture creates, which include static models for the descriptions of components, structures and relationships; and dynamic models for the descriptions of operations and processes, where the dynamic models are built and operated on top of the static models. This new generation IT operating model is part of the “new paradigm” or “paradigm shift” in modern enterprise and IT, which should be part of enterprise architecture as well.

  1. Architecture and Service Oriented Architecture

First, I’d like to clarify the concept of Architecture and the Service Oriented Architecture in this context. The original definition of Architecture by Sir Henry Watton in The Elements of Architecture stated “In architecture as in all other operative arts, the end must direct the operation. The end is to build well. Well building has three conditions: Commodity, Firmness and Delight”. This definition is applicable to our context as well, where the position of architecture for IT is similar to the position of architecture for a building construction. The purpose of IT architecture is for the effective and efficient operations of IT. IT architecture should serve all its relevant audience and stakeholders, should be understandable by them via various views (commodity). The architectural products has to be solid and practicable for implementation (firmness), and it has to be well accepted and appreciated (delight) to be adopted and be effective in guiding IT operation.

The core of architecture is its vision, insight, concepts presented, and implementation guidance. It is a practical art, a result of creation, which is not a result of engineering or process in a mechanical manner, but it guides engineering process for implementation. IT is evolving to be a line of business by itself. Therefore, IT architecture is in a complex domain of people, systems, and culture; and in a constantly changing environment. It has the similar composition of enterprise architecture in this sense, with IT being one segment in an enterprise. For such architecture development, it is important to balance discipline and control with flexibility and freedom for organic growth, due to the limitation of human capability in predicting the changes and in handling complex matters.

The shared service domain is actually a sub-domain inside IT. We cannot expect all functions in IT should be shared. Similar, the Service Oriented IT Architecture is in a sub-domain of IT architecture. The necessity of making a function to be a service only when it has potential to be shared and reused by multiple service consumers. The following figures illustrate the shared service domain inside IT domain and the service oriented IT architecture inside IT architecture domain.

By Yan Zhao, Ph.D, ArchiTech Group LLC

 

Figure 1. The shared service sub-domain in IT and the service oriented IT architecture sub-domain in IT architecture

  1. IT Operating Model with Service Orientation

The “Plan/Build/Run” is a typical and simple IT operating model, which is still valid if we apply lifecycle with it, and have service orientation content being embedded into all its operating stages. The lifecycle presented in ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) can be considered as its extension from IT service management prospective. ITIL has five stages instead of three: Service Strategy (plan), Service Design (build), Service Transition, Service Operation (run), Continual Service Improvement. We are going to discuss later here on ITIL as an integral part that fit into the Plan/Build/Run model, which focus on IT service portfolio management and IT service management lifecycle. The Broker/Integrate/Orchestrate model is one of the possibilities inside the content of Plan/Build/Run model, while there are other possibilities as well. A plan is still necessary, no matter the plan is to build something new or to act as a broker, to build something in-sourcing or out-sourcing, by brokerage or by integration. Usually, there are diversified elements based on circumstances. It usually needs more than just orchestration to run it. All these could be part of the “IT Operating Model”. It is dangerous to just assemble what services/products available in market without a future vision and a plan for long-term evolution. For a business to survive in a longer term, it has to know its own needs instead of being framed by what is available in market. It needs to create its unique product/service roadmap and pipeline, and not to be controlled by others.

In order to provide effective and efficient IT support and reduce complexity and cost, IT is evolving to provide commodity services that enable the separation of business functions from common shareable IT services. To operate IT as a service, it opens a new line of business, as identified in Federal Infrastructure Optimization Initiative. The IT Operation Reference Model illustrated in Figure 2 is based on such considerations. It provides a holistic view on what involved in operating IT as a line of business. IT is becoming one business segment inside an enterprise with its own mission and goals to achieve instead of being only in a supporting role as before. This Reference Model can help to organize and consolidate organizational core capabilities and to provide a simple and cohesive view.

By Yan Zhao, Ph.D, ArchiTech Group LLCFigure 2. IT Operation Reference Model

  1. IT Operation Reference Model

The IT Operation Reference Model, illustrated in Figure 2, consists of four pillars: Plan, Build, Run, and Stakeholders. It is an extension to the Plan/Build/Run model, and is constructed with considerations in service orientation, modularity, simplicity, and communicability. It operates in a lifecycle as illustrated in Figure 3. Security, as illustrated in Figure 2, is not only a technical solution, but also an integral part across the board. A security life cycle and process should be designed and associated with each stage in an IT operation lifecycle, with starting from the planning stage. Also, governance should be applied across the complete IT operation lifecycle as well.

The Service Portfolio Management is part of IT Service Management (in Run pillar of Figure 2), which is addressed in ITIL V3. ITIL provides a best practice reference for IT service management and operation, with current enhancement (in V3) in service portfolio management. Applying ITIL within an IT Operating Model enhances IT Operation with a service lifecycle management discipline. However, the specific architectures, models, service design, and ITIL adoption for each IT operation have to be based on each individual case, and an operating model should be built accordingly.

Plan: IT still needs strategy and plan to run even in service oriented IT operation paradigm, where the business model, service model, cost/funding model, implementation model, and operating model suitable for service orientation should be incorporated accordingly. In another words, the difference is in the content. The plan for new generation IT operation should be driven by business domain requirements, e.g. the external and internal drivers, so that to support business improvement goals and objectives. Architectures should be created accordingly. Also, a performance measurement model should be created to provide measurement guidance. The plan should well consider adaptability to changes in both business requirements and technology advancement, and be maintained as a live document with continuous improvement along IT operation Lifecycle.

Build: Business requirements drive technology decisions; and at the meantime, the new technologies will inspire business envisions and provide various possibilities for business being operated in a more effective and efficient way. It’s true that the IT product ownership implies slow change due to the cost associated with. The resource sharing and operated by some specialized service providers enable faster change due to cost sharing in nature. Also, the performance from such service providers can be enhanced by competition. The implementation mechanisms should be flexible enough for new services and devices to plug-in or to update. However, not everything can be handed out to others to operate. Enterprise data are likely still being managed inside enterprise for security reasons, with enterprise internal stewardship and ownership, though it can participate in shared services internally and externally. In this reference model, services and systems to be built are described in layers: business services, application and data services, infrastructure services, and physical services.

Run: This includes IT system and service management and operation during continuous performance and change. The system operation management includes the management of IT service systems, system hardware and software, as well as networks and data centers, either in-sourcing or out-sourcing. It also includes the management of applications and data that are resided and running on these systems. For IT service management, ITIL is a handy best practice reference to start with.

Stakeholders: The stakeholders should be identified across the three pillars or the three operating stages in a lifecycle. Clearly roles and responsibilities should be identified, and be aligned with the operation structure. The operation model, structure, and architecture should be defined independent of individual stakeholder, so that people changes will not affect organization structure, process, and operation. Typically, the stakeholders can include business decision makers, resource owners, service providers, service consumers, governance and regulatory bodies, industry associations and standards groups, etc.

  1. The Relationship of the IT Operation Reference Model with ITIL

As a best practice reference, ITIL provides guidance on how to manage IT operation with service lifecycle. The relationship of ITIL Lifecycle with IT Operation Reference Model is illustrated in Figure 3. The IT service management lifecycle and its associated best practice reference based on ITIL v3 is the core for running an IT operation, as illustrated in the IT Operation Reference Model in Figure 2. The different focuses of the two can be summarized as:

  • Objective: The IT Operation Reference Model intends to provide a simple and cohesive view on IT operation domain structure, components and relationships; while ITIL focuses on providing guidance and reference details for IT service management and operation.
  • Components: The IT Operation Reference Model focuses on IT functional components; while ITIL focuses on IT operational components.
  • Structure: The IT Operation Reference Model is structured into categorized and layered components in each stage of IT operation; while ITIL is structured around IT service management and operation lifecycle to provide its associated best practice references.

In Figure 3, the middle section illustrates the relationships among the four pillars in the IT Operation Reference Model. The stakeholders play the central operating roles. They should be the driving force and active players in IT operation lifecycle. The stages of ITIL service lifecycle can be linked to the stages in Plan/Build/Run IT operation lifecycle. The lifecycles of both reflect iterative processes during IT operation. A well architected service lifecycle and management processes can maximize operational efficiency and productivity, as well as reduce the costs.

 

By Yan Zhao, Ph.D, ArchiTech Group LLCFigure 3. Apply ITIL to the IT Operating Model based on the IT Operation Reference Framework

In conclusion: A Service Oriented IT Operating Model should be rooted on a Service Oriented IT Architecture, which has to be custom built for each individual IT organization based on its service requirements, responsibilities, and operating environment, though best practice reference can be helpful. Each IT operation is forming an ecosystem of its own, which needs insight, creativity, and systematic discipline to figure out the best operating model and to clear the way for its execution.

By Yan Zhao, Ph.D, ArchiTech Group LLCDr. Yan Zhao, President, ArchiTech Group LLC, is an enterprise level chief architect, strategist, thought leader, and innovator; was also an executive for Fortune 500 companies and a professor. She has over 20 years work experience across academia, corporate research, software industry, and consulting service, where she demonstrated strength in insight, vision, creativity, and discipline. She is a positive thinker and a motivational leader with experience in leading R&D, capability and intellectual property development, and consulting practice. She received a Ph.D in computer science and a master in mathematics from Arizona State University, has 6 patents granted, 4 patents pending, a number of invention disclosures and publications.

yan.zhao@architechllc.com

@theopengroup

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TOGAF® User Group Meeting Preview: A Conversation with Terry Blevins

By The Open Group

The Open Group will be hosting its first TOGAF® User Group Meeting on January 25 in San Francisco. We recently spoke with long-time member, Terry Blevins, The Open Group Board Member, Fellow and former Chair of The Open Group Architecture Forum about his involvement over the years with TOGAF®, an Open Group standard.  We also discussed what users can look forward to at the User Group Meeting.

What’s your history with TOGAF? How long have you been a TOGAF user?

I’ve been involved with The Open Group since before it was The Open Group, when it was X/Open. I first engaged with The Open Group in the architecture area when they were working on the first or second release of TOGAF—that was around 1996. For a number of releases of TOGAF, I was a direct contributor. I was also a Co-chair of the Architecture Forum and chaired the Work Group covering certification of TOGAF architects for a couple years.

One of the main contributions I made to TOGAF was the Business Scenario Method, which is what I’ll be talking about in one of the breakout sessions at the User Group Meeting. For the past number of years, I’ve been on The Open Group Governing Board, so I haven’t participated directly in the Architecture Forum or its Work Groups, but I do keep my eye on things. Most recently I’ve been involved in the Healthcare Forum, with an eye on applying the disciple of architecture to improve healthcare information flow.

When you were a TOGAF contributor, what types of things were you contributing to the standard?

When I first contributed content ,I was working for NCR Corporation where we were keen on seeing standard approaches to architecture. The whole thing is that you bring contributions to the standard from your company or from your personal experience that are practical and that work. The Business Scenario Method was something that I created to help companies understand real, live business needs, and this is essential for any architecting project. Other contributions were spread throughout the early versions of the TOGAF specification.

Why a User Group Meeting now?

The growth of the number of people who are certified in TOGAF is huge. It’s truly become an accepted method worldwide and has resulted in pull from the business side of organizations. That pull and worldwide interest generates a need for people to come together and share. In addition, I think there is a greater occurrence of procurements for architects that are certified in TOGAF today. So that puts the importance in the user community on truly understanding how to apply TOGAF, which drives a need for a place where users can go. Another dimension is, of course, in reaching out to the user community to drive TOGAF with requirements that represent the users!

Those certified and/or using TOGAF have always had the Architecture Forum as a venue where they could share, but the Architecture Forum has become so big and so concentrated on the aspects of developing the method. Many in the TOGAF user community are not interested in developing methods; their interest is in the application of the method. They really want to have a forum to go to where they can talk to other users of TOGAF and talk about what works, what doesn’t work, share their stories and accomplishments and get some hints on how to avoid failures. It’s more about the application of TOGAF.

We’d always thought that there would be a point in time where it would be very difficult for the Architecture Forum to serve both the purpose of users and of people that were methodologists. We may have hit that point. Having a forum that is less formal, like a user group, is attractive to users. Then they can also gather requirements and send them off to the Architecture Forum and say ‘this is our collective voice on constructive improvement points for TOGAF. Do with them what you may.’

What can users expect from the User Group Meeting?

I tell people that we want the users to ‘SEE’ TOGAF differently, differently in comparison to reading the book, getting the training or taking tests. What I mean by ‘SEE’ is that we want users to be able to ‘share’ experiences, so that’s the ‘s’ part of ‘see.’ We want the users to get ‘enlightened’ on new things down the road and the current thinking on what might be next. And we also want users to feel that they’re ‘engaged’ in making improvements to TOGAF. We want to provide the users the ability to share their experiences, successes and failures, get information that they might not get in the books or the training and have the opportunity to say ‘Hey, this should change.’ So that’s SEE—Share, Enlightenment and Engagement.

You’re hosting the Using the Business Scenarios track – what can users look forward to in that track?

In the Business Scenario session, I wanted to make sure that we have some structure and an agenda. But if the structure breaks down because the users want to take the conversation someplace, we’ll let that happen. The structure was created to cover sharing, engagement and enlightenment—the users can change that if they want. If the structure holds, I’ll provide some background on what the Business Scenario method is, and we’ll ask for some stories about how the users get customer requirements, what challenges they have, special techniques they use and key successes and barriers. Then we’ll look at what needs to be done to make the Business Scenario Method better or what we can do to make capturing requirements easier and open up that conversation. Finally, we’ll talk about the latest thinking regarding Business Scenarios. There’s some changes I’ve recently made to the method, and I’ve also added some tips, tricks and techniques that I’ll share with the users. The focus will be on how people really get the business requirements they need to drive their architecting work.

What do you consider to be the primary benefits having a user meeting for TOGAF?

I hope the benefit is that they’re really learning from other users and learn what pitfalls to avoid. Their benefit is they’re getting the experience of other users, and that’s going to make them better architects. Secondly, they have a real opportunity to provide their voice on what needs to be done to make the tools better so they can have something in the future that will be better positioned to make them better architects. With active participation, the attendees are going to learn some things that will help them be better architects, which is going to make them more desirable and hopefully they’ll have better career opportunities.

What else do you hope users will get out of the User Group Meeting?

The pride in being able to say they are part of the larger community and an active participant in putting together a voice capable of moving the discipline of architecture forward.

How will the User Group Meeting help inform the evolution of the standard?

By gathering requirements. We’ve designed some TOGAF improvement suggestion index cards that we’ll pass out to users and ask them to fill out the cards whenever they come up with an idea for an improvement. We’ll ask them to turn those in, and, by the way, for each card they’ll get a raffle ticket, which will be fed into a downstream process to improve TOGAF. That engagement part of the event is being facilitated through these cards. We’ll collect the cards, do an analysis and then make recommendations to the Architecture Forum.

It’s the first go, so we hope it will inspire more events, more mechanisms to collect TOGAF requirements and greater sharing experiences. We also hope the user community will take an active role in shaping how these user group sessions may evolve.

For more information on The Open Group San Francisco 2016, please visit http://www.opengroup.org/sanfrancisco2016.

@theopengroup #ogSFO

 

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The Open Group Edinburgh 2015: BAE Systems – Using TOGAF® for Operations Transformation

By The Open Group

When Matthew Heard first heard the term TOGAF®, not only did he have no idea what it was but he misspelled the name of the standard at first. It wasn’t until after searching Google for “TOGATH” that the real name for the architectural framework popped up and he got a sense for what it was, he says. And thus began a more than 15-month journey that has started Heard and his colleagues at BAE Systems, a British defense, aerospace and security systems provider, down a path to help transform the Operations function of the company’s Maritime Submarine division.

As is the case when any company looks to TOGAF, an Open Group standard, BAE’s Submarine division was in search of a structured way to help make organizational changes when they sought out the framework. According to Heard, a Senior Operations Engineer at BAE, the company’s needs were multifold. As a product manufacturer, BAE was in need of a way to prepare their systems to transition from their current product to the next generation. With a new product planned to go into production in the near future—one that would require higher technical demands and performance—the company first needed to set itself up to smoothly move into production for the higher demand product while still building the current product line.

In addition, the company wanted to make operational changes. After having surveyed 3,000 of their employees regarding what could be done to make people’s jobs easier and make the company a better place to work, the company had received 8,000 comments about how to create a better working environment. After winnowing those down to 800 separate problem statements that included ideas on how to improve things like safety, deliverables and the overall workplace, the team had many potential ideas and solutions, but no way to determine where to start.

“How do you structure things so that you don’t try to do everything at once and therefore don’t do anything because it’s too overwhelming?” Heard says. “We had a lot of change to make but we couldn’t quantify what it was and what order to do it in.”

As it happened, IBM’s Paul Homan had been doing some work on-site with BAE. When he heard that the company was looking to make some organizational changes, he suggested they look at an Enterprise Architecture framework, such as TOGAF. Although the company’s new head of transformation was familiar with the framework, there were no Enterprise Architects on staff, no TOGAF certified employees and no one else on staff had heard of the standard or of Enterprise Architecture, Heard says. Thus the mix-up the first time he tried to look it up online.

After downloading a copy of TOGAF® 9.1, Heard and his colleague John Wilcock began the task of going through the entire standard to determine if it would help them.

And then they did something very unusual.

“The first thing we did was, anything with more than three syllables, we crossed out with a black pen,” Heard says.

Why did they go through the text and black out entire sections as if it were a classified document riddled with redacted text?

According to Heard, since many of the terms used throughout the TOGAF standard are technology and IT-driven, they knew that they would need to “translate” the document to try to adapt it to their industry and make it understandable for their own internal audiences.

“It talked about ‘Enterprise Architecture,’” Heard said. “If we said that to a welder or pipe fitter, no one’s going to know what that means. I didn’t even know what it meant.”

As a recent university graduate with a background in Engineering Management, Heard says the IT terminology of TOGAF was completely foreign to him. But once they began taking out the IT-related language and began replacing it with terminology related to what submarine mechanics and people in operations would understand, they thought they might be able to better articulate the framework to others.

“We didn’t know whether we had gone so far away from the original intent or whether we were still on the right line,” Heard says.

Luckily, with Paul Homan on-site, they had someone who was familiar with TOGAF that they could go to for guidance. Homan encouraged them to continue on their path.

“For example, it might say something like ‘define the enterprise architecture vision,’” Heard says. “Well I just crossed out the word ‘architecture’ and turned the word ‘enterprise’ into ‘function’ so it said ‘define the functional vision.’ Well, I can do that. I can define what we want the function to look like and operate like and have the performance that we need. That becomes tangible. That’s when we went back to Paul and asked if we were on the right track or if we were just making it up. He said, ‘Carry on with what you’re doing.’”

As it turned out, after Heard and Wilcock had gone through the entire 900-page document, they had maintained the essence and principles of TOGAF while adapting it so that they could use the framework in the way that made the most sense to them and for BAE’s business needs. They adapted the methodology to what they needed it to do for them—which is exactly what the TOGAF ADM is meant to do anyway.

TOGAF was ultimately used to help define BAE’s strategy for transforming their operations and production functions. The project is currently at the stage where they are moving from defining a scope of projects to planning which projects to begin with. The team has scoped approximately 27 transformation projects that will take place over approximately three to five years.

Heard says that it was a fortuitous coincidence that Homan was there to suggest the framework since it ultimately provided exactly the guidance they needed. But Heard also believes that it was also fortuitous that no one was familiar with the standard beforehand and that they took the risk of translating it and adapting it for their own needs. He feels had they already been trained in TOGAF before they started their project, they would have spent more time trying to shoehorn the standard into what they needed instead of just adapting it from the start.

“That was the real learning there,” he says.

Now Heard says he finds himself using the framework on a daily basis for any project he has to tackle.

“It’s now become a routine go-to thing even if it’s a very small project or a piece of work. It’s very easy to understand how to get to an answer,” he says.

Heard says that by providing a structured, standardized approach to solving problems, TOGAF ultimately allows organizations to not only take a structured approach to transformational projects, but also to document and measure their success along the way, which is key for meeting business objectives.

“Standardization gives process to projects. If you follow the same approach you become more efficient. If there’s no standard, you can’t do that.”

Learn more about how BAE is using TOGAF® for Business Transformation at The Open Group Edinburgh, October 19-22, 2015

Join the conversation #ogEDI

By The Open GroupMatthew Heard attended the University of Birmingham from where he graduated with an MSc in Engineering Management in 2013. During his time at University Matthew worked as a Project Engineer for General Motors, focusing on the development of improvements in efficiency of the production line. Upon graduating Matthew joined BAE Systems-Maritime-Submarines looking for a new challenge and further experience of change and improvement programmes. Since Matthew joined BAE his predominant focus has been the delivery of Operational change initiatives. Matthew undertook a review and translation of the TOGAF principles and objectives to develop a unique strategy to deliver a program of change for the Operations Function, the outputs of which delivered the Operations Transformation Strategic Intent and Work Scopes. Going forward Matthew aims to continue developing and utilising the principles and objectives of TOGAF to aid other functions within BAE with their own future strategic developments, starting with the HR Transformation Work Scope.

By The Open GroupJohn Wilcock has worked within the Maritime Sector for the last 27 years. Starting as a shipwright apprentice, John has worked his way up through the organisation to his current position as Head of Manufacturing & Construction Strategy. Throughout his career John has gained a wide range of experiences, working on a diverse selection of Defence and Commercial projects, including Warship and Submarine platforms. During this time John has been instrumental in many change programmes and in his current role John is responsible for the development and delivery of the functional Transformation and Build Strategies. In order to develop the Operations Transformation Strategy John has worked alongside Matthew Heard to undertake a review and translation of the TOGAF principles and objectives to create a bespoke strategic intent and work scope. John continues to drive change and transformation through the TOGAF principles.

By The Open GroupPaul Homan

Enterprise Architect at IBM, CTO for Aerospace, Defence & Shipbuilding IBM UKI

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In Praise Of Heuristics – or Saving TOGAF® From Its Friends

By Stuart Boardman, Senior Business Consultant, Business & IT Advisory, KPN Consulting and Ed Harrington, Senior Consulting Associate, Conexiam

As the world’s best known and most used Enterprise Architecture (EA) framework, it’s quite reasonable that TOGAF®, an Open Group standard, attracts criticism from both outside and within The Open Group membership. We would like to discuss a particular class of criticism and even more about the thinking behind that.

This criticism states that TOGAF is neither rigorous nor scientific and that any good EA framework should be both of those things. Now we don’t know anyone who wouldn’t agree that TOGAF could be more rigorous about some things and that’s one of the areas highlighted for attention in the next version of TOGAF.

But, “scientific”? There’s the rub. What do we mean by scientific?

Machines, Nature and Enterprises

What these critics promote is a method, which for any given enterprise, under identical conditions will always deliver the same, “correct” result – regardless who executes the method, as long as they follow the rules. This approach depends on a very 19th/20th Century mechanistic view of an enterprise.

We agree that an enterprise is a system. Mechanical systems behavior is generally predictable. If you get the equation right, you can predict the behavior under any given set of conditions with an accuracy of (to all intents and purposes) 100%. So, if an enterprise were a machine, you could come up with a method that meets this requirement.

Natural and environmental systems do not, in general, behave predictably (leaving trivia like Pavlov and his dogs out of it). There is room for discussion for any one system under consideration as to why this is. It could just be because there are so many variables that we can’t capture all of them at one instant in time (i.e. they are highly complex) or because the system is chaotic (i.e. extremely sensitive to initial conditions) or even stochastic (i.e. we can only establish a probability for a particular outcome) – or possibly a mixture of those things.

A major aspect of enterprises is that, to a considerable extent, they are made up of people, individually and in groups. Each with their shifting perceptions of what “good” is. In fact even a single organization behaves more like an organism than like a machine (note: we are not claiming that organizations are organisms).

Especially important is that enterprises function within wider ecosystems in which external factors like resource availability, innovation, competition, customer loyalty, legislation and regulation (to name but a few) constantly affect the behavior of the enterprise. To reliably predict the behavior of the enterprise we would need to know each and every factor that affects that behavior. Complexity is a major factor. Do we recognize any existing enterprises that do not conform to this (complex) model?

Science and Uncertainty

Enterprises are complex and, we would argue, even chaotic systems. Change the initial conditions and the behavior may be radically different (a totally different equation). A real scientific method for EA would then necessarily reflect that. It would deliver results, which could continue to adapt along with the enterprise. That requires more than just following a set of rules. There is no “equation”. There may be a number of “equations” to choose from. Some degree of experience, domain knowledge and empathy is required to select the most adaptable of those equations. If the world of software architecture hasn’t yet determined a formula for the perfect agile system, how can we imagine the even more complex EA domain could?[1] Any such method would be a meta-method. The actual method followed would be an adaptation (concretization/instantiation) of the meta-method for the system (i.e. enterprise) under examination in its then specific context.

So even if there is an EA method that delivers identical results independent of the user, the chances they’d be correct are…well, just that – chance. (You probably have a better chance of winning the lottery!). The danger of these “scientific” approaches is that we kid ourselves that the result must be right, because the method said so. If the objective were only to produce a moment in time “as-is” view of an enterprise and if you could produce that before everything changed again, then a mechanistic approach might work. But what would be the point?

What Really Bothers Us

Now if the problem here were restricted to the proponents of this “scientific” view, it wouldn’t matter too much, as they’re not especially influential, especially on a global scale. Our concern is that it appears TOGAF is treated by a considerably larger number of people as being exactly that kind of system. Some of the things we read by TOGAF-certified folk on, for example, LinkedIn or come across in practice are deeply disturbing. It seems that people think that the ADM is a recipe for making sausages and that mechanistically stepping through the crop circles will deliver a nicely formed sausage.

Why is this? No TOGAF expert we know thinks TOGAF is a linear, deterministic process. The thousands of TOGAF certified people have a tool that, as TOGAF, itself in chapter 2.10 states: “In all cases, it is expected that the architect will adapt and build on the TOGAF framework in order to define a tailored method that is integrated into the processes and organization structures of the enterprise”.

Is it perhaps an example of the need so many people have to think the whole world is predictable and controllable – an unholy fear of uncertainty? Such people seek comfort and the illusion of certainty in a set of rules. That would certainly fit with an outdated view of science. Or perhaps the problem is located less with the architects themselves than with management by spreadsheet and with project management methodologies that are more concerned with deadlines than with quality? Less experienced architects may feel obliged to go along with this and thus draw the wrong conclusions about TOGAF.

The Task of Enterprise Architecture

Understanding, accepting and taking advantage of the presence of uncertainty is essential for any organization today. This would be true even if it were only because of the accelerating rate of change. But more than that, we need to recognize that the way we do business is changing, that agile organizations encourage emergence[2] and that success means letting go of hard and fast rules. Enterprise architects, to be useful, have to work with this new model, not to be risk averse and to learn from (shared) experience. It’s our responsibility to help our enterprises achieve their strategic goals. If we turn our backs on reality, we may be able to tick off a task on a project plan but we’re not helping anyone.

A good EA framework helps us understand what we need to do and why we are doing it. It doesn’t do the thinking for us. All good EA frameworks are essentially heuristics. They assemble good practice from the experience of real practitioners and provide guidance to assist the intelligent architect in finding the best available solution – in the knowledge that it’s not perfect, that things can and will change and that the most valuable strategy is being able to cope with that change. TOGAF helps us do this.

[1] For more on complexity and uncertainty see Tom Graves’s SCAN method.

[2] See, for example Ruth Malan and Dana Bredemeyer’s The Art of Change: Fractal and Emergent

By Stuart Boardman, KPN, and Ed Harrington, ConexiumStuart Boardman is a Senior Business Consultant with KPN Consulting where he leads the Enterprise Architecture practice and consults to clients on Cloud Computing, Enterprise Mobility and The Internet of Everything. He is Co-Chair of The Open Group Open Platform 3.0™ Forum and was Co-Chair of the 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 KPN, the Information Security Platform (PvIB) in The Netherlands and of his previous employer, CGI as well as several Open Group white papers, guides and standards. He is a frequent speaker at conferences on the topics of Open Platform 3.0 and Identity.

Ed Harrington is a Senior Consulting Associate with Conexiam, a Calgary, Canada headquartered consultancy. He also heads his own consultancy, EPH Associates. Prior positions include Principle Consultant with Architecting the Enterprise where he provided TOGAF and other Enterprise Architecture (EA) discipline training and consultancy; EVP and COO for Model Driven Solutions, an EA, SOA and Model Driven Architecture Consulting and Software Development company; various positions for two UK based companies, Nexor and ICL and 18 years at General Electric in various marketing and financial management positions. Ed has been an active member of The Open Group since 2000 when the EMA became part of The Open Group and is past chair of various Open Group Forums (including past Vice Chair of the Architecture Forum). Ed is TOGAF® 9 certified.

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The Business of Managing IT: The Open Group IT4IT™ Forum

By The Open Group

At The Open Group London 2014 event in October, the launch of The Open Group IT4IT™ Forum was announced. The goal of the new Forum is to create a Reference Architecture and standard that will allow IT departments to take a more holistic approach to managing the business of IT with continuous insight and control, enabling Boundaryless Information Flow™ across the IT Value Chain.

We recently spoke to Forum member Charlie Betz, Founder, Digital Management Academy, LLC, about the new Forum, its origins and why it’s time for IT to be managed as if it were a business in itself.

As IT has become more central to organizations, its role has changed drastically from the days when companies had one large mainframe or just a few PCs. For many organizations today, particularly large enterprises, IT is becoming a business within the business.

The problem with most IT departments, though, is that IT has never really been run as if it was a business.

In order for IT to better cope with rapid technological change and become more efficient at transitioning to the service-based model that most businesses today require, IT departments need guidance as to how the business of IT can be run. What’s at stake are things such as how to better manage IT at scale, how to understand IT as a value chain in its own right and how organizations can get better visibility into the vast amount of economic activity that’s currently characterized in organizations through technology.

The Open Group’s latest Forum aims to do just that.

The Case for IT Management

In the age of digital transformation, IT has become an integral part of how business is done. So says Charlie Betz, one of the founding members of the IT4IT Forum. From the software in your car to the supply chain that brings you your bananas, IT has become an irreplaceable component of how things work.

Quoting industry luminary Marc Andreessen, Betz says “software is eating the world.” Similarly, Betz says, IT management is actually beginning to eat management, too. Although this might seem laughable, we have become increasingly dependent on computing systems in our everyday lives. With that dependence comes significant concerns about the complexity of those systems and the potential they carry for chaotic behaviors. Therefore, he says, as technology becomes pervasive, how IT is managed will increasingly dictate how businesses are managed.

“If IT is increasing in its proportion of all product management, and all markets are increasingly dependent on managing IT, then understanding pure IT management becomes critically important not just for IT but for all business management,” Betz says.

According to Betz, the conversation about running the business of IT has been going on in the industry for a number of years under the guise of ideas such as “enterprise resource planning for IT” and the like. Ultimately, though, Betz says managing IT comes down to determining what IT’s value chain is and how to deliver on it.

By The Open GroupBetz compares modern IT departments to atoms, cells and bits where atoms represent hardware, including servers, data centers and networks; cells represent people; and bits are represented by software. In this analogy, these three things comprise the fundamental resources that an IT department manages. When reduced to economic terms, Betz says, what is currently lacking in most IT departments is a sense of how much things are worth, what the total costs are for acquisition and maintenance for capabilities and the supply and demand dynamics for IT services.

For example, in traditional IT management, workloads are defined by projects, tickets and also a middle ground characterized by work that is smaller than a project and larger than a ticket, Betz says. Often IT departments lack an understanding of how the three relate to each other and how they affect resources—particularly in the form of people—which becomes problematic because there is no holistic view of what the department is doing. Without that aggregate view, management is not only difficult but nearly impossible.

Betz says that to get a grasp on the whole, IT needs to take a cue from the lean management movement and first understand where the work originates and what it’s nature is so activities and processes don’t continue to proliferate without being managed.

Betz believes part of the reason IT has not better managed itself to date is because the level of complexity within IT has grown so quickly. He likens it to the frog in the boiling water metaphor—if the heat is turned up incrementally, the frog doesn’t know what’s hit him until it’s too late.

“Back when you had one computer it just wasn’t a concern,” he said. “You had very few systems that you were automating. It’s not that way nowadays. You have thousands of them. The application portfolio in major enterprises—depending on how you count applications, which is not an easy question in and of itself—the range is between 5000-10,000 applications. One hundred thousand servers is not unheard of. These are massive numbers, and the complexity is unimaginable. The potential for emergent chaotic behavior is unprecedented in human technological development.”

Betz believes the reason there is a perception that IT is poorly managed is also because it’s at the cutting-edge of every management question in business today. And because no one has ever dealt with systems and issues this complex before, it’s difficult to get a handle on them. Which is why the time for creating a framework for how IT can be managed has come.

IT4IT

The IT4IT Forum grew out of a joint initiative that was originally undertaken by Royal Dutch Shell and HP. Begun as a high-level user group within HP, companies such as Accenture, Achmea, Munich RE and PwC have also been integral in pulling together the initial work that has been provided to The Open Group to create the Forum. As the group began to develop a framework, it was clear that what they were developing needed to become an open standard, Betz says, so the group turned to The Open Group.

“It was pretty clear that The Open Group was the best fit for this,” he says. “There was clearly recognition and understanding on the part of The Open Group senior staff that this was a huge opportunity. They were very positive about it from the get-go.”

Currently in development, the IT4IT standard will provide guidance and specifications for how IT departments can provide consistent end-to-end service across the IT Value Chain and lifecycle. The IT Value Chain is meant to provide a model for managing the IT services life cycle and for how those service can be brokered with enterprises. By providing the IT similar level functionality as other critical business functions (such as finance or HR), IT is enabled to achieve better levels of predictability and efficiency.

By The Open Group

Betz says developing a Reference Architecture for IT4IT will be helpful for IT departments because it will provide a tested model for departments to begin the process of better management. And having that model be created by a vendor-neutral consortium helps provide credibility for users because no one company is profiting from it.

“It’s the community telling itself a story of what it wants to be,” he said.

The Reference Architecture will not only include prescriptive methods for how to design, procure and implement the functionality necessary to better manage IT departments but will also include real-world use cases related to current industry trends such as Cloud-sourcing, Agile, Dev-Ops and service brokering. As an open standard, it will also be designed to work with existing industry standards that IT departments may already be using including ITIL®, CoBIT®, SAFe® and TOGAF®, an Open Group standard.

With almost 200 pages of material already developed toward a standard, Betz says the Forum released its initial Snapshot for the standard available in late November. From there the Forum will need to decide which sections should be included as normative parts for the standard. The hope is to have the first version of the IT4IT Reference Architecture standard available next summer, Betz says.

For more on The Open Group IT4IT Forum or to become a member, please visit http://www.opengroup.org/IT4IT.

 

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The Open Group Executive Round Table Event at Mumbai

By Bala Peddigari, Head – HiTech TEG and Innovation Management, Tata Consultancy Services Limited

The Open Group organized the Executive Round Table Event at Taj Lands End in Mumbai on November 12, 2014. The goal was to brief industry executives on how The Open Group can help in promoting Enterprise Architecture within the organization, and how it helps to stay relevant to the Indianized context in realizing and bringing in positive change. Executives from the Government of Maharastra, Reserve Bank of India, NSDL, Indian Naval Service, SVC Bank, Vodafone, SVC Bank, SP Jain Institute, Welingkar Institute of Management, VSIT,Media Lab Asia, Association of Enterprise Architects (AEA), Computer Society of India and others were present.

By Bala PeddigariJames de Raeve, Vice President, Certification of The Open Group introduced The Open Group to the executives and explained the positive impact it is creating in driving Enterprise Architecture. He noted most of the EA functions, Work Groups and Forums are driven by the participating companies and Architects associated with them. James revealed facts stating that India is in fourth position in TOGAF® certification and Bangalore is second only to London. He also discussed the newest Forum, The Open Group IT4IT™ Forum and its objective to solve some of the key business problems and build Reference Architecture for managing the business of IT.  The mission of The Open Group IT4IT Forum is to develop, evolve and drive the adoption of the vendor-neutral IT4IT Reference Architecture.

Rajesh Aggarwal, Principal Secretary IT, Government of Maharashtra, attended the Round Table and shared his view on how Enterprise Architecture can help some of the key Government initiatives drive citizen-centric change. An example he used is the change in policies for senior citizens who seek pension. They show up every November at the bank to identify themselves for Life Certificate to continue getting pension. This process can be simplified through IT. He used an excellent analogy of making phone calls to have pizza delivered from Pizza Hut and consumer goods from Flipkart. Similarly his vision is to get Smart and Digital Governance where citizens can call and get the services at their door.

MumbaiRajeesh Aggarwal

70886-uppalJason Uppal, Chief Architect (Open CA Level 3 Certified), QR Systems in Canada presented a session on “Digital Economy and Enterprise Architecture”. Jason emphasized the need for Enterprise Architecture and why now in the networked and digital economy you need intent but not money to drive change. He also shared his thoughts on tools for this new game – Industrial Engineering and Enterprise Architecture focus to improve the performance capabilities across the value chain. Jason explained how EA can help in building the capability in the organization, defined value chain leveraging EA capabilities and transforming enterprise capabilities to apply those strategies. The key performance indicators of Enterprise Architecture can be measured through Staff Engagement, Time and Cost, Project Efficiency, Capability Effectiveness, Information Quality which explains the maturity of Enterprise Architecture in the organization. During his talk, Jason brought out many analogies to share his own experiences where Enterprise Architecture simplified and brought in much transformation in Healthcare. Jason shared an example of Carlos Ghosn who manages three companies worth $140 billion USD. He explains further the key to his success is to protect his change-agents and provide them the platform and opportunity to experiment. Enterprise Architecture is all about people who make it happen and bring impact.

The heart of the overall Executive Round Table Event was a panel session on “Enterprise Architecture in India Context”. Panelists were Jason Uppal, Rakhi Gupta from TCS and myself who shared perspectives on the following questions:

  1. Enterprise Architecture and Agile – Do they complement?
  2. How are CIOs seeing Enterprise Architecture when compared to other CXOs?
  3. I have downloaded TOGAF, what should I do next?
  4. How is Enterprise Architecture envisioned in the next 5 years?
  5. How can Enterprise Architecture help the “Make in India” initiative?
  6. Should Enterprise Architecture have a course in academics for students?

I explained how Enterprise Architecture is relevant in academics and how it can enable the roots to build agile-based system to quickly respond to the changes. I also brought in my perspective how Enterprise Architecture can show strengths while covering the weaknesses. Furthermore, TOGAF applies and benefits the context of the Indian future economy. Jason explained the change in dynamics in the education system to build a query-based learning approach to find and use. Rakhi shared her thoughts based on experience associated with Department of Posts Transformation keeping a citizen-centric Enterprise Architecture approach.

Overall, it has created a positive wave of understanding the importance of Enterprise Architecture and applying the TOGAF knowledge consistently to pave the road for the future. The event was well organized by Abraham Koshy and team, with good support from CSI Mumbai and AEA Mumbai chapters.

By Bala PeddigariBala Prasad Peddigari has worked with Tata Consultancy Services Limited for over 15 years. Bala practices Enterprise Architecture and evangelizes platform solutions, performance and scalable architectures and Cloud technology initiatives within TCS.  He heads the Technology Excellence Group for HiTech Vertical. Bala drives the architecture and technology community initiatives within TCS through coaching, mentoring and grooming techniques.

Bala has a Masters in Computer Applications from University College of Engineering, Osmania. He is an Open Group Master IT Certified Architect and serves as a Board Member in The Open Group Certifying Authority. He received accolades for his cloud architectural strengths and published his papers in IEEE.  Bala is a regular speaker in Open Group and technology events and is a member of The Open Group Open Platform 3.0™.

 

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Filed under Accreditations, architecture, Certifications, Cloud, Conference, Enterprise Architecture, Open CA, Open CITS, Open Platform 3.0, Standards, TOGAF, TOGAF®

The Open Group London 2014 – Day One Highlights

By Loren K. Baynes, Director, Global Marketing Communications, The Open Group

On a crisp October Monday in London yesterday, The Open Group hosted the first day of its event at Central Methodist Hall, Westminster. Almost 200 attendees from 32 countries explored how to “Empower Your Business; Enabling Boundaryless Information Flow™”.

Just across the way from another landmark in the form of Westminster Abbey, the day began with a welcome from Allen Brown, President and CEO of The Open Group, before Magnus Lindkvist, the Swedish trendspotter and futurologist, began his keynote on “Competition and Creation in Globulent Times”.

In a very thought-provoking talk, Magnus pondered on how quickly the world now moves, declaring that we now live in a 47 hour world, where trends can spread quicker than ever before. Magnus argued that this was a result of an R&D process – rip off and duplicate, rather than organic innovation occurring in multiple places.

Magnus went on to consider the history of civilization which he described as “nothing, nothing, a little bit, then everything” as well as providing a comparison of vertical and horizontal growth. Magnus posited that while we are currently seeing a lot of horizontal growth globally (the replication of the same activity), there is very little vertical growth, or what he described as “magic”. Magnus argued that in business we are seeing companies less able to create as they are focusing so heavily on simply competing.

To counter this growth, Magnus told attendees that they should do the following in their day-to-day work:

  • Look for secrets – Whether it be for a certain skill or a piece of expertise that is as yet undiscovered but which could reap significant benefit
  • Experiment – Ensure that there is a place for experimentation within your organization, while practicing it yourself as well
  • Recycle failures – It’s not always the idea that is wrong, but the implementation, which you can try over and over again
  • Be patient and persistent – Give new ideas time and the good ones will eventually succeed

Following this session was the long anticipated launch of The Open Group IT4IT™ Forum, with Christopher Davis from the University of South Florida detailing the genesis of the group before handing over to Georg Bock from HP Software who talked about the Reference Architecture at the heart of the IT4IT Forum.

Hans Van Kesteren, VP & CIO of Global Functions at Shell, then went into detail about how his company has helped to drive the growth of the IT4IT Forum. Starting with an in-depth background to the company’s IT function, Hans described how as a provider of IT on a mass scale, the changing technology landscape has had a significant impact on Shell and the way it manages IT. He described how the introduction of the IT4IT Forum will help his organization and others like it to adapt to the convergence of technologies, allowing for a more dynamic yet structured IT department.

Subsequently Daniel Benton, Global Managing Director of IT Strategy at Accenture, and Georg Bock, Senior Director IT Management Software Portfolio Strategy at HP, provided their vision for the IT4IT Forum before a session where the speakers took questions from the floor. Those individuals heavily involved in the establishment of the IT4IT Forum received particular thanks from attendees for their efforts, as you can see in the accompanying picture.

In its entirety, the various presentations from the IT4IT Forum members provided a compelling vision for the future of the group. Watch this space for further developments now it has been launched.

IT4IT

The Open Group IT4IT™ Forum Founding Members

In the afternoon, the sessions were split into tracks illustrating the breadth of the material that The Open Group covers. On Monday this provided an opportunity for a range of speakers to present to attendees on topics from the architecture of banking to shaping business transformation. Key presenters included Thomas Obitz, Senior Manager, FSO Advisory Performance Improvement, EY, UK and Dr. Daniel Simon, Managing Partner, Scape Consulting, Germany.

The plenary and many of the track presentations are available at livestream.com.

The day concluded with an evening drinks reception within Central Hall Westminster, where attendees had the opportunity to catch up with acquaintances old and new. More to come on day two!

Join the conversation – @theopengroup #ogLON

Loren K. BaynesLoren K. Baynes, Director, Global Marketing Communications, joined The Open Group in 2013 and spearheads corporate marketing initiatives, primarily the website, blog and media relations. Loren has over 20 years experience in brand marketing and public relations and, prior to The Open Group, was with The Walt Disney Company for over 10 years. Loren holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Texas A&M University. She is based in the US.

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