Category Archives: Business Architecture

Professional Training Trends (Part Two): A Q&A with Chris Armstrong, Armstrong Process Group

By The Open Group

This is part two in a two part series.

Professional development and training is a perpetually hot topic within the technology industry. After all, who doesn’t want to succeed at their job and perform better?

Ongoing education and training is particularly important for technology professionals who are already in the field. With new tech trends, programming languages and methodologies continuously popping up, most professionals can’t afford not to keep their skill sets up to date these days.

The Open Group member Chris Armstrong is well-versed in the obstacles that technology professionals face to do their jobs. President of Armstrong Process Group, Inc. (APG), Armstrong and his firm provide continuing education and certification programs for technology professionals and Enterprise Architects covering all aspects of the enterprise development lifecycle. We recently spoke with Armstrong about the needs of Architecture professionals and the skills and tools he thinks are necessary to do the job effectively today.

What are some of the tools that EAs can be using to do architecture right now?

There’s quite a bit out there. I’m kind of developing a perspective on how to lay them out across the landscape a bit better. I think there are two general classes of EA tools based on requirements, which is not necessarily the same as what is offered by commercial or open source solutions.

When you take a look at the EA Capability model and the value chain, the first two parts of it have to do with understanding and analyzing what’s going on in an enterprise. Those can be effectively implemented by what I call Enterprise Architecture content management tools, or EACM. Most of the modeling tools would fall within that categorization. Tools that we use? There’s Sparx Enterprise Architect. It’s a very effective modeling tool that covers all aspects of the architecture landscape top-to-bottom, left-to-right and it’s very affordable. Consequently, it’s one of the most popular tools in the world—I think there are upwards of 300,000 licenses active right now. There are lots of other modeling tools as well.

A lot of people find the price point for Sparx Enterprise Architect so appealing that when people go into an investment and it’s only $5K, $10K, or $15K, instead of $100K or $250K, find it’s a great way to get into coming to grips with what it means to really build models. It really helps you build those fundamental modeling skills, which are best learned via on-the-job experience in your real business domain, without having to mortgage the farm.

Then there’s the other part of it, and this is where I think there needs to be a shift in emphasis to some extent. A lot of times the architect community gets caught up in modeling. We’ve been modeling for decades—modeling is not a new thing. Despite that—and this is just an anecdotal observation—the level of formal, rigorous modeling, at least in our client base in the U.S. market, is still very low. There are lots of Fortune 1000 organizations that have not made investments in some of these solutions yet, or are fractured or not well-unified. As a profession, we have a big history of modeling and I’m a big fan of that, but it sometimes seems a bit self-serving to some extent, in that a lot of times the people we model for are ourselves. It’s all good from an engineering perspective—helps us frame stuff up, produce views of our content that are meaningful to other stakeholders. But there’s a real missed opportunity in making those assets available and useful to the rest of the organization. Because if you build a model, irrespective of how good and relevant and pertinent it is, if nobody knows about it and nobody can use it to make good decisions or can’t use it to accelerate their project, there’s some legitimacy to the question of “So how much value is this really adding?” I see a chasm between the production of Enterprise Architecture content and the ease of accessing and using that content throughout the enterprise. The consumer market for Enterprise Architecture is much larger than the provider community.

But that’s a big part of the problem, which is why I mentioned cross-training earlier–most enterprises don’t have the self-awareness that they’ve made some investment in Enterprise Architecture and then often ironically end up making redundant, duplicative investments in repositories to keep track of inventories of things that EA is already doing or could already be doing. Making EA content as easily accessible to the enterprise as going to Google and searching for it would be a monumental improvement. One of the big barriers to re-use is finding if something useful has already been created, and there’s a lot of opportunity to deliver better capability through tooling to all of the consumers throughout an enterprise.

If we move a bit further along the EA value chain to what we call “Decide and Respond,” that’s a really good place for a different class of tools. Even though there are modeling tool vendors that try to do it, we need a second class of tools for EA Lifecycle Management (EALM), which is really getting into the understanding of “architecture-in-motion”. Once architecture content has been described as the current and future state, the real $64,000 question is how do we get there? How do we build a roadmap? How do we distribute the requirements of that roadmap across multiple projects and tie that to the strategic business decisions and critical assets over time? Then there’s how do I operate all of this stuff once I build it? That’s another part of lifecycle management—not just how do I get to this future state target architecture, but how do I continue to operate and evolve it incrementally and iteratively over time?

There are some tools that are emerging in the lifecycle management space and one of them is another product we partner with—that’s a solution from HP called Enterprise Maps. From our perspective it meets all the key requirements of what we consider enterprise architecture lifecycle management.

What tools do you recommend EAs use to enhance their skillsets?

Getting back to modeling—that’s a really good place to start as it relates to elevating the rigor of architecture. People are used to drawing pictures with something like Visio to graphically represent ”here’s how the business is arranged” or “here’s how the applications landscape looks,” but there’s a big difference in transitioning how to think about building a model. Because drawing a picture and building a model are not the same thing. The irony, though, is that to many consumers it looks the same, because you often look into a model through a picture. But the skill and the experience that the practitioner needs is very different. It’s a completely different way of looking at the world when you start building models as opposed to solely drawing pictures.

I see still, coming into 2015, a huge opportunity to uplift that skill set because I find a lot of people say they know how to model but they haven’t really had that experience. You just can’t simply explain it to somebody, you have to do it. It’s not the be-all and end-all—it’s part of the architect’s toolkit, but being able to think architecturally and from a model-driven approach is a key skill set that people are going to need to keep pace with all the rapid changes going on in the marketplace right now.

I also see that there’s still an opportunity to get people better educated on some formal modeling notations. We’re big fans of the Unified Modeling Language, UML. I still think uptake of some of those specifications is not as prevalent as it could be. I do see that there are architects that have some familiarity with some of these modeling standards. For example, in our TOGAF® training we talk about standards in one particular slide, many architects have only heard of one or two of them. That just points to there being a lack of awareness about the rich family of languages that are out there and how they can be used. If a community of architects can only identify one or two modeling languages on a list of 10 or 15 that is an indirect representation of their background in doing modeling, in my opinion. That’s anecdotal, but there’s a huge opportunity to uplift architect’s modeling skills.

How do you define the difference between models and pictures?

Modeling requires a theory—namely you have to postulate a theory first and then you build a model to test that theory. Picture drawing doesn’t require a theory—it just requires you to dump on a piece of paper a bunch of stuff that’s in your head. Modeling encourages more methodical approaches to framing the problem.

One of the anti-patterns that I’ve seen in many organizations is they often get overly enthusiastic, particularly when they get a modeling tool. They feel like they can suddenly do all these things they’ve never done before, all that modeling stuff, and they end up “over modeling” and not modeling effectively because one of the key things for modeling is modeling just enough because there’s never enough time to build the perfect thing. In my opinion, it’s about building the minimally sufficient model that’s useful. And in order to do that, you need to take a step back. TOGAF does acknowledge this in the ADM—you need to understand who your stakeholders are, what their concerns are and then use those concerns to frame how you look at this content. This is where you start coming up with the theory for “Why are we building a model?” Just because we have tools to build models doesn’t mean we should build models with those tools. We need to understand why we’re building models, because we can build infinite numbers of models forever, where none of them might be useful, and what’s the point of that?

The example I give is, there’s a CFO of an organization that needs to report earnings to Wall Street for quarterly projections and needs details from the last quarter. And the accounting people say, “We’ve got you covered, we know exactly what you need.” Then the next day the CFO comes in and on his/her desk is eight feet of green bar paper. She/he goes out to the accountants and says, “What the heck is this?” And they say “This is a dump of the general ledger for the first quarter. Every financial transaction you need.” And he/she says, “Well it’s been a while since I’ve been a CPA, and I believe it’s all in there, but there’s just no way I’ve got time to weed through all that stuff.”

There are generally accepted accounting principles where if I want to understand the relationship between revenue and expense that’s called a P&L and if I’m interested in understanding the difference between assets and liabilities that’s a balance sheet. We can think of the general ledger as the model of the finances of an organization. We need to be able to use intelligence to give people views of that model that are pertinent and help them understand things. So, the CFO says “Can you take those debits and credits in that double entry accounting system and summarize them into a one-pager called a P&L?”

The P&L would be an example of a view into a model, like a picture or diagram. The diagram comes from a model, the general ledger. So if you want to change the P&L in an accounting system you don’t change the financial statement, you change the general ledger. When you make an adjustment in your general ledger, you re-run your P&L with different content because you changed the model underneath it.

You can kind of think of it as the difference between doing accounting on register paper like we did up until the early 21st Century and then saying “Why don’t we keep track of all the debits and credits based on a chart of accounts and then we can use reporting capabilities to synthesize any way of looking at the finances that we care to?” It’s allows a different way for thinking about the interconnectedness of things.

What are some of the most sought after classes at APG?

Of course TOGAF certification is one of the big ones. I’d say in addition to that we do quite a bit in systems engineering, application architecture, and requirements management. Sometimes those are done in the context of solution delivery but sometimes they’re done in the context of Enterprise Architecture. There’s still a lot of opportunity in supporting Enterprise Architecture in some of the fundamentals like requirements management and effective architectural modeling.

What kinds of things should EAs look for in training courses?

I guess the big thing is to try to look for are offerings that get you as close to practical application as possible. A lot of people start with TOGAF and that’s a great way to frame the problem space. I would set the expectation—and we always do when we deliver our TOGAF training—that this will not tell you “how” to do Enterprise Architecture, there’s just not enough time for that in four days. We talk about “what” Enterprise Architecture is and related emerging best practices. That needs to be followed up with “how do I actually do Enterprise Architecture modeling,” “how do I actually collect EA requirements,” “how do I actually do architecture trade-off analysis?” Then “How do I synthesize an architecture roadmap,” “how do I put together a migration plan,” and “how do I manage the lifecycle of applications in my portfolio over the long haul?” Looking for training that gets you closer to those experiences will be the most valuable ones.

But a lot of this depends on the level of maturity within the organization, because in some places, just getting everybody on the same page of what Enterprise Architecture means is a big victory. But I also think Enterprise Architects need to be very thoughtful about this cross-training. I know it’s something I’m trying to make an investment in myself, is becoming more attuned to what’s going on in other parts of the enterprise in which Enterprise Architecture has some context but perhaps is not a known player. Getting training experiences in other places and engaging those parts of your organizations to really find out what are the problems they’re trying to solve and how might Enterprise Architecture help them is essential.

One of the best ways to demonstrate that is part of the organizational learning related to EA adoption. That may even be the bigger question. As individual architects, there are always opportunities for greater skill development, but really, organizational learning is where the real investment needs to be made so you can answer the question, “Why do I care?” One of the best ways to respond to that is to have an internal success. After a pilot project say, “We did EA on a limited scale for a specific purpose and look what we got out of it and how could you not want to do more of it?”

But ultimate the question usually should be “How can we make Enterprise Architecture indispensible? How can we create an environment where people can perform their duties more rapidly, more efficiently, more effectively and more sustainably based on Enterprise Architecture?” This is part of the problem, especially in larger organizations. In 2015, it’s not really the first time people have been making investments in Enterprise Architecture, it’s the second or third or fourth time, so it’s a reboot. You want to make sure that EA can become indispensible but you want to be able to support those critical activities with EA support and then when the stakeholders become dependent on it, you can say “If you like that stuff, we need you to show up with some support for EA and get some funding and resources, so we can continue to operate and sustain this capability.”

What we’ve found is that it’s a double-edged sword, ironically. If an organization has success in propping up their Architecture capability and sustaining and demonstrating some value there, it can be a snowball effect where you can become victims of your own success and suddenly people are starting to get wind of “Oh, I don’t have to do that if the EA’s already done it,” or “I can align myself with a part of the business where the EA has already been done.” The architecture community can get very busy—more busy than they’re prepared for—because of the momentum that might exist to really exploit those EA investments. But at the end of the day, it’s all good stuff because the more you can show the enterprise that it’s worth the investment, that it delivers value, the more likely you’ll get increased funding to sustain the capability.

By The Open GroupChris Armstrong is president of Armstrong Process Group, Inc. and an internationally recognized thought leader and expert in iterative software development, enterprise architecture, object-oriented analysis and design, the Unified Modeling Language (UML), use case driven requirements and process improvement.

Over the past twenty years, Chris has worked to bring modern software engineering best practices to practical application at many private companies and government organizations worldwide. Chris has spoken at over 30 conferences, including The Open Group Enterprise Architecture Practitioners Conference, Software Development Expo, Rational User Conference, OMG workshops and UML World. He has been published in such outlets as Cutter IT Journal, Enterprise Development and Rational Developer Network.

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Filed under Business Architecture, Enterprise Architecture, Enterprise Transformation, Professional Development, Standards, TOGAF, TOGAF®, Uncategorized

Professional Training Trends (Part One): A Q&A with Chris Armstrong, Armstrong Process Group

By The Open Group

This is part one in a two part series.

Professional development and training is a perpetually hot topic within the technology industry. After all, who doesn’t want to succeed at their job and perform better?

Ongoing education and training is particularly important for technology professionals who are already in the field. With new tech trends, programming languages and methodologies continuously popping up, most professionals can’t afford not to keep their skill sets up to date these days.

The Open Group member Chris Armstrong is well-versed in the obstacles that technology professionals face to do their jobs. President of Armstrong Process Group, Inc. (APG), Armstrong and his firm provide continuing education and certification programs for technology professionals and Enterprise Architects covering all aspects of the enterprise development lifecycle. We recently spoke with Armstrong about the needs of Architecture professionals and the skills and tools he thinks are necessary to do the job effectively today.

What are some of the latest trends you’re seeing in training today?

If I look at the kinds of things we’ve been helping people with, we definitely continue to do professional certifications like TOGAF®. It appears that the U.S. is still lagging behind Europe with penetration of TOGAF certifications. For example, the trend has been that the U.K. is number one in certifications and the U.S. is number two. Based on sheer numbers of workers, there should actually be far more people certified in the U.S., but that could be related to cultural differences in regional markets as related to certification.

Another trend we’re seeing a lot of is “How do I do this in the real world?” TOGAF intentionally does not go to the level of detail that prescribes how you really do things. Many practitioners are looking for more focused, detailed training specific to different Enterprise Architecture (EA) domains. APG does quite a bit of that with our enterprise clients to help institutionalize EA practices. There are also many tool vendors that provide tools to help accomplish EA tasks and we help with training on those.

We also find that there’s a need for balance between how much to train someone in terms of formal training vs. mentoring and coaching them. As a profession, we do a lot of classroom training, but we need to follow up more with how we’re going to apply it in the real world and in our environment with on-the-job training. Grasping the concepts in an instructor-led class isn’t the same as doing it for real, when trying to solve a problem you actually care about.

When people are interested in becoming Enterprise Architects, what kind of training should they pursue?

That’s a pretty compelling question as it has to do with the state of the architecture profession, which is still in its infancy. From a milestone perspective, it’s still hard to call Enterprise Architecture a “true” profession if you can’t get educated on it. With other professions—attorneys or medical doctors—you can go to an accredited university and get a degree or a master’s and participate in continuing education. There are some indicators that things are progressing though. Now there are master’s programs in Enterprise Architecture at institutions like Penn State. We’ve donated some of our architecture curriculum as a gift- in-kind to the program and have a seat on their corporate advisory board. It was pretty awesome to make that kind of contribution to support and influence their program.

We talk about this in our Enterprise Architecture training to help to make people aware of that milestone. However, do you think that getting a four-year degree in Computer Science or Math or Engineering and then going on to get a master’s is sufficient to be a successful Enterprise Architect? Absolutely not. So if that’s insufficient, we have to agree what additional experiences individuals should have in order to become Enterprise Architects.

It seems like we need the kind of post-graduate experience of a medical doctor where there’s an internship and a residency, based on on-the-ground experience in the real world with guidance from seasoned professionals. That’s been that approach to most professional trades—apprentice, journeyman, to master—they require on-the-job training. You become a master artisan after a certain period of time and experience. Now there are board-level certifications and some elements of a true profession, but we’re just not there yet in Enterprise Architecture. Len Fehskens at the Association of Enterprise Architects (AEA) has been working on this a lot recently. I think it’s still unclear what it will take to legitimize this as a profession, and while I’m not sure I know the answer, there may be some indicators to consider.

I think as Enterprise Architecture becomes more commonplace, there will be more of an expectation for it. Part of the uptake issue is that most people running today’s organizations likely have an MBA and when they got it 20, 30 or 40 years ago, EA was not recognized as a key business capability. Now that there are EA master’s programs, future MBA candidates will have been exposed to it in their education, which will remove some of the organizational barriers to adoption.

I think it will still be another 20 or 30 years for mass awareness. As more organizations become successful in showing how they have exploited Enterprise Architecture to deliver real business benefits (increased profitability and reduced risk), the call for qualified people will increase. And because of the consequences of the decisions Enterprise Architects are involved in, business leaders will want assurance that their people are qualified and have the requisite accreditation and experience that they’d expect from an attorney or doctor.

Maybe one other thing to call out—in order for us to overcome some of these barriers, we need to be thinking about what kind of education do we need to be providing our business leaders about Enterprise Architecture so that they are making the right kinds of investments. It’s not just Architect education that we need, but also business leader education.

What kind of architecture skills are most in demand right now?

Business Architecture has a lot of legs right now because it’s an essential part of the alignment with the business. I do see some risks of bifurcation between the “traditional” EA community and the emerging Business Architecture community. The business is enterprise, so it’s critical that the EA and BA communities are unified. There is more in common amongst us than differences as professionals, and I think there’s strength in numbers. And while Business Architecture seems to have some good velocity right now, at the end of the day you still need to be able to support your business with IT Architecture.

There is a trend coming up I do wonder about, which is related to Technology Architecture, as it’s known in TOGAF. Some people may also call it Infrastructure Architecture. With the evolution of cloud as a platform, it’s becoming in my mind—and this might be just because I’m looking at it from the perspective of a start-up IT company with APG—it’s becoming less and less of an issue to have to care as much about the technology and the infrastructure because in many cases people are making investments in these platforms where that’s taken care of by other people. I don’t want to say we don’t care at all about the technology, but a lot of the challenges organizations have of standardizing on technology to make sure that things can be easily sustainable from a cost and risk perspective, many of those may change when more and more organizations start putting things in the cloud, so it could possibly mean that a lot of the investments that organizations have made in technical architecture could become less important.

Although, that will have to be compensated for from a different perspective, particularly an emerging domain that some people call Integration Architecture. And that also applies to Application Architecture as well—as many organizations move away from custom development to packaged solutions and SaaS solutions, when they think about where they want to make investments, it may be that when all these technologies and application offerings are being delivered to us via the cloud, we may need to focus more on how they’re integrated with one another.

But there’s still obviously a big case for the entirety of the discipline—Enterprise Architecture—and really being able to have that clear line of sight to the business.

What are some of the options currently available for ongoing continuing education for Enterprise Architects?

The Association of Enterprise Architects (AEA) provides a lot of programs to help out with that by supplementing the ecosystem with additional content. It’s a blend between formal classroom training and conference proceedings. We’re doing a monthly webinar series with the AEA entitled “Building an Architecture Platform,” which focuses on how to establish capabilities within the organization to deliver architecture services. The topics are about real-world concerns that have to do with the problems practitioners are trying to address. Complementing professional skills development with these types of offerings is another part of the APG approach.

One of the things APG is doing, and this is a project we’re working on with others at The Open Group, is defining an Enterprise Architecture capability model. One of the things that capability model will be used for is to decide where organizations need to make investments in education. The current capability model and value chain that we have is pretty broad and has a lot of different dimensions to it. When I take a look at it and think “How do people do those things?” I see an opportunity for education and development. Once we continue to elaborate the map of things that comprise Enterprise Architecture, I think we’ll see a lot of opportunity for getting into a lot of different dimensions of how Enterprise Architecture affects an organization.

And one of the things we need to think about is how we can deliver just-in-time training to a diverse, global community very rapidly and effectively. Exploiting online learning management systems and remote coaching are some of the avenues that APG is pursuing.

Are there particular types of continuing education programs that EAs should pursue from a career development standpoint?

One of the things I’ve found interesting is that I’ve seen a number of my associates in the profession going down the MBA path. My sense is that that’s a representation of an interest in understanding better how the business executives see the enterprise from their world and to help perhaps frame the question “How can I best anticipate and understand where they’re coming from so that I can more effectively position Enterprise Architecture at a different level?” So that’s cross-disciplinary training. Of course that makes a lot of sense, because at the end of the day, that’s what Enterprise Architecture is all about—how to exploit the synergy that exists within an enterprise. A lot of times that’s about going horizontal within the organization into places where people didn’t necessarily think you had any business in. So raising that awareness and understanding of the relevance of EA is a big part of it.

Another thing that certainly is driving many organizations is regulatory compliance, particularly general risk management. A lot of organizations are becoming aware that Enterprise Architecture plays an essential role in supporting that. Getting cross-training in those related disciplines would make a lot of sense. At the end of the day, those parts of an organizations typically have a lot more authority, and consequently, a lot more funding and money than Enterprise Architecture does, because the consequence of non-conformance is very punitive—the pulling of licenses to operate, heavy fines, bad publicity. We’re just not quite there that if an organization were to not do “good” on Enterprise Architecture, that it’d become front-page news in The New York Times. But when someone steals 30 million cardholders’ personal information, that does become headline news and the subject of regulatory punitive damages. And not to say that Enterprise Architecture is the savior of all things, but it is well-accepted within the EA community that Enterprise Architecture is an essential part of building an effective governance and a regulatory compliance environment.

By The Open GroupChris Armstrong is president of Armstrong Process Group, Inc. and an internationally recognized thought leader and expert in iterative software development, enterprise architecture, object-oriented analysis and design, the Unified Modeling Language (UML), use case driven requirements and process improvement.

Over the past twenty years, Chris has worked to bring modern software engineering best practices to practical application at many private companies and government organizations worldwide. Chris has spoken at over 30 conferences, including The Open Group Enterprise Architecture Practitioners Conference, Software Development Expo, Rational User Conference, OMG workshops and UML World. He has been published in such outlets as Cutter IT Journal, Enterprise Development and Rational Developer Network.

Join the conversation!  @theopengroup #ogchat

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Filed under Business Architecture, Enterprise Architecture, Professional Development, Standards, TOGAF®, Uncategorized

The Onion From The Inside Out

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

The Open Group Open Platform 3.0™ (OP3.0) services often involve a complex network of interdependent parties[1]. Each party has its own concept of the value it expects from the service. One consequence of this is that each party depends on the value other parties place on the service. If it’s not core business for one of them, its availability and reliability could be in doubt. So the others need to be aware of this and have some idea of how much that matters to them.

In a previous post, we used the analogy of an onion to model various degrees of relationship between parties. At a high level the onion looks like this:

By Stuart Boardman, KPN“Onion”

Every player has their own version of this onion. Every player’s own perspective is from the middle of it. The complete set of players will be distributed across different layers of the onion depending on whose onion we are looking at.

In a short series of blogs, we’re going to use a concrete use-case to explore what various players’ onions look like. To understand that onion involves working from the middle out. We all know that you can’t peel an onion starting in the middle, so let’s not get hung up on the metaphor. It’s only useful in as far as it fits with our real business objective. In this case the objective is to have the best possible chance of understanding and then realizing the potential value of a service.

Defining and Realizing Value

Earlier this year, The Open Group published a set of Open Platform 3.0 use cases. One of these use cases (#15) considers the energy market ecosystem involved in smart charging of electric vehicles. The players in this use case include:

  • The Vehicle User
  • Supplier/Charging Operator(s)
  • Distribution Service Operator (DSO).
  • Electricity Bulk Generators
  • Transmission (National Grid) Operator
  • Local Government

By Stuart Boardman, KPN

The use case describes a scenario involving these players:

A local controller (a device – known in OP3.0 as part of the Internet of Things) controls one or more charging stations. The Charging Operator informs the vehicle (and possibly the Vehicle User) via the local controller how much capacity is available to it. If the battery is nearly full the vehicle can inform the local controller that it needs less capacity and this capacity can then be made available to other vehicles at other charging stations.

The Charging Operator determines the capacity to be made available on the basis of information provided by the DSO (maximum allowable capacity at that time), possibly combined with commercial information (e.g., current spot prices, predicted trends, flexibility agreements with vehicle-owners/customers where applicable). The DSO has predicted available capacity on the basis of currently predicted weather conditions and long-term usage patterns in the relevant area. The DSO is able to adapt to unexpected changes in real-time and restrict or increase the locally available capacity.

Value For The Various Parties

The Vehicle User

For the sake of making it interesting let’s say that the vehicle user is a taxi driver. For her, the value is primarily in being able to charge the vehicle at a convenient time, place, speed and cost. But the perception of what constitutes value in those categories may vary depending on whether she uses a public charging station or charges at home. In either case the service she uses is focused on the Supplier/Charging operator, because that is who she pays for the service. The bill includes generic DSO costs but the customer has no direct relationship with a DSO and is only really aware of them when maintenance is carried out. Factors like convenient time and place may bring Local Government into the picture, because they are often the party who make parking spaces for electric vehicles available.

By Stuart Boardman, KPN“The Taxi Driver’s Onion”

Local Government

Local government is then also responsible for policing the proper use of these spaces. The importance assigned by local government to making these facilities available is a question of policy balanced by cost/gain (licenses and parking fees). Policy is influenced by the economy, by the convictions of the councilors, by lobbyists (especially those connected with the DSO, Bulk Generators and Transmission Operators), by innovation and natural resources and by the attitude of the public towards electric vehicles, which in turn may be influenced by national government policy. In some countries (e.g. The Netherlands) there are tax incentives for the acquisition of electric cars. If this policy changes in a country, the number of electric vehicles could increase or decrease dramatically. Local government has a dependency on and formal relationship with the Supplier that manages the Charging Stations. The relationship with the DSO is indirect unless they have been partners in an initiative to promote electric vehicles.

 By Stuart Boardman, KPN “Local Government’s Onion”

The Distribution Service OperatorBy Stuart Boardman, KPN

Value for the DSO involves balancing its regulatory obligation to provide continuity of energy supply with the cost of investment to achieve that and with the public perception of the value of that service. The DSO also gains value in terms of reputation from investing in innovation and energy saving. That value is expressed in its own long-term future as an enterprise. The DSO, being very much the hub in this use case, is dependent on the Supplier and the Vehicle User (with the vehicle’s battery as proxy) to provide the information needed to ensure continuity – and of course on the Transmission Operator the Bulk Generators to provide power. It does not, however, have any direct relationship with any Bulk Generator or even necessarily know who they are or where they are located.

 

By Stuart Boardman, KPN“The Distribution Service Operator’s Onion”

The Bulk Generator

The Bulk Generator has no direct involvement in this use case but has an indirect dependency on anything affecting the level of usage of electricity, as this affects the market price and long-term future of its product. So there is generic value (or anti-value) in the use case if it is widely implemented.

To be continued…

Those were the basics of the approach. There’s a lot more to be done before you can say you have a grip on value realization in such a scenario.

In the next blog, we’ll dive deeper into the use case, identify other relevant stakeholders and look at other dependencies that may influence value across the chain.

[1] Open Platform 3.0 refers to this as a “wider business ecosystem”. In fact such ecosystems exist for all kinds of services. We just happen to be focusing on this kind of service.

By Stuart Boardman, KPNStuart 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.

harrington_ed_0Ed 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 Open Group London 2014: Eight Questions on Retail Architecture

By The Open Group

If there’s any vertical sector that has been experiencing constant and massive transformation in the ages of the Internet and social media, it’s the retail sector. From the ability to buy goods whenever and however you’d like (in store, online and now, through mobile devices) to customers taking to social media to express their opinions about brands and service, retailers have a lot to deal with.

Glue Reply is a UK-based consulting firm that has worked with some of Europe’s largest retailers to help them plan their Enterprise Architectures and deal with the onslaught of constant technological change. Glue Reply Partner Daren Ward and Senior Consultant Richard Veryard sat down recently to answer our questions about how the challenges of building architectures for the retail sector, the difficulties of seasonal business and the need to keep things simple and agile. Ward spoke at The Open Group London 2014 on October 20.

What are some of the biggest challenges facing the retail industry right now?

There are a number of well-documented challenges facing the retail sector. Retailers are facing new competitors, especially from discount chains, as well as online-only retailers such as Amazon. Retailers are also experiencing an increasing fragmentation of spend—for example, grocery customers buying smaller quantities more frequently.

At the same time, the customer expectations are higher, especially across multiple channels. There is an increased intolerance of poor customer service, and people’s expectations of prompt response is increasing rapidly, especially via social media.

There is also an increasing concern regarding cost. Many retailers have huge amounts invested in physical space and human resources. They can’t just keep increasing these costs, they must understand how to become more efficient and create new ways to make use of these resources.

What role is technology playing in those changes, and which technologies are forcing the most change?

New technologies are allowing us to provide shoppers with a personalized customer experience more akin to an old school type service like when the store manager knew my name, my collar size, etc. Combining technologies such as mobile and iBeacons is allowing us to not only reach out to our customers, but to also provide a context and increase relevance.

Some retailers are becoming extremely adept in using social media. The challenge here is to link the social media with the business process, so that the customer service agent can quickly check the relevant stock position and reserve the stock before posting a response on Facebook.

Big data is becoming one of the key technology drivers. Large retailers are able to mobilize large amounts of data, both from their own operations as well as external sources. Some retailers have become highly data-driven enterprises, with the ability to make rapid adjustments to marketing campaigns and physical supply chains. As we gather more data from more devices all plugged into the Internet of Things (IoT), technology can help us make sense of this data and spot trends we didn’t realize existed.

What role can Enterprise Architecture play in helping retailers, and what can retailers gain from taking an architectural approach to their business?

One of the key themes of the digital transformation is the ability to personalize the service, to really better understand our customers and to hold a conversation with them that is meaningful. We believe there are four key foundation blocks to achieving this seamless digital transformation: the ability to change, to integrate, to drive value from data and to understand the customer journey. Core to the ability to change is a business-driven roadmap. It provides all involved with a common language, a common set of goals and a target vision. This roadmap is not a series of hurdles that must be delivered, but rather a direction of travel towards the target allowing us to assess the impact of course corrections as we go and ensure we are still capable of arriving at our destination. This is how we create an agile environment, where tactical changes are still simple course corrections continuing on the right direction of travel.

Glue Reply provides a range of architecture services to our retail clients, from capability led planning to practical development of integration solutions. For example, we produced a five-year roadmap for Sainsbury’s, which allows IT investment to combine longer-term foundation projects with short-term initiatives that can respond rapidly to customer demand.

Are there issues specific to the retail sector that are particularly challenging to deal with in creating an architecture and why?

Retail is a very seasonal business—sometimes this leaves a very small window for business improvements. This also exaggerates the differences in the business and IT lifecycles. The business strategy can change at a pace often driven by external factors, whilst elements of IT have a lifespan of many years. This is why we need a roadmap—to assess the impact of these changes and re-plan and prioritize our activities.

Are there some retailers that you think are doing a good job of handling these technology challenges? Which ones are getting it right?

Our client John Lewis has just been named ‘Omnichannel Retailer of the Year’ at the World Retail Awards 2014. They have a vision, and they can assess the impact of change. We have seen similar success at Sainsbury’s, where initiatives such as brand match are brought to market with real pace and quality.

How can industry standards help to support the retail industry?

Where appropriate, we have used industry standards such as the ARTS (Association for Retail Standards) data model to assist our clients in creating a version that is good enough. But mostly, we use our own business reference models, which we have built up over many years of experience working with a range of different retail businesses.

What can other industries learn from how retailers are incorporating architecture into their operations?

The principle of omnichannel has a lot of relevance for other consumer-facing organizations, but also retail’s focus on loyalty. It’s not about creating a sale stampede, it’s about the brand. Apple is clearly an excellent example—when people queue for hours to be the first to buy the new product, at a price that will only reduce over time. Some retailers are making great use of customer data and profiling. And above, all successful retailers understand three key architectural principles that will drive success in any other sector—keep it simple, drive value and execute well.

What can retailers do to continue to best meet customer expectations into the future?

It’s no longer about the channel, it’s about the conversation. We have worked with the biggest brands in Europe, helping them deliver multichannel solutions that consider the conversation. The retailer that enables this conversation will better understand their customers’ needs and build long-term relationships.

By The Open GroupDaren Ward is a Partner at Reply in the UK. As well as being a practicing Enterprise Architecture, Daren is responsible for the development of the Strategy and Architecture business as well as playing a key role in driving growth of Reply in the UK. He is committed to helping organizations drive genuine business value from IT investments, working with both commercial focused business units and IT professionals.  Daren has helped establish Architecture practices at many organizations. Be it enterprise, solutions, integration or information architecture, he has helped these practices delivery real business value through capability led architecture and business-driven roadmaps.

 

RichardVeryard 2 June 2014Richard Veryard is a Business Architect and author, specializing in capability-led planning, systems thinking and organizational intelligence. Last year, Richard joined Glue Reply as a senior consultant in the retail sector.

 

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The Open Group London 2014 – Day Two Highlights

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

Despite gusts of 70mph hitting the capital on Day Two of this year’s London event, attendees were not disheartened as October 21 kicked off with an introduction from The Open Group President and CEO Allen Brown. He provided a recap of The Open Group’s achievements over the last quarter including successful events in Bratislava, Slovakia and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Allen also cited some impressive membership figures, with The Open Group now boasting 468 member organizations across 39 countries with the latest member coming from Nigeria.

Dave Lounsbury, VP and CTO at The Open Group then introduced the panel debate of the day on The Open Group Open Platform 3.0™ and Enterprise Architecture, with participants Ron Tolido, SVP and CTO, Applications Continental Europe, Capgemini; Andras Szakal, VP and CTO, IBM U.S. Federal IMT; and TJ Virdi, Senior Enterprise IT Architect, The Boeing Company.

After a discussion around the definition of Open Platform 3.0, the participants debated the potential impact of the Platform on Enterprise Architecture. Tolido noted that there has been an explosion of solutions, typically with a much shorter life cycle. While we’re not going to be able to solve every single problem with Open Platform 3.0, we can work towards that end goal by documenting its requirements and collecting suitable case studies.

Discussions then moved towards the theme of machine-to-machine (M2M) learning, a key part of the Open Platform 3.0 revolution. TJ Virdi cited figures from Gartner that by the year 2017, machines will soon be learning more than processing, an especially interesting notion when it comes to the manufacturing industry according to Szakal. There are three different areas whereby manufacturing is affected by M2M: New business opportunities, business optimization and operational optimization. With the products themselves now effectively becoming platforms and tools for communication, they become intelligent things and attract others in turn.

PanelRon Tolido, Andras Szakal, TJ Virdi, Dave Lounsbury

Henry Franken, CEO at BizzDesign, went on to lead the morning session on the Pitfalls of Strategic Alignment, announcing the results of an expansive survey into the development and implementation of a strategy. Key findings from the survey include:

  • SWOT Analysis and Business Cases are the most often used strategy techniques to support the strategy process – many others, including the Confrontation Matrix as an example, are now rarely used
  • Organizations continue to struggle with the strategy process, and most do not see strategy development and strategy implementation intertwined as a single strategy process
  • 64% indicated that stakeholders had conflicting priorities regarding reaching strategic goals which can make it very difficult for a strategy to gain momentum
  • The majority of respondents believed the main constraint to strategic alignment to be the unknown impact of the strategy on the employees, followed by the majority of the organization not understanding the strategy

The wide-ranging afternoon tracks kicked off with sessions on Risk, Enterprise in the Cloud and Archimate®, an Open Group standard. Key speakers included Ryan Jones at Blackthorn Technologies, Marc Walker at British Telecom, James Osborn, KPMG, Anitha Parameswaran, Unilever and Ryan Betts, VoltDB.

To take another look at the day’s plenary or track sessions, please visit The Open Group on livestream.com.

The day ended in style with an evening reception of Victorian architecture at the Victoria & Albert Museum, along with a private viewing of the newly opened John Constable exhibition.

IMG_3976Victoria & Albert Museum

A special mention must go to Terry Blevins who, after years of hard work and commitment to The Open Group, was made a Fellow at this year’s event. Many congratulations to Terry – and here’s to another successful day tomorrow.

Join the conversation! #ogchat #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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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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IT Trends Empowering Your Business is Focus of The Open Group London 2014

By The Open Group

The Open Group, the vendor-neutral IT consortium, is hosting an event in London October 20th-23rd at the Central Hall, Westminster. The theme of this year’s event is on how new IT trends are empowering improvements in business and facilitating enterprise transformation.

Objectives of this year’s event:

  • Show the need for Boundaryless Information Flow™, which would result in more interoperable, real-time business processes throughout all business ecosystems
  • Examine the use of developing technology such as Big Data and advanced data analytics in the financial services sector: to minimize risk, provide more customer-centric products and identify new market opportunities
  • Provide a high-level view of the Healthcare ecosystem that identifies entities and stakeholders which must collaborate to enable the vision of Boundaryless Information Flow
  • Detail how the growth of “The Internet of Things” with online currencies and mobile-enabled transactions has changed the face of financial services, and poses new threats and opportunities
  • Outline some of the technological imperatives for Healthcare providers, with the use of The Open Group Open Platform 3.0™ tools to enable products and services to work together and deploy emerging technologies freely and in combination
  • Describe how to develop better interoperability and communication across organizational boundaries and pursue global standards for Enterprise Architecture for all industries

Key speakers at the event include:

  • Allen Brown, President & CEO, The Open Group
  • Magnus Lindkvist, Futurologist
  • Hans van Kesteren, VP & CIO Global Functions, Shell International, The Netherlands
  • Daniel Benton, Global Managing Director, IT Strategy, Accenture

Registration for The Open Group London 2014 is open and available to members and non-members. Please register here.

Join the conversation via Twitter – @theopengroup #ogLON

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