Category Archives: Dependability through Assuredness™

The Open Group Summit Amsterdam 2014 – Day One Highlights

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

The Open Group Summit Amsterdam, held at the historic Hotel Krasnapolsky, began on Monday, May 12 by highlighting how the industry is moving further towards Boundaryless Information Flow™. After the successful introduction of The Open Group Healthcare Forum in San Francisco, the Governing Board is now considering other vertical Forums such as the airline industry and utilities sector.

The morning plenary began with a welcome from Steve Nunn, COO of The Open Group and CEO of the Association of Enterprise Architects (AEA). He mentioned that Amsterdam has a special place in his heart because of the remembrance of the 2001 event also held in Amsterdam, just one month after the 9/11 attacks which shocked the world. Today, with almost 300 registrations and people from 29 different countries, The Open Group is still appealing to a wide range of nationalities.

Allen Brown, President and CEO of The Open Group, took the audience on a journey as he described the transformation process that The Open Group has been on over the last thirty years from its inception in 1984. After a radically financial reorganization and raising new working capital, The Open Group is flourishing more than ever and is in good financial health.

It is amazing that 40 percent of the staff of 1984 is still working for The Open Group. What is the secret? You should have the right people in the boat with shared values and commitment. “In 2014, The Open Group runs a business, but stays a not-for-profit organization, a consortium”, Brown emphasized. “Enterprise Architecture is not a commercial vehicle or a ‘trendy’ topic. The Open Group always has a positive attitude and will never criticize other organizations. Our certification programs are a differentiator compared to other organizations. We collaborate with other consortia and standard bodies like ISO and ITIL”, Brown said.

Now the world is much more complex. Technology risk is increasing. A common language based on common standards is needed more than ever. TOGAF®, an Open Group standard, was in its infancy in 1998 and now it is the common standard for Enterprise Architects all over the world. In 1984, the UNIX® platform was the first platform of The Open Group. The Open Group Open Platform 3.0™, launched last year, focuses on new and emerging technology trends like mobility, big data, cloud computing and the Internet of Things converging with each other and leading to new business models and system designs. “The Open Group is all about building relationships and networking”, Brown concluded.

Leonardo Ramirez, CEO of ARCA SG and Chair of AEA Colombia, talked about the role of interoperability and Enterprise Architecture in Latin America. Colombia is now a safe country and has the strongest economy in the region. In 2011 Colombia promoted the electronic government and TOGAF was selected as the best choice for Enterprise Architecture. Ramirez is determined to stimulate social economic development projects in Latin America with the help of Enterprise Architecture. There is a law in Colombia (Regulation Law 1712, 2014) that says that every citizen has the right to access all the public information without boundaries.

Dr. Jonas Ridderstråle, Chairman, Mgruppen and Visiting Professor, Ashridge (UK) and IE Business Schools (Spain), said in his keynote speech, “Womenomics rules, the big winners of the personal freedom movement will be women. Women are far more risk averse. What would have happened with Lehman Brothers if it was managed by women? ‘Lehman Sisters’ probably had the potential to survive. Now women can spend 80 percent of their time on other things than just raising kids.” Ridderstråle continued to discuss life-changing and game-changing events throughout his presentation. He noted that The Open Group Open Platform 3.0 for instance is a good example of a successful reinvention.

“Towards a European Interoperability Architecture” was the title of one of the afternoon sessions led by Mr. R. Abril Jimenez. Analysis during the first phase of the European Interoperability Strategy (EIS) found that, at conceptual level, architecture guidelines were missing or inadequate. In particular, there are no architectural guidelines for cross-border interoperability of building blocks. Concrete, reusable interoperability guidelines and rules and principles on standards and architecture are also lacking. Based on the results achieved and direction set in the previous phases of the action, the EIA project has moved into a more practical phase that consists of two main parts: Conceptual Reference Architecture and Cartography.

Other tracks featured Healthcare, Professional Development and Dependability through Assuredness™.

The evening concluded with a lively networking reception in the hotel’s Winter Garden ballroom.

For those of you who attended the summit, please give us your feedback!  https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/AMST2014

Comments Off

Filed under Boundaryless Information Flow™, Conference, Dependability through Assuredness™, Enterprise Architecture, Enterprise Transformation, Healthcare, Open Platform 3.0, Professional Development, Standards, TOGAF®, Uncategorized

Why Technology Must Move Toward Dependability through Assuredness™

By Allen Brown, President and CEO, The Open Group

In early December, a technical problem at the U.K.’s central air traffic control center in Swanwick, England caused significant delays that were felt at airports throughout Britain and Ireland, also affecting flights in and out of the U.K. from Europe to the U.S. At Heathrow—one of the world’s largest airports—alone, there were a reported 228 cancellations, affecting 15 percent of the 1,300 daily flights flying to and from the airport. With a ripple effect that also disturbed flight schedules at airports in Birmingham, Dublin, Edinburgh, Gatwick, Glasgow and Manchester, the British National Air Traffic Services (NATS) were reported to have handled 20 percent fewer flights that day as a result of the glitch.

According to The Register, the problem was caused when a touch-screen telephone system that allows air traffic controllers to talk to each other failed to update during what should have been a routine shift change from the night to daytime system. According to news reports, the NATS system is the largest of its kind in Europe, containing more than a million lines of code. It took the engineering and manufacturing teams nearly a day to fix the problem. As a result of the snafu, Irish airline Ryanair even went so far as to call on Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority to intervene to prevent further delays and to make sure better contingency efforts are in place to prevent such failures happening again.

Increasingly complex systems

As businesses have come to rely more and more on technology, the systems used to keep operations running smoothly from day to day have gotten not only increasingly larger but increasingly complex. We are long past the days where a single mainframe was used to handle a few batch calculations.

Today, large global organizations, in particular, have systems that are spread across multiple centers of technical operations, often scattered in various locations throughout the globe. And with industries also becoming more inter-related, even individual company systems are often connected to larger extended networks, such as when trading firms are connected to stock exchanges or, as was the case with the Swanwick failure, airlines are affected by NATS’ network problems. Often, when systems become so large that they are part of even larger interconnected systems, the boundaries of the entire system are no longer always known.

The Open Group’s vision for Boundaryless Information Flow™ has never been closer to fruition than it is today. Systems have become increasingly open out of necessity because commerce takes place on a more global scale than ever before. This is a good thing. But as these systems have grown in size and complexity, there is more at stake when they fail than ever before.

The ripple effect felt when technical problems shut down major commercial systems cuts far, wide and deep. Problems such as what happened at Swanwick can affect the entire extended system. In this case, NATS, for example, suffers from damage to its reputation for maintaining good air traffic control procedures. The airlines suffer in terms of cancelled flights, travel vouchers that must be given out and angry passengers blasting them on social media. The software manufacturers and architects of the system are blamed for shoddy planning and for not having the foresight to prevent failures. And so on and so on.

Looking for blame

When large technical failures happen, stakeholders, customers, the public and now governments are beginning to look for accountability for these failures, for someone to assign blame. When the Obamacare website didn’t operate as expected, the U.S. Congress went looking for blame and jobs were lost. In the NATS fiasco, Ryanair asked for the government to intervene. Risk.net has reported that after the Royal Bank of Scotland experienced a batch processing glitch last summer, the U.K. Financial Services Authority wrote to large banks in the U.K. requesting they identify the people in their organization’s responsible for business continuity. And when U.S. trading company Knight Capital lost $440 million in 40 minutes when a trading software upgrade failed in August, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro was quoted in the same article as stating: “If there is a financial loss to be incurred, it is the firm committing the error that should suffer that loss, not its customers or other investors. That more than anything sends a wake-up call to the entire industry.”

As governments, in particular, look to lay blame for IT failures, companies—and individuals—will no longer be safe from the consequences of these failures. And it won’t just be reputations that are lost. Lawsuits may ensue. Fines will be levied. Jobs will be lost. Today’s organizations are at risk, and that risk must be addressed.

Avoiding catastrophic failure through assuredness

As any IT person or Enterprise Architect well knows, completely preventing system failure is impossible. But mitigating system failure is not. Increasingly the task of keeping systems from failing—rather than just up and running—will be the job of CTOs and enterprise architects.

When systems grow to a level of massive complexity that encompasses everything from old legacy hardware to Cloud infrastructures to worldwide data centers, how can we make sure those systems are reliable, highly available, secure and maintain optimal information flow while still operating at a maximum level that is cost effective?

In August, The Open Group introduced the first industry standard to address the risks associated with large complex systems, the Dependability through Assuredness™ (O-DA) Framework. This new standard is meant to help organizations both determine system risk and help prevent failure as much as possible.

O-DA provides guidelines to make sure large, complex, boundaryless systems run according to the requirements set out for them while also providing contingencies for minimizing damage when stoppage occurs. O-DA can be used as a standalone or in conjunction with an existing architecture development method (ADM) such as the TOGAF® ADM.

O-DA encompasses lessons learned within a number of The Open Group’s forums and work groups—it borrows from the work of the Security Forum’s Dependency Modeling (O-DM) and Risk Taxonomy (O-RT) standards and also from work done within the Open Group Trusted Technology Forum and the Real-Time and Embedded Systems Forums. Much of the work on this standard was completed thanks to the efforts of The Open Group Japan and its members.

This standard addresses the issue of responsibility for technical failures by providing a model for accountability throughout any large system. Accountability is at the core of O-DA because without accountability there is no way to create dependability or assuredness. The standard is also meant to address and account for the constant change that most organization’s experience on a daily basis. The two underlying principles within the standard provide models for both a change accommodation cycle and a failure response cycle. Each cycle, in turn, provides instructions for creating a dependable and adaptable architecture, providing accountability for it along the way.

oda2

Ultimately, the O-DA will help organizations identify potential anomalies and create contingencies for dealing with problems before or as they happen. The more organizations can do to build dependability into large, complex systems, hopefully the less technical disasters will occur. As systems continue to grow and their boundaries continue to blur, assuredness through dependability and accountability will be an integral part of managing complex systems into the future.

Allen Brown

Allen Brown is President and CEO, The Open Group – a global consortium that enables the achievement of business objectives through IT standards.  For over 14 years Allen has been responsible for driving The Open Group’s strategic plan and day-to-day operations, including extending its reach into new global markets, such as China, the Middle East, South Africa and India. In addition, he was instrumental in the creation of the AEA, which was formed to increase job opportunities for all of its members and elevate their market value by advancing professional excellence.

Comments Off

Filed under Dependability through Assuredness™, Standards