Category Archives: Enterprise Architecture

Putting Information Technology at the Heart of the Business: The Open Group San Diego 2015

By The Open Group

The Open Group is hosting the “Enabling Boundaryless Information Flow™” event February 2 – 5, 2015 in San Diego, CA at the Westin San Diego Gaslamp Quarter. The event is set to focus on the changing role of IT within the enterprise and how new IT trends are empowering improvements in businesses and facilitating Enterprise Transformation. Key themes include Dependability through Assuredness™ (The Cybersecurity Connection) and The Synergy of Enterprise Architecture Frameworks. Particular attention throughout the event will be paid to the need for continued development of an open TOGAF® Architecture Development Method and its importance and value to the wider business architecture community. The goal of Boundaryless Information Flow will be featured prominently in a number of tracks throughout the event.

Key objectives for this year’s event include:

  • Explore how Cybersecurity and dependability issues are threatening business enterprises and critical infrastructure from an integrity and a Security perspective
  • Show the need for Boundaryless Information Flow™, which would result in more interoperable, real-time business processes throughout all business ecosystems
  • Outline current challenges in securing the Internet of Things, and about work ongoing in the Security Forum and elsewhere that will help to address the issues
  • Reinforce the importance of architecture methodologies to assure your enterprise is transforming its approach along with the ever-changing threat landscape
  • Discuss the key drivers and enablers of social business technologies in large organizations which play an important role in the co-creation of business value, and discuss the key building blocks of social business transformation program

Plenary speakers at the event include:

  • Chris Forde, General Manager, Asia Pacific Region & VP, Enterprise Architecture, The Open Group
  • John A. Zachman, Founder & Chairman, Zachman International, and Executive Director of FEAC Institute

Full details on the range of track speakers at the event can be found here, with the following (among many others) contributing:

  • Dawn C. Meyerriecks, Deputy Director for Science and Technology, CIA
  • Charles Betz, Founder, Digital Management Academy
  • Leonard Fehskens. Chief Editor, Journal of Enterprise Architecture, AEA

Registration for The Open Group San Diego 2015 is open and available to members and non-members. Please register here.

Join the conversation via Twitter – @theopengroup #ogSAN

 

2 Comments

Filed under Boundaryless Information Flow™, Dependability through Assuredness™, Internet of Things, Professional Development, Security, Standards, TOGAF®, Uncategorized

Open FAIR Certification for People Program

By Jim Hietala, VP Security, and Andrew Josey, Director of Standards, The Open Group

In this, the final installment of this Open FAIR blog series, we will look at the Open FAIR Certification for People program.

In early 2012, The Open Group Security Forum began exploring the idea of creating a certification program for Risk Analysts. Discussions with large enterprises regarding their risk analysis programs led us to the conclusion that there was a need for a professional certification program for Risk Analysts. In addition, Risk Analyst professionals and Open FAIR practitioners expressed interest in a certification program. Security and risk training organizations also expressed interest in providing training courses based upon the Open FAIR standards and Body of Knowledge.

The Open FAIR People Certification Program was designed to meet the requirements of employers and risk professionals. The certification program is a knowledge-based certification, testing candidates knowledge of the two standards, O-RA, and O-RT. Candidates are free to acquire their knowledge through self-study, or to take a course from an accredited training organization. The program currently has a single level (Foundation), with a more advanced certification level (Certified) planned for 2015.

Several resources are available from The Open Group to assist Risk Analysts preparing to sit for the exam, including the following:

  • Open FAIR Pocket Guide
  • Open FAIR Study Guide
  • Risk Taxonomy (O-RT), Version 2.0 (C13K, October 2013) defines a taxonomy for the factors that drive information security risk – Factor Analysis of Information Risk (FAIR).
  • Risk Analysis (O-RA) (C13G, October 2013) describes process aspects associated with performing effective risk analysis.

All of these can be downloaded from The Open Group publications catalog at http://www.opengroup.org/bookstore/catalog.

For training organizations, The Open Group accredits organizations wishing to offer training courses on Open FAIR. Testing of candidates is offered through Prometric test centers worldwide.

For more information on Open FAIR certification or accreditation, please contact us at: openfair-cert-auth@opengroup.org

By Jim Hietala and Andrew JoseyJim Hietala, CISSP, GSEC, is the Vice President, Security for The Open Group, where he manages all IT Security, Risk Management and Healthcare programs and standards activities. He participates in the SANS Analyst/Expert program and has also published numerous articles on Information Security, Risk Management, and compliance topics in publications including The ISSA Journal, Bank Accounting & Finance, Risk Factor, SC Magazine, and others.

 

By Andrew JoseyAndrew Josey is Director of Standards within The Open Group. He is currently managing the standards process for The Open Group, and has recently led the standards development projects for TOGAF® 9.1, ArchiMate® 2.0, IEEE Std 1003.1-2008 (POSIX), and the core specifications of the Single UNIX® Specification, Version 4. Previously, he has led the development and operation of many of The Open Group certification development projects, including industry-wide certification programs for the UNIX system, the Linux Standard Base, TOGAF, and IEEE POSIX. He is a member of the IEEE, USENIX, UKUUG, and the Association of Enterprise Architects.

 

 

 

Comments Off on Open FAIR Certification for People Program

Filed under Accreditations, Certifications, Cybersecurity, Enterprise Architecture, Information security, Open FAIR Certification, Professional Development, RISK Management, Security, Uncategorized

Using the Open FAIR Body of Knowledge with Other Open Group Standards

By Jim Hietala, VP Security, and Andrew Josey, Director of Standards, The Open Group

This is the third in our four part blog series introducing the Open FAIR Body of Knowledge. In this blog, we look at how the Open FAIR Body of Knowledge can be used with other Open Group standards.

The Open FAIR Body of Knowledge provides a model with which to decompose, analyze, and measure risk. Risk analysis and management is a horizontal enterprise capability that is common to many aspects of running a business. Risk management in most organizations exists at a high level as Enterprise Risk Management, and it exists in specialized parts of the business such as project risk management and IT security risk management. Because the proper analysis of risk is a fundamental requirement for different areas of Enterprise Architecture (EA), and for IT system operation, the Open FAIR Body of Knowledge can be used to support several other Open Group standards and frameworks.

The TOGAF® Framework

In the TOGAF 9.1 standard, Risk Management is described in Part III: ADM Guidelines and Techniques. Open FAIR can be used to help improve the measurement of various types of Risk, including IT Security Risk, Project Risk, Operational Risk, and other forms of Risk. Open FAIR can help to improve architecture governance through improved, consistent risk analysis and better Risk Management. Risk Management is described in the TOGAF framework as a necessary capability in building an EA practice. Use of the Open FAIR Body of Knowledge as part of an EA risk management capability will help to produce risk analysis results that are accurate and defensible, and that are more easily communicated to senior management and to stakeholders.

O-ISM3

The Open Information Security Management Maturity Model (O-ISM3) is a process-oriented approach to building an Information Security Management System (ISMS). Risk Management as a business function exists to identify risk to the organization, and in the context of O-ISM3, information security risk. Open FAIR complements the implementation of an O-ISM3-based ISMS by providing more accurate analysis of risk, which the ISMS can then be designed to address.

O-ESA

The Open Enterprise Security Architecture (O-ESA) from The Open Group describes a framework and template for policy-driven security architecture. O-ESA (in Sections 2.2 and 3.5.2) describes risk management as a governance principle in developing an enterprise security architecture. Open FAIR supports the objectives described in O-ESA by providing a consistent taxonomy for decomposing and measuring risk. Open FAIR can also be used to evaluate the cost and benefit, in terms of risk reduction, of various potential mitigating security controls.

O-TTPS

The O-TTPS standard, developed by The Open Group Trusted Technology Forum, provides a set of guidelines, recommendations, and requirements that help assure against maliciously tainted and counterfeit products throughout commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) information and communication technology (ICT) product lifecycles. The O-TTPS standard includes requirements to manage risk in the supply chain (SC_RSM). Specific requirements in the Risk Management section of O-TTPS include identifying, assessing, and prioritizing risk from the supply chain. The use of the Open FAIR taxonomy and risk analysis method can improve these areas of risk management.

The ArchiMate® Modeling Language

The ArchiMate modeling language, as described in the ArchiMate Specification, can be used to model Enterprise Architectures. The ArchiMate Forum is also considering extensions to the ArchiMate language to include modeling security and risk. Basing this risk modeling on the Risk Taxonomy (O-RT) standard will help to ensure that the relationships between the elements that create risk are consistently understood and applied to enterprise security and risk models.

O-DA

The O-DA standard ((Dependability Through Assuredness), developed by The Open Group Real-time and Embedded Systems Forum, provides the framework needed to create dependable system architectures. The requirements process used in O-DA requires that risk be analyzed before developing dependability requirements. Open FAIR can help to create a solid risk analysis upon which to build dependability requirements.

In the final installment of this blog series, we will look at the Open FAIR certification for people program.

The Open FAIR Body of Knowledge consists of the following Open Group standards:

  • Risk Taxonomy (O-RT), Version 2.0 (C13K, October 2013) defines a taxonomy for the factors that drive information security risk – Factor Analysis of Information Risk (FAIR).
  • Risk Analysis (O-RA) (C13G, October 2013) describes process aspects associated with performing effective risk analysis.

These can be downloaded from The Open Group publications catalog at http://www.opengroup.org/bookstore/catalog.

Our other publications include a Pocket Guide and a Certification Study Guide.

By Jim Hietala and Andrew JoseyJim Hietala, CISSP, GSEC, is the Vice President, Security for The Open Group, where he manages all IT Security, Risk Management and Healthcare programs and standards activities. He participates in the SANS Analyst/Expert program and has also published numerous articles on Information Security, Risk Management, and compliance topics in publications including The ISSA Journal, Bank Accounting & Finance, Risk Factor, SC Magazine, and others.

 

By Andrew JoseyAndrew Josey is Director of Standards within The Open Group. He is currently managing the standards process for The Open Group, and has recently led the standards development projects for TOGAF® 9.1, ArchiMate® 2.1, IEEE Std 1003.1,2013 edition (POSIX), and the core specifications of the Single UNIX® Specification, Version 4. Previously, he has led the development and operation of many of The Open Group certification development projects, including industry-wide certification programs for the UNIX system, the Linux Standard Base, TOGAF, and IEEE POSIX. He is a member of the IEEE, USENIX, UKUUG, and the Association of Enterprise Architects.

 

Comments Off on Using the Open FAIR Body of Knowledge with Other Open Group Standards

Filed under ArchiMate®, Cybersecurity, Enterprise Architecture, O-TTF, O-TTPS, OTTF, real-time and embedded systems, RISK Management, Security, Standards, TOGAF®, Uncategorized

The Open Group ArchiMate® Model File Exchange Format

By The Open Group

The Open Group ArchiMate Forum has released a snapshot of its ArchiMate® Model Exchange File Format. This aims to address the challenge of portability of models between tools.

Following is a Q&A with Andrew Josey, Phil Beauvoir and Frans Faase, members of the project team, to find out more.

Q.  What is The Open Group ArchiMate Model Exchange File Format?

A.  It is a specification of a standard file format for the exchange of ArchiMate models between different tools.

Q.  Why is it provided as a Snapshot release?

A.  The Snapshot makes public the direction and thinking the project is taking in the development of a standard file format supporting exchange of ArchiMate models between tools. We’re looking for feedback and guidance from the community at this stage.

Q.  When do you need feedback by and how should it be provided?

A.  Comments can be sent by email to ogspecs-snapshot-feedback-AT-opengroup.org no later than January 12, 2015.

Q.  What is addressed in the Snapshot release?

A.  The project is being implemented as two phases:

  •     Phase 1 includes the core exchange format.
  •     Phase 2 includes in addition the visual layout.

This Snapshot describes Phase 1 only, and excludes the detailed visual layout, which will be included in Phase 2.

Q.  Do you intend the format as a persistent file format for an ArchiMate model?

A.  No, The exchange file format is not intended as a persistent file format for the model itself, it is a mechanism to convey instance data from one tool to another (a simple analogy would be the csv file format for exchange of spreadsheet information). The data contained in the exchange file format is meant to be processed by an “ArchiMate aware” tool, thus ruling out standalone semantic inference. Once the instance data has been imported into an ArchiMate tool, that tool will probably save it in its own proprietary file format.

Q.  Where can I obtain the Snapshot release?

A.  The Snapshot can be obtained from The Open Group publications catalog.

https://www2.opengroup.org/ogsys/catalog/S142

Q.  What is provided with the Snapshot release?

A.  The deliverables included with this Snapshot are as follows:

  • Open Group Snapshot, ArchiMate® Model Exchange File Format
  • Schema Documentation for the ArchiMate® 2.1 XML/XML Schema Definition (XSD) Binding
  • A ZIP file containing: the XSD Schema file, an example Extended XSD Schema file, and example models in the exchange file format

Q.  What example models are provided with the Snapshot?

A.  The ArchiSurance and ArchiMetal case studies are provided, as is a Testall.xml model that can be used for interoperability testing.

Q.  Are all the elements defined in Exchange File Format mandatory?

A.  There are only two mandatory elements:

  • The main “model” tag itself with associated namespace declarations
  • Elements in the “elements” tag (with type and ID)

Everything else is optional. Of course, a minimal file containing only these two things would probably be unlikely, but it could be the case that there are no relationships in the model.

The following items are optional:

  • Metadata
  • Organization
  • The xml:lang=”xx” attribute

They are provided because they may be of use to the sender/receiver, but they don’t have to be there. For example, with the Organization element, this may be useful if the tool sending or receiving would like to know how the elements/relations are organised in folders for example, but not every tool might support that and could happily ignore it.

Similarly, not every tool supports multi-language so there is need to use the xml:lang=”xx” attribute. The example XML files provided with the Snapshot are more of a showcase of all the elements.

Q.  I am a tool provider, how can I get involved?

A.  You can get involved by joining The Open Group ArchiMate Forum, email archimate-forum-AT-opengroup.org

Q.  Are there interoperability tests with other tools suppliers?

A.  Yes, these are ongoing within the project within The Open Group ArchiMate Forum.

Q.  I have suggestions for improvement to the exchange file format, where do I send them?

A.  Please send comments by email to ogspecs-snapshot-feedback-AT-opengroup.org no later than January 12, 2015

Q.  I have suggestions for the Phase 2 visual layout, where do I send them?

A.  Please send comments by email to ogspecs-snapshot-feedback-AT-opengroup.org no later than January 12, 2015

By Andrew JoseyAndrew Josey is Director of Standards within The Open Group. He is currently managing the standards process for The Open Group, and has recently led the standards development projects for TOGAF® 9.1, ArchiMate® 2.1, IEEE Std 1003.1,2013 edition (POSIX), and the core specifications of the Single UNIX® Specification, Version 4. Previously, he has led the development and operation of many of The Open Group certification development projects, including industry-wide certification programs for the UNIX system, the Linux Standard Base, TOGAF, and IEEE POSIX. He is a member of the IEEE, USENIX, UKUUG, and the Association of Enterprise Architects.

 

philbeauvoirPhil Beauvoir has been developing, writing, and speaking about software tools and development for over 25 years. He was Senior Researcher and Developer at Bangor University, and, later, the Institute for Educational Cybernetics at Bolton University, both in the UK. During this time he co-developed a peer-to-peer learning management and groupware system, a suite of software tools for authoring and delivery of standards-compliant learning objects and meta-data, and tooling to create IMS Learning Design compliant units of learning.  In 2010, working with the Institute for Educational Cybernetics, Phil created the open source ArchiMate Modelling Tool, Archi. Since 2013 he has been curating the development of Archi independently. Phil holds a degree in Medieval English and Anglo-Saxon Literature.

Frans FaaseFrans Faase is a senior software engineer who has been working with BiZZdesign since 2002. He got an M.Sc. degree in Computer Science from the University of Twente. At BiZZdesign he has been involved in designing the repository being used by BiZZdesign Architect, which implements the ArchiMate standard. He designed a locking mechanism that allows smooth cooperation between multiple users on a single model. He also worked on many import functions from other tools requiring reverse engineering, scanning, and parsing of used file formats. Many of these file formats are based on XML.

Comments Off on The Open Group ArchiMate® Model File Exchange Format

Filed under ArchiMate®, Certifications, Standards, Uncategorized

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™.

 

Comments Off on The Open Group Executive Round Table Event at Mumbai

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

TOGAF® 9 Certification Growth

By Andrew Josey, The Open Group, Director of Standards

Number of individuals certified continues to increase over past 12 months – now 37,800

The number of individuals certified in the TOGAF® 9 certification program as of November 21, 2014 is 37,800. This represents over 10,000 new certifications in the past twelve-month period. TOGAF continues to be adopted globally with certified individuals from over 100 different countries.

The certifications for the period ending October 1, 2014 are shown in the figure below:

By Andrew Josey

The top five countries are UK, USA, Netherlands, India and Australia.

Individuals certified by Country – TOP 10 Countries – October 2014

Rank # Individuals Country Percentage
1 5350 UK 14.68%
2 4488 USA 12.32%
3 3056 Netherlands 8.39%
4 2835 India 7.78%
5 2264 Australia 6.21%
6 1641 Canada 4.5%
7 1305 France 3.58%
8 1272 South Africa 3.07%
9 1117 China 3.07%
10 984 Finland 2.7%

 

An interactive map showing detailed information on the number of certifications is available at http://www.togaf.info/togaf-visualmap.html

TOGAF Visual Heat map Oct 1 2014

There are over 50 accredited TOGAF 9 training course providers worldwide. More information on TOGAF 9 Certification, including the directory of Certified People and official accredited training course calendar, can be obtained from The Open Group website at: http://www.opengroup.org/togaf9/cert.

By Andrew JoseyAndrew Josey is Director of Standards within The Open Group. He is currently managing the standards process for The Open Group, and has recently led the standards development projects for TOGAF® 9.1, ArchiMate® 2.0, IEEE Std 1003.1-2008 (POSIX), and the core specifications of the Single UNIX® Specification, Version 4. Previously, he has led the development and operation of many of The Open Group certification development projects, including industry-wide certification programs for the UNIX system, the Linux Standard Base, TOGAF, and IEEE POSIX. He is a member of the IEEE, USENIX, UKUUG, and the Association of Enterprise Architects.

 

 

 

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under Certifications, Standards, TOGAF, TOGAF®, Uncategorized

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.

 

Comments Off on The Open Group London 2014: Eight Questions on Retail Architecture

Filed under big data, Business Architecture, digital technologies, Enterprise Architecture, Internet of Things, Uncategorized