Category Archives: Internet of Things

A World Without IT4IT: Why It’s Time to Run IT Like a Business

By Dave Lounsbury, CTO, The Open Group

IT departments today are under enormous pressure. In the digital world, businesses have become dependent on IT to help them remain competitive. However, traditional IT departments have their roots in skills such as development or operations and have not been set up to handle a business and technology environment that is trying to rapidly adapt to a constantly changing marketplace. As a result, many IT departments today may be headed for a crisis.

At one time, IT departments led technology adoption in support of business. Once a new technology was created—departmental servers, for instance—it took a relatively long time before businesses took advantage of it and even longer before they became dependent on the technology. But once a business did adopt the technology, it became subject to business rules—expectations and parameters for reliability, maintenance and upgrades that kept the technology up to date and allowed the business it supported to keep up with the market.

As IT became more entrenched in organizations throughout the 1980s and 1990s, IT systems increased in size and scope as technology companies fought to keep pace with market forces. In large enterprises, in particular, IT’s function became to maintain large infrastructures, requiring small armies of IT workers to sustain them.

A number of forces have combined to change all that. Today, most businesses do their business operations digitally—what Constellation Research analyst Andy Mulholland calls “Front Office Digital Business.” Technology-as-a-service models have changed how the technologies and applications are delivered and supported, with support and upgrades coming from outsourced vendors, not in-house staff. With Cloud models, an IT department may not even be necessary. Entrepreneurs can spin up a company with a swipe of a credit card and have all the technology they need at their fingertips, hosted remotely in the Cloud.

The Gulf between IT and Business

Although the gap between IT and business is closing, the gulf in how IT is run still remains. In structure, most IT departments today remain close to their technology roots. This is, in part, because IT departments are still run by technologists and engineers whose primary skills lie in the challenge (and excitement) of creating new technologies. Not every skilled engineer makes a good businessperson, but in most organizations, people who are good at their jobs often get promoted into management whether or not they are ready to manage. The Peter Principle is a problem that hinders many organizations, not just IT departments.

What has happened is that IT departments have not traditionally been run as if they were a business. Good business models for how IT should be run have been piecemeal or slow to develop—despite IT’s role in how the rest of the business is run. Although some standards have been developed as guides for how different parts of IT should be run (COBIT for governance, ITIL for service management, TOGAF®, an Open Group standard, for architecture), no overarching standard has been developed that encompasses how to holistically manage all of IT, from systems administration to development to management through governance and, of course, staffing. For all its advances, IT has yet to become a well-oiled business machine.

The business—and technological—climate today is not the same as it was when companies took three years to do a software upgrade. Everything in today’s climate happens nearly instantaneously. “Convergence” technologies like Cloud Computing, Big Data, social media, mobile and the Internet of Things are changing the nature of IT. New technical skills and methodologies are emerging every day, as well. Although languages such as Java or C may remain the top programming languages, new languages like Pig or Hive are emerging everyday, as are new approaches to development, such as Scrum, Agile or DevOps.

The Consequences of IT Business as Usual

With these various forces facing IT, departments will either need to change and adopt a model where IT is managed more effectively or departments may face some impending chaos that ends up hindering their organizations.

Without an effective management model for IT, companies won’t be able to mobilize quickly for a digital age. Even something as simple as an inability to utilize data could result in problems such as investing in a product prototype that customers aren’t interested in. Those are mistakes most companies can’t afford to make these days.

Having an umbrella view of what all of IT does also allows the department to make better decisions. With technology and development trends changing so quickly, how do you know what will fit your organization’s business goals? You want to take advantage of the trends or technologies that make sense for the company and leave behind those that don’t.

For example, in DevOps, one of the core concepts is to bring the development phase into closer alignment with releasing and operating the software. You need to know your business’s operating model to determine whether this approach will actually work or not. Having a sense of that also allows IT to make decisions about whether it’s wise to invest in training or hiring staff skilled in those methods or buying new technologies that will allow you to adopt the model.

Not having that management view can leave companies subject to the whims of technological evolution and also to current IT fads. If you don’t know what’s valuable to your business, you run the risk of chasing every new fad that comes along. There’s nothing worse—as the IT guy—than being the person who comes to the management meeting each month saying you’re trying yet another new approach to solve a problem that never seems to get solved. Business people won’t respond to that and will wonder if you know what you’re doing. IT needs to be decisive and choose wisely.

These issues not only affect the IT department but to trickle up to business operations. Ineffective IT shops will not know when to invest in the correct technologies, and they may miss out on working with new technologies that could benefit the business. Without a framework to plan how technology fits into the business, you could end up in the position of having great IT bows and arrows but when you walk out into the competitive world, you get machine-gunned.

The other side is cost and efficiency—if the entire IT shop isn’t running smoothly throughout then you end up spending too much money on problems, which in turn takes money away from other parts of the business that can keep the organization competitive. Failing to manage IT can lead to competitive loss across numerous areas within a business.

A New Business Model

To help prevent the consequences that may result if IT isn’t run more like a business, industry leaders such as Accenture; Achmea; AT&T; HP IT; ING Bank; Munich RE; PwC; Royal Dutch Shell; and University of South Florida, recently formed a consortium to address how to better run the business of IT. With billions of dollars invested in IT each year, these companies realized their investments must be made wisely and show governable results in order succeed.

The result of their efforts is The Open Group IT4IT™ Forum, which released a Snapshot of its proposed Reference Architecture for running IT more like a business this past November. The Reference Architecture is meant to serve as an operating model for IT, providing the “missing link” that previous IT-function specific models have failed to address. The model allows IT to achieve the same level of business, discipline, predictability and efficiency as other business functions.

The Snapshot includes a four-phase Value Chain for IT that provides both an operating model for an IT business and outlines how value can be added at every stage of the IT process. In addition to providing suggested best practices for delivery, the Snapshot includes technical models for the IT tools that organizations can use, whether for systems monitoring, release monitoring or IT point solutions. Providing guidance around IT tools will allow these tools to become more interoperable so that they can exchange information at the right place at the right time. In addition, it will allow for better control of information flow between various parts of the business through the IT shop, thus saving IT departments the time and hassle of aggregating tools or cobbling together their own tools and solutions. Staffing guidance models are also included in the Reference Architecture.

Why IT4IT now? Digitalization cannot be held back, particularly in an era of Cloud, Big Data and an impending Internet of Things. An IT4IT Reference Architecture provides more than just best practices for IT—it puts IT in the context of a business model that allows IT to be a contributing part of an enterprise, providing a roadmap for digital businesses to compete and thrive for years to come.

Join the conversation! @theopengroup #ogchat

By The Open GroupDavid is Chief Technical Officer (CTO) and Vice President, Services for The Open Group. As CTO, he ensures that The Open Group’s people and IT resources are effectively used to implement the organization’s strategy and mission.  As VP of Services, David leads the delivery of The Open Group’s proven collaboration processes for collaboration and certification both within the organization and in support of third-party consortia.

David holds a degree in Electrical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and is holder of three U.S. patents.

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The Open Group San Diego 2015 – Day Two Highlights

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

Day two, February 3, kicked off with a presentation by Allen Brown, President and CEO of The Open Group, “What I Don’t Need from Business Architecture… and What I Do”.

Allen began with a brief history of The Open Group vision of Boundaryless Information Flow™, which enables the break down of barriers to cross-functional organization when information is held in siloed parts. Allen and team used the word “boundaryless” that was started by Jack Welch in 2002 with the phrase “Boundaryless Organization”. This approach focused on thinking and acting, not technical. “Boundaryless” does not mean there are no boundaries, it means that boundaries are permeable to enable business.

Allen also discussed brand actualization, and that organizations wishing to achieve brand recognition such as Nike and Apple must be aware of the customer journey. The journey entails awareness, evaluation, joining, participation, renewal and advocacy. The organization needs to learn more about the people so as not to segment, since people are not “one size fits all”. Business Architecture helps with understanding the customer journey.

By Loren K. Baynes

Business Architecture is part of Enterprise Architecture, he continued. A greater focus on the “what”, including strategic themes, capabilities and interdependencies, can add a lot of value. It is applicable to the business of government as well as to the business of “businesses” and non-profit organizations.

John Zachman, Founder & Chairman, Zachman International and Executive Director of FEAC Institute, presented “The Zachman Framework and How It Complements TOGAF® and Other Frameworks”. John stated the biggest problem is change. The two reasons to do architecture are complexity and change. A person or organization needs to understand and describe the problem before solving it.

“All I did was, I saw the pattern of the structure of the descriptive representations for airplanes, buildings, locomotives and computers, and I put enterprise names on the same patterns,” he said. “Now you have the Zachman Framework, which basically is Architecture for Enterprises. It is Architecture for every other object known to human kind.” Thus the Zachman Framework was born.

According to John, what his Framework is ultimately intended for is describing a complex object, an Enterprise. In that sense, the Zachman Framework is the ontology for Enterprise Architecture, he stated. What it doesn’t do is tell you how to do Enterprise Architecture.

“My framework is just the definition and structure of the descriptive representation for enterprises,” he said. That’s where methodologies, such as TOGAF®, an Open Group standard, or other methodological frameworks come in. It’s not Zachman OR TOGAF®, it’s TOGAF® AND Zachman.

By Loren K. BaynesJohn Zachman

Allen and John then participated in a Q&A session. Both are very passionate about professionalizing the architecture profession. Allen and John agreed there should be a sense of urgency for architecture to keep up with the rapid evolution of technology.

The plenary continued with Chris Forde, GM APAC Region and VP, Enterprise Architecture, The Open Group on “The Value of TOGAF® Architecture Development Method (ADM) and Open Systems Architecture”. Chris was presenting on behalf of Terry Blevins, Fellow of The Open Group, who could not attend.

Chris said, “Enterprise Architecture is a constant journey.” The degree of complexity of organizations or objects (such as airplanes) is enormous. Architecture is a means to an end. ADM is the core of TOGAF.

Enterprise Architecture (EA) is nothing but a paperweight if there are no plans in place to use it to make decisions. Supporting decision-making is the key reason to produce an Enterprise Architecture. Chris noted sound decisions sometimes need to be made without all of the information required. EA is a management tool, not a technology tool.

Allen Brown chaired a panel, “Synergy of EA Frameworks”, with panelists Chris Forde, John Zachman, Dr. Beryl Bellman, Academic Director, FEAC Institute, and Iver Band, Enterprise Architect, Cambia Health Solutions.

Iver began the panel session by discussing ArchiMate®, an Open Group standard, which is a language for building understanding and communicating and managing change.

One of the questions the panel addressed was how does EA take advantage of emerging technologies such as mobile, big data and cloud? The “as designed” logic can be implemented in any technology. Consideration should also be given to synergy among the different architectures. EA as a management discipline helps people to ask the right questions about activities and technologies to mitigate risk, take advantage of the situation and/or decide whether or not to deploy the strategies and tactics. The idea is not to understand everything and every framework, but to get the right set of tools for interaction and navigation.

In the afternoon, tracks consisted of Risk, Dependability and Trusted Technology, Open Platform 3.0™, Architecture Frameworks and EA and Business Transformation. Presenters were from a wide range of organizations including HP, Tata Consulting Services (India), Wipro, IBM, Symantic and Arca Success Group.

A networking reception was held at the Birch Aquarium, Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Attendees enjoyed a scrumptious dinner and experienced the wonders of ocean and marine life.

A very special thank you goes to our San Diego 2015 sponsors and exhibitors: BiZZdesign, Corso, FEAC Institute, AEA, Good E-learning, SimpliLearn and Van Haren Publishing.

Most of our plenary proceedings are available at Livestream.com/opengroup

Please join the conversation – @theopengroup #ogSAN

By 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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Catching Up with The Open Group Internet of Things Work Group

By The Open Group

The Open Group’s Internet of Things (IoT) Work Group is involved in developing open standards that will allow product and equipment management to evolve beyond the traditional limits of product lifecycle management. Meant to incorporate the larger systems management that will be required by the IoT, these standards will help to handle the communications needs of a network that may encompass products, devices, people and multiple organizations. Formerly known as the Quantum Lifecycle Management (QLM) Work Group, its name was recently changed to the Internet of Things Work Group to more accurately reflect its current direction and focus.

We recently caught up with Work Group Chairman Kary Främling to discuss its two new standards, both of which are geared toward the Internet of Things, and what the group has been focused on lately.

Over the past few years, The Open Group’s Internet of Things Work Group (formerly the Quantum Lifecycle Management Work Group) has been working behind the scenes to develop new standards related to the nascent Internet of Things and how to manage the lifecycle of these connected products, or as General Electric has referred to it, the “Industrial Internet.”

What their work ultimately aims to do is help manage all the digital information within a particular system—for example, vehicles, buildings or machines. By creating standard frameworks for handling this information, these systems and their related applications can be better run and supported during the course of their “lifetime,” with the information collected serving a variety of purposes, from maintenance to improved design and manufacturing to recycling and even refurbishing them.

According to Work Group Chairman Kary Främling, CEO of ControlThings and Professor of Practice in Building Information Modeling at Aalto University in Finland, the group has been working with companies such as Caterpillar and Fiat, as well as refrigerator and machine tool manufacturers, to enable machines and equipment to send sensor and status data on how machines are being used and maintained to their manufacturers. Data can also be provided to machine operators so they are also aware of how the machines are functioning in order to make changes if need be.

For example, Främling says that one application of this system management loop is in HVAC systems within buildings. By building Internet capabilities into the system, now a ventilation system—or air-handling unit—can be controlled via a smartphone from the moment it’s turned on inside a building. The system can provide data and alerts to facilities management about how well it’s operating and whether there are any problems within the system to whomever needs it. Främling also says that the system can provide information to both the maintenance company and the system manufacturer so they can collect information from the machines on performance, operations and other indicators. This allows users to determine things as simple as when an air filter may need changing or whether there are systematic problems with different machine models.

According to Främling, the ability to monitor systems in this way has already helped ventilation companies make adjustments to their products.

“What we noticed was there was a certain problem with certain models of fans in these machines. Based on all the sensor readings on the machine, I could deduce that the air extraction fan had broken down,” he said.

The ability to detect such problems via sensor data as they are happening can be extremely beneficial to manufacturers because they can more easily and more quickly make improvements to their systems. Another advantage afforded by machines with Web connectivity, Främling says, is that errors can also be corrected remotely.

“There’s so much software in these machines nowadays, so just by changing parameters you can make them work better in many ways,” he says.

In fact, Främling says that the Work Group has been working on systems such as these for a number of years already—well before the term “Internet of Things” became part of industry parlance. They first worked on a system for a connected refrigerator in 2007 and even worked on systems for monitoring how vehicles were used before then.

One of the other things the Work Group is focused on is working with the Open Platform 3.0 Forum since there are many synergies between the two groups. For instance, the Work Group provided a number of the uses cases for the Forum’s recent business scenarios.

“I really see what we are doing is enabling the use cases and these information systems,” Främling says.

Two New Standards

In October, the Work Group also published two new standards, both of which are two of the first standards to be developed for the Internet of Things (IoT). A number of companies and universities across the world have been instrumental in developing the standards including Aalto University in Finland, BIBA, Cambridge University, Infineon, InMedias, Politechnico di Milano, Promise Innovation, SAP and Trackway Ltd.

Främling likens these early IoT standards to what the HTML and HTTP protocols did for the Internet. For example, the Open Data Format (O-DF) Standard provides a common language for describing any kind of IoT object, much like HTML provided a language for the Web. The Open Messaging Interface (O-MI) Standard, on the other hand, describes a set of operations that enables users to read information about particular systems and then ask those systems for that information, much like HTTP. Write operations then allow users to also send information or new values to the system, for example, to update the system.

Users can also subscribe to information contained in other systems. For instance, Främling described a scenario in which he was able to create a program that allowed him to ask his car what was wrong with it via a smartphone when the “check engine” light came on. He was then able to use a smartphone application to send an O-MI message to the maintenance company with the error code and his location. Using an O-MI subscription the maintenance company would be able to send a message back asking for additional information. “Send these five sensor values back to us for the next hour and you should send them every 10 seconds, every 5 seconds for the temperature, and so on,” Främling said. Once that data is collected, the service center can analyze what’s wrong with the vehicle.

Främling says O-MI messages can easily be set up on-the-fly for a variety of connected systems with little programming. The standard also allows users to manage mobility and firewalls. O-MI communications are also run over systems that are already secure to help prevent security issues. Those systems can include anything from HTTP to USB sticks to SMTP, as well, Främling says.

Främling expects that these standards can also be applied to multiple types of functionalities across different industries, for example for connected systems in the healthcare industry or to help manage energy production and consumption across smart grids. With both standards now available, the Work Group is beginning to work on defining extensions for the Data Format so that vocabularies specific to certain industries, such as healthcare or manufacturing, can also be developed.

In addition, Främling expects that as protocols such as O-MI make it easier for machines to communicate amongst themselves, they will also be able to begin to optimize themselves over time. Cars, in fact, are already using this kind of capability, he says. But for other systems, such as buildings, that kind of communication is not happening yet. He says in Finland, his company has projects underway with manufacturers of diesel engines, cranes, elevators and even in Volkswagen factories to establish information flows between systems. Smart grids are also another potential use. In fact his home is wired to provide consumption rates in real-time to the electric company, although he says he does not believe they are currently doing anything with the data.

“In the past we used to speak about these applications for pizza or whatever that can tell a microwave oven how long it should be heated and the microwave oven also checks that the food hasn’t expired,” Främling said.

And while your microwave may not yet be able to determine whether your food has reached its expiration date, these recent developments by the Work Group are helping to bring the IoT vision to fruition by making it easier for systems to begin the process of “talking” to each other through a standardized messaging system.

By The Open GroupKary Främling is currently CEO of the Finnish company ControlThings, as well as Professor of Practice in Building Information Modeling (BIM) at Aalto University, Finland. His main research topics are on information management practices and applications for BIM and product lifecycle management in general. His main areas of competence are distributed systems, middleware, multi-agent systems, autonomously learning agents, neural networks and decision support systems. He is one of the worldwide pioneers in the Internet of Things domain, where he has been active since 2000.

@theopengroup; #ogchat

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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

 

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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 Three Highlights

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

After an evening spent in the wonderful surroundings of the Victoria and Albert Museum, delegates returned to another London landmark building, Westminster Central Hall, for the final day of The Open Group London 2014.

Following on from Tuesday’s schedule, The Open Group event continued with tracks covering topics including Risk Management, TOGAF®, an Open Group standard, Security as well as The Open Group Open Platform 3.0™. To begin the Open Platform 3.0 track, Mark Skilton, Professor of Practice, Information Systems Management, Warwick Business School discussed the real world implications of Open Platform 3.0. To do this he looked at both the theory and practice behind technologies such as Big Data, social media and even gamification and their adoption by companies such as Coca Cola and Hilton.

Mark detailed how such companies are amending their business strategy to take into account these new technologies to drive business benefit. Mark went on to say that Open Platform 3.0 is serving to help “contextualize the moment”, essentially making it easier for individuals or businesses to interact with goods or services. This he concluded is being driven by people’s growing value of time – we want a more seamless experience in our day-to-day lives whether to buy a coffee or to check in to a hotel – and technology is making this possible. The talk provided a fascinating glimpse into the future of convergent technologies and the important role that contextualization is set to play in this.

Following this, Stuart Boardman from KPN Consulting led a session which looked in detail at the capability requirements of Open Platform 3.0. In what was a lively debate, contributors discussed the importance of smart data, semantic consistency, platform hierarchies and sustainability.

The final session of the morning in the Open Platform 3.0 track looked at the topic of open public sector data with Deirdre Lee, Principal at Derilinx and Chris Harding, Director for Interoperability at The Open Group. Discussing a topic that has risen up government agendas recently, Deirdre began by providing a thorough overview of the background to open data in the public sector and the supporting forces behind it. Deirdre provided detail on how various authorities across Europe had provided impetus to the Open Data movement, and what economic impact these initiatives had resulted in. Subsequently, Chris looked at how The Open Group can play a role in the emergence of open data as a subject area.

Following lunch, the tracks were split into two, with Jim Hietala, VP, Security & Healthcare, The Open Group, leading a workshop on the “Voice of the Security Customer”. This specifically looked at the impact of Security Automation on overall Enterprise Security, provoking much discussion among attendees. In the other session, the Open Platform 3.0 Forum focused on the topic of data integration with Ronald Schuldt, Senior Partner, UDEF and Dimitrios Kyritsis, Deputy Director, EPFL, leading a productive debate on the topic.

With The Open Group London 2014 coming to a close, we would like to thank all the speakers for providing such thoughtful content and the 300 attendees for making the event another great success. Also, many thanks go to our sponsors BiZZdesign, Corso, BOC Group, Good e-Learning, AEA and Scape, and media sponsors Van Haren and Computer Weekly,

See you at The Open Group San Diego 2015 February 2 – 5!

Join the conversation – #ogchat

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 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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