Category Archives: Internet of Things

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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The Emergence of the Third Platform

By Andras Szakal, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, IBM U.S. Federal

By 2015 there will be more than 5.6 billion personal devices in use around the world. Personal mobile computing, business systems, e-commerce, smart devices and social media are generating an astounding 2.5 billion gigabytes of data per day. Non-mobile network enabled intelligent devices, often referred to as the Internet of Things (IoT), is poised to explode to over 1 trillion devices by 2015.

Rapid innovation and astounding growth in smart devices is driving new business opportunities and enterprise solutions. Many of these new opportunities and solutions are based on deep insight gained through analysis of the vast amount of data being generated.

The expansive growth of personal and pervasive computing power continues to drive innovation that is giving rise to a new class of systems and a pivot to a new generation of computing platform. Over the last fifty years, two generations of computing platform have dominated the business and consumer landscape. The first generation was dominated by the monolithic mainframe, while distributed computing and the Internet characterized the second generation. Cloud computing, Big Data/Analytics, the Internet of Things (IoT), mobile computing and even social media are the core disruptive technologies that are now converging at the cross roads of the emergence of a third generation of computing platform.

This will require new approaches to enterprise and business integration and interoperability. Industry bodies like The Open Group must help guide customers through the transition by facilitating customer requirements, documenting best practices, establishing integration standards and transforming the current approach to Enterprise Architecture, to adapt to the change in which organizations will build, use and deploy the emerging third generation of computing platform.

Enterprise Computing Platforms

An enterprise computing platform provides the underlying infrastructure and operating environment necessary to support business interactions. Enterprise systems are often comprised of complex application interactions necessary to support business processes, customer interactions, and partner integration. These interactions coupled with the underlying operating environment define an enterprise systems architecture.

The hallmark of successful enterprise systems architecture is a standardized and stable systems platform. This is an underlying operating environment that is stable, supports interoperability, and is based on repeatable patterns.

Enterprise platforms have evolved from the monolithic mainframes of the 1960s and 1970s through the advent of the distributed systems in the 1980s. The mainframe-based architecture represented the first true enterprise operating platform, referred to henceforth as the First Platform. The middleware-based distributed systems that followed and ushered in the dawn of the Internet represented the second iteration of platform architecture, referred to as the Second Platform.

While the creation of the Internet and the advent of web-based e-commerce are of historical significance, the underlying platform was still predominantly based on distributed architectures and therefore is not recognized as a distinct change in platform architecture. However, Internet-based e-commerce and service-based computing considerably contributed to the evolution toward the next distinct version of the enterprise platform. This Third Platform will support the next iteration of enterprise systems, which will be born out of multiple simultaneous and less obvious disruptive technology shifts.

The Convergence of Disruptive Technologies

The emergence of the third generation of enterprise platforms is manifested at the crossroads of four distinct, almost simultaneous, disruptive technology shifts; cloud computing, mobile computing, big data-based analytics and the IoT. The use of applications based on these technologies, such as social media and business-driven insight systems, have contributed to both the convergence and rate of adoption.

These technologies are dramatically changing how enterprise systems are architected, how customers interact with business, and the rate and pace of development and deployment across the enterprise. This is forcing vendors, businesses, and governments to shift their systems architectures to accommodate integrated services that leverage cloud infrastructure, while integrating mobile solutions and supporting the analysis of the vast amount of data being generated by mobile solutions and social media. All this is happening while maintaining the integrity of the evolving businesses capabilities, processes, and transactions that require integration with business systems such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM).

Cloud computing and the continued commoditization of computer storage are key facilitating elements of this convergence. Cloud computing lowers the complexity of enterprise computing through virtualization and automated infrastructure provisioning, while solid-state and software-based Internet storage has made big data practical and affordable. Cloud computing solutions continue to evolve and offer innovative services like Platform as a Service (PaaS)-based development environments that integrate directly with big data solutions. Higher density, cloud-based and solid-state storage continue to lower the cost and complexity of storage and big data solutions.

The emergence of the smartphone and enterprise mobile computing is a key impetus for the emergence of big data solutions and an explosion of innovative storage technologies. The modern mobile platform, with all its rich applications, device sensors, and access to social networks, is almost single-handedly responsible for the explosion of data and the resulting rush to provide solutions to analyze and act on the insight contained in the vast ocean of personalized information. In turn, this phenomenon has created a big data market ecosystem based on the premise that open data is the new natural resource.

The emergence of sensor-enabled smartphones has foreshadowed the potential value of making everyday devices interconnected and intelligent by adding network-based sensors that allow devices to enhance their performance by interacting with their environment, and through collaboration with other devices and enterprise systems in the IoT. For example, equipment manufacturers are using sensors to gain insight into the condition of fielded equipment. This approach reduces both the mean time to failure and pinpoints manufacturing quality issues and potential design flaws. This system of sensors also integrates with the manufacturer’s internal supply chain systems to identify needed parts, and optimizes the distribution process. In turn, the customer benefits by avoiding equipment downtime through scheduling maintenance before a part fails.

Over time, the IoT will require an operating environment for devices that integrates with existing enterprise business systems. But this will require that smart devices effectively integrate with cloud-based enterprise business systems, the enterprise customer engagement systems, as well as the underlying big data infrastructure responsible for gleaning insight into the data this vast network of sensors will generate. While each of these disruptive technology shifts has evolved separately, they share a natural affinity for interaction, collaboration, and enterprise integration that can be used to optimize an enterprise’s business processes.

Evolving Enterprise Business Systems

Existing enterprise systems (ERP, CRM, Supply Chain, Logistics, etc.) are still essential to the foundation of a business or government and form Systems of Record (SoR) that embody core business capabilities and the authoritative processes based on master data records. The characteristics of SoR are:

  • Encompass core business functions
  • Transactional in nature
  • Based on structured databases
  • Authoritative source of information (master data records)
  • Access is regulated
  • Changes follow a rigorous governance process.

Mobile systems, social media platforms, and Enterprise Market Management (EMM) solutions form another class of systems called Systems of Engagement (SoE). Their characteristics are:

  • Interact with end-users through open collaborative interfaces (mobile, social media, etc.)
  • High percentage of unstructured information
  • Personalized to end-user preferences
  • Context-based analytical business rules and processing
  • Access is open and collaborative
  • Evolves quickly and according to the needs of the users.

The emergence of the IoT is embodied in a new class of system, Systems of Sensors (SoS), which includes pervasive computing and control. Their characteristics are:

  • Based on autonomous network-enabled devices
  • Devices that use sensors to collect information about the environment
  • Interconnected with other devices or enterprise engagement systems
  • Changing behavior based on intelligent algorithms and environmental feedback
  • Developed through formal product engineering process
  • Updates to device firmware follow a continuous lifecycle.

The Third Platform

The Third Platform is a convergence of cloud computing, big data solutions, mobile systems and the IoT integrated into the existing enterprise business systems.

The Three Classes of System

Figure 1: The Three Classes of Systems within the Third Platform

The successful implementation and deployment of enterprise SoR has been embodied in best practices, methods, frameworks, and techniques that have been distilled into enterprise architecture. The same level of rigor and pattern-based best practices will be required to ensure the success of solutions based on Third Platform technologies. Enterprise architecture methods and models need to evolve to include guidance, governance, and design patterns for implementing business solutions that span the different classes of system.

The Third Platform builds upon many of the concepts that originated with Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) and dominated the closing stanza of the period dominated by the Second Platform technologies. The rise of the Third Platform provides the technology and environment to enable greater maturity of service integration within an enterprise.

The Open Group Service Integration Maturity Model (OSIMM) standard[1] provides a way in which an organization can assess its level of service integration maturity. Adoption of the Third Platform inherently addresses many of the attributes necessary to achieve the highest levels of service integration maturity defined by OSIMM. It will enable new types of application architecture that can support dynamically reconfigurable business and infrastructure services across a wide variety of devices (SoS), internal systems (SoR), and user engagement platforms (SoE).

Solution Development

These new architectures and the underlying technologies will require adjustments to how organizations approach enterprise IT governance, to lower the barrier of entry necessary to implement and integrate the technologies. Current adoption requires extensive expertise to implement, integrate, deploy, and maintain the systems. First market movers have shown the rest of the industry the realm of the possible, and have reaped the rewards of the early adopter.

The influence of cloud and mobile-based technologies has changed the way in which solutions will be developed, delivered, and maintained. SoE-based solutions interact directly with customers and business partners, which necessitates a continuous delivery of content and function to align with the enterprise business strategy.

Most cloud-based services employ a roll-forward test and delivery model. A roll-forward model allows an organization to address functional inadequacies and defects in almost real-time, with minimal service interruptions. The integration and automation of development and deployment tools and processes reduces the risk of human error and increases visibility into quality. In many cases, end-users are not even aware of updates and patch deployments.

This new approach to development and operations deployment and maintenance is referred to as DevOps – which combines development and operations tools, governance, and techniques into a single tool set and management practice. This allows the business to dictate, not only the requirements, but also the rate and pace of change aligned to the needs of the enterprise.

[1] The Open Group Service Integration Maturity Model (OSIMM), Open Group Standard (C117), published by The Open Group, November 2011; refer to: www.opengroup.org/bookstore/catalog/c117.htm

Andras2

Figure 2: DevOps: The Third Platform Solution Lifecycle

The characteristics of an agile DevOps approach are:

  • Harmonization of resources and practices between development and IT operations
  • Automation and integration of the development and deployment processes
  • Alignment of governance practices to holistically address development and operations with business needs
  • Optimization of the DevOps process through continuous feedback and metrics.

In contrast to SoE, SoR have a slower velocity of delivery. Such systems are typically released on fixed, pre-planned release schedules. Their inherent stability of features and capabilities necessitates a more structured and formal development approach, which traditionally equates to fewer releases over time. Furthermore, the impact changes to SoR have on core business functionality limits the magnitude and rate of change an organization is able to tolerate. But the emergence of the Third Platform will continue to put pressure on these core business systems to become more agile and flexible in order to adapt to the magnitude of events and information generated by mobile computing and the IoT.

As the technologies of the Third Platform coalesce, organizations will need to adopt hybrid development and delivery models based on agile DevOps techniques that are tuned appropriately to the class of system (SoR, SoS or SoS) and aligned with an acceptable rate of change.

DevOps is a key attribute of the Third Platform that will shift the fundamental management structure of the IT department. The Third Platform will usher in an era where one monolithic IT department is no longer necessary or even feasible. The line between business function and IT delivery will be imperceptible as this new platform evolves. The lines of business will become intertwined with the enterprise IT functions, ultimately leading to the IT department and business capability becoming synonymous. The recent emergence of the Enterprise Market Management organizations is an example where the marketing capabilities and the IT delivery systems are managed by a single executive – the Enterprise Marketing Officer.

The Challenge

The emergence of a new enterprise computing platform will usher in opportunity and challenge for businesses and governments that have invested in the previous generation of computing platforms. Organizations will be required to invest in both expertise and technologies to adopt the Third Platform. Vendors are already offering cloud-based Platform as a Service (PaaS) solutions that will provide integrated support for developing applications across the three evolving classes of systems – SoS, SoR, and SoE. These new development platforms will continue to evolve and give rise to new application architectures that were unfathomable just a few years ago. The emergence of the Third Platform is sure to spawn an entirely new class of dynamically reconfigurable intelligent applications and devices where applications reprogram their behavior based on the dynamics of their environment.

Almost certainly this shift will result in infrastructure and analytical capacity that will facilitate the emergence of cognitive computing which, in turn, will automate the very process of deep analysis and, ultimately, evolve the enterprise platform into the next generation of computing. This shift will require new approaches, standards and techniques for ensuring the integrity of an organization’s business architecture, enterprise architecture and IT systems architectures.

To effectively embrace the Third Platform, organizations will need to ensure that they have the capability to deliver boundaryless systems though integrated services that are comprised of components that span the three classes of systems. This is where communities like The Open Group can help to document architectural patterns that support agile DevOps principles and tooling as the Third Platform evolves.

Technical standardization of the Third Platform has only just begun; for example, standardization of the cloud infrastructure has only recently crystalized around OpenStack. Mobile computing platform standardization remains fragmented across many vendor offerings even with the support of rigid developer ecosystems and open sourced runtime environments. The standardization and enterprise support for SoS is still nascent but underway within groups like the Allseen Alliance and with the Open Group’s QLM workgroup.

Call to Action

The rate and pace of innovation, standardization, and adoption of Third Platform technologies is astonishing but needs the guidance and input from the practitioner community. It is incumbent upon industry communities like the Open Group to address the gaps between traditional Enterprise Architecture and an approach that scales to the Internet timescales being imposed by the adoption of the Third Platform.

The question is not whether Third Platform technologies will dominate the IT landscape, but rather how quickly this pivot will occur. Along the way, the industry must apply the open standards processes to ensure against the fragmentation into multiple incompatible technology platforms.

The Open Group has launched a new forum to address these issues. The Open Group Open Platform 3.0™ Forum is intended to provide a vendor-neutral environment where members share knowledge and collaborate to develop standards and best practices necessary to help guide the evolution of Third Platform technologies and solutions. The Open Platform 3.0 Forum will provide a place where organizations can help illuminate their challenges in adopting Third Platform technologies. The Open Platform 3.0 Forum will help coordinate standards activities that span existing Open Group Forums and ensure a coordinated approach to Third Platform standardization and development of best practices.

Innovation itself is not enough to ensure the value and viability of the emerging platform. The Open Group can play a unique role through its focus on Boundaryless Information Flow™ to facilitate the creation of best practices and integration techniques across the layers of the platform architecture.

andras-szakalAndras Szakal, VP and CTO, IBM U.S. Federal, is responsible for IBM’s industry solution technology strategy in support of the U.S. Federal customer. Andras was appointed IBM Distinguished Engineer and Director of IBM’s Federal Software Architecture team in 2005. He is an Open Group Distinguished Certified IT Architect, IBM Certified SOA Solution Designer and a Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional (CSSLP).  Andras holds undergraduate degrees in Biology and Computer Science and a Masters Degree in Computer Science from James Madison University. He has been a driving force behind IBM’s adoption of government IT standards as a member of the IBM Software Group Government Standards Strategy Team and the IBM Corporate Security Executive Board focused on secure development and cybersecurity. Andras represents the IBM Software Group on the Board of Directors of The Open Group and currently holds the Chair of The Open Group Certified Architect (Open CA) Work Group. More recently, he was appointed chair of The Open Group Trusted Technology Forum and leads the development of The Open Trusted Technology Provider Framework.

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The Open Group London 2014 Preview: A Conversation with RTI’s Stan Schneider about the Internet of Things and Healthcare

By The Open Group

RTI is a Silicon Valley-based messaging and communications company focused on helping to bring the Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) to fruition. Recently named “The Most Influential Industrial Internet of Things Company” by Appinions and published in Forbes, RTI’s EMEA Manager Bettina Swynnerton will be discussing the impact that the IoT and connected medical devices will have on hospital environments and the Healthcare industry at The Open Group London October 20-23. We spoke to RTI CEO Stan Schneider in advance of the event about the Industrial IoT and the areas where he sees Healthcare being impacted the most by connected devices.

Earlier this year, industry research firm Gartner declared the Internet of Things (IoT) to be the most hyped technology around, having reached the pinnacle of the firm’s famed “Hype Cycle.”

Despite the hype around consumer IoT applications—from FitBits to Nest thermostats to fashionably placed “wearables” that may begin to appear in everything from jewelry to handbags to kids’ backpacks—Stan Schneider, CEO of IoT communications platform company RTI, says that 90 percent of what we’re hearing about the IoT is not where the real value will lie. Most of media coverage and hype is about the “Consumer” IoT like Google glasses or sensors in refrigerators that tell you when the milk’s gone bad. However, most of the real value of the IoT will take place in what GE has coined as the “Industrial Internet”—applications working behind the scenes to keep industrial systems operating more efficiently, says Schneider.

“In reality, 90 percent of the real value of the IoT will be in industrial applications such as energy systems, manufacturing advances, transportation or medical systems,” Schneider says.

However, the reality today is that the IoT is quite new. As Schneider points out, most companies are still trying to figure out what their IoT strategy should be. There isn’t that much active building of real systems at this point.

Most companies, at the moment, are just trying to figure out what the Internet of Things is. I can do a webinar on ‘What is the Internet of Things?’ or ‘What is the Industrial Internet of Things?’ and get hundreds and hundreds of people showing up, most of whom don’t have any idea. That’s where most companies are. But there are several leading companies that very much have strategies, and there are a few that are even executing their strategies, ” he said. According to Schneider, these companies include GE, which he says has a 700+ person team currently dedicated to building their Industrial IoT platform, as well as companies such as Siemens and Audi, which already have some applications working.

For its part, RTI is actively involved in trying to help define how the Industrial Internet will work and how companies can take disparate devices and make them work with one another. “We’re a nuts-and-bolts, make-it-work type of company,” Schneider notes. As such, openness and standards are critical not only to RTI’s work but to the success of the Industrial IoT in general, says Schneider. RTI is currently involved in as many as 15 different industry standards initiatives.

IoT Drivers in Healthcare

Although RTI is involved in IoT initiatives in many industries, from manufacturing to the military, Healthcare is one of the company’s main areas of focus. For instance, RTI is working with GE Healthcare on the software for its CAT scanner machines. GE chose RTI’s DDS (data distribution service) product because it will let GE standardize on a single communications platform across product lines.

Schneider says there are three big drivers that are changing the medical landscape when it comes to connectivity: the evolution of standalone systems to distributed systems, the connection of devices to improve patient outcome and the replacement of dedicated wiring with networks.

The first driver is that medical devices that have been standalone devices for years are now being built on new distributed architectures. This gives practitioners and patients easier access to the technology they need.

For example, RTI customer BK Medical, a medical device manufacturer based in Denmark, is in the process of changing their ultrasound product architecture. They are moving from a single-user physical system to a wirelessly connected distributed design. Images will now be generated in and distributed by the Cloud, thus saving significant hardware costs while making the systems more accessible.

According to Schneider, ultrasound machine architecture hasn’t really changed in the last 30 or 40 years. Today’s ultrasound machines are still wheeled in on a cart. That cart contains a wired transducer, image processing hardware or software and a monitor. If someone wants to keep an image—for example images of fetuses in utero—they get carry out physical media. Years ago it was a Polaroid picture, today the images are saved to CDs and handed to the patient.

In contrast, BK’s new systems will be completely distributed, Schneider says. Doctors will be able to carry a transducer that looks more like a cellphone with them throughout the hospital. A wireless connection will upload the imaging data into the cloud for image calculation. With a distributed scenario, only one image processing system may be needed for a hospital or clinic. It can even be kept in the cloud off-site. Both patients and caregivers can access images on any display, wherever they are. This kind of architecture makes the systems much cheaper and far more efficient, Schneider says. The days of the wheeled-in cart are numbered.

The second IoT driver in Healthcare is connecting medical devices together to improve patient outcomes. Most hospital devices today are completely independent and standalone. So, if a patient is hooked up to multiple monitors, the only thing that really “connects” those devices today is a piece of paper at the end of a hospital bed that shows how each should be functioning. Nurses are supposed to check these devices on an hourly basis to make sure they’re working correctly and the patient is ok.

Schneider says this approach is error-ridden. First, the nurse may be too busy to do a good job checking the devices. Worse, any number of things can set off alarms whether there’s something wrong with the patient or not. As anyone who has ever visited a friend or relative in the hospital attest to, alarms are going off constantly, making it difficult to determine when someone is really in distress. In fact, one of the biggest problems in hospital settings today, Schneider says, is a phenomenon known as “alarm fatigue.” Single devices simply can’t reliably tell if there’s some minor glitch in data or if the patient is in real trouble. Thus, 80% of all device alarms in hospitals are turned off. Meaningless alarms fatigue personnel, so they either ignore or turn off the alarms…and people can die.

To deal with this problem, new technologies are being created that will connect devices together on a network. Multiple devices can then work in tandem to really figure out when something is wrong. If the machines are networked, alarms can be set to go off only when multiple distress indicators are indicated rather than just one. For example, if oxygen levels drop on both an oxygen monitor on someone’s finger and on a respiration monitor, the alarm is much more likely a real patient problem than if only one source shows a problem. Schneider says the algorithms to fix these problems are reasonably well understood; the barrier is the lack of networking to tie all of these machines together.

The third area of change in the industrial medical Internet is the transition to networked systems from dedicated wired designs. Surgical operating rooms offer a good example. Today’s operating room is a maze of wires connecting screens, computers, and video. Videos, for instance, come from dynamic x-ray imaging systems, from ultrasound navigation probes and from tiny cameras embedded in surgical instruments. Today, these systems are connected via HDMI or other specialized cables. These cables are hard to reconfigure. Worse, they’re difficult to sterilize, Schneider says. Thus, the surgical theater is hard to configure, clean and maintain.

In the future, the mesh of special wires can be replaced by a single, high-speed networking bus. Networks make the systems easier to configure and integrate, easier to use and accessible remotely. A single, easy-to-sterilize optical network cable can replace hundreds of wires. As wireless gets faster, even that cable can be removed.

“By changing these systems from a mesh of TV-cables to a networked data bus, you really change the way the whole system is integrated,” he said. “It’s much more flexible, maintainable and sharable outside the room. Surgical systems will be fundamentally changed by the Industrial IoT.”

IoT Challenges for Healthcare

Schneider says there are numerous challenges facing the integration of the IoT into existing Healthcare systems—from technical challenges to standards and, of course, security and privacy. But one of the biggest challenges facing the industry, he believes, is plain old fear. In particular, Schneider says, there is a lot of fear within the industry of choosing the wrong path and, in effect, “walking off a cliff” if they choose the wrong direction. Getting beyond that fear and taking risks, he says, will be necessary to move the industry forward, he says.

In a practical sense, the other thing currently holding back integration is the sheer number of connected devices currently being used in medicine, he says. Manufacturers each have their own systems and obviously have a vested interest in keeping their equipment in hospitals, so many have been reluctant to develop or become standards-compliant and push interoperability forward, Schneider says.

This is, of course, not just a Healthcare issue. “We see it in every single industry we’re in. It’s a real problem,” he said.

Legacy systems are also a problematic area. “You can’t just go into a Kaiser Permanente and rip out $2 billion worth of equipment,” he says. Integrating new systems with existing technology is a process of incremental change that takes time and vested leadership, says Schneider.

Cloud Integration a Driver

Although many of these technologies are not yet very mature, Schneider believes that the fundamental industry driver is Cloud integration. In Schneider’s view, the Industrial Internet is ultimately a systems problem. As with the ultrasound machine example from BK Medical, it’s not that an existing ultrasound machine doesn’t work just fine today, Schneider says, it’s that it could work better.

“Look what you can do if you connect it to the Cloud—you can distribute it, you can make it cheaper, you can make it better, you can make it faster, you can make it more available, you can connect it to the patient at home. It’s a huge system problem. The real overwhelming striking value of the Industrial Internet really happens when you’re not just talking about the hospital but you’re talking about the Cloud and hooking up with practitioners, patients, hospitals, home care and health records. You have to be able to integrate the whole thing together to get that ultimate value. While there are many point cases that are compelling all by themselves, realizing the vision requires getting the whole system running. A truly connected system is a ways out, but it’s exciting.”

Open Standards

Schneider also says that openness is absolutely critical for these systems to ultimately work. Just as agreeing on a standard for the HTTP running on the Internet Protocol (IP) drove the Web, a new device-appropriate protocol will be necessary for the Internet of Things to work. Consensus will be necessary, he says, so that systems can talk to each other and connectivity will work. The Industrial Internet will push that out to the Cloud and beyond, he says.

“One of my favorite quotes is from IBM, he says – IBM said, ‘it’s not a new Internet, it’s a new Web.’” By that, they mean that the industry needs new, machine-centric protocols to run over the same Internet hardware and base IP protocol, Schneider said.

Schneider believes that this new web will eventually evolve to become the new architecture for most companies. However, for now, particularly in hospitals, it’s the “things” that need to be integrated into systems and overall architectures.

One example where this level of connectivity will make a huge difference, he says, is in predictive maintenance. Once a system can “sense” or predict that a machine may fail or if a part needs to be replaced, there will be a huge economic impact and cost savings. For instance, he said Siemens uses acoustic sensors to monitor the state of its wind generators. By placing sensors next to the bearings in the machine, they can literally “listen” for squeaky wheels and thus figure out whether a turbine may soon need repair. These analytics let them know when the bearing must be replaced before the turbine shuts down. Of course, the infrastructure will need to connect all of these “things” to the each other and the cloud first. So, there will need to be a lot of system level changes in architectures.

Standards, of course, will be key to getting these architectures to work together. Schneider believes standards development for the IoT will need to be tackled from both horizontal and vertical standpoint. Both generic communication standards and industry specific standards like how to integrate an operating room must evolve.

“We are a firm believer in open standards as a way to build consensus and make things actually work. It’s absolutely critical,” he said.

stan_schneiderStan Schneider is CEO at Real-Time Innovations (RTI), the Industrial Internet of Things communications platform company. RTI is the largest embedded middleware vendor and has an extensive footprint in all areas of the Industrial Internet, including Energy, Medical, Automotive, Transportation, Defense, and Industrial Control.  Stan has published over 50 papers in both academic and industry press. He speaks at events and conferences widely on topics ranging from networked medical devices for patient safety, the future of connected cars, the role of the DDS standard in the IoT, the evolution of power systems, and understanding the various IoT protocols.  Before RTI, Stan managed a large Stanford robotics laboratory, led an embedded communications software team and built data acquisition systems for automotive impact testing.  Stan completed his PhD in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Stanford University, and holds a BS and MS from the University of Michigan. He is a graduate of Stanford’s Advanced Management College.

 

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IT Trends Empowering Your Business is Focus of The Open Group London 2014

By The Open Group

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

Objectives of this year’s event:

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

Key speakers at the event include:

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

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

Join the conversation via Twitter – @theopengroup #ogLON

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The Open Group London 2014: Open Platform 3.0™ Panel Preview with Capgemini’s Ron Tolido

By The Open Group

The third wave of platform technologies is poised to revolutionize how companies do business not only for the next few years but for years to come. At The Open Group London event in October, Open Group CTO Dave Lounsbury will be hosting a panel discussion on how The Open Group Open Platform 3.0™ will affect Enterprise Architectures. Panel speakers include IBM Vice President and CTO of U.S. Federal IMT Andras Szakal and Capgemini Senior Vice President and CTO for Application Services Ron Tolido.

We spoke with Tolido in advance of the event about the progress companies are making in implementing third platform technologies, the challenges facing the industry as Open Platform 3.0 evolves and the call to action he envisions for The Open Group as these technologies take hold in the marketplace.

Below is a transcript of that conversation.

From my perspective, we have to realize: What is the call to action that we should have for ourselves? If we look at the mission of Boundaryless Information Flow™ and the need for open standards to accommodate that, what exactly can The Open Group and any general open standards do to facilitate this next wave in IT? I think it’s nothing less than a revolution. The first platform was the mainframe, the second platform was the PC and now the third platform is anything beyond the PC, so all sorts of different devices, sensors and ways to access information, to deploy solutions and to connect. What does it mean in terms of Boundaryless Information Flow and what is the role of open standards to make that platform succeed and help companies to thrive in such a new world?

That’s the type of call to action I’m envisioning. And I believe there are very few Forums or Work Groups within The Open Group that are not affected by this notion of the third platform. Firstly, I believe an important part of the Open Platform 3.0 Forum’s mission will be to analyze, to understand, the impacts of the third platform, of all those different areas that we’re evolving currently in The Open Group, and, if you like, orchestrate them a bit or be a catalyst in all the working groups and forums.

In a blog you wrote this summer for Capgemini’s CTO Blog you cited third platform technologies as being responsible for a renewed interest in IT as an enabler of business growth. What is it about the Third Platform is driving that interest?

It’s the same type of revolution as we’ve seen with the PC, which was the second platform. A lot of people in business units—through the PC and client/server technologies and Windows and all of these different things—realized that they could create solutions of a whole new order. The second platform meant many more applications, many more uses, much more business value to be achieved and less direct dependence on the central IT department. I think we’re seeing a very similar evolution right now, but the essence of the move is not that it moves us even further away from central IT but it puts the power of technology right in the business. It’s much easier to create solutions. Nowadays, there are many more channels that are so close in business that it takes business people to understand them. This explains also why business people like the third platform so much—it’s the Cloud, it’s mobile, social, it’s big data, all of these are waves that bring technology closer to the business, and are easy to use with very apparent business value that haven’t seen before, certainly not in the PC era. So we’re seeing a next wave, almost a revolution in terms of how easy it is to create solutions and how widely spread these solutions can be. Because again, as with the PC, it’s many more applications yet again and many more potential uses that can be connected through these applications, so that’s the very nature of the revolution and that also explains why business people like the third platform so much. So what people say to me these days on the business side is ‘We love IT, it’s just these bloody IT people that are the problem.’

Due to the complexities of building the next wave of platform computing, do you think that we may hit a point of fatigue as companies begin to tackle everything that is involved in creating that platform and making it work together?

The way I see it, that’s still the work of the IT community and the Enterprise Architect and the platform designer. It’s the very nature of the platform is that it’s attractive to use it, not to build it. The very nature of the platform is to connect to it and launch from it, but building the platform is an entirely different story. I think it requires platform designers and Enterprise Architects, if you like, and people to do the plumbing and do the architecting and the design underneath. But the real nature of the platform is to use it and to build upon it rather than to create it. So the happy view is that the “business people” don’t have to construct this.

I do believe, by the way, that many of the people in The Open Group will be on the side of the builders. They’re supposed to like complexity and like reducing it, so if we do it right the users of the platform will not notice this effort. It’s the same with the Cloud—the problem with the Cloud nowadays is that many people are tempted to run their own clouds, their own technologies, and before they know it, they only have additional complexity on their agenda, rather than reduced, because of the Cloud. It’s the same with the third platform—it’s a foundation which is almost a no-brainer to do business upon, for the next generation of business models. But if we do it wrong, we only have additional complexity on our hands, and we give IT a bad name yet again. We don’t want to do that.

What are Capgemini customers struggling with the most in terms of adopting these new technologies and putting together an Open Platform 3.0?

What you currently see—and it’s not always good to look at history—but if you look at the emergence of the second platform, the PC, of course there were years in which central IT said ‘nobody needs a PC, we can do it all on the mainframe,’ and they just didn’t believe it and business people just started to do it themselves. And for years, we created a mess as a result of it, and we’re still picking up some of the pieces of that situation. The question for IT people, in particular, is to understand how to find this new rhythm, how to adopt the dynamics of this third platform while dealing with all the complexity of the legacy platform that’s already there. I think if we are able to accelerate creating such a platform—and I think The Open Group will be very critical there—what exactly should be in the third platform, what type of services should you be developing, how would these services interact, could we create some set of open standards that the industry could align to so that we don’t have to do too much work in integrating all that stuff. If we, as The Open Group, can create that industry momentum, that, at least, would narrow the gap between business and IT that we currently see. Right now IT’s very clearly not able to deliver on the promise because they have their hands full with surviving the existing IT landscape, so unless they do something about simplifying it on the one hand and bridging that old world with the new one, they might still be very unpopular in the forthcoming years. That’s not what you want as an IT person—you want to enable business and new business. But I don’t think we’ve been very effective with that for the past ten years as an industry in general, so that’s a big thing that we have to deal with, bridging the old world with the new world. But anything we can do to accelerate and simplify that job from The Open Group would be great, and I think that’s the very essence of where our actions would be.

What are some of the things that The Open Group, in particular, can do to help affect these changes?

To me it’s still in the evangelization phase. Sooner or later people have to buy it and say ‘We get it, we want it, give me access to the third platform.’ Then the question will be how to accelerate building such an actual platform. So the big question is: What does such a platform look like? What types of services would you find on such a platform? For example, mobility services, data services, integration services, management services, development services, all of that. What would that look like in a typical Platform 3.0? Maybe even define a catalog of services that you would find in the platform. Then, of course, if you could use such a catalog or shopping list, if you like, to reach out to the technology suppliers of this world and convince them to pick that up and gear around these definitions—that would facilitate such a platform. Also maybe the architectural roadmap—so what would an architecture look like and what would be the typical five ways of getting there? We have to start with your local situation, so probably also several design cases would be helpful, so there’s an architectural dimension here.

Also, in terms of competencies, what type of competencies will we need in the near future to be able to supply these types of services to the business? That’s, again, very new—in this case, IT Specialist Certification and Architect Certification. These groups also need to think about what are the new competencies inherent in the third platform and how does it affect things like certification criteria and competency profiles?

In other areas, if you look at TOGAF®, and Open Group standard, is it really still suitable in fast paced world of the third platform or do we need a third platform version of TOGAF? With Security, for example, there are so many users, so many connections, and the activities of the former Jericho Forum seem like child’s play compared to what you will see around the third platform, so there’s no Forum or Work Group that’s not affected by this Open Platform 3.0 emerging.

With Open Platform 3.0 touching pretty much every aspect of technology and The Open Group, how do you tackle that? Do you have just an umbrella group for everything or look at it through the lens of TOGAF or security or the IT Specialist? How do you attack something so large?

It’s exactly what you just said. It’s fundamentally my belief that we need to do both of these two things. First, we need a catalyst forum, which I would argue is the Open Platform 3.0 Forum, which would be the catalyst platform, the orchestration platform if you like, that would do the overall definitions, the call to action. They’ve already been doing the business scenarios—they set the scene. Then it would be up to this Forum to reach out to all the other Forums and Work Groups to discuss impact and make sure it stays aligned, so here we have an orchestration function of the Open Platform 3.0 Forum. Then, very obviously, all the other Work Groups and Forums need to pick it up and do their own stuff because you cannot aspire to do all of this with one and the same forum because it’s so wide, it’s so diverse. You need to do both.

The Open Platform 3.0 Forum has been working for a year and a half now. What are some of the things the Forum has accomplished thus far?

They’ve been particularly working on some of the key definitions and some of the business scenarios. I would say in order to create an awareness of Open Platform 3.0 in terms of the business value and the definitions, they’ve done a very good job. Next, there needs to be a call to action to get everybody mobilized and setting tangible steps toward the Platform 3.0. I think that’s currently where we are, so that’s good timing, I believe, in terms of what the forum has achieved so far.

Returning to the mission of The Open Group, given all of the awareness we have created, what does it all mean in terms of Boundaryless Information Flow and how does it affect the Forums and Work Groups in The Open Group? That’s what we need to do now.

What are some of the biggest challenges that you see facing adoption of Open Platform 3.0 and standards for that platform?

They are relatively immature technologies. For example, with the Cloud you see a lot of players, a lot of technology providers being quite reluctant to standardize. Some of them are very open about it and are like ‘Right now we are in a niche, and we’re having a lot of fun ourselves, so why open it up right now?’ The movement would be more pressure from the business side saying ‘We want to use your technology but only if you align with some of these emerging standards.’ That would do it or certainly help. This, of course, is what makes The Open Group as powerful as not only technology providers, but also businesses, the enterprises involved and end users of technology. If they work together and created something to mobilize technology providers, that would certainly be a breakthrough, but these are immature technologies and, as I said, with some of these technology providers, it seems more important to them to be a niche player for now and create their own market rather than standardizing on something that their competitors could be on as well.

So this is a sign of a relatively immature industry because every industry that starts to mature around certain topics begins to work around open standards. The more mature we grow in mastering the understanding of the Open Platform 3.0, the more you will see the need for standards arise. It’s all a matter of timing so it’s not so strange that in the past year and a half it’s been very difficult to even discuss standards in this area. But I think we’re entering that era really soon, so it seems to be good timing to discuss it. That’s one important limiting area; I think the providers are not necessarily waiting for it or committed to it.

Secondly, of course, this is a whole next generation of technologies. With all new generations of technologies there are always generation gaps and people in denial or who just don’t feel up to picking it up again or maybe they lack the energy to pick up a new wave of technology and they’re like ‘Why can’t I stay in what I’ve mastered?’ All very understandable. I would call that a very typical IT generation gap that occurs when we see the next generation of IT emerge—sooner or later you get a generation gap, as well. Which has nothing to do with physical age, by the way.

With all these technologies converging so quickly, that gap is going to have to close quickly this time around isn’t it?

Well, there are still mainframes around, so you could argue that there will be two or even three speeds of IT sooner or later. A very stable, robust and predictable legacy environment could even be the first platform that’s more mainframe-oriented, like you see today. A second wave would be that PC workstation, client/server, Internet-based IT landscape, and it has a certain base and certain dynamics. Then you have this third phase, which is the new platform, that is more dynamic and volatile and much more diverse. You could argue that there might be within an organization multiple speeds of IT, multiple speeds of architectures, multi-speed solutioning, and why not choose your own speed?

It probably takes a decade or more to really move forward for many enterprises.

It’s not going as quickly as the Gartners of this world typically thinks it is—in practice we all know it takes longer. So I don’t see any reason why certain people wouldn’t certainly choose deliberately to stay in second gear and don’t go to third gear simply because they think it’s challenging to be there, which is perfectly sound to me and it would bring a lot of work in many years to companies.

That’s an interesting concept because start-ups can easily begin on a new platform but if you’re a company that has been around for a long time and you have existing legacy systems from the mainframe or PC era, those are things that you have to maintain. How do you tackle that as well?

That’s a given in big enterprises. Not everybody can be a disruptive start up. Maybe we all think that we should be like that but it’s not the case in real life. In real life, we have to deal with enterprise systems and enterprise processes and all of them might be very vulnerable to this new wave of challenges. Certainly enterprises can be disruptive themselves if they do it right, but there are always different dynamics, and, as I said, we still have mainframes, as well, even though we declared their ending quite some time ago. The same will happen, of course, to PC-based IT landscapes. It will take a very long time and will take very skilled hands and minds to keep it going and to simplify.

Having said that, you could argue that some new players in the market obviously have the advantage of not having to deal with that and could possibly benefit from a first-mover advantage where existing enterprises have to juggle several balls at the same time. Maybe that’s more difficult, but of course enterprises are enterprises for a good reason—they are big and holistic and mighty, and they might be able to do things that start-ups simply can’t do. But it’s a very unpredictable world, as we all realize, and the third platform brings a lot of disruptiveness.

What’s your perspective on how the Internet of Things will affect all of this?

It’s part of the third platform of course, and it’s something Andras Szakal will be addressing as well. There’s much more coming, both at the input sites, everything is becoming a sensor essentially to where even your wallpaper or paint is a sensor, but on the other hand, in terms of devices that we use to communicate or get information—smart things that whisper in your ears or whatever we’ll have in the coming years—is clearly part of this Platform 3.0 wave that we’ll have as we move away from the PC and the workstation, and there’s a whole bunch of new technologies around to replace it. The Internet of Things is clearly part of it, and we’ll need open standards as well because there are so many different things and devices, and if you don’t create the right standards and platform services to deal with it, it will be a mess. It’s an integral part of the Platform 3.0 wave that we’re seeing.

What is the Open Platform 3.0 Forum going to be working on over the next few months?

Understanding what this Open Platform 3.0 actually means—I think the work we’ve seen so far in the Forum really sets the way in terms of what is it and definitions are growing. Andras will be adding his notion of the Internet of Things and looking at definitions of what is it exactly. Many people already intuitively have an image of it.

The second will be how we deliver value to the business—so the business scenarios are a crucial thing to consider to see how applicable they are, how relevant they are to enterprises. The next thing to do will pertain to work that still needs to be done in The Open Group, as well. What would a new Open Platform 3.0 architecture look like? What are the platform services? What are the ones we can start working on right now? What are the most important business scenarios and what are the platform services that they will require? So architectural impacts, skills impacts, security impacts—as I said, there are very few areas in IT that are not touched by it. Even the new IT4IT Forum that will be launched in October, which is all about methodologies and lifecycle, will need to consider Agile, DevOps-related methodologies because that’s the rhythm and the pace that we’ve got to expect in this third platform. So the rhythm of the working group—definitions, business scenarios and then you start to thinking about what does the platform consist of, what type of services do I need to create to support it and hopefully by then we’ll have some open standards to help accelerate that thinking to help enterprises set a course for themselves. That’s our mission as The Open Group to help facilitate that.

Tolido-RonRon Tolido is Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Application Services Continental Europe, Capgemini. He is also a Director on the board of The Open Group and blogger for Capgemini’s multiple award-winning CTO blog, as well as the lead author of Capgemini’s TechnoVision and the global Application Landscape Reports. As a noted Digital Transformation ambassador, Tolido speaks and writes about IT strategy, innovation, applications and architecture. Based in the Netherlands, Mr. Tolido currently takes interest in apps rationalization, Cloud, enterprise mobility, the power of open, Slow Tech, process technologies, the Internet of Things, Design Thinking and – above all – radical simplification.

 

 

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