Category Archives: Professional Development

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 Open Group London 2014 – Day One Highlights

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

On a crisp October Monday in London yesterday, The Open Group hosted the first day of its event at Central Methodist Hall, Westminster. Almost 200 attendees from 32 countries explored how to “Empower Your Business; Enabling Boundaryless Information Flow™”.

Just across the way from another landmark in the form of Westminster Abbey, the day began with a welcome from Allen Brown, President and CEO of The Open Group, before Magnus Lindkvist, the Swedish trendspotter and futurologist, began his keynote on “Competition and Creation in Globulent Times”.

In a very thought-provoking talk, Magnus pondered on how quickly the world now moves, declaring that we now live in a 47 hour world, where trends can spread quicker than ever before. Magnus argued that this was a result of an R&D process – rip off and duplicate, rather than organic innovation occurring in multiple places.

Magnus went on to consider the history of civilization which he described as “nothing, nothing, a little bit, then everything” as well as providing a comparison of vertical and horizontal growth. Magnus posited that while we are currently seeing a lot of horizontal growth globally (the replication of the same activity), there is very little vertical growth, or what he described as “magic”. Magnus argued that in business we are seeing companies less able to create as they are focusing so heavily on simply competing.

To counter this growth, Magnus told attendees that they should do the following in their day-to-day work:

  • Look for secrets – Whether it be for a certain skill or a piece of expertise that is as yet undiscovered but which could reap significant benefit
  • Experiment – Ensure that there is a place for experimentation within your organization, while practicing it yourself as well
  • Recycle failures – It’s not always the idea that is wrong, but the implementation, which you can try over and over again
  • Be patient and persistent – Give new ideas time and the good ones will eventually succeed

Following this session was the long anticipated launch of The Open Group IT4IT™ Forum, with Christopher Davis from the University of South Florida detailing the genesis of the group before handing over to Georg Bock from HP Software who talked about the Reference Architecture at the heart of the IT4IT Forum.

Hans Van Kesteren, VP & CIO of Global Functions at Shell, then went into detail about how his company has helped to drive the growth of the IT4IT Forum. Starting with an in-depth background to the company’s IT function, Hans described how as a provider of IT on a mass scale, the changing technology landscape has had a significant impact on Shell and the way it manages IT. He described how the introduction of the IT4IT Forum will help his organization and others like it to adapt to the convergence of technologies, allowing for a more dynamic yet structured IT department.

Subsequently Daniel Benton, Global Managing Director of IT Strategy at Accenture, and Georg Bock, Senior Director IT Management Software Portfolio Strategy at HP, provided their vision for the IT4IT Forum before a session where the speakers took questions from the floor. Those individuals heavily involved in the establishment of the IT4IT Forum received particular thanks from attendees for their efforts, as you can see in the accompanying picture.

In its entirety, the various presentations from the IT4IT Forum members provided a compelling vision for the future of the group. Watch this space for further developments now it has been launched.

IT4IT

The Open Group IT4IT™ Forum Founding Members

In the afternoon, the sessions were split into tracks illustrating the breadth of the material that The Open Group covers. On Monday this provided an opportunity for a range of speakers to present to attendees on topics from the architecture of banking to shaping business transformation. Key presenters included Thomas Obitz, Senior Manager, FSO Advisory Performance Improvement, EY, UK and Dr. Daniel Simon, Managing Partner, Scape Consulting, Germany.

The plenary and many of the track presentations are available at livestream.com.

The day concluded with an evening drinks reception within Central Hall Westminster, where attendees had the opportunity to catch up with acquaintances old and new. More to come on day two!

Join the conversation – @theopengroup #ogLON

Loren K. BaynesLoren K. Baynes, Director, Global Marketing Communications, joined The Open Group in 2013 and spearheads corporate marketing initiatives, primarily the website, blog and media relations. Loren has over 20 years experience in brand marketing and public relations and, prior to The Open Group, was with The Walt Disney Company for over 10 years. Loren holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Texas A&M University. She is based in the US.

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Discussing Enterprise Decision-Making with Penelope Everall Gordon

By The Open Group

Most enterprises today are in the process of jumping onto the Big Data bandwagon. The promise of Big Data, as we’re told, is that if every company collects as much data as they can—about everything from their customers to sales transactions to their social media feeds—executives will have “the data they need” to make important decisions that can make or break the company. Not collecting and using your data, as the conventional wisdom has it, can have deadly consequences for any business.

As is often the case with industry trends, the hype around Big Data contains both a fair amount of truth and a fair amount of fuzz. The problem is that within most organizations, that conventional wisdom about the power of data for decision-making is usually just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how and why organizational decisions are made.

According to Penelope Gordon, a consultant for 1Plug Corporation who was recently a Cloud Strategist at Verizon and was formerly a Service Product Strategist at IBM, that’s why big “D” (Data) needs to be put back into the context of enterprise decision-making. Gordon, who spoke at The Open Group Boston 2014, in the session titled “Putting the D Back in Decision” with Jean-Francois Barsoum of IBM, argues that a focus on collecting a lot of data has the potential to get in the way of making quality decisions. This is, in part, due to the overabundance of data that’s being collected under the assumption that you never know where there’s gold to be mined in your data, so if you don’t have all of it at hand, you may just miss something.

Gordon says that assuming the data will make decisions obvious also ignores the fact that ultimately decisions are made by people—and people usually make decisions based on their own biases. According to Gordon, there are three types of natural decision making styles—heart, head and gut styles—corresponding to different personality types, she said; the greater the amount of data the more likely that it will not balance the natural decision-making style.

Head types, Gordon says, naturally make decisions based on quantitative evidence. But what often happens is that head types often put off making a decision until more data can be collected, wanting more and more data so that they can make the best decision based on the facts. She cites former President Bill Clinton as a classic example of this type. During his presidency, he was famous for putting off decision-making in favor of gathering more and more data before making the decision, she says. Relying solely on quantitative data also can mean you may miss out on other important factors in making optimal decisions based on either heart (qualitative) or instinct. Conversely, a gut-type presented with too much data will likely just end up ignoring data and acting on instinct, much like former President George W. Bush, Gordon says.

Gordon believes part of the reason that data and decisions are more disconnected than one might think is because IT and Marketing departments have become overly enamored with what technology can offer. These data providers need to step back and first examine the decision objectives as well as the governance behind those decisions. Without understanding the organization’s decision-making processes and the dynamics of the decision-makers, it can be difficult to make optimal and effective strategic recommendations, she says, because you don’t have the full picture of what the stakeholders will or will not accept in terms of a recommendation, data or no data.

Ideally, Gordon says, you want to get to a point where you can get to the best decision outcome possible by first figuring out the personal and organizational dynamics driving decisions within the organization, shifting the focus from the data to the decision for which the data is an input.

“…what you’re trying to do is get the optimal outcome, so your focus needs to be on the outcome, so when you’re collecting the data and assessing the data, you also need to be thinking about ‘how am I going to present this data in a way that it is going to be impactful in improving the decision outcomes?’ And that’s where the governance comes into play,” she said.

Governance is of particular importance now, Gordon says, because decisions are increasingly being made by individual departments, such as when departments buy their own cloud-enabled services, such as sales force automation. In that case, an organization needs to have a roadmap in place with compensation to incent decision-makers to adhere to that roadmap and decision criteria for buying decisions, she said.

Gordon recommends that companies put in place 3-5 top criteria for each decision that needs to be made so that you can ensure that the decision objectives are met. This distillation of the metrics gives decision-makers a more comprehensible picture of their data so that their decisions don’t become either too subjective or disconnected from the data. Lower levels of metrics can be used underneath each of those top-level criteria to facilitate a more nuanced valuation. For example, if an organization needing to find good partner candidates scored and ranked (preferably in tiers) potential partners using decision criteria based on the characteristics of the most attractive partner, rather than just assuming that companies with the best reputation or biggest brands will be the best, then they will expeditiously identify the optimal partner candidates.

One of the reasons that companies have gotten so concerned with collecting and storing data rather than just making better decisions, Gordon believes, is that business decisions have become inherently more risky. The required size of investment is increasing in tandem with an increase in the time to return; time to return is a key determinant of risk. Data helps people feel like they are making competent decisions but in reality does little to reduce risk.

“If you’ve got lots of data, then the thinking is, ‘well, I did the best that I could because I got all of this data.’ People are worried that they might miss something,“ she said. “But that’s where I’m trying to come around and say, ‘yeah, but going and collecting more data, if you’ve got somebody like President Clinton, you’re just feeding into their tendency to put off making decisions. If you’ve got somebody like President Bush and you’re feeding into their tendency to ignore it, then there may be some really good information, good recommendations they’re ignoring.”

Gordon also says that having all the data possible to work with isn’t usually necessary—generally a representative sample will do. For example, she says the U.S Census Bureau takes the approach where it tries to count every citizen; consequently certain populations are chronically undercounted and inaccuracies pass undetected. The Canadian census, on the other hand, uses representative samples and thus tends to be much more accurate—and much less expensive to conduct. Organizations should also think about how they can find representative or “proxy” data in cases where collecting data that directly addresses a top-level decision criteria isn’t really practical.

To begin shifting the focus from collecting data inputs to improving decision outcomes, Gordon recommends clearly stating the decision objectives for each major decision and then identifying and defining the 3-5 criteria that are most important for achieving the decision objectives. She also recommends ensuring that there is sufficient governance and a process in place for making decisions including mechanisms for measuring the performance of the decision-making process and the outcomes resulting from the execution of that process. In addition, companies need to consider whether their decisions are made in a centralized or decentralized manner and then adapt decision governance accordingly.

One way that Enterprise Architects can help to encourage better decision-making within the organizations in which they work is to help in developing that governance rather than just providing data or data architectures, Gordon says. They should help stakeholders identify and define the important decision criteria, determine when full population rather than representative sampling is justified, recognize better methods for data analysis, and form decision recommendations based on that analysis. By gauging the appropriate blend of quantitative and qualitative data for a particular decision maker, an Architect can moderate gut types’ reliance on instinct and stimulate head and heart types’ intuition – thereby producing an optimally balanced decision. Architects should help lead and facilitate execution of the decision process, as well as help determine how data is presented within organizations in order to support the recommendations with the highest potential for meeting the decision objectives.

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penelopegordonPenelope Gordon recently led the expansion of the channel and service packaging strategies for Verizon’s cloud network products. Previously she was an IBM Strategist and Product Manager bringing emerging technologies such as predictive analytics to market. She helped to develop one of the world’s first public clouds.

 

 

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The Open Group Boston 2014 – Day One Highlights

By Loren K. Baynes, Director, Global Marketing Communications

The Open Group kicked off Enabling Boundaryless Information Flow™  July 21 at the spectacular setting of the Hyatt Boston Harbor. Allen Brown, CEO and President of The Open Group, welcomed over 150 people from 20 countries, including as far away as Australia, Japan, Saudi Arabia and India.

The first keynote speaker was Marshall Van Alstyne, Professor at Boston University School of Management & Researcher at MIT Center for Digital Business, known as a leading expert in business models. His presentation entitled Platform Shift – How New Open Business Models are Changing the Shape of Industry posed the questions “What does ‘openness’ mean? Why do platforms beat products every time?”.

Van AlstyneMarshall Van Alstyne

According to “InterBrand: 2014 Best Global Brands”, 13 of the top 31 companies are “platform companies”. To be a ‘platform’, a company needs embeddable functions or service and allow 3rd party access. Alystyne noted, “products have features, platforms have communities”. Great standalone products are not sufficient. Positive changes experienced by a platform company include pricing/profitability, supply chains, internal organization, innovation, decreased industry bottlenecks and strategy.

Platforms benefit from broad contributions, as long as there is control of the top several complements. Alstyne commented, “If you believe in the power of community, you need to embrace the platform.”

The next presentation was Open Platform 3.0™ – An Integrated Approach to the Convergence of Technology Platforms, by Dr. Chris Harding, Director for Interoperability, The Open Group. Dr. Harding discussed how society has developed a digital society.

1970 was considered the dawn of an epoch which saw the First RAM chip, IBM introduction of System/370 and a new operating system – UNIX®. Examples of digital progress since that era include driverless cars and Smart Cities (management of traffic, energy, water, communication).

Digital society enablers are digital structural change and corporate social media. The benefits are open innovation, open access, open culture, open government and delivering more business value.

Dr. Harding also noted, standards are essential to innovation and enable markets based on integration. The Open Group Open Platform 3.0™ is using ArchiMate®, an Open Group standard, to analyze the 30+ business use cases produced by the Forum. The development cycle is understanding, analysis, specification, iteration.

Dr. Harding emphasized the importance of Boundaryless Information Flow™, as an enabler of business objectives and efficiency through IT standards in the era of digital technology, and designed for today’s agile enterprise with direct involvement of business users.

Both sessions concluded with an interactive audience Q&A hosted by Allen Brown.

The last session of the morning’s plenary was a panel: The Internet of Things and Interoperability. Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, moderated the panel. Participating in the panel were Said Tabet, CTO for Governance, Risk and Compliance Strategy, EMC; Penelope Gordon, Emerging Technology Strategist, 1Plug Corporation; Jean-Francois Barsoum, Senior Managing Consultant, Smarter Cities, Water & Transportation, IBM; and Dave Lounsbury, CTO, The Open Group.

IoT PanelIoT Panel – Gardner, Barsoum, Tabet, Lounsbury, Gordon

The panel explored the practical limits and opportunities of Internet of Things (IoT). The different areas discussed include obstacles to decision-making as big data becomes more prolific, openness, governance and connectivity of things, data and people which pertain to many industries such as smart cities, manufacturing and healthcare.

How do industries, organizations and individuals deal with IoT? This is not necessarily a new problem, but an accelerated one. There are new areas of interoperability but where does the data go and who owns the data? Openness is important and governance is essential.

What needs to change most to see the benefits of the IoT? The panel agreed there needs to be a push for innovation, increased education, move beyond models of humans managing the interface (i.e. machine-to-machine) and determine what data is most important, not always collecting all the data.

A podcast and transcript of the Internet of Things and Interoperability panel will be posted soon.

The afternoon was divided into several tracks: Boundaryless Information Flow™, Open Platform 3.0™ and Enterprise Architecture (EA) & Enterprise Transformation. Best Practices for Enabling Boundaryless Information Flow across the Government was presented by Syed Husain, Consultant Enterprise Architecture, Saudi Arabia E-government Authority. Robert K. Pucci, CTO, Communications Practice, Cognizant Technology Solutions discussed Business Transformation Justification Leveraging Business and Enterprise Architecture.

The evening concluded with a lively networking reception at the hotel.

Join the conversation #ogBOS!

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 Boston 2014 – Q&A with Proteus Duxbury, Connect for Health Colorado

By The Open Group

The U.S. healthcare industry is undergoing a major sea change right now due in part to the Affordable Care Act, as well as the need to digitize legacy systems that have remained largely paper-based in order to better facilitate information exchange.

Proteus Duxbury, the CTO for the state of Colorado’s health insurance exchange, Connect for Health Colorado, has a wide and varied background in healthcare IT ranging from IT consulting and helping to lead a virtual health medicine group to his current position running the supporting technologies operating the Colorado exchange. Duxbury joined Connect for Health Colorado early 2014 as the exchange was going through its first major enrollment period.

We spoke to Duxbury in advance of his keynote on July 22 at The Open Group Boston 2014 conference about the current state of healthcare IT and how Enterprise Architecture will play an integral part in the Connect for Health Colorado exchange moving forward as the organizations transitions from a start-up culture to a maintenance and run mode.

Below is a transcript of that conversation.

What factors went into making the roll-out of Connect for Health Colorado healthcare exchange a success?

There were three things. The first is we have an exceptional leadership team. The CEO, especially, is a fantastic leader and was able to create a strong vision and have her team rally quickly behind it. The executive team was empowered to make decisions quickly and there was a highly dedicated work force and a powerful start-up culture. In addition, there was a uniformly shared passion to see healthcare reform successfully implemented in Colorado.

The second reason for success was the flexibility and commitment of our core vendor—which is CGI—and their ability to effectively manage and be agile with rapidly changing regulatory requirements and rapidly changing needs. These systems had never been built anywhere else before; it really was a green field program of work. There was a shared commitment to achieving success and very strong contracting in place ensuring that we were fully protected throughout the whole process.

The third is our COTS (Commercial Off-The-Shelf) solution that was selected. Early on, we established an architecture principle of deploying out-of-the-box products rather than trying to build from scratch, so there was minimal customization and development effort. Scope control was tight. We implemented the hCentive package, which is one of the leading health insurance exchange software packages. Best-of-breed solutions were implemented around the edges where it was necessary to meet a niche need, but we try to build as much into the single product as we can. We have a highly resilient and available architecture. The technical architecture scales well and has been very robust and resilient through a couple of very busy periods at the end of open enrollment, particularly on March 31st and toward the end of December, as the deadline for enrollment in 2014 plans approached.

Why are you putting together an Enterprise Architecture for the exchange?

We’re extremely busy right now with a number of critical projects. We’re still implementing core functionality but we do have a bit of a breather on the horizon. Going into next year things will get lighter, and now is the time for a clear roadmap to achieve the IT strategic objectives that I have set for the organization.

We are trying to achieve a reduction in our M&O (maintenance and operations) expense because we need to be self-sustaining from a budgetary point of view. Our federal funding will be going away starting 2015 so we need to consolidate architecture and systems and gain additional efficiencies. We need to continue to meet our key SLAs, specifically around availability—we have a very public-facing set of systems. IT needs to be operationalized. We need to move from the existing start-up culture to the management of IT in a CMM (Capability Maturity Model) or ITIL-type fashion. And we also need to continue to grow and hold on to our customer base, as there is always a reasonable amount of churn and competing services in a relatively uncertain marketplace. We need to continue to grow our customer base so we can be self-sustaining. To support this, we need to have a more operationalized, robust and cost-efficient IT architecture, and we need a clear roadmap to get there. If you don’t have a roadmap or design that aligns with business priorities, then those things are difficult to achieve.

Finally, I am building up an IT team. To date, we’ve been highly reliant on contractors and consultants to get us to where we are now. In order to reduce our cost base, we are building out our internal IT team and a number of key management roles. That means we need to have a roadmap and something that we can all steer towards—a shared architecture roadmap.

What benefits do you expect to see from implementing the architecture?

Growing our customer base is a critical goal—we need to stabilize the foundations of our IT solution and use that as a platform for future growth and innovation. It’s hard to grow and innovate if you haven’t got your core IT platform stabilized. By making our IT systems easier to be maintained and updated we hope to see continued reduction in IT M&O. High availability is another benefit I expect to see, as well as closer alignment with business goals and business processes and capabilities.

Are there any particular challenges in setting up an Enterprise Architecture for a statewide health exchange? What are they?

I think there are some unique challenges. The first is budget. We do need to be self-sustaining, and there is not a huge amount of budget available for additional capital investments. There is some, but it has to be very carefully allocated, managed and spent diligently. We do work within a tightly controlled federal set of regulations and constraints and are frequently under the spotlight from auditors and others.

There are CMS (Center for Medicaid Services) regulations that define what we can and cannot do with our technology. We have security regulations that we have to exist within and a lot of IRS requirements that we have to meet and be compliant with. We have a complex set of partners to work with in Colorado and nationally—we have to work with Colorado state agencies such as the Department of Insurance and Medicaid (HCPF), we have to work very closely with a large number—we’ve currently got 17—of carriers. We have CMS and the federal marketplace (Federal Data Services Hub). We have one key vendor—CGI—but we are in a multi-vendor environment and all our projects involve having to manage multiple different organizations towards success.

The final challenge is that we’re very busy still building applications and implementing functionality, so my job is to continue to be focused on successful delivery of two very large projects, while ensuring our longer term architecture planning is completed, which is going to be critical for our long-term sustainability. That’s the classic Enterprise Architecture conundrum. I feel like we’ve got a handle on it pretty well here—because they’re both critical.

What are some of the biggest challenges that you see facing the Healthcare industry right now?

Number one is probably integration—the integration of data especially between different systems. A lot of EMR (electronic medical record) systems are relatively closed to the outside world, and it can be expensive and difficult to open them up. Even though there are some good standards out there like HL7 and EDI (Electronic Data Interchange), everyone seems to be implementing them differently.

Personal healthcare tech (mHealth and Telehealth) is not going to take off until there is more integration. For example, between whatever you’re using to track your smoking, blood pressure, weight, etc., it needs to be integrated seamlessly with your medical records and insurance provider. And until this data can be used for meaningful analytics and care planning, until they solve this integration nightmare, it’s going to be difficult really to make great strides.

Security is the second challenge. There’s a huge proliferation of new technology endpoints and there’s a lot of weak leaks around people, process and technology. The regulators are only really starting to catch up, and they’re one step behind. There’s a lot of personal data out there and it’s not always technology that’s the weak leak. We have that pretty tightly controlled here because we’re highly regulated and are technology is tightly controlled, but on the provider side especially, it’s a huge challenge and every week we see a new data breach.

The third challenge is ROI. There’s a lot of investment being made into personal health technology but because we’re in a private insurance market and a private provider market, until someone has really cracked what the ROI is for these initiatives, whether it’s tied to re-admissions or reimbursements, it’s never going to really become mainstream. And until it becomes part of the fabric of care delivery, real value is not going to be realized and health outcomes not significantly improved.

But models are changing—once the shift to outcome-based reimbursement takes hold, providers will be more incentivized to really invest in these kind of technologies and get them working. But that shift hasn’t really occurred yet, and I’ve yet to see really compelling ROI models for a lot of these new investments. I’m a believer that it really has to be the healthcare provider that drives and facilitates the engagement with patients on these new technologies. Ultimately, I believe, people, left to their own devices, will experiment and play with something for a while, but unless their healthcare provider is engaging them actively on it, it’s not something that they will persist in doing. A lot of the large hospital groups are dipping their toe in the water and seeing what sticks, but I don’t really see any system where these new technologies are becoming part of the norm of healthcare delivery.

Do you feel like there are other places that are seeing more success in this outside of the US?

I know in the UK, they’re having a lot of success with their Telehealth pilots. But their primary objective is to make people healthier, so it’s a lot easier in that environment to have a good idea, show that there’s some case for improving outcomes and get funding. In the US, proving outcomes currently isn’t enough. You have to prove that there’s some revenue to be made or cost to be saved. In some markets, they’ve experienced problems similar to the US and in some markets it’s probably been easier. That doesn’t mean they’ve had an easy time implementing them—the UK has had huge problems with integration and with getting EMR systems deployed and implemented nationally. But a lot of those are classical IT problems of change management, scope control and trying to achieve too much too quickly. The healthcare industry is about 20 years behind other industries. They’re going through all the pain with the EMR rollouts that most manufacturing companies went through with ERP 20 years ago and most banks went through 40 years ago.

How can organizations such as The Open Group and its Healthcare Forum better work with the Healthcare industry to help them achieve better results?

I think firstly bringing a perspective from other industries. Healthcare IT conferences and organizations tend to be largely made up of people who have been in healthcare most of their working lives. The Open Group brings in perspective from other industries. Also reference architectures—there’s a shortage of good reference architectures in the healthcare space and that’s something that is really The Open Group’s strong point. Models that span the entire healthcare ecosystem—including payers, providers, pharma and exchanges, IT process and especially IT architecture process—can be improved in healthcare. Healthcare IT departments aren’t as mature as other industries because the investment has not been there until now. They’re in a relative start-up mode. Enterprise Architecture—if you’re a large healthcare provider and you’re growing rapidly through M&O (like so many are right now), that’s a classic use case for having a structured Enterprise Architecture process.

Within the insurance marketplace movement, things have grown very quickly; it’s been tough work. A handful of the states have been very successful, and I think we’re not unique in that we’re a start-up organization and it’s going to be several years until we mature to fully functional, well measured l IT organization. Architecture rigor and process is key to achieving sustainability and maturity.

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duxbury_0Proteus Duxbury joined Connect for Health Colorado as Chief Technology Officer in February 2014, directing technology strategy and operations. Proteus previously served at Catholic Health Initiatives, where he led all IT activities for Virtual Health Services, a division responsible for deploying Telehealth solutions throughout the US. Prior to that, Proteus served as a Managing Consultant at the PA Consulting Group, leading technology change programs in the US and UK primarily in the healthcare and life science industry. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Information Systems Management from Bournemouth University.

 

 

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The Open Group Boston 2014 Preview: Talking People Architecture with David Foote

By The Open Group

Among all the issues that CIOs, CTOs and IT departments are facing today, staffing is likely near the top of the list of what’s keeping them up at night. Sure, there’s dealing with constant (and disruptive) technological changes and keeping up with the latest tech and business trends, such as having a Big Data, Internet of Things (IoT) or a mobile strategy, but without the right people with the right skills at the right time it’s impossible to execute on these initiatives.

Technology jobs are notoriously difficult to fill–far more difficult than positions in other industries where roles and skillsets may be much more static. And because technology is rapidly evolving, the roles for tech workers are also always in flux. Last year you may have needed an Agile developer, but today you may need a mobile developer with secure coding ability and in six months you might need an IoT developer with strong operations or logistics domain experience—with each position requiring different combinations of tech, functional area, solution and “soft” skillsets.

According to David Foote, IT Industry Analyst and co-founder of IT workforce research and advisory firm Foote Partners, the mash-up of HR systems and ad hoc people management practices most companies have been using for years to manage IT workers have become frighteningly ineffective. He says that to cope in today’s environment, companies need to architect their people infrastructure similar to how they have been architecting their technical infrastructure.

“People Architecture” is the term Foote has coined to describe the application of traditional architectural principles and practices that may already be in place elsewhere within an organization and applying them to managing the IT workforce. This includes applying such things as strategy and capability roadmaps, phase gate blueprints, benchmarks, performance metrics, governance practices and stakeholder management to human capital management (HCM).

HCM components for People Architecture typically include job definition and design, compensation, incentives and recognition, skills demand and acquisition, job and career paths, professional development and work/life balance.

Part of the dilemma for employers right now, Foote says, is that there is very little job title standardization in the marketplace and too many job titles floating around IT departments today. “There are too many dimensions and variability in jobs now that companies have gotten lost from an HR perspective. They’re unable to cope with the complexity of defining, determining pay and laying out career paths for all these jobs, for example. For many, serious retention and hiring problems are showing up for the first time. Work-around solutions used for years to cope with systemic weaknesses in their people management systems have stopped working,” says Foote. “Recruiters start picking off their best people and candidates are suddenly rejecting offers and a panic sets in. Tensions are palpable in their IT workforce. These IT realities are pervasive.”

Twenty-five years ago, Foote says, defining roles in IT departments was easier. But then the Internet exploded and technology became far more customer-facing, shifting basic IT responsibilities from highly technical people deep within companies to roles requiring more visibility and transparency within and outside the enterprise. Large chunks of IT budgets moved into the business lines while traditional IT became more of a business itself.

According to Foote, IT roles became siloed not just by technology but by functional areas such as finance and accounting, operations and logistics, sales, marketing and HR systems, and by industry knowledge and customer familiarity. Then the IT professional services industry rapidly expanded to compete with their customers for talent in the marketplace. Even the architect role changed: an Enterprise Architect today can specialize in applications, security or data architecture among others, or focus on a specific industry such as energy, retail or healthcare.

Foote likens the fragmentation of IT jobs and skillsets that’s happening now to the emergence of IT architecture 25 years ago. Just as technical architecture practices emerged to help make sense of the disparate systems rapidly growing within companies and how best to determine the right future tech investments, a people architecture approach today helps organizations better manage an IT workforce spread through the enterprise with roles ranging from architects and analysts to a wide variety of engineers, developers and project and program managers.

“Technical architecture practices were successful because—when you did them well—companies achieved an understanding of what they have systems-wise and then connected it to where they were going and how they were going to get there, all within a process inclusive of all the various stakeholders who shared the risk in the outcome. It helped clearly define enterprise technology capabilities and gave companies more options and flexibility going forward,” according to Foote.

“Right now employers desperately need to incorporate in human capital management systems and practice the same straightforward, inclusive architecture approaches companies are already using in other areas of their businesses. This can go a long way toward not just lessening staffing shortages but also executing more predictably and being more agile in face of constant uncertainties and the accelerating pace of change. Ultimately this translates into a more effective workforce whether they are full-timers or the contingent workforce of part-timers, consultants and contractors.

“It always comes down to your people. That’s not a platitude but a fact,” insists Foote. “If you’re not competitive in today’s labor marketplace and you’re not an employer where people want to work, you’re dead.”

One industry that he says has gotten it right is the consulting industry. “After all, their assets walk out the door every night. Consulting groups within firms such as IBM and Accenture have been good at architecting their staffing because it’s their job to get out in front of what’s coming technologically. Because these firms must anticipate customer needs before they get the call to implement services, they have to be ahead of the curve in already identifying and hiring the bench strength needed to fulfill demand. They do many things right to hire, develop and keep the staff they need in place.”

Unfortunately, many companies take too much of a just-in-time approach to their workforce so they are always managing staffing from a position of scarcity rather than looking ahead, Foote says. But, this is changing, in part due to companies being tired of never having the people they need and being able to execute predictably.

The key is to put a structure in place that addresses a strategy around what a company needs and when. This applies not just to the hiring process, but also to compensation, training and advancement.

“Architecting anything allows you to be able to, in a more organized way, be more agile in dealing with anything that comes at you. That’s the beauty of architecture. You plan for the fact that you’re going to continue to scale and continue to change systems, the world’s going to continue to change, but you have an orderly way to manage the governance, planning and execution of that, the strategy of that and the implementation of decisions knowing that the architecture provides a more agile and flexible modular approach,” he said.

Foote says organizations such as The Open Group can lend themselves to facilitating People Architecture in a couple different ways. First, through extending the principles of architecture to human capital management, and second through vendor-independent, expertise and experience driven certifications, such as TOGAF® or OpenCA and OpenCITS, that help companies define core competencies for people and that provide opportunities for training and career advancement.

“I’m pretty bullish on many vendor-independent certifications in general, particularly where a defined book of knowledge exists that’s achieved wide acceptance in the industry. And that’s what you’ve got with The Open Group. Nobody’s challenging the architectural framework supremacy of TOGAF that that I’m aware of. In fact, large vendors with their own certifications participated actively in developing the framework and applying it very successfully to their business models,” he said.

Although the process of implementing People Architecture can be difficult and may take several years to master (much like Enterprise Architecture), Foote says it is making a huge difference for companies that implement it.

To learn more about People Architecture and models for implementing it, plan to attend Foote’s session at The Open Group Boston 2014 on Tuesday July 22. Foote’s session will address how architectural principles are being applied to human capital so that organizations can better manage their workforces from hiring and training through compensation, incentives and advancement. He will also discuss how career paths for EAs can be architected. Following the conference, the session proceedings will be available to Open Group members and conference attendees at www.opengroup.org.

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footeDavid Foote is an IT industry research pioneer, innovator, and one of the most quoted industry analysts on global IT workforce trends and multiple facets of the human side of technology value creation. His two decades of groundbreaking deep research and analysis of IT-business cross-skilling and technology/business management integration and leading the industry in innovative IT skills demand and compensation benchmarking has earned him a place on a short list of thought leaders in IT human capital management.

A former Gartner and META Group analyst, David leads the research and analytical practice groups at Foote Partners that reach 2,300 customers on six continents.

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Filed under architecture, Conference, Open CA, Open CITS, Professional Development, Standards, TOGAF®, Uncategorized