Category Archives: Service Oriented Architecture

Secure Integration of Convergent Technologies – a Challenge for Open Platform™

By Dr. Chris Harding, The Open Group

The results of The Open Group Convergent Technologies survey point to secure integration of the technologies as a major challenge for Open Platform 3.0.  This and other input is the basis for the definition of the platform, where the discussion took place at The Open Group conference in London.

Survey Highlights

Here are some of the highlights from The Open Group Convergent Technologies survey.

  • 95% of respondents felt that the convergence of technologies such as social media, mobility, cloud, big data, and the Internet of things represents an opportunity for business
  • Mobility currently has greatest take-up of these technologies, and the Internet of things has least.
  • 84% of those from companies creating solutions want to deal with two or more of the technologies in combination.
  • Developing the understanding of the technologies by potential customers is the first problem that solution creators must overcome. This is followed by integrating with products, services and solutions from other suppliers, and using more than one technology in combination.
  • Respondents saw security, vendor lock-in, integration and regulatory compliance as the main problems for users of software that enables use of these convergent technologies for business purposes.
  • When users are considered separately from other respondents, security and vendor lock-in show particularly strongly as issues.

The full survey report is available at: https://www2.opengroup.org/ogsys/catalog/R130

Open Platform 3.0

Analysts forecast that convergence of technical phenomena including mobility, cloud, social media, and big data will drive the growth in use of information technology through 2020. Open Platform 3.0 is an initiative that will advance The Open Group vision of Boundaryless Information Flow™ by helping enterprises to use them.

The survey confirms the value of an open platform to protect users of these technologies from vendor lock-in. It also shows that security is a key concern that must be addressed, that the platform must make the technologies easy to use, and that it must enable them to be used in combination.

Understanding the Requirements

The Open Group is conducting other work to develop an understanding of the requirements of Open Platform 3.0. This includes:

  • The Open Platform 3.0 Business Scenario, that was recently published, and is available from https://www2.opengroup.org/ogsys/catalog/R130
  • A set of business use cases, currently in development
  • A high-level round-table meeting to gain the perspective of CIOs, who will be key stakeholders.

The requirements input have been part of the discussion at The Open Group Conference, which took place in London this week. Monday’s keynote presentation by Andy Mulholland, Former Global CTO at Capgemini on “Just Exactly What Is Going on in Business and Technology?” included the conclusions from the round-table meeting. This week’s presentation and panel discussion on the requirements for Open Platform 3.0 covered all the inputs.

Delivering the Platform

Review of the inputs in the conference was followed by a members meeting of the Open Platform 3.0 Forum, to start developing the architecture of Open Platform 3.0, and to plan the delivery of the platform definition. The aim is to have a snapshot of the definition early in 2014, and to deliver the first version of the standard a year later.

Meeting the Challenge

Open Platform 3.0 will be crucial to establishing openness and interoperability in the new generation of information technologies. This is of first importance for everyone in the IT industry.

Following the conference, there will be an opportunity for everyone to input material and ideas for the definition of the platform. If you want to be part of the community that shapes the definition, to work on it with like-minded people in other companies, and to gain early insight of what it will be, then your company must join the Open Platform 3.0 Forum. (For more information on this, contact Chris Parnell – c.parnell@opengroup.org)

Providing for secure integration of the convergent technologies, and meeting the other requirements for Open Platform 3.0, will be a difficult but exciting challenge. I’m looking forward to continue to tackle the challenge with the Forum members.

Dr. Chris Harding

Dr. Chris Harding is Director for Interoperability and SOA at The Open Group. He has been with The Open Group for more than ten years, and is currently responsible for managing and supporting its work on interoperability, including SOA and interoperability aspects of Cloud Computing, and the Open Platform 3.0 Forum. He is a member of the BCS, the IEEE and the AEA, and is a certified TOGAF® practitioner.

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Filed under Cloud/SOA, Conference, Data management, Future Technologies, Open Platform 3.0, Semantic Interoperability, Service Oriented Architecture, Standards

The Open Group London – Day Two Highlights

By Loren K. Baynes, Director, Global Marketing Communications

We eagerly jumped into the second day of our Business Transformation conference in London on Tuesday October 22nd!  The setting is the magnificent Central Hall Westminster.

Steve Nunn, COO of The Open Group and CEO of Association of Enterprise Architects (AEA), started off the morning introducing our plenary based on Healthcare Transformation.  Steve noted that the numbers in healthcare spend are huge and bringing Enterprise Architecture (EA) to healthcare will help with efficiencies.

The well-renowned Dr. Peter Sudbury, Healthcare Specialist with HP Enterprise Services, discussed the healthcare crisis (dollars, demand, demographics), the new healthcare paradigm, barriers to change and innovation. Dr. Sudbury also commented on the real drivers of healthcare costs: healthcare inflation is higher intrinsically; innovation increases cost; productivity improvements lag other industries.

IMG_sudburyDr. Peter Sudbury

Dr. Sudbury, Larry Schmidt (Chief Technologist, HP) and Roar Engen (Head of Enterprise Architecture, Helse Sør-Øst RHF, Norway) participated in the Healthcare Transformation Panel, moderated by Steve Nunn.  The group discussed opportunities for improvement by applying EA in healthcare.  They mentioned that physicians, hospitals, drug manufacturers, nutritionists, etc. should all be working together and using Boundaryless Information Flow™ to ensure data is smoothly shared across all entities.  It was also stated that TOGAF® is beneficial for efficiencies.

Following the panel, Dr. Mario Tokoro (Founder & Executive Advisor of Sony Computer Science Laboratories, Inc. Japanese Science & Technology Agency, DEOS Project Leader) reviewed the Dependability through Assuredness™ standard, a standard of The Open Group.

The conference also offered many sessions in Finance/Commerce, Government and Tutorials/Workshops.

Margaret Ford, Consult Hyperion, UK and Henk Jonkers of BIZZdesign, Netherlands discussed “From Enterprise Architecture to Cyber Security Risk Assessment”.  The key takeaways were: complex cyber security risks require systematic, model-based risk assessment; attack navigators can provide this by linking ArchiMate® to the Risk Taxonomy.

“Applying Service-Oriented Architecture within a Business Technology Environment in the Finance Sector” was presented by Gerard Peters, Managing Consultant, Capgemini, The Netherlands. This case study is part of a white paper on Service-Oriented Architecture for Business Technology (SOA4BT).

You can view all of the plenary and many of the track presentations at livestream.com.  And for those who attended, full conference proceedings will be available.

The night culminated with a spectacular experience on the London Eye, the largest Ferris wheel in Europe located on the River Thames.

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Filed under ArchiMate®, Cloud/SOA, Enterprise Architecture, Enterprise Transformation, Healthcare, Professional Development, Service Oriented Architecture, TOGAF®

New Brunswick Leverages TOGAF®

The OCIO of GNB Announces an Ambitious EA Roadmap using TOGAF® and Capability-Based Thinking

On Wednesday September 25th, the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) for the Government of New Brunswick (GNB) held an Enterprise Architecture (EA) Symposium for the vendor community at the Delta Fredericton. This event drew well over a hundred plus attendees from the vendor community across the province, the Atlantic area and parts of Canada.

During this event, Christian Couturier, GNB CIO, announced an EA roadmap across the domains of Information, Application, Technology and Security; areas of mandate for the OCIO. He presented a vision for transformation at GNB that would make its departments more efficient and effective by standardizing their practice and services around TOGAF® and capability-based thinking. Christian also shed valuable insights into how the vendor community can engage with GNB and support the OCIO for their EA vision and roadmap.

TOGAF® and capability-based thinking were prominent themes throughout the symposium and were alluded to and shown throughout the presentation by Christian and his extended EA team. The OCIO has also created a strong governance structure that positions itself as an influential stakeholder in provisioning solutions across its domains. In the near term, vendors will need to show how their solutions not only meet functional requirements but demonstrate improvement in capability performance explicitly. This will help GNB to improve the definition and management of contracts with third party vendors.

Each Architecture Domain Chief presented the roadmap for their area in breakout sessions and answered questions from vendors. These sessions offered further insight into the EA roadmap and impact on particular areas within GNB such as current efforts being made in Service Oriented Architecture.

Here is a summary of the benefits Christian Couturier strived to achieve:

  • Improve transparency and accountability of investment in information technology across government departments
  • Rationalize portfolios of technologies and applications across GNB departments
  • Improve GNB’s ability to respond to citizen needs faster and more cost effectively
  • Develop internal resource competencies for achieving self-sufficiency

QRS has been working with the OCIO and GNB departments since March 2013 to enhance their TOGAF and capability-based thinking competencies. QRS will continue to work with the OCIO and GNB and look forward to their successes as both a corporate citizen and individual residents that benefit from its services.

Originally posted on the QRS blog. See http://www.qrs3e.com/gnb_ocio_togaf/

Christian CouturierChristian Couturier is Chief Information Officer of the Government of New Brunswick (GNB) which leads, enables and oversees the Information Management and Information Communication Technology (IM&ICT) investments for the enterprise.  Christian’s leadership has been recognized by several awards including Canada’s “Top 40 Under 40.” His research team’s success continues to be celebrated through many international, national and local awards including the 2007 Canadian Information Productivity Awards (CIPA) Gold Award of Excellence for innovation in the Health Care Sector.

LinkedIn Profile <http://ca.linkedin.com/pub/christian-couturier/46/b55/713/>

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Filed under Enterprise Architecture, Service Oriented Architecture, Standards, TOGAF®

Gaining Dependability Across All Business Activities Requires Standard of Standards to Tame Dynamic Complexity, Says The Open Group CEO

By Dana Gardner, Interarbor Solutions

Listen to the recorded podcast here

Hello, and welcome to a special BriefingsDirect Thought Leadership

Interview series, coming to you in conjunction with The Open Group Conference on July 15, in Philadelphia.

88104-aaadanaI’m Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, your host and moderator throughout these discussions on enterprise transformation in the finance, government, and healthcare sector.

We’re here now with the President and CEO of The Open Group, Allen Brown, to explore the increasingly essential role of standards, in an undependable, unpredictable world. [Disclosure: The Open Group is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

Welcome back, Allen.

Allen Brown: It’s good to be here, Dana. abrown

Gardner: What are the environmental variables that many companies are facing now as they try to improve their businesses and assess the level of risk and difficulty? It seems like so many moving targets.

 Brown: Absolutely. There are a lot of moving targets. We’re looking at a situation where organizations are having to put in increasingly complex systems. They’re expected to make them highly available, highly safe, highly secure, and to do so faster and cheaper. That’s kind of tough.

Gardner: One of the ways that organizations have been working towards a solution is to have a standardized approach, perhaps some methodologies, because if all the different elements of their business approach this in a different way, we don’t get too far too quickly, and it can actually be more expensive.

Perhaps you could paint for us the vision of an organization like The Open Group in terms of helping organizations standardize and be a little bit more thoughtful and proactive towards these changed elements?

Brown: With the vision of The Open Group, the headline is “Boundaryless Information Flow.” That was established back in 2002, at a time when organizations were breakingdown the stovepipes or the silos within and between organizations and getting people to work together across functioning. They found, having done that, or having made some progress towards that, that the applications and systems were built for those silos. So how can we provide integrated information for all those people?

As we have moved forward, those boundaryless systems have become bigger

and much more complex. Now, boundarylessness and complexity are giving everyone different types of challenges. Many of the forums or consortia that make up The Open Group are all tackling it from their own perspective, and it’s all coming together very well.

We have got something like the Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE) Consortium, which is a managed consortium of The Open Group focused on federal aviation. In the federal aviation world they’re dealing with issues like weapons systems.

New weapons

Over time, building similar weapons is going to be more expensive, inflation happens. But the changing nature of warfare is such that you’ve then got a situation where you’ve got to produce new weapons. You have to produce them quickly and you have to produce them inexpensively.

So how can we have standards that make for more plug and play? How can the avionics within a cockpit of whatever airborne vehicle be more interchangeable, so that they can be adapted more quickly and do things faster and at lower cost.

After all, cost is a major pressure on government departments right now.

We’ve also got the challenges of the supply chain. Because of the pressure on costs, it’s critical that large, complex systems are developed using a global supply chain. It’s impossible to do it all domestically at a cost. Given that, countries around the world, including the US and China, are all concerned about what they’re putting into their complex systems that may have tainted or malicious code or counterfeit products.

The Open Group Trusted Technology Forum (OTTF) provides a standard that ensures that, at each stage along the supply chain, we know that what’s going into the products is clean, the process is clean, and what goes to the next link in the chain is clean. And we’re working on an accreditation program all along the way.

We’re also in a world, which when we mention security, everyone is concerned about being attacked, whether it’s cybersecurity or other areas of security, and we’ve got to concern ourselves with all of those as we go along the way.

Our Security Forum is looking at how we build those things out. The big thing about large, complex systems is that they’re large and complex. If something goes wrong, how can you fix it in a prescribed time scale? How can you establish what went wrong quickly and how can you address it quickly?

If you’ve got large, complex systems that fail, it can mean human life, as it did with the BP oil disaster at Deepwater Horizon or with Space Shuttle Challenger. Or it could be financial. In many organizations, when something goes wrong, you end up giving away service.

An example that we might use is at a railway station where, if the barriers don’t work, the only solution may be to open them up and give free access. That could be expensive. And you can use that analogy for many other industries, but how can we avoid that human or financial cost in any of those things?

A couple of years after the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, a number of criteria were laid down for making sure you had dependable systems, you could assess risk, and you could know that you would mitigate against it.

What The Open Group members are doing is looking at how you can get dependability and assuredness through different systems. Our Security Forum has done a couple of standards that have got a real bearing on this. One is called Dependency Modeling, and you can model out all of the dependencies that you have in any system.

Simple analogy

A very simple analogy is that if you are going on a road trip in a car, you’ve got to have a competent driver, have enough gas in the tank, know where you’re going, have a map, all of those things.

What can go wrong? You can assess the risks. You may run out of gas or you may not know where you’re going, but you can mitigate those risks, and you can also assign accountability. If the gas gauge is going down, it’s the driver’s accountability to check the gauge and make sure that more gas is put in.

We’re trying to get that same sort of thinking through to these large complex systems. What you’re looking at doing, as you develop or evolve large, complex systems, is to build in this accountability and build in understanding of the dependencies, understanding of the assurance cases that you need, and having these ways of identifying anomalies early, preventing anything from failing. If it does fail, you want to minimize the stoppage and, at the same time, minimize the cost and the impact, and more importantly, making sure that that failure never happens again in that system.

The Security Forum has done the Dependency Modeling standard. They have also provided us with the Risk Taxonomy. That’s a separate standard that helps us analyze risk and go through all of the different areas of risk.

Now, the Real-time & Embedded Systems Forum has produced the Dependability through Assuredness, a standard of The Open Group, that brings all of these things together. We’ve had a wonderful international endeavor on this, bringing a lot of work from Japan, working with the folks in the US and other parts of the world. It’s been a unique activity.

Dependability through Assuredness depends upon having two interlocked cycles. The first is a Change Management Cycle that says that, as you look at requirements, you build out the dependencies, you build out the assurance cases for those dependencies, and you update the architecture. Everything has to start with architecture now.

You build in accountability, and accountability, importantly, has to be accepted. You can’t just dictate that someone is accountable. You have to have a negotiation. Then, through ordinary operation, you assess whether there are anomalies that can be detected and fix those anomalies by new requirements that lead to new dependabilities, new assurance cases, new architecture and so on.

The other cycle that’s critical in this, though, is the Failure Response Cycle. If there is a perceived failure or an actual failure, there is understanding of the cause, prevention of it ever happening again, and repair. That goes through the Change Accommodation Cycle as well, to make sure that we update the requirements, the assurance cases, the dependability, the architecture, and the accountability.

So the plan is that with a dependable system through that assuredness, we can manage these large, complex systems much more easily.

Gardner: Allen, many of The Open Group activities have been focused at the enterprise architect or business architect levels. Also with these risk and security issues, you’re focusing at chief information security officers or governance, risk, and compliance (GRC), officials or administrators. It sounds as if the Dependability through Assuredness standard shoots a little higher. Is this something a board-level mentality or leadership should be thinking about, and is this something that reports to them?

Board-level issue

Brown: In an organization, risk is a board-level issue, security has become a board-level issue, and so has organization design and architecture. They’re all up at that level. It’s a matter of the fiscal responsibility of the board to make sure that the organization is sustainable, and to make sure that they’ve taken the right actions to protect their organization in the future, in the event of an attack or a failure in their activities.

The risks to an organization are financial and reputation, and those risks can be very real. So, yes, they should be up there. Interestingly, when we’re looking at areas like business architecture, sometimes that might be part of the IT function, but very often now we’re seeing as reporting through the business lines. Even in governments around the world, the business architects are very often reporting up to business heads.

Gardner: Here in Philadelphia, you’re focused on some industry verticals, finance, government, health. We had a very interesting presentation this morning by Dr. David Nash, who is the Dean of the Jefferson School of Population Health, and he had some very interesting insights about what’s going on in the United States vis-à-vis public policy and healthcare.

One of the things that jumped out at me was, at the end of his presentation, he was saying how important it was to have behavior modification as an element of not only individuals taking better care of themselves, but also how hospitals, providers, and even payers relate across those boundaries of their organization.

That brings me back to this notion that these standards are very powerful and useful, but without getting people to change, they don’t have the impact that they should. So is there an element that you’ve learned and that perhaps we can borrow from Dr. Nash in terms of applying methods that actually provoke change, rather than react to change?

Brown: Yes, change is a challenge for many people. Getting people to change is like taking a horse to water, but will it drink? We’ve got to find methods of doing that.

One of the things about The Open Group standards is that they’re pragmatic and practical standards. We’ve seen’ in many of our standards’ that where they apply to product or service, there is a procurement pull through. So the FACE Consortium, for example, a $30 billion procurement means that this is real and true.

In the case of healthcare, Dr. Nash was talking about the need for boundaryless information sharing across the organizations. This is a major change and it’s a change to the culture of the organizations that are involved. It’s also a change to the consumer, the patient, and the patient advocates.

All of those will change over time. Some of that will be social change, where the change is expected and it’s a social norm. Some of that change will change as people and generations develop. The younger generations are more comfortable with authority that they perceive with the healthcare professionals, and also of modifying the behavior of the professionals.

The great thing about the healthcare service very often is that we have professionals who want to do a number of things. They want to improve the lives of their patients, and they also want to be able to do more with less.

Already a need

There’s already a need. If you want to make any change, you have to create a need, but in healthcare, there is already a pent-up need that people see that they want to change. We can provide them with the tools and the standards that enable it to do that, and standards are critically important, because you are using the same language across everyone.

It’s much easier for people to apply the same standards if they are using the same language, and you get a multiplier effect on the rate of change that you can achieve by using those standards. But I believe that there is this pent-up demand. The need for change is there. If we can provide them with the appropriate usable standards, they will benefit more rapidly.

Gardner: Of course, measuring the progress with the standards approach helps as well. We can determine where we are along the path as either improvements are happening or not happening. It gives you a common way of measuring.

The other thing that was fascinating to me with Dr. Nash’s discussion was that he was almost imploring the IT people in the crowd to come to the rescue. He’s looking for a cavalry and he’d really seemed to feel that IT, the data, the applications, the sharing, the collaboration, and what can happen across various networks, all need to be brought into this.

How do we bring these worlds together? There is this policy, healthcare and population statisticians are doing great academic work, and then there is the whole IT world. Is this something that The Open Group can do — bridge these large, seemingly unrelated worlds?

Brown: At the moment, we have the capability of providing the tools for them to do that and the processes for them to do that. Healthcare is a very complex world with the administrators and the healthcare professionals. You have different grades of those in different places. Each department and each organization has its different culture, and bringing them together is a significant challenge.

In some of that processes, certainly, you start with understanding what it is you’re trying to address. You start with what are the pain points, what are the challenges, what are the blockages, and how can we overcome those blockages? It’s a way of bringing people together in workshops. TOGAF, a standard of The Open Group, has the business scenario method, bringing people together, building business scenarios, and understanding what people’s pain points are.

As long as we can then follow through with the solutions and not disappoint people, there is the opportunity for doing that. The reality is that you have to do that in small areas at a time. We’re not going to take the entire population of the United States and get everyone in the workshop and work altogether.

But you can start in pockets and then generate evangelists, proof points, and successful case studies. The work will then start emanating out to all other areas.

Gardner: It seems too that, with a heightened focus on vertical industries, there are lessons that could be learned in one vertical industry and perhaps applied to another. That also came out in some of the discussions around big data here at the conference.

The financial industry recognized the crucial role that data plays, made investments, and brought the constituencies of domain expertise in finance with the IT domain expertise in data and analysis, and came up with some very impressive results.

Do you see that what has been the case in something like finance is now making its way to healthcare? Is this an enterprise or business architect role that opens up more opportunity for those individuals as business and/or enterprise architects in healthcare? Why don’t we see more enterprise architects in healthcare?

Good folks

Brown: I don’t know. We haven’t run the numbers to see how many there are. There are some very competent enterprise architects within the healthcare industry around the world. We’ve got some good folks there.

The focus of The Open Group for the last couple of decades or so has always been on horizontal standards, standards that are applicable to any industry. Our focus is always about pragmatic standards that can be implemented and touched and felt by end-user consumer organizations.

Now, we’re seeing how we can make those even more pragmatic and relevant by addressing the verticals, but we’re not going to lose the horizontal focus. We’ll be looking at what lessons can be learned and what we can build on. Big data is a great example of the fact that the same kind of approach of gathering the data from different sources, whatever that is, and for mixing it up and being able to analyze it, can be applied anywhere.

The challenge with that, of course, is being able to capture it, store it, analyze it, and make some sense of it. You need the resources, the storage, and the capability of actually doing that. It’s not just a case of, “I’ll go and get some big data today.”

I do believe that there are lessons learned that we can move from one industry to another. I also believe that, since some geographic areas and some countries are ahead of others, there’s also a cascading of knowledge and capability around the world in a given time scale as well.

Gardner: Well great. I’m afraid we’ll have to leave it there. We’ve been talking about the increasingly essential role of standards in a complex world, where risk and dependability become even more essential. We have seen how The Open Group is evolving to meet these challenges through many of its activities and through many of the discussions here at the conference.

Please join me now in thanking our guest, Allen Brown, President and CEO of The Open Group. Thank you.

Brown: Thanks for taking the time to talk to us, Dana.

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Filed under ArchiMate®, Business Architecture, Cloud, Conference, Enterprise Architecture, Healthcare, Open Platform 3.0, Professional Development, Service Oriented Architecture, TOGAF, TOGAF®

The Open Group Conference to Emphasize Healthcare as Key Sector for Ecosystem-Wide Interactions

By Dana Gardner, Interarbor Solutions

Listen to the recorded podcast here

Dana Gardner: Hello, and welcome to a special BriefingsDirect Thought Leadership Interview series, coming to you in conjunction with The Open Group Conference on July 15, in Philadelphia. Registration to the conference remains open. Follow the conference on Twitter at #ogPHL.

Gardner

I’m Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, your host and moderator throughout these discussions on enterprise transformation in the finance, government, and healthcare sector.

We’re here now with a panel of experts to explore how new IT trends are empowering improvements, specifically in the area of healthcare. We’ll learn how healthcare industry organizations are seeking large-scale transformation and what are some of the paths they’re taking to realize that.

We’ll see how improved cross-organizational collaboration and such trends as big data and cloud computing are helping to make healthcare more responsive and efficient.

With that, please join me in welcoming our panel, Jason Uppal, Chief Architect and Acting CEO at clinicalMessage. Welcome, Jason.

Jason Uppal: Thank you, Dana.

Inside of healthcare and inside the healthcare ecosystem, information either doesn’t flow well or it only flows at a great cost.

Gardner: And we’re also joined by Larry Schmidt, Chief Technologist at HP for the Health and Life Sciences Industries. Welcome, Larry.

Larry Schmidt: Thank you.

Gardner: And also, Jim Hietala, Vice President of Security at The Open Group. Welcome back, Jim. [Disclosure: The Open Group and HP are sponsors of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

Jim Hietala: Thanks, Dana. Good to be with you.

Gardner: Let’s take a look at this very interesting and dynamic healthcare sector, Jim. What, in particular, is so special about healthcare and why do things like enterprise architecture and allowing for better interoperability and communication across organizational boundaries seem to be so relevant here?

Hietala: There’s general acknowledgement in the industry that, inside of healthcare and inside the healthcare ecosystem, information either doesn’t flow well or it only flows at a great cost in terms of custom integration projects and things like that.

Fertile ground

From The Open Group’s perspective, it seems that the healthcare industry and the ecosystem really is fertile ground for bringing to bear some of the enterprise architecture concepts that we work with at The Open Group in order to improve, not only how information flows, but ultimately, how patient care occurs.

Gardner: Larry Schmidt, similar question to you. What are some of the unique challenges that are facing the healthcare community as they try to improve on responsiveness, efficiency, and greater capabilities?

Schmidt: There are several things that have not really kept up with what technology is able to do today.

For example, the whole concept of personal observation comes into play in what we would call “value chains” that exist right now between a patient and a doctor. We look at things like mobile technologies and want to be able to leverage that to provide additional observation of an individual, so that the doctor can make a more complete diagnosis of some sickness or possibly some medication that a person is on.

We want to be able to see that observation in real life, as opposed to having to take that in at the office, which typically winds up happening. I don’t know about everybody else, but every time I go see my doctor, oftentimes I get what’s called white coat syndrome. My blood pressure will go up. But that’s not giving the doctor an accurate reading from the standpoint of providing great observations.

Technology has advanced to the point where we can do that in real time using mobile and other technologies, yet the communication flow, that information flow, doesn’t exist today, or is at best, not easily communicated between doctor and patient.

There are plenty of places that additional collaboration and communication can improve the whole healthcare delivery model.

If you look at the ecosystem, as Jim offered, there are plenty of places that additional collaboration and communication can improve the whole healthcare delivery model.

That’s what we’re about. We want to be able to find the places where the technology has advanced, where standards don’t exist today, and just fuel the idea of building common communication methods between those stakeholders and entities, allowing us to then further the flow of good information across the healthcare delivery model.

Gardner: Jason Uppal, let’s think about what, in addition to technology, architecture, and methodologies can bring to bear here? Is there also a lag in terms of process thinking in healthcare, as well as perhaps technology adoption?

Uppal: I’m going to refer to a presentation that I watched from a very well-known surgeon from Harvard, Dr. Atul Gawande. His point was is that, in the last 50 years, the medical industry has made great strides in identifying diseases, drugs, procedures, and therapies, but one thing that he was alluding to was that medicine forgot the cost, that everything is cost.

At what price?

Today, in his view, we can cure a lot of diseases and lot of issues, but at what price? Can anybody actually afford it?

Uppal

His view is that if healthcare is going to change and improve, it has to be outside of the medical industry. The tools that we have are better today, like collaborative tools that are available for us to use, and those are the ones that he was recommending that we need to explore further.

That is where enterprise architecture is a powerful methodology to use and say, “Let’s take a look at it from a holistic point of view of all the stakeholders. See what their information needs are. Get that information to them in real time and let them make the right decisions.”

Therefore, there is no reason for the health information to be stuck in organizations. It could go with where the patient and providers are, and let them make the best decision, based on the best practices that are available to them, as opposed to having siloed information.

So enterprise-architecture methods are most suited for developing a very collaborative environment. Dr. Gawande was pointing out that, if healthcare is going to improve, it has to think about it not as medicine, but as healthcare delivery.

There are definitely complexities that occur based on the different insurance models and how healthcare is delivered across and between countries.

Gardner: And it seems that not only are there challenges in terms of technology adoption and even operating more like an efficient business in some ways. We also have very different climates from country to country, jurisdiction to jurisdiction. There are regulations, compliance, and so forth.

Going back to you, Larry, how important of an issue is that? How complex does it get because we have such different approaches to healthcare and insurance from country to country?

Schmidt: There are definitely complexities that occur based on the different insurance models and how healthcare is delivered across and between countries, but some of the basic and fundamental activities in the past that happened as a result of delivering healthcare are consistent across countries.

As Jason has offered, enterprise architecture can provide us the means to explore what the art of the possible might be today. It could allow us the opportunity to see how innovation can occur if we enable better communication flow between the stakeholders that exist with any healthcare delivery model in order to give us the opportunity to improve the overall population.

After all, that’s what this is all about. We want to be able to enable a collaborative model throughout the stakeholders to improve the overall health of the population. I think that’s pretty consistent across any country that we might work in.

Ongoing work

Gardner: Jim Hietala, maybe you could help us better understand what’s going on within The Open Group and, even more specifically, at the conference in Philadelphia. There is the Population Health Working Group and there is work towards a vision of enabling the boundaryless information flow between the stakeholders. Any other information and detail you could offer would be great.[Registration to the conference remains open. Follow the conference on Twitter at #ogPHL.]

Hietala: On Tuesday of the conference, we have a healthcare focus day. The keynote that morning will be given by Dr. David Nash, Dean of the Jefferson School of Population Health. He’ll give what’s sure to be a pretty interesting presentation, followed by a reactors’ panel, where we’ve invited folks from different stakeholder constituencies.

Hietala

We are going to have clinicians there. We’re going to have some IT folks and some actual patients to give their reaction to Dr. Nash’s presentation. We think that will be an interesting and entertaining panel discussion.

The balance of the day, in terms of the healthcare content, we have a workshop. Larry Schmidt is giving one of the presentations there, and Jason and myself and some other folks from our working group are involved in helping to facilitate and carry out the workshop.

The goal of it is to look into healthcare challenges, desired outcomes, the extended healthcare enterprise, and the extended healthcare IT enterprise and really gather those pain points that are out there around things like interoperability to surface those and develop a work program coming out of this.

We want to be able to enable a collaborative model throughout the stakeholders to improve the overall health of the population.

So we expect it to be an interesting day if you are in the healthcare IT field or just the healthcare field generally, it would definitely be a day well spent to check it out.

Gardner: Larry, you’re going to be talking on Tuesday. Without giving too much away, maybe you can help us understand the emphasis that you’re taking, the area that you’re going to be exploring.

Schmidt: I’ve titled the presentation “Remixing Healthcare through Enterprise Architecture.” Jason offered some thoughts as to why we want to leverage enterprise architecture to discipline healthcare. My thoughts are that we want to be able to make sure we understand how the collaborative model would work in healthcare, taking into consideration all the constituents and stakeholders that exist within the complete ecosystem of healthcare.

This is not just collaboration across the doctors, patients, and maybe the payers in a healthcare delivery model. This could be out as far as the drug companies and being able to get drug companies to a point where they can reorder their raw materials to produce new drugs in the case of an epidemic that might be occurring.

Real-time model

It would be a real-time model that allows us the opportunity to understand what’s truly happening, both to an individual from a healthcare standpoint, as well as to a country or a region within a country and so on from healthcare. This remixing of enterprise architecture is the introduction to that concept of leveraging enterprise architecture into this collaborative model.

Then, I would like to talk about some of the technologies that I’ve had the opportunity to explore around what is available today in technology. I believe we need to have some type of standardized messaging or collaboration models to allow us to further facilitate the ability of that technology to provide the value of healthcare delivery or betterment of healthcare to individuals. I’ll talk about that a little bit within my presentation and give some good examples.

It’s really interesting. I just traveled from my company’s home base back to my home base and I thought about something like a body scanner that you get into in the airport. I know we’re in the process of eliminating some of those scanners now within the security model from the airports, but could that possibly be something that becomes an element within healthcare delivery? Every time your body is scanned, there’s a possibility you can gather information about that, and allow that to become a part of your electronic medical record.

There is a lot of information available today that could be used in helping our population to be healthier.

Hopefully, that was forward thinking, but that kind of thinking is going to play into the art of the possible, with what we are going to be doing, both in this presentation and talking about that as part of the workshop.

Gardner: Larry, we’ve been having some other discussions with The Open Group around what they call Open Platform 3.0™, which is the confluence of big data, mobile, cloud computing, and social.

One of the big issues today is this avalanche of data, the Internet of things, but also the Internet of people. It seems that the more work that’s done to bring Open Platform 3.0 benefits to bear on business decisions, it could very well be impactful for centers and other data that comes from patients, regardless of where they are, to a medical establishment, regardless of where it is.

So do you think we’re really on the cusp of a significant shift in how medicine is actually conducted?

Schmidt: I absolutely believe that. There is a lot of information available today that could be used in helping our population to be healthier. And it really isn’t only the challenge of the communication model that we’ve been speaking about so far. It’s also understanding the information that’s available to us to take that and make that into knowledge to be applied in order to help improve the health of the population.

As we explore this from an as-is model in enterprise architecture to something that we believe we can first enable through a great collaboration model, through standardized messaging and things like that, I believe we’re going to get into even deeper detail around how information can truly provide empowered decisions to physicians and individuals around their healthcare.

So it will carry forward into the big data and analytics challenges that we have talked about and currently are talking about with The Open Group.

Healthcare framework

Gardner: Jason Uppal, we’ve also seen how in other business sectors, industries have faced transformation and have needed to rely on something like enterprise architecture and a framework like TOGAF® in order to manage that process and make it something that’s standardized, understood, and repeatable.

It seems to me that healthcare can certainly use that, given the pace of change, but that the impact on healthcare could be quite a bit larger in terms of actual dollars. This is such a large part of the economy that even small incremental improvements can have dramatic effects when it comes to dollars and cents.

So is there a benefit to bringing enterprise architect to healthcare that is larger and greater than other sectors because of these economics and issues of scale?

Uppal: That’s a great way to think about this thing. In other industries, applying enterprise architecture to do banking and insurance may be easily measured in terms of dollars and cents, but healthcare is a fundamentally different economy and industry.

It’s not about dollars and cents. It’s about people’s lives, and loved ones who are sick, who could very easily be treated, if they’re caught in time and the right people are around the table at the right time. So this is more about human cost than dollars and cents. Dollars and cents are critical, but human cost is the larger play here.

Whatever systems and methods are developed, they have to work for everybody in the world.

Secondly, when we think about applying enterprise architecture to healthcare, we’re not talking about just the U.S. population. We’re talking about global population here. So whatever systems and methods are developed, they have to work for everybody in the world. If the U.S. economy can afford an expensive healthcare delivery, what about the countries that don’t have the same kind of resources? Whatever methods and delivery mechanisms you develop have to work for everybody globally.

That’s one of the things that a methodology like TOGAF brings out and says to look at it from every stakeholder’s point of view, and unless you have dealt with every stakeholder’s concerns, you don’t have an architecture, you have a system that’s designed for that specific set of audience.

The cost is not this 18 percent of the gross domestic product in the U.S. that is representing healthcare. It’s the human cost, which is many multitudes of that. That’s is one of the areas where we could really start to think about how do we affect that part of the economy, not the 18 percent of it, but the larger part of the economy, to improve the health of the population, not only in the North America, but globally.

If that’s the case, then what really will be the impact on our greater world economy is improving population health, and population health is probably becoming our biggest problem in our economy.

We’ll be testing these methods at a greater international level, as opposed to just at an organization and industry level. This is a much larger challenge. A methodology like TOGAF is a proven and it could be stressed and tested to that level. This is a great opportunity for us to apply our tools and science to a problem that is larger than just dollars. It’s about humans.

All “experts”

Gardner: Jim Hietala, in some ways, we’re all experts on healthcare. When we’re sick, we go for help and interact with a variety of different services to maintain our health and to improve our lifestyle. But in being experts, I guess that also means we are witnesses to some of the downside of an unconnected ecosystem of healthcare providers and payers.

One of the things I’ve noticed in that vein is that I have to deal with different organizations that don’t seem to communicate well. If there’s no central process organizer, it’s really up to me as the patient to pull the lines together between the different services — tests, clinical observations, diagnosis, back for results from tests, sharing the information, and so forth.

Have you done any studies or have anecdotal information about how that boundaryless information flow would be still relevant, even having more of a centralized repository that all the players could draw on, sort of a collaboration team resource of some sort? I know that’s worked in other industries. Is this not a perfect opportunity for that boundarylessness to be managed?

Hietala: I would say it is. We all have experiences with going to see a primary physician, maybe getting sent to a specialist, getting some tests done, and the boundaryless information that’s flowing tends to be on paper delivered by us as patients in all the cases.

So the opportunity to improve that situation is pretty obvious to anybody who’s been in the healthcare system as a patient. I think it’s a great place to be doing work. There’s a lot of money flowing to try and address this problem, at least here in the U.S. with the HITECH Act and some of the government spending around trying to improve healthcare.

We’ll be testing these methods at a greater international level, as opposed to just at an organization and industry level.

You’ve got healthcare information exchanges that are starting to develop, and you have got lots of pain points for organizations in terms of trying to share information and not having standards that enable them to do it. It seems like an area that’s really a great opportunity area to bring lots of improvement.

Gardner: Let’s look for some examples of where this has been attempted and what the success brings about. I’ll throw this out to anyone on the panel. Do you have any examples that you can point to, either named organizations or anecdotal use case scenarios, of a better organization, an architectural approach, leveraging IT efficiently and effectively, allowing data to flow, putting in processes that are repeatable, centralized, organized, and understood. How does that work out?

Uppal: I’ll give you an example. One of the things that happens when a patient is admitted to hospital and in hospital is that they get what’s called a high-voltage care. There is staff around them 24×7. There are lots of people around, and every specialty that you can think of is available to them. So the patient, in about two or three days, starts to feel much better.

When that patient gets discharged, they get discharged to home most of the time. They go from very high-voltage care to next to no care. This is one of the areas where in one of the organizations we work with is able to discharge the patient and, instead of discharging them to the primary care doc, who may not receive any records from the hospital for several days, they get discharged to into a virtual team. So if the patient is at home, the virtual team is available to them through their mobile phone 24×7.

Connect with provider

If, at 3 o’clock in the morning, the patient doesn’t feel right, instead of having to call an ambulance to go to hospital once again and get readmitted, they have a chance to connect with their care provider at that time and say, “This is what the issue is. What do you want me to do next? Is this normal for the medication that I am on, or this is something abnormal that is happening?”

When that information is available to that care provider who may not necessarily have been part of the care team when the patient was in the hospital, that quick readily available information is key for keeping that person at home, as opposed to being readmitted to the hospital.

We all know that the cost of being in a hospital is 10 times more than it is being at home. But there’s also inconvenience and human suffering associated with being in a hospital, as opposed to being at home.

Those are some of the examples that we have, but they are very limited, because our current health ecosystem is a very organization specific, not  patient and provider specific. This is the area there is a huge room for opportunities for healthcare delivery, thinking about health information, not in the context of the organization where the patient is, as opposed to in a cloud, where it’s an association between the patient and provider and health information that’s there.

Extending that model will bring infinite value to not only reducing the cost, but improving the cost and quality of care.

In the past, we used to have emails that were within our four walls. All of a sudden, with Gmail and Yahoo Mail, we have email available to us anywhere. A similar thing could be happening for the healthcare record. This could be somewhere in the cloud’s eco setting, where it’s securely protected and used by only people who have granted access to it.

Those are some of the examples where extending that model will bring infinite value to not only reducing the cost, but improving the cost and quality of care.

Schmidt: Jason touched upon the home healthcare scenario and being able to provide touch points at home. Another place that we see evolving right now in the industry is the whole concept of mobile office space. Both countries, as well as rural places within countries that are developed, are actually getting rural hospitals and rural healthcare offices dropped in by helicopter to allow the people who live in those communities to have the opportunity to talk to a doctor via satellite technologies and so on.

The whole concept of a architecture around and being able to deal with an extension of what truly lines up being telemedicine is something that we’re seeing today. It would be wonderful if we could point to things like standards that allow us to be able to facilitate both the communication protocols as well as the information flows in that type of setting.

Many corporations can jump on the bandwagon to help the rural communities get the healthcare information and capabilities that they need via the whole concept of telemedicine.

That’s another area where enterprise architecture has come into play. Now that we see examples of that working in the industry today, I am hoping that as part of this working group, we’ll get to the point where we’re able to facilitate that much better, enabling innovation to occur for multiple companies via some of the architecture or the architecture work we are planning on producing.

Single view

Gardner: It seems that we’ve come a long way on the business side in many industries of getting a single view of the customer, as it’s called, the customer relationship management, big data, spreading the analysis around among different data sources and types. This sounds like a perfect fit for a single view of the patient across their life, across their care spectrum, and then of course involving many different types of organizations. But the government also needs to have a role here.

Jim Hietala, at The Open Group Conference in Philadelphia, you’re focusing on not only healthcare, but finance and government. Regarding the government and some of the agencies that you all have as members on some of your panels, how well do they perceive this need for enterprise architecture level abilities to be brought to this healthcare issue?

Hietala: We’ve seen encouraging signs from folks in government that are encouraging to us in bringing this work to the forefront. There is a recognition that there needs to be better data flowing throughout the extended healthcare IT ecosystem, and I think generally they are supportive of initiatives like this to make that happen.

Gardner: Of course having conferences like this, where you have a cross pollination between vertical industries, will perhaps allow some of the technical people to talk with some of the government people too and also have a conversation with some of the healthcare people. That’s where some of these ideas and some of the collaboration could also be very powerful.

We’ve seen encouraging signs from folks in government that are encouraging to us in bringing this work to the forefront.

I’m afraid we’re almost out of time. We’ve been talking about an interesting healthcare transition, moving into a new phase or even era of healthcare.

Our panel of experts have been looking at some of the trends in IT and how they are empowering improvement for how healthcare can be more responsive and efficient. And we’ve seen how healthcare industry organizations can take large scale transformation using cross-organizational collaboration, for example, and other such tools as big data, analytics, and cloud computing to help solve some of these issues.

This special BriefingsDirect discussion comes to you in conjunction with The Open Group Conference this July in Philadelphia. Registration to the conference remains open. Follow the conference on Twitter at #ogPHL, and you will hear more about healthcare or Open Platform 3.0 as well as enterprise transformation in the finance, government, and healthcare sectors.

With that, I’d like to thank our panel. We’ve been joined today by Jason Uppal, Chief Architect and Acting CEO at clinicalMessage. Thank you so much, Jason.

Uppal: Thank you, Dana.

Gardner: And also Larry Schmidt, Chief Technologist at HP for the Health and Life Sciences Industries. Thanks, Larry.

Schmidt: You bet, appreciate the time to share my thoughts. Thank you.

Gardner: And then also Jim Hietala, Vice President of Security at The Open Group. Thanks so much.

Hietala: Thank you, Dana.

Gardner: This is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, your host and moderator throughout these thought leader interviews. Thanks again for listening and come back next time.

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SOA Provides Needed Support for Enterprise Architecture in Cloud, Mobile, Big Data, Says Open Group Panel

By Dana Gardner, BriefingsDirect

There’s been a resurgent role for service-oriented architecture (SOA) as a practical and relevant ingredient for effective design and use of Cloud, mobile, and big data technologies.

To find out why, The Open Group recently gathered an international panel of experts to explore the concept of “architecture is destiny,” especially when it comes to hybrid services delivery and management. The panel shows how SOA is proving instrumental in allowing the needed advancements over highly distributed services and data, when it comes to scale, heterogeneity support, and governance.

The panel consists of Chris Harding, Director of Interoperability at The Open Group, based in the UK; Nikhil Kumar, President of Applied Technology Solutions and Co-Chair of the SOA Reference Architecture Projects within The Open Group, and he’s based in Michigan, and Mats Gejnevall, Enterprise Architect at Capgemini and Co-Chair of The Open Group SOA Work Group, and he’s based in Sweden. The discussion is moderated by Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.

The full podcast can be found here.

Here are some excerpts:

Gardner: Why this resurgence in the interest around SOA?

Harding: My role in The Open Group is to support the work of our members on SOA, Cloud computing, and other topics. We formed the SOA Work Group back in 2005, when SOA was a real emerging hot topic, and we set up a number of activities and projects. They’re all completed.

I was thinking that the SOA Work Group would wind down, move into maintenance mode, and meet once every few months or so, but we still get a fair attendance at our regular web meetings.

In fact, we’ve started two new projects and we’re about to start a third one. So, it’s very clear that there is still an interest, and indeed a renewed interest, in SOA from the IT community within The Open Group.

Larger trends

Gardner: Nikhil, do you believe that this has to do with some of the larger trends we’re seeing in the field, like Cloud Software as a Service (SaaS)? What’s driving this renewal?

Kumar: What I see driving it is three things. One is the advent of the Cloud and mobile, which requires a lot of cross-platform delivery of consistent services. The second is emerging technologies, mobile, big data, and the need to be able to look at data across multiple contexts.

The third thing that’s driving it is legacy modernization. A lot of organizations are now a lot more comfortable with SOA concepts. I see it in a number of our customers. I’ve just been running a large Enterprise Architecture initiative in a Fortune 500 customer.

At each stage, and at almost every point in that, they’re now comfortable. They feel that SOA can provide the ability to rationalize multiple platforms. They’re restructuring organizational structures, delivery organizations, as well as targeting their goals around a service-based platform capability.

So legacy modernization is a back-to-the-future kind of thing that has come back and is getting adoption. The way it’s being implemented is using RESTful services, as well as SOAP services, which is different from traditional SOA, say from the last version, which was mostly SOAP-driven.

Gardner: Mats, do you think that what’s happened is that the marketplace and the requirements have changed and that’s made SOA more relevant? Or has SOA changed to better fit the market? Or perhaps some combination?

Gejnevall: I think that the Cloud is really a service delivery platform. Companies discover that to be able to use the Cloud services, the SaaS things, they need to look at SOA as their internal development way of doing things as well. They understand they need to do the architecture internally, and if they’re going to use lots of external Cloud services, you might as well use SOA to do that.

Also, if you look at the Cloud suppliers, they also need to do their architecture in some way and SOA probably is a good vehicle for them. They can use that paradigm and also deliver what the customer wants in a well-designed SOA environment.

Gardner: Let’s drill down on the requirements around the Cloud and some of the key components of SOA. We’re certainly seeing, as you mentioned, the need for cross support for legacy, Cloud types of services, and using a variety of protocol, transports, and integration types. We already heard about REST for lightweight approaches and, of course, there will still be the need for object brokering and some of the more traditional enterprise integration approaches.

This really does sound like the job for an Enterprise Service Bus (ESB). So let’s go around the panel and look at this notion of an ESB. Some people, a few years back, didn’t think it was necessary or a requirement for SOA, but it certainly sounds like it’s the right type of functionality for the job.

Loosely coupled

Harding: I believe so, but maybe we ought to consider that in the Cloud context, you’re not just talking about within a single enterprise. You’re talking about a much more loosely coupled, distributed environment, and the ESB concept needs to take account of that in the Cloud context.

Gardner: Nikhil, any thoughts about how to manage this integration requirement around the modern SOA environment and whether ESBs are more or less relevant as a result?

Kumar: In the context of a Cloud we really see SOA and the concept of service contracts coming to the fore. In that scenario, ESBs play a role as a broker within the enterprise. When we talk about the interaction across Cloud-service providers and Cloud consumers, what we’re seeing is that the service provider has his own concept of an ESB within its own internal context.

If you want your Cloud services to be really reusable, the concept of the ESB then becomes more for the routing and the mediation of those services, once they’re provided to the consumer. There’s a kind of separation of concerns between the concept of a traditional ESB and a Cloud ESB, if you want to call it that.

The Cloud context involves more of the need to be able to support, enforce, and apply governance concepts and audit concepts, the capabilities to ensure that the interaction meets quality of service guarantees. That’s a little different from the concept that drove traditional ESBs.

That’s why you’re seeing API management platforms like Layer 7Mashery, or Apigee and other kind of product lines. They’re also coming into the picture, driven by the need to be able to support the way Cloud providers are provisioning their services. As Chris put it, you’re looking beyond the enterprise. Who owns it? That’s where the role of the ESB is different from the traditional concept.

Most Cloud platforms have cost factors associated with locality. If you have truly global enterprises and services, you need to factor in the ability to deal with safe harbor issues and you need to factor in variations and law in terms of security governance.

The platforms that are evolving are starting to provide this out of the box. The service consumer or a service provider needs to be able to support those. That’s going to become the role of their ESB in the future, to be able to consume a service, to be able to assert this quality-of-service guarantee, and manage constraints or data-in-flight and data-at-rest.

Gardner: Mats, are there other aspects of the concept of ESB that are now relevant to the Cloud?

Entire stack

Gejnevall: One of the reasons SOA didn’t really take off in many organizations three, four, or five years ago was the need to buy the entire stack of SOA products that all the consultancies were asking companies to buy, wanting them to buy an ESB, governance tools, business process management tools, and a lot of sort of quite large investments to just get your foot into the door of doing SOA.

These days you can buy that kind of stuff. You can buy the entire stack in the Cloud and start playing with it. I did some searches on it today and I found a company that you can play with the entire stack, including business tools and everything like that, for zero dollars. Then you can grow and use more and more of it in your business, but you can start to see if this is something for you.

In the past, the suppliers or the consultants told you that you could do it. You couldn’t really try it out yourself. You needed both the software and the hardware in place. The money to get started is much lower today. That’s another reason people might be thinking about it these days.

Gardner: It sounds as if there’s a new type of on-ramp to SOA values, and the componentry that supports SOA is now being delivered as a service. On top of that, you’re also able to consume it in a pay-as-you-go manner.

Harding: That’s a very good point, but there are two contradictory trends we are seeing here. One is the kind of trend that Mats is describing, where the technology you need to handle a complex stack is becoming readily available in the Cloud.

And the other is the trend that Nikhil mentioned: to go for a simpler style, which a lot of people term REST, for accessing services. It will be interesting to see how those two tendencies play out against each other.

Kumar: I’d like to make a comment on that. The approach for the on-ramp is really one of the key differentiators of the Cloud, because you have the agility and the lack of capital investment (CAPEX) required to test things out.

But as we are evolving with Cloud platforms, I’m also seeing with a lot of Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) vendor scenarios that they’re trying the ESB in the stack itself. They’re providing it in their Cloud fabric. A couple of large players have already done that.

For example, Azure provides that in the forward-looking vision. I am sure IBM and Oracle have already started down that path. A lot of the players are going to provide it as a core capability.

Pre-integrated environment

Gejnevall: Another interesting thing is that they could get a whole environment that’s pre-integrated. Usually, when you buy these things from a vendor, a lot of times they don’t fit together that well. Now, there’s an effort to make them work together.

But some people put these open-source tools together. Some people have done that and put them out on the Cloud, which gives them a pretty cheap platform for themselves. Then, they can sell it at a reasonable price, because of the integration of all these things.

Gardner: The Cloud model may be evolving toward an all-inclusive offering. But SOA, by its definition, advances interoperability, to plug and play across existing, current, and future sets of service possibilities. Are we talking about SOA being an important element of keeping Clouds dynamic and flexible — even open?

Kumar: We can think about the OSI 7 Layer Model. We’re evolving in terms of complexity, right? So from an interoperability perspective, we may talk SOAP or REST, for example, but the interaction with AWS, SalesforceSmartCloud, or Azure would involve using APIs that each of these platforms provide for interaction.

Lock-in

So you could have an AMI, which is an image on the Amazon Web Services environment, for example, and that could support a lab stack or an open source stack. How you interact with it, how you monitor it, how you cluster it, all of those aspects now start factoring in specific APIs, and so that’s the lock-in.

From an architect’s perspective, I look at it as we need to support proper separation of concerns, and that’s part of [The Open Group] SOA Reference Architecture. That’s what we tried to do, to be able to support implementation architectures that support that separation of concerns.

There’s another factor that we need to understand from the context of the Cloud, especially for mid-to-large sized organizations, and that is that the Cloud service providers, especially the large ones — Amazon, Microsoft, IBM — encapsulate infrastructure.

If you were to go to Amazon, Microsoft, or IBM and use their IaaS networking capabilities, you’d have one of the largest WAN networks in the world, and you wouldn’t have to pay a dime to establish that infrastructure. Not in terms of the cost of the infrastructure, not in terms of the capabilities required, nothing. So that’s an advantage that the Cloud is bringing, which I think is going to be very compelling.

The other thing is that, from an SOA context, you’re now able to look at it and say, “Well, I’m dealing with the Cloud, and what all these providers are doing is make it seamless, whether you’re dealing with the Cloud or on-premise.” That’s an important concept.

Now, each of these providers and different aspects of their stacks are at significantly different levels of maturity. Many of these providers may find that their stacks do not interoperate with themselves either, within their own stacks, just because they’re using different run times, different implementations, etc. That’s another factor to take in.

From an SOA perspective, the Cloud has become very compelling, because I’m dealing, let’s say, with a Salesforce.com and I want to use that same service within the enterprise, let’s say, an insurance capability for Microsoft Dynamics or for SugarCRM. If that capability is exposed to one source of truth in the enterprise, you’ve now reduced the complexity and have the ability to adopt different Cloud platforms.

What we are going to start seeing is that the Cloud is going to shift from being just one à-la-carte solution for everybody. It’s going to become something similar to what we used to deal with in the enterprise context. You had multiple applications, which you service-enabled to reduce complexity and provide one service-based capability, instead of an application-centered approach.

You’re now going to move the context to the Cloud, to your multiple Cloud solutions, and maybe many implementations in a nontrivial environment for the same business capability, but they are now exposed to services in the enterprise SOA. You could have Salesforce. You could have Amazon. You could have an IBM implementation. And you could pick and choose the source of truth and share it.

So a lot of the core SOA concepts will still apply and are still applying.

Another on-ramp

Gardner: Perhaps yet another on-ramp to the use of SOA is the app store, which allows for discovery, socialization of services, but at the same time provides overnance and control?

Kumar: We’re seeing that with a lot of our customers, typically the vendors who support PaaS solution associate app store models along with their platform as a mechanism to gain market share.

The issue that you run into with that is, it’s okay if it’s on your cellphone or on your iPad, your tablet PC, or whatever, but once you start having managed apps, for example Salesforce, or if you have applications which are being deployed on an Azure or on a SmartCloud context, you have high risk scenario. You don’t know how well architected that application is. It’s just like going and buying an enterprise application.

When you deploy it in the Cloud, you really need to understand the Cloud PaaS platform for that particular platform to understand the implications in terms of dependencies and cross-dependencies across apps that you have installed. They have real practical implications in terms of maintainability and performance. We’ve seen that with at least two platforms in the last six months.

Governance becomes extremely important. Because of the low CAPEX implications to the business, the business is very comfortable with going and buying these applications and saying, “We can install X, Y, or Z and it will cost us two months and a few million dollars and we are all set.” Or maybe it’s a few hundred thousand dollars.

They don’t realize the implications in terms of interoperability, performance, and standard architectural quality attributes that can occur. There is a governance aspect from the context of the Cloud provisioning of these applications.

There is another aspect to it, which is governance in terms of the run-time, more classic SOA governance, to measure, assert, and to view the cost of these applications in terms of performance to your infrastructural resources, to your security constraints. Also, are there scenarios where the application itself has a dependency on a daisy chain, multiple external applications, to trace the data?

In terms of the context of app stores, they’re almost like SaaS with a particular platform in mind. They provide the buyer with certain commitments from the platform manager or the platform provider, such as security. When you buy an app from Apple, there is at least a reputational expectation of security from the vendor.

What you do not always know is if that security is really being provided. There’s a risk there for organizations who are exposing mission-critical data to that.

The second thing is there is still very much a place for the classic SOA registries and repositories in the Cloud. Only the place is for a different purpose. Those registries and repositories are used either by service providers or by consumers to maintain the list of services they’re using internally.

Different paradigms

There are two different paradigms. The app store is a place where I can go and I know that the gas I am going to get is 85 percent ethanol, versus I also have to maintain some basic set of goods at home to make that I have my dinner on time. These are different kind of roles and different kind of purposes they’re serving.

Above all, I think the thing that’s going to become more and more important in the context of the Cloud is that the functionality will be provided by the Cloud platform or the app you buy, but the governance will be a major IT responsibility, right from the time of picking the app, to the time of delivering it, to the time of monitoring it.

Gardner: How is The Open Group allowing architects to better exercise SOA principles, as they’re grappling with some of these issues around governance, hybrid services delivery and management, and the use and demand in their organizations to start consuming more Cloud services?

Harding: The architect’s primary concern, of course, has to be to meet the needs of the client and to do so in a way that is most effective and that is cost-effective. Cloud gives the architect a usability to go out and get different components much more easily than hitherto.

There is a problem, of course, with integrating them and putting them together. SOA can provide part of the solution to that problem, in that it gives a principle of loosely coupled services. If you didn’t have that when you were trying to integrate different functionality from different places, you would be in a real mess.

What The Open Group contributes is a set of artifacts that enable the architect to think through how to meet the client’s needs in the best way when working with SOA and Cloud.

For example, the SOA Reference Architecture helps the architect understand what components might be brought into the solution. We have the SOA TOGAF Practical Guide, which helps the architect understand how to use TOGAF® in the SOA context.

We’re working further on artifacts in the Cloud space, the Cloud Computing Reference Architecture, a notational language for enabling people to describe Cloud ecosystems on recommendations for Cloud interoperability and portability. We’re also working on recommendations for Cloud governance to complement the recommendations for SOA governance, the SOA Governance Framework Standards that we have already produced, and a number of other artifacts.

The Open Group’s real role is to support the architect and help the architect to better meet the needs of the architect client.

From the very early days, SOA was seen as bringing a closer connection between the business and technology. A lot of those promises that were made about SOA seven or eight years ago are only now becoming possible to fulfill, and that business front is what that project is looking at.

We’re also producing an update to the SOA Reference Architectures. We have input the SOA Reference Architecture for consideration by the ISO Group that is looking at an International Standard Reference Architecture for SOA and also to the IEEE Group that is looking at an IEEE Standard Reference Architecture.

We hope that both of those groups will want to work along the principles of our SOA Reference Architecture and we intend to produce a new version that incorporates the kind of ideas that they want to bring into the picture.

We’re also thinking of setting up an SOA project to look specifically at assistance to architects building SOA into enterprise solutions.

So those are three new initiatives that should result in new Open Group standards and guides to complement, as I have described already, the SOA Reference Architecture, the SOA Governance Framework, the Practical Guides to using TOGAF for SOA.

We also have the Service Integration Maturity Model that we need to assess the SOA maturity. We have a standard on service orientation applied to Cloud infrastructure, and we have a formal SOA Ontology.

Those are the things The Open Group has in place at present to assist the architect, and we are and will be working on three new things: version 2 of the Reference Architecture for SOA, SOA for business technology, and I believe shortly we’ll start on assistance to architects in developing SOA solutions.

Dana Gardner is the Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, which identifies and interprets the trends in Services-Oriented Architecture (SOA) and enterprise software infrastructure markets. Interarbor Solutions creates in-depth Web content and distributes it via BriefingsDirect™ blogs, podcasts and video-podcasts to support conversational education about SOA, software infrastructure, Enterprise 2.0, and application development and deployment strategies.

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The Right Way to Transform to the World of Cloud Computing

By E.G. Nadhan, HP Enterprise Services

There are myriad options available for moving to cloud computing today involving the synthetic realization and integration of different components that enable the overall solution. It is important that the foundational components across the compute, network, storage and facility domains are realized and integrated the right way for enterprises to realize the perceived benefits of moving to the cloud. To that end, this post outlines the key factors to be addressed when embarking on this transformation journey to the cloud:

  • Right Cloud. There are multiple forces at play when the CIOs of today consider moving to the cloud, further complicated by the availability of various deployment models — private, public, hybrid, etc. It is important that enterprises deploy solutions to the right mix of cloud environments. It is not a one-environment-fits-all scenario. Enterprises need to define the criteria that enable the effective determination of the optimal mix of environments that best addresses their scenarios.
  • Right Architecture. While doing so, it is important that there is a common reference architecture across various cloud deployment models that is accommodative of the traditional environments. This needs to be defined factoring in the overall IT strategy for the enterprise in alignment with the business objectives. A common reference architecture addresses the over-arching concepts across the various environments while accommodating nuances specific to each one.
  • Right Services. I discussed in one of my earlier posts that the foundational principles of cloud have evolved from SOA. Thus, it is vital that enterprises have a well-defined SOA strategy in place that includes the identification of services used across the various architectural layers within the enterprise, as well as the services to be availed from external providers.
  • Right Governance. While governance is essential within the enterprise, it needs to be extended to the extra-enterprise that includes the ecosystem of service providers in the cloud. This is especially true if the landscape comprises a healthy mix of various types of cloud environments. Proper governance ensures that the right solutions are deployed to the right environments while addressing key areas of concern like security, data privacy, compliance regulations, etc.
  • Right Standard. Conformance to industry standards is always a prudent approach for any solution — especially for the cloud. The Open Group recently published the first Cloud Computing Technical Standard — Service Oriented Cloud Computing Infrastructure which bears strong consideration in addition to other standards from NIST and other standards bodies.

These factors come together to define the “Right” way of transforming to the cloud. In addition, there are other factors that are unique to the transformation of applications as I outline in the Cloud Computing Transformation Bill of RIghts.

In addition to the publication of the SOCCI standard, the Cloud Work Group within The Open Group is addressing several aspects in this space including the Reference Architecture, Governance and Security.

How is your Transformation to the cloud going? Are there other factors that come to your mind? Please let me know.

HP Distinguished Technologist, E.G.Nadhan has over 25 years of experience in the IT industry across the complete spectrum of selling, delivering and managing enterprise level solutions for HP customers. He is the founding co-chair for The Open Group SOCCI project and is also the founding co-chair for the Open Group Cloud Computing Governance project. Twitter handle @NadhanAtHP.

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Enterprise Transformation Takes the French Riviera

By The Open Group Conference Team

The Open Group Conference in Cannes, France is just around the corner. Taking place April 23-27, the conference will bring together leading minds in technology to discuss the process of Enterprise Transformation, and the role of Enterprise Architecture (EA) and IT in Enterprise Transformation.

The French Riviera is a true playground for the rich and famous. As the location of the next Open Group Conference, (not to mention the next Open Cannes Awards) it seems only fitting that we not only have an incredible venue for the event, the JW Marriott Cannes, but have our own star-studded lineup of speakers, sessions and activities that are sure to make the conference an unforgettable experience.

In addition to tutorial sessions on TOGAF and ArchiMate, the conference offers roughly 60 sessions on a varied of topics, including:

  • Enterprise Transformation, including Enterprise Architecture and SOA
  • Cybersecurity, Cloud Security and Trusted Technology for the Supply Chain
  • Cloud Computing for Business, Collaborative Cloud Frameworks and Cloud Architectures

The conference theme “Enterprise Transformation” will highlight how Enterprise Architecture can be used to truly change how companies do business and create models and architectures that help them make those changes. Keynote speakers include:

  • Dr. Alexander Osterwalder, Best-selling Author and Entrepreneur

Dr. Osterwalder is a renowned thought leader on business model design and innovation. Many executives and entrepreneurs and world-leading organizations have applied Dr. Osterwalderʼs approach to strengthen their business model and achieve a competitive advantage through business model innovation. His keynote session at the conference, titled: “Business Models, IT, and Enterprise Transformation,” will discuss how to use the Business Model Canvas approach to better align IT and business strategy, empower multi-disciplinary teams and contribute to Enterprise Transformation.

  • Herve Gouezel, Advisor to the CEO at BNP Paribas & Eric Boulay, Founder and CEO of Arismore

Keynote: “EA and Transformation: An Enterprise Issue, a New Role for the CIO?” will examine governance within the Enterprise and what steps need to take place to create a collaborative Enterprise.

  • Peter Haviland, Chief Architect and Head of Business Architecture Advisory Services at Ernst & Young, US

Keynote: “World Class EA 2012: Putting Your Architecture Team in the Middle of Enterprise Transformation,” will identify and discuss key activities leading practice architecture teams are performing to create and sustain value, to remain at the forefront of enterprise transformation.

  • Kirk Avery, Software Architect at Lockheed Martin & Robert Sweeney, MSMA Lead Systems Engineer at Naval Air Systems Command

Keynote: “FACE: Transforming the DoD Avionics Software Industry Through the Use of Open Standards,” will address the DoD Avionics Industry’s need for providing complex mission capability in less time and in an environment of shrinking government budgets

The Common Criteria Workshop and the European Commission

We are also pleased to be hosting the first Common Criteria Workshop during the Cannes Conference. This two-day event – taking place April 25 to 26 – offers a rich opportunity to hear from distinguished speakers from the Common Criteria Security community, explore viewpoints through panel discussions and work with minded people towards common goals.

One of the keynote speakers during the workshop is Andrea Servida, the Deputy Head of the Internet, Network and Information Security unit with the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium. With extensive experience defining and implementing strategies and policies on network and information security and critical information infrastructure protection, Mr. Servida is an ideal speaker as we kick-off the first workshop.

The Open Cannes Awards

What trip would be complete to Cannes without an awards ceremony? Presented by The Open Group, The Open Cannes Awards is an opportunity for our members to recognize each other’s accomplishments within The Open Group with a little fun during the gala ceremony on the night of Tuesday, April 24. The goal is to acknowledge the success stories, the hard work and dedication that members, either as individuals or as organizations, have devoted to The Open Group’s ideals and vision over the past decade.

We hope to see you in Cannes! For more information on the conference tracks or to register, please visit our conference registration page, and please stay tuned throughout the next month as we continue to release blog posts and information leading up to The Open Group Conference in Cannes, France!

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Top 5 Tell-tale Signs of SOA Evolving to the Cloud

By E.G. Nadhan, HP Enterprise Services

Rewind two decades and visualize what a forward-thinking prediction would have looked like then —  IT is headed towards a technology agnostic, service-based applications and infrastructure environment, consumed when needed, with usage-based chargeback models in place for elastic resources. A forward thinking tweet would have simply said – IT is headed for the Cloud. These concepts have steadily evolved within applications first with virtualization expediting their evolution within infrastructure across enterprises. Thus, IT has followed an evolutionary pattern over the years forcing enterprises to continuously revisit their overall strategy.

What started as SOA has evolved into the Cloud.  Here are five tell-tale signs:

  • As-a-service model:  Application interfaces being exposed as services in a standardized fashion were the technical foundation to SOA. This concept was slowly but steadily extended to the infrastructure environment leading to IaaS and eventually, [pick a letter of your choice]aaS. Infrastructure components, provisioned as services, had to be taken into account as part of the overall SOA strategy. Given the vital role of IaaS within the Cloud, a holistic SOA enterprise-wide SOA strategy is essential for successful Cloud deployment.
  • Location transparency: Prior to service orientation, applications had to be aware of the logistics of information sources. Service orientation introduced location transparency so that the specifics of the physical location where the services were executed did not matter as much. Extending this paradigm, Cloud leverages the available resources as and when needed for execution of the services provided.
  • Virtualization: Service orientation acted as a catalyst for virtualization of application interfaces wherein the standardization of the interfaces was given more importance than the actual execution of the services. Virtualization was extended to infrastructure components facilitating their rapid provisioning as long as it met the experience expectations of the consumers.
  • Hardware: IaaS provisioning based on virtualization along with the partitioning of existing physical hardware into logically consumable segments resulted in hardware being shared across multiple applications. Cloud extends this notion into a pool of hardware resources being shared across multiple applications.
  • Chargeback: SOA was initially focused on service implementation after which the focus shifted to SOA Governance and SOA Management including the tracking of metrics and chargeback mechanism. Cloud is following a similar model, which is why the challenges of metering and chargeback mechanisms that IT is dealing with in the Cloud are fundamentally similar to monitoring service consumption across the enterprise.

These are my tell-tale signs. I would be very interested to know about practical instances of similar signs on your end.

Figure 1: The Open Group Service Oriented Cloud Computing Infrastructure Technical Standard

It is no surprise that the very first Cloud technical standard published by The Open Group — Service Oriented Cloud Computing Infrastructure – initially started as the Service Oriented Infrastructure (SOI) project within The Open Group SOA Work Group. As its co-chair, I had requested extending SOI into the Open Group Cloud Work Group when it was formed making it a joint project across both work groups. Today, you will see how the SOCCI technical standard calls out the evolution of SOI into SOCCI for the Cloud.

To find out more about the new SOCCI technical standard, please check out: http://www3.opengroup.org/news/press/open-group-publishes-new-standards-soa-and-cloud

 This blog post was originally posted on HP’s Technical Support Services Blog.

HP Distinguished Technologist, E.G.Nadhan has over 25 years of experience in the IT industry across the complete spectrum of selling, delivering and managing enterprise level solutions for HP customers. He is the founding co-chair for The Open Group SOCCI project and is also the founding co-chair for the Open Group Cloud Computing Governance project. Twitter handle @NadhanAtHP.

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San Francisco Conference Observations: Enterprise Transformation, Enterprise Architecture, SOA and a Splash of Cloud Computing

By Chris Harding, The Open Group 

This week I have been at The Open Group conference in San Francisco. The theme was Enterprise Transformation which, in simple terms means changing how your business works to take advantage of the latest developments in IT.

Evidence of these developments is all around. I took a break and went for coffee and a sandwich, to a little cafe down on Pine and Leavenworth that seemed to be run by and for the Millennium generation. True to type, my server pulled out a cellphone with a device attached through which I swiped my credit card; an app read my screen-scrawled signature and the transaction was complete.

Then dinner. We spoke to the hotel concierge, she tapped a few keys on her terminal and, hey presto, we had a window table at a restaurant on Fisherman’s Wharf. No lengthy phone negotiations with the Maitre d’. We were just connected with the resource that we needed, quickly and efficiently.

The power of ubiquitous technology to transform the enterprise was the theme of the inspirational plenary presentation given by Andy Mulholland, Global CTO at Capgemini. Mobility, the Cloud, and big data are the three powerful technical forces that must be harnessed by the architect to move the business to smarter operation and new markets.

Jeanne Ross of the MIT Sloan School of Management shared her recipe for architecting business success, with examples drawn from several major companies. Indomitable and inimitable, she always challenges her audience to think through the issues. This time we responded with, “Don’t small companies need architecture too?” Of course they do, was the answer, but the architecture of a big corporation is very different from that of a corner cafe.

Corporations don’t come much bigger than Nissan. Celso Guiotoko, Corporate VP and CIO at the Nissan Motor Company, told us how Nissan are using enterprise architecture for business transformation. Highlights included the concept of information capitalization, the rationalization of the application portfolio through SOA and reusable services, and the delivery of technology resource through a private cloud platform.

The set of stimulating plenary presentations on the first day of the conference was completed by Lauren States, VP and CTO Cloud Computing and Growth Initiatives at IBM. Everyone now expects business results from technical change, and there is huge pressure on the people involved to deliver results that meet these expectations. IT enablement is one part of the answer, but it must be matched by business process excellence and values-based culture for real productivity and growth.

My role in The Open Group is to support our work on Cloud Computing and SOA, and these activities took all my attention after the initial plenary. If you had, thought five years ago, that no technical trend could possibly generate more interest and excitement than SOA, Cloud Computing would now be proving you wrong.

But interest in SOA continues, and we had a SOA stream including presentations of forward thinking on how to use SOA to deliver agility, and on SOA governance, as well as presentations describing and explaining the use of key Open Group SOA standards and guides: the Service Integration Maturity Model (OSIMM), the SOA Reference Architecture, and the Guide to using TOGAF for SOA.

We then moved into the Cloud, with a presentation by Mike Walker of Microsoft on why Enterprise Architecture must lead Cloud strategy and planning. The “why” was followed by the “how”: Zapthink’s Jason Bloomberg described Representational State Transfer (REST), which many now see as a key foundational principle for Cloud architecture. But perhaps it is not the only principle; a later presentation suggested a three-tier approach with the client tier, including mobile devices, accessing RESTful information resources through a middle tier of agents that compose resources and carry out transactions (ACT).

In the evening we had a CloudCamp, hosted by The Open Group and conducted as a separate event by the CloudCamp organization. The original CloudCamp concept was of an “unconference” where early adopters of Cloud Computing technologies exchange ideas. Its founder, Dave Nielsen, is now planning to set up a demo center where those adopters can experiment with setting up private clouds. This transition from idea to experiment reflects the changing status of mainstream cloud adoption.

The public conference streams were followed by a meeting of the Open Group Cloud Computing Work Group. This is currently pursuing nine separate projects to develop standards and guidance for architects using cloud computing. The meeting in San Francisco focused on one of these – the Cloud Computing Reference Architecture. It compared submissions from five companies, also taking into account ongoing work at the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), with the aim of creating a base from which to create an Open Group reference architecture for Cloud Computing. This gave a productive finish to a busy week of information gathering and discussion.

Ralph Hitz of Visana, a health insurance company based in Switzerland, made an interesting comment on our reference architecture discussion. He remarked that we were not seeking to change or evolve the NIST service and deployment models. This may seem boring, but it is true, and it is right. Cloud Computing is now where the automobile was in 1920. We are pretty much agreed that it will have four wheels and be powered by gasoline. The business and economic impact is yet to come.

So now I’m on my way to the airport for the flight home. I checked in online, and my boarding pass is on my cellphone. Big companies, as well as small ones, now routinely use mobile technology, and my airline has a frequent-flyer app. It’s just a shame that they can’t manage a decent cup of coffee.

Dr. Chris Harding is Director for Interoperability and SOA at The Open Group. He has been with The Open Group for more than ten years, and is currently responsible for managing and supporting its work on interoperability, including SOA and interoperability aspects of Cloud Computing. Before joining The Open Group, he was a consultant, and a designer and development manager of communications software. With a PhD in mathematical logic, he welcomes the current upsurge of interest in semantic technology, and the opportunity to apply logical theory to practical use. He has presented at Open Group and other conferences on a range of topics, and contributes articles to on-line journals. He is a member of the BCS, the IEEE, and the AOGEA, and is a certified TOGAF practitioner.

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OSIMM Goes de Jure: The First International Standards on SOA

By Heather Kreger, CTO International Standards, IBM

I was very excited to see OSIMM pass its ratification vote within the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) on January 8, 2012, becoming the first International Standard on SOA.  This is the culmination of a two year process that I’ve been driving for The Open Group in ISO/IEC JTC1.  Having the OSIMM standard recognized globally is a huge validation of the work that The Open Group and the SOA Work Group have been doing over the past few years since OSIMM first became an Open Group standard in 2009.  Even though the process for international standard ratification is a lengthy one, it has been worth the effort and we’ve already submitted additional Open Group standards to ISO.  For those of you interested in the process, read on…

How it works

In order for OSIMM to become an international standard, The Open Group had to first be approved as an “Approved Reference Organization” and “Publically Available Specification” (PAS) Submitter, in a vote by every JTC1 country.

What does this REALLY mean? It means Open Group standards can be referenced by international standards and it means the Open Group can submit standards to ISO/IEC and ask for them to follow the PAS process, which ratifies standards as they are as International Standards if they pass the international vote.  Each country votes and comments on the specification and if there are comments, there is a ballot resolution meeting with potentially an update to the submitted specification. This all sounds straightforward until you mix in The Open Group’s timeline for approving updates to standards with the JTC1 process. In the end, this takes about a year.

Why drag you through this?  I just wanted you to appreciate what an accomplishment the OSIMM V2 ISO/IEC 16680 is for The Open Group.  The SOA Governance Framework Standard is now following the same process. The SOA Ontology and new SOA Reference Architecture Standards have also been submitted to ISO’s SOA Work Group (in SC38) as input to a normal working group processes.

The OSIMM benefit

Let’s also revisit OSIMM, since it’s been awhile since OSIMM V1 was first standardized in 2009. OSIMM V2 is technically equivalent to OSIMM V1, although we did some clarifications to answer comments from the PAS processes and added an appendix positioning OSIMM with them maturity models in ISO/IEC JTC1.

OSIMM leverages proven best practices to allow consultants and IT practitioners to assess an organization’s readiness and maturity level for adopting services in SOA and Cloud solutions. It defines a process to create a roadmap for incremental adoption that maximizes business benefits at each stage along the way. The model consists of seven levels of maturity and seven dimensions of consideration that represent significant views of business and IT capabilities where the application of SOA principles is essential for the deployment of services. OSIMM acts as a quantitative model to aid in assessment of current state and desired future state of SOA maturity. OSIMM also has an extensible framework for understanding the value of implementing a service model, as well as a comprehensive guide for achieving their desired level of service maturity.

There are a couple of things I REALLY like about OSIMM, especially for those new to SOA:

First, it’s an easy, visual way to grasp the full breadth of what is SOA. From no services to simple, single, hand-developed services or dynamically created services.  In fact, the first three levels of maturity are “pre-services” approaches we all know and use (i.e.: object-oriented and components). With this, everyone can find what they are using…even if they are not using services at all.

Second, it’s a self assessment. You use this to gauge your own use of services today and where you want to be. You can reassess to “track” your progress (sort of like weight loss) on employing services. Because you have to customize the indicators and the weight of the maturity scores will differ according to what is important to your company, it doesn’t make sense to compare scores between two companies. In addition, every company has a different target goal. So, no, sorry, you cannot brag that you are more mature than your arch competitor!  However, some of the process assessments in ISO/IEC SC7 ARE for just that, so check out the OSIMM appendix for links and pointers!

Which brings me to my third point–there is no “right” level of maturity. The most mature level doesn’t make sense for most companies.  OSIMM is a great tool to force your business and IT staff into a discussion to agree together on what the current level is and what the right level is for them – everyone on the same page.

Finally, it’s flexible. You can add indicators and adjust weightings to make it accurate and a reflection of the needs of your business AND IT departments.  You can skip levels, be at different levels of maturity for different business dimensions.  You work on advancing the use of services in the dimension that gives you the most business value, you don’t have to give them all “equal attention” or get them to the same level.

Resources

The following resources are available if you are interested in learning more about the OSIMM V2 Standard:

IBM is also presenting next week during The Open Group Conference in San Francisco, which will discuss how to extend OSIMM for your organization.

Heather KregerHeather Kreger is IBM’s lead architect for Smarter Planet, Policy, and SOA Standards in the IBM Software Group, with 15 years of standards experience. She has led the development of standards for Cloud, SOA, Web services, Management and Java in numerous standards organizations, including W3C, OASIS, DMTF, and Open Group.Heather is currently co-chair for The Open Group’s SOA Work Group and liaison for the Open Group SOA and Cloud Work Groups to ISO/IEC JTC1 SC7 SOA SG and INCITS DAPS38 (US TAG to ISO/IEC JTC 1 SC38). Heather is also the author of numerous articles and specifications, as well as the book Java and JMX, Building Manageable Systems, and most recently was co-editor of Navigating the SOA Open Standards Landscape Around Architecture.

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SOCCI: Behind the Scenes

By E.G. Nadhan, HP

Cloud Computing standards, like other standards go through a series of evolutionary phases similar to the ones I outlined in the Top 5 phases of IaaS standards evolution. IaaS standards, in particular, take longer than their SaaS and PaaS counterparts because a balance is required between the service-orientation of the core infrastructure components in Cloud Computing.

This balance is why today’s announcement of the release of the industry’s first technical standard, Service Oriented Cloud Computing Infrastructure (SOCCI) is significant.

As one of the co-chairs of this project, here is some insight into the manner in which The Open Group went about creating the definition of this standard:

  • Step One: Identify the key characteristics of service orientation, as well as those for the cloud as defined by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Analyze these characteristics and the resulting synergies through the application of service orientation in the cloud. Compare and contrast their evolution from the traditional environment through service orientation to the Cloud.
  • Step Two: Identify the key architectural building blocks that enable the Operational Systems Layer of the SOA Reference Architecture and the Cloud Reference Architecture that is in progress.
  • Step Three: Map these building blocks across the architectural layers while representing the multi-faceted perspectives of various viewpoints including those of the consumer, provider and developer.
  • Step Four: Define a Motor Cars in the Cloud business scenario: You, the consumer  are downloading auto-racing videos through an environment managed by a Service Integrator which requires the use of services for software, platform and infrastructure along with  traditional technologies. Provide a behind-the-curtains perspective on the business scenario where the SOCCI building blocks slowly but steadily come to life.
  • Step Five: Identify the key connection points with the other Open Group projects in the areas of architecture, business use cases, governance and security.

The real test of a standard is in its breadth of adoption. This standard can be used in multiple ways by the industry at large in order to ensure that the architectural nuances are comprehensively addressed. It could be used to map existing Cloud-based deployments to a standard architectural template. It can also serve as an excellent set of Cloud-based building blocks that can be used to build out a new architecture.

Have you taken a look at this standard? If not, please do so. If so, where and how do you think this standard could be adopted? Are there ways that the standard can be improved in future releases to make it better suited for broader adoption? Please let me know your thoughts.

This blog post was originally posted on HP’s Grounded in the Cloud Blog.

HP Distinguished Technologist, E.G.Nadhan has over 25 years of experience in the IT industry across the complete spectrum of selling, delivering and managing enterprise level solutions for HP customers. He is the founding co-chair for The Open Group SOCCI project and is also the founding co-chair for the Open Group Cloud Computing Governance project.

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First Technical Standard for Cloud Computing – SOCCI

By E.G. Nadhan, HP

The Open Group just announced the availability of its first Technical Standard for the Cloud - Service Oriented Cloud Computing Infrastructure Framework (SOCCI), which outlines the concepts and architectural building blocks necessary for infrastructures to support SOA and Cloud initiatives. HP has played a leadership role in the definition and evolution of this standard within The Open Group.

SOCCI.png

As a platinum member of The Open Group, HP’s involvement started with the leadership of the Service Oriented Infrastructure project that I helped co-chair. As the Cloud Computing Working Group started taking shape, I suggested expanding this project into the working group, which resulted in the formation of the Service Oriented Cloud Computing Infrastructure project. This project was co-chaired by Tina Abdollah of IBM and myself and operated under the auspices of both the SOA and Cloud Computing Working Groups.

Infrastructure has been traditionally provisioned in a physical manner. With the evolution of virtualization technologies and application of service-orientation to infrastructure, it can now be offered as a service. SOCCI is the realization of an enabling framework of service-oriented components for infrastructure to be provided as a service in the cloud.

Service Oriented Cloud Computing Infrastructure (SOCCI) is a classic intersection of multiple paradigms in the industry – infrastructure virtualization, service-orientation and the cloud – an inevitable convergence,” said Tom Hall, Global Product Marketing Manager, Cloud and SOA Applications, HP Enterprise Services. “HP welcomes the release of the industry’s first cloud computing standard by The Open Group. This standard provides a strong foundation for HP and The Open Group to work together to evolve additional standards in the SOA and Cloud domains.”

This standard can be leveraged in one or more of the following ways:

  • Comprehend service orientation and Cloud synergies
  • Extend adoption of  traditional and service-oriented infrastructure in the Cloud
  • Leverage consumer, provider and developer viewpoints
  • Incorporate SOCCI building blocks into Enterprise Architecture
  • Implement Cloud-based solutions using different infrastructure deployment models
  • Realize business solutions referencing the SOCCI Business Scenario
  • Apply Cloud governance considerations and recommendations

The Open Group also announced the availability of the SOA Reference Architecture, a blueprint for creating and evaluating SOA solutions.

Standards go through a series of evolution phases as I outline in my post on Evolution of IaaS standards.  The announcement of the SOCCI Technical Standard will give some impetus to the evolution of IaaS standards in the Cloud somewhere between the experience and consensus phases.

It was a very positive experience co-chairing the evolution of the SOCCI standard within The Open Group working with other member companies from several enterprises with varied perspectives.

Have you taken a look at this standard?  If not, please do so.  And for those who have, where and how do you think this standard could be adopted?  Are there ways that the standard can be improved in future releases to make it better suited for broader adoption?  Please let me know!

This blog post was originally posted on HP’s Enterprise Services Blog.

HP Distinguished Technologist, E.G.Nadhan has over 25 years of experience in the IT industry across the complete spectrum of selling, delivering and managing enterprise level solutions for HP customers. He is the founding co-chair for The Open Group SOCCI project and is also the founding co-chair for the Open Group Cloud Computing Governance project.

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SF Conference to Explore Architecture Trends

By The Open Group Conference Team

In addition to exploring the theme of “Enterprise Transformation,” speakers at The Open Group San Francisco conference in January will explore a number of other trends related to enterprise architecture and the profession, including trends in service oriented architectures and business architecture. 

The debate about the role of EA in the development of high-level business strategy is a long running one. EA clearly contributes to business strategy, but does it formulate, plan or execute on business strategy?  If the scope of EA is limited to EA alone, it could have a diminutive role in business strategy and Enterprise Transformation going forward.

EA professionals will have the opportunity to discuss and debate these questions and hear from peers about their practical experiences, including the following tracks:

  • Establishing Value Driven EA as the Enterprise Embarks on Transformation (EA & Enterprise Transformation Track)  - Madhav Naidu, Lead Enterprise Architedt, Ciena Corp., US; and Mark Temple, Chief Architect, Ciena Corp.
  • Building an Enterprise Architecture Practice Foundation for Enterprise Transformation Execution  (EA & Business Innovation Track) – Frank Chen, Senior Manager & Principal Enterprise Architect, Cognizant, US
  • Death of IT: Rise of the Machines (Business Innovation & Technological Disruption: The Challenges to EA Track) –  Mans Bhuller, Senior Director, Oracle Corporation, US
  • Business Architecture Profession and Case Studies  (Business Architecture Track) – Mieke Mahakena, Capgemini,; and Peter Haviland, Chief Architect/Head of Business Architecture, Ernst & Young
  • Constructing the Architecture of an Agile Enterprise Using the MSBI Method (Agile Enterprise Architecture Track) – Nick Malike, Senior Principal Enterprise Architect, Microsoft Corporation, US
  • There’s a SEA Change in Your Future: How Sustainable EA Enables Business Success in Times of Disruptive Change (Sustainable EA Track)  – Leo Laverdure & Alex Conn, Managing Partners, SBSA Partners LLC, US
  • The Realization of SOA’s Using the SOA Reference Architecture  (Tutorials) – Nikhil Kumar, President, Applied Technology Solutions, US
  • SOA Governance: Thinking Beyond Services (SOA Track) – Jed Maczuba, Senior Manager, Accenture, US

In addition, a number of conference tracks will explore issues and trends related to the enterprise architecture profession and role of enterprise architects within organizations.  Tracks addressing professional concerns include:

  • EA: Professionalization or Marketing Needed? (Professional Development Track)  - Peter Kuppen, Senior Manager, Deloitte Consulting, BV, Netherlands
  • Implementing Capabilities With an Architecture Practice (Setting up a Successful EA Practice Track)  – Mike Jacobs, Director and Principal Architect, OmptumInsight; and Joseph May, Director, Architecture Center of Excellence, OmptumInsight
  • Gaining and Retaining Stakeholder Buy-In: The Key to a Successful EA Practice Practice (Setting up a Successful EA Practice Track)   – Russ Gibfried, Enterprise Architect, CareFusion Corporation, US
  • The Virtual Enterprise Architecture Team (Nature & Role of the Enterprise Architecture) – Nicholas Hill, Principal Enterprise Architect, Consulting Services, FSI, Infosys; and Musharal Mughal, Director of EA, Manulife Financials, Canada

 Our Tutorials track will also provide practical guidance for attendees interested in learning more about how to implement architectures within organizations.  Topics will include tutorials on subjects such as TOGAF®, Archimate®, Service Oriented Architectures,  and architecture methods and techniques.

For more information on EA conference tracks, please visit the conference program on our website.

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Filed under Cloud/SOA, Enterprise Architecture, Enterprise Transformation, Semantic Interoperability, Service Oriented Architecture

Finding the value in SOA

by Stephen Bennett, Oracle

Republished with permission from CIO Update from an article published on behalf of The Open Group.

Confronted with the age old problems of agility and complexity, today’s CIOs are under more pressure than ever to improve the strategic value of IT to the business. At best, these challenges have increased costs, limited innovation and increased risk. At worst, they have reduced IT’s ability to respond to changing business needs in a timely fashion.

Yet, changes for business and IT are continuing to occur at an ever-increasing pace. To keep up, enterprises need to adopt an agile, flexible architecture style with a proven strategic approach to delivering IT to the business.

Over the last year, I have seen a resurgence of CIOs using Enterprise Architecture (EA) as a key tool to address these challenges. In the past, EA has experienced difficulties within the enterprise. It has been unfairly seen as primarily a documentation exercise and, when applied incorrectly, EA can — ironically — become a silo in of itself. To make sure that EA has better success this time, CIOs must make their EA efforts more actionable.

Step back: SOA

Service oriented architecture (SOA) has been positioned as an architectural style specifically intended to reduce costs, increase agility and, most importantly, simplify the business and the interoperation of different parts of that business.

A key principle of SOA is the structuring of business capabilities into meaningful, granular services as opposed to opaque and siloed business functions. This makes it possible to quickly identify and reuse any existing realized functional capabilities, thus avoiding the duplication of similar capabilities across the organization. By standardizing the behavior and interoperation of these services, it’s possible to limit the impacts of change and to forecast the likely chain of impacts.

Despite its popularity, relatively few enterprises have been able to measure and demonstrate the value of SOA. This is due primarily to the approach that enterprises have taken when adopting and applying SOA. In most cases, enterprises interpret SOA as simply another solution development approach. As a result, SOA has been relegated or wrongly positioned as a purely integration technology, rather than the strategic enabler that it can be.

Because of this, SOA must not be seen as a solution development approach that starts and ends once a solution is delivered. It must be seen as an on-going process that, when coupled with a strategic framework, can change and evolve with the business over time. Unfortunately, many enterprises adopt SOA without utilizing a strategic framework, causing a host of challenges for their business.

Just a few of the challenges I have seen include:

  • More complexity and moving parts
  • Increased costs
  • Projects taking longer than before
  • Solutions more fragile than ever
  • Little or no agility
  • Difficulty identifying and discovering services
  • Exponentially growing governance challenges
  • Limited service re-use
  • Duplication of effort leading to service sprawl
  • Multiple siloed technology focused SOAs
  • Funding for service oriented projects being cut

It’s no wonder that SOA has a bad reputation.

To address these challenges, enterprises utilizing or considering adopting SOA must align it with an EA framework that elevates the importance of the needs of the enterprise rather than only considering the requirements of individual projects.

Step forward: TOGAF® 9

Now used by 80 percent of the Fortune Global 50, TOGAF® , an Open Group standard, is an architecture framework that contains a detailed method and set of supporting resources for developing an EA. As a comprehensive, open method for EA, TOGAF 9 complements and can be used in conjunction with other frameworks that are more focused on specific aspects of architecture, such as MDA and ITIL.

The Open Group’s new guide, Using TOGAF to Define and Govern Service-Oriented Architectures, aims to facilitate common understanding of the development of SOA while offering a phased approach to maximizing its business impact based on the popular TOGAF methodology. Let’s take a look at the main takeaways from the guide:

Organization readiness - An enterprise first needs to adopt the principle of service-orientation. However, successful SOA depends on the readiness of the enterprise to become service-oriented. To get started with SOA, the guide recommends conducting a maturity assessment. Such an assessment is available from The Open Group and enables a practitioner to assess an organization’s SOA maturity level and define a roadmap for incremental adoption to maximize business benefits at each stage along the way.

Scope - The size and complexity of an enterprise affects the way its architecture develops. Where there are many different organizational and business models, it is not practical to integrate them within a single architecture. It is therefore generally not appropriate to develop a single, integrated SOA for a large and complex enterprise.

TOGAF defines enterprise as any collection of organizations that has a common set of goals. For example, an enterprise could be a government agency, a whole corporation, a division of a corporation, a single department, or a chain of geographically distant organizations linked together by common ownership.

The guide highlights an approach for enterprise architects to identify the business areas where SOA will be of greatest benefit and make a significant impact so that they can be prioritized. This approach will help organizations avoid using SOA with the wrong situations to maximize their investment and overall business impact.

Communication, communication, communication - Aspects of TOGAF 9 were extended and enhanced to cover specific service-oriented concepts and terminology such as service contracts. Service contracts formalize the functional and non-functional characteristics of a business service and how it interacts with other business services. This enables a business vocabulary to be derived that allows IT to converse with the business in terms of business process and business services and abstracting away the complexity of the underlying technical services.

Governance - The identification of service and service portfolios is a key task for SOA. The questions of what service and service portfolios the enterprise will have, and how they will be managed must be taken with an enterprise level view.

Just because you have identified a number of services does not automatically mean they will add value to the enterprise and that they should be realized (at least not initially). Governance plays a key role here and the guide recommends the establishment of a SOA governance and creating a linkage to both IT and EA governance in the enterprise.

The Open Group has a wealth of information available in this area, specifically an SOA governance framework that provides context and definitions that enable organizations to understand, customize, and deploy SOA governance.

The relationship between EA and SOA is a powerful and synergistic one. They are key enablers for one another, making EA actionable while making the wider business benefits of SOA obtainable.

SOA is certainly not the only architectural approach that your enterprise will require. But it can smooth the alignment and adoption of other architecture styles (e.g., business process management, event-driven architecture) into an EA framework. So rather than reinvent the wheel, organizations should consider using a well-established framework such as TOGAF to elevate and extend the value of SOA.

The Open Group’s new guide is a must-read for any enterprise architect currently using TOGAF, but remember that it needs to be customized and extended to your enterprises unique situation. Now, if only The Open Group had a guide on using TOGAF to define and govern Cloud Computing!

Stephen Bennett is a senior enterprise architect at Oracle, an author, and a 25-year technologist focused on providing thought leadership, best practices, and architecture guidance around SOA and Cloud Computing. He has co-chaired a number of Work Groups within The Open Group around SOA Governance and TOGAF/SOA.

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New Open Group Guide Shows Enterprise Architects How to Maximize SOA Business Value with TOGAF®

By Awel Dico, Bank of Montreal

Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) has promised many benefits for both IT and business. As a result, it has been widely adopted as an architectural style among both private business and government enterprises. Despite SOA’s popularity, however, relatively few of these enterprises are able to measure and demonstrate the value of SOA to their organization. What is the problem and why is it so hard to demonstrate that SOA can deliver the much needed business value it promises? In this post I will point out some root causes for this problem and highlight how The Open Group’s new guide, titled “Using TOGAF® to Define and Govern Service-Oriented Architectures,” can help organizations maximize their return on investment with SOA.

The main problem is rooted in the way SOA adoption is approached. In most cases, organizations approach SOA by limiting the scope to individual solution implementation projects – using it purely as a tool to group software functions into services described by some standard interface. As a result, each SOA implementation is disconnected and void of the larger business problem context. This creates disconnected, technology-focused SOA silos that are difficult to manage and govern. Reuse of services across business lines, arguably one of the main advantages of SOA, in turn becomes very limited if not impossible without increased cost of integration.

SOA calls for standard-based service infrastructure that requires big investment. I have seen many IT organizations struggle to establish a common SOA infrastructure, but fail to do so. The main reason for this failure is again the way SOA is approached in those organizations; limiting SOA’s scope to solution projects makes it hard for individual projects to justify the investment in service infrastructure. As a result they fall back to their tactical implementation which cannot be reused by other projects down the road.

The other culprit is that many organizations think SOA can be applied to all situations – failing to realize that there are cases when SOA is not a good approach at all. An SOA approach is not cheap, and trying to fit it to all situations results in an increased cost without any ROI.

Fortunately there’s a solution to this problem. The Open Group SOA Work Group recently developed a short guide on how to use TOGAF® to define and govern SOA. The guide’s main goal is to enable enterprises to deliver the expected business value from their SOA initiatives. What’s great about TOGAF® in helping organizations approach SOA is the fact that it’s an architecture-style, agnostic and flexible framework that can be customized to various enterprise needs, architectural scopes and styles. In a nutshell, the guide recommends the incorporation of SOA style in the EA framework through customization and enhancement of TOGAF® 9.

How does this solve the problem I pointed out above? Well, here’s how:

SOA, as an architectural style, becomes recognized as part of the organization’s overall Enterprise Architecture instead of leaving it linked to only individual projects. The guide advises the identification of SOA principles and establishment of supporting architectural capabilities at the preliminary phase of TOGAF®. It also recommends establishment of SOA governance and creating linkage to both IT and EA governance in the enterprise. These architecture capabilities lift the heavy weight from the solution projects and ensure that any SOA initiative delivers business value to the enterprise. This means SOA projects in the enterprise share a larger enterprise context and each project adds value to the whole enterprise business in an incremental, reusable fashion.

When TOGAF® is applied at the strategic level, then SOA concepts can be incorporated into the strategy by indentifying the business areas or segments in the enterprise that benefit from a SOA approach. Likewise, the strategy could point out the areas in which SOA is not adding any value to the business. This allows users to identify the expected key metrics from the start and focus their SOA investment on high value projects. This also makes sure that each smaller SOA project is initiated in the context of larger business objectives and as such, can add measurable business value.

In summary, this short and concise guide links all the moving parts (such as SOA principles, SOA governance, Reference Architectures, SOA maturity, SOA Meta-model, etc.) and I think it is a must-read for any enterprise architect using TOGAF® as their organization’s EA framework and SOA as an architectural style. If you are wondering how these architectural elements fit together, I recommend you look at the guide and customize or extend its key concepts to your own situation. If you read it carefully, you will understand why SOA projects must have larger enterprise business context and how this can be done by customizing TOGAF® to define and govern your own SOA initiatives.

To download the guide for free, please visit The Open Group’s online bookstore.

Awel Dico, Ph. D., is Enterprise Architect for the Bank of Montreal. He is currently working on enterprise integration architecture and establishing best practice styles and patterns for bank wide services integration.  In the past he has consulted on various projects and worked with many teams across the organization and worked on many architecture initiatives, some of which include: leading mid-tier service infrastructure architecture; developing enterprise SOA principles, guidelines and standards; Developing SOA Service Compliance process; developing and applying architectural patterns; researching technology and industry trends, and contributing to the development of bank’s Enterprise Reference Architecture blueprint. In addition, Dr. Dico currently co-chairs The Open Group SOA Work Group and The Open Group SOA/TOGAF Practical Guide Project. He also co-supervises PhD candidates at Addis Ababa University, Computer Science – in Software Engineering track. Dr. Dico is also a founder of Community College helping students in rural areas of Ethiopia.

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Filed under Service Oriented Architecture