Tag Archives: business architects

#ogChat Summary – Business Architecture

By Patty Donovan, The Open Group

The Open Group hosted a tweet jam (#ogChat) to discuss the evolution of Business Architecture and its role in enterprise transformation. In case you missed the conversation, here is a recap of the event.

The Participants

A total of 16 participants joined in the hour-long discussion, including:

The Discussion

Here is a high-level  snapshot of yesterday’s #ogChat discussion:

Q1 How do you define #BizArch? #ogChat

While not everyone could agree on a single definition, all agreed that Business Architecture enables operational ease and business model innovation.

  • @Dana_Gardner: Q1 Aligning the strategies and operational priorities of all a business’s groups along a common, coorindated path. #ogChat #BizArch #EA
  • @enterprisearchs: Q1 At @enterprisearchs we also believe #BizArch is the design of business to enable business model innovation #ogChat
  • @bmichelson: #ogchat q1: in reality, business architecture is more the meta model of business, used to understand, measure, deliver capability #BizArch
  • @MartinGladwell: Q1 Orchestrating the delivery of changes needed to realise the strategy #ogchat

 

Q2 What is the role of the business architect? What real world #business problems does #BizArch solve? #ogChat

Most agreed that the lines are blurred between the roles of the Business Architect and the Enterprise Architect. Both manage complexity, agility and data proactively within a business or enterprise.

  • @bmichelson: #ogchat q2: so, I differ here. I think *true* business architect designs the business; in reality, we assign “architect” to business analyst
  • @Dana_Gardner: Q2 #BizArch allows for managing complexity, fostering agility, makes a data-driven enterprise more able to act in proactive manner #ogChat
  • @editingwhiz: So much software now is aimed at line-of-business people that acquiring IT business architect creds would be a huge attribute. #ogChat
  • @MartinGladwell: Q2 Is an MBA an advantage for a BA? Is it necessary? #ogchat
  • @enterprisearchs: A2 Ensures an org is correctly positioned and the environmental/industry factors are understood in order to achieve its strategy #ogChat
  • @DaveHornford: Q2: all my answers chase their tails into architecture – what must I have to get what I want – what must change  #ogchat #bizarch

 

Q3 How is the role of the Business Architect changing? What are the drivers of this change? #ogChat #BizArch

Some argued that the role of the Business Architect is not changing at all, but rather just emerging (or evolving?), and that Business Architects are differentiating themselves from other organizational roles. Others argued that the role is changing to accommodate emerging trends and areas of focus (i.e,. customer experience).

  • @enterprisearchs: A3 Businesses are looking to differentiate, an increased focus on Customer Experience is raising questions on how to increase NPS #ogChat
  • @blake6677: #ogchat At the core of my Business Architecture practice is business capability modeling
  • @DaveHornford: Q3 – changing? Is just starting to appear – distinction between architect, strategist, analyst, change leader often hard to see  #ogchat

 

Q4 How does #BizArch differ from #EntArch? #ogChat

Similar to the discussion around question two, most participants agreed that the roles of Business and Enterprise Architects are difficult to separate, while some argued about the differences in scope of the two roles.

  • @NadhanAtHP: A4: @theopengroup Biz Architecture provides the business foundation for the Enterprise Architecture which is more holistic #ogChat
  • @DaveHornford: Q4: difference is in scope #BizArch is one of many domains comprising #EntArch #ogchat
  • @harryhendrickx: Q3 #BizArch evolves towards operational position serving many initiatives. Not sure how practice evolves #ogChat
  • Len Fehskens: Q4 “There is a lot of confusion about the meanings of #business and #enterprise, and many people use them synonymously” #Len #ogChat
  • @MartinGladwell @theopengroup Len I think there is no truth of the matter, we must choose to use these terms in a way that advances our common cause #ogchat
  • @enterprisearchs: A4 In TOGAF ADM we see #BizArch predominantly supporting the prelim and arch vision phases #ogchat

 

Q5 How can Business Architects and Enterprise Architects work together? #ogChat #BizArch #EntArch

All agreed that Business Architects and Enterprise Architects exist to support one another. When discussing the first step to establishing successful Business Architecture, participants suggested knowing its purpose first, then tapping professional accreditation and community involvement resources second.

  • @Dave Hornford: Ethnography within the enterprise, it’s ecosystem or both? #ogchat
  • @Dana_Gardner: Q5 They make each other stronger, and can provide an example to the rest on how these methods and tools can work harmoniously. #ogChat
  • @bmichelson: “@theopengroup: What is the first step toward establishing a successful #BizArch? #ogChat” < knowing why you want to establish practice
  • @MartinGladwell: @theopengroup #ogchat professional accreditation, community, role models

 

Q6 What’s in store for #BizArch in the future? #ogChat

When looking towards the future, panelists suggested erasing ambiguity when it comes to the difference between Business and Enterprise Architects. Others also predicted that the rising demand for Business Architects will spark a need for certification and training programs.

  • Len Fehskens: Q6 I fear conventional wisdom contradictions and ambiguities will be ‘resolved’ by setting arbitrary distinctions in concrete #Len #ogChat
  • @Dana_Gardner: Q6 I hope to see more stature given to the role of #BizArch, so that it becomes an executive-tier requirement. #ogChat
  • @bmichelson: #ogchat q6: learning how to enable continuous change via: visibility, context, correctness & responsiveness #BizArch
  • @MartinGladwell: Q6 #ogchat We will see information as a design activity not an analysis activity
  • @enterprisearchs: A6 The demand for #BizArch will  generate a need for recognised certification and training #ogChat
  • @allenbrownopen: Business architecture like other functions such as legal and finance can inform C level decisions, it can’t make them #ogchat

 

A big thank you to all the participants who made this such a great discussion!  Join us for our next tweet jam on Platform 3.0!

 

patricia donovanPatricia Donovan is Vice President, Membership & Events, at The Open Group and a member of its executive management team. In this role she is involved in determining the company’s strategic direction and policy as well as the overall management of that business area. Patricia joined The Open Group in 1988 and has played a key role in the organization’s evolution, development and growth since then. She also oversees the company’s marketing, conferences and member meetings. She is based in the U.S.

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Gaining Greater Cohesion: Bringing Business Analysis and Business Architecture into Focus

By Craig Martin, Enterprise Architects

Having delivered many talks on Business Architecture over the years, I’m often struck by the common vision driving many members in the audience – a vision of building cohesion in a business, achieving the right balance between competing forces and bringing the business strategy and operations into harmony.  However, as with many ambitious visions, the challenge in this case is immense.  As I will explain, many of the people who envision this future state of nirvana are, in practice, inadvertently preventing it from happening.

Standards Silos
There are a host of standards and disciplines that are brought into play by enterprises to improve business performance and capabilities. For example standards such as PRINCE2, BABOK, BIZBOK, TOGAF, COBIT, ITIL and PMBOK are designed to ensure reliability of team output and approach across various business activities. However, in many instances these standards, operating together, present important gaps and overlaps. One wonders whose job it is to integrate and unify these standards. Whose job is it to understand the business requirements, business processes, drivers, capabilities and so on?

Apples to Apples?
As these standards evolve they often introduce new jargon to support their view of the world. Have you ever had to ask your business to explain what they do on a single page? The diversity of the views and models can be quite astonishing:

  • The target operating model
  • The business model
  • The process model
  • The capability model
  • The value chain model
  • The functional model
  • The business services model
  • The component business model
  • The business reference model
  • Business anchor model

The list goes on and on…

Each has a purpose and brings value in isolation. However, in the common scenario where they are developed using differing tools, methods, frameworks and techniques, the result is usually greater fragmentation, not more cohesion – and consequently we can end up with some very confused and exacerbated business stakeholders who care less about what standard we use and more about finding clarity to just get the job done.

The Convergence of Business Architecture and Business Analysis
Ask a room filled with business analysts and business architects how their jobs differ and relate, and I guarantee that would receive a multitude of alternative and sometimes conflicting perspectives.

Both of these disciplines try to develop standardised methods and frameworks for the description of the building blocks of an organization. They also seek to standardise the means by which to string them together to create better outcomes.

In other words, they are the disciplines that seek to create balance between two important business goals:

  • To produce consistent, predictable outcomes
  • To produce outcomes that meet desired objectives

In his book, “The Design of Business: Why Design Thinking is the Next Competitive Advantage,” Roger Martin describes the relationships and trade-offs between analytical thinking and intuitive thinking in business. He refers to the “knowledge funnel,” which charts the movement of business focus from solving business mysteries using heuristics to creating algorithms that increase reliability, reducing business complexity and costs and improving business performance.

The disciplines of Business Architecture and business analysis are both currently seeking to address this challenge. Martin refers to this as ”design thinking.”

Thinking Types v2

Vision Vs. Reality For Business Analysts and Business Architects

When examining the competency models for business analysis and Business Architecture, the desire is to position these two disciplines right across the spectrum of reliability and validity.

The reality is that both the business architect and the business analyst spend a large portion of their time in the reliability space, and I believe I’ve found the reason why.

Both the BABOK and the BIZBOK provide a body of knowledge focused predominantly around the reliability space. In other words, they look at how we define the building blocks of an organization, and less so at how we invent better building blocks within the organization.

Integrating the Disciplines

While we still have some way to go to integrate, the Business Architecture and business analysis disciplines are currently bringing great value to business through greater reliability and repeatability.

However, there is a significant opportunity to enable the intuitive thinkers to look at the bigger picture and identify opportunities to innovate their business models, their go-to-market, their product and service offerings and their operations.

Perhaps we might consider introducing a new function to bridge and unify the disciplines?

This newly created function might integrate a number of incumbent roles and functions and cover:

  • A holistic structural view covering the business model and the high-level relationships and interactions between all business systems
  • A market model view in which the focus is on understanding the market dynamics, segments and customer need
  • A products and services model view focusing on customer experience, value proposition, product and service mix and customer value
  • An operating model view – this is the current focus area of the business architect and business analyst. You need these building blocks defined in a reliable, repeatable and manageable structure. This enables agility within the organization and will support the assembly and mixing of building blocks to improve customer experience and value

At the end of the day, what matters most is not business analysis or Business Architecture themselves, but how the business will bridge the reliability and validity spectrum to reliably produce desired business outcomes.

I will discuss this topic in more detail at The Open Group Conference in Sydney, April 15-18, which will be the first Open Group event to be held in Australia.

Craig-MARTIN-ea-updated-3Craig Martin is the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Architect at Enterprise Architects, which is a specialist Enterprise Architecture firm operating in the U.S., UK, Asia and Australia. He is presenting the Business Architecture plenary at the upcoming Open Group conference in Sydney. 

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Questions for the Upcoming Business Architecture Tweet Jam – March 19

By Patty Donovan, The Open Group

Earlier this week, we announced our upcoming tweet jam on Tuesday, March 19 at 2:00 p.m. PT/9:00 p.m. GMT/ Wednesday, March 20 at 8:00 a.m. EDT (Sydney Australia), which will examine the way in which Business Architecture is impacting enterprises and businesses of all sizes.

The discussion will be moderated by The Open Group (@theopengroup), and we welcome both members of The Open Group and interested participants alike to join the session.

The discussion will be guided by these six questions:

  1. How do you define Business Architecture?
  2. What is the role of the business architect? What real world business problems does Business Architecture solve?
  3. How is the role of the business architect changing? What are the drivers of this change?
  4. How does Business Architecture differ from Enterprise Architecture?
  5. How can business architects and enterprise architects work together?
  6. What’s in store for Business Architecture in the future?

To join the discussion, please follow the #ogChat hashtag during the allotted discussion time. Other hashtags we recommend you use during the event include:

  • Enterprise Architecture : #EntArch
  • Business Architecture: #BizArch
  • The Open Group Architecture Forum : #ogArch

For more information about the tweet jam, guidelines and general background information, please visit our previous blog post.

If you have any questions prior to the event or would like to join as a participant, please direct them to Rod McLeod (rmcleod at bateman-group dot com), or leave a comment below. We anticipate a lively chat and hope you will be able to join us!

patricia donovanPatricia Donovan is Vice President, Membership & Events, at The Open Group and a member of its executive management team. In this role she is involved in determining the company’s strategic direction and policy as well as the overall management of that business area. Patricia joined The Open Group in 1988 and has played a key role in the organization’s evolution, development and growth since then. She also oversees the company’s marketing, conferences and member meetings. She is based in the U.S.

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2013 Open Group Predictions, Vol. 2

By The Open Group

Continuing on the theme of predictions, here are a few more, which focus on global IT trends, business architecture, OTTF and Open Group events in 2013.

Global Enterprise Architecture

By Chris Forde, Vice President of Enterprise Architecture and Membership Capabilities

Cloud is no longer a bleeding edge technology – most organizations are already well on their way to deploying cloud technology.  However, Cloud implementations are resurrecting a perennial problem for organizations—integration. Now that Cloud infrastructures are being deployed, organizations are having trouble integrating different systems, especially with systems hosted by third parties outside their organization. What will happen when two, three or four technical delivery systems are hosted on AND off premise? This presents a looming integration problem.

As we see more and more organizations buying into cloud infrastructures, we’ll see an increase in cross-platform integration architectures globally in 2013. The role of the enterprise architect will become more complex. Architectures must not only ensure that systems are integrated properly, but architects also need to figure out a way to integrate outsourced teams and services and determine responsibility across all systems. Additionally, outsourcing and integration will lead to increased focus on security in the coming year, especially in healthcare and financial sectors. When so many people are involved, and responsibility is shared or lost in the process, gaping holes can be left unnoticed. As data is increasingly shared between organizations and current trends escalate, security will also become more and more of a concern. Integration may yield great rewards architecturally, but it also means greater exposure to vulnerabilities outside of your firewall.

Within the Architecture Forum, we will be working on improvements to the TOGAF® standard throughout 2013, as well as an effort to continue to harmonize the TOGAF specification with the ArchiMate® modelling language.  The Forum also expects to publish a whitepaper on application portfolio management in the new year, as well as be involved in the upcoming Cloud Reference Architecture.

In China, The Open Group is progressing well. In 2013, we’ll continue translating The Open Group website, books and whitepapers from English to Chinese. Partnerships and Open CA certification will remain in the forefront of global priorities, as well as enrolling TOGAF trainers throughout Asia Pacific as Open Group members. There are a lot of exciting developments arising, and we will keep you updated as we expand our footprint in China and the rest of Asia.

Open Group Events in 2013

By Patty Donovan, Vice President of Membership and Events

In 2013, the biggest change for us will be our quarterly summit. The focus will shift toward an emphasis on verticals. This new focus will debut at our April event in Sydney where the vertical themes include Mining, Government, and Finance. Additional vertical themes that we plan to cover throughout the year include: Healthcare, Transportation, Retail, just to name a few. We will also continue to increase the number of our popular Livestream sessions as we have seen an extremely positive reaction to them as well as all of our On-Demand sessions – listen to best selling authors and industry leaders who participated as keynote and track speakers throughout the year.

Regarding social media, we made big strides in 2012 and will continue to make this a primary focus of The Open Group. If you haven’t already, please “like” us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, join the chat on (#ogchat) one of our Security focused Tweet Jams, and join our LinkedIn Group. And if you have the time, we’d love for you to contribute to The Open Group blog.

We’re always open to new suggestions, so if you have a creative idea on how we can improve your membership, Open Group events, webinars, podcasts, please let me know! Also, please be sure to attend the upcoming Open Group Conference in Newport Beach, Calif., which is taking place on January 28-31. The conference will address Big Data.

Business Architecture

By Steve Philp, Marketing Director for Open CA and Open CITS

Business Architecture is still a relatively new discipline, but in 2013 I think it will continue to grow in prominence and visibility from an executive perspective. C-Level decision makers are not just looking at operational efficiency initiatives and cost reduction programs to grow their future revenue streams; they are also looking at market strategy and opportunity analysis.

Business Architects are extremely valuable to an organization when they understand market and technology trends in a particular sector. They can then work with business leaders to develop strategies based on the capabilities and positioning of the company to increase revenue, enhance their market position and improve customer loyalty.

Senior management recognizes that technology also plays a crucial role in how organizations can achieve their business goals. A major role of the Business Architect is to help merge technology with business processes to help facilitate this business transformation.

There are a number of key technology areas for 2013 where Business Architects will be called upon to engage with the business such as Cloud Computing, Big Data and social networking. Therefore, the need to have competent Business Architects is a high priority in both the developed and emerging markets and the demand for Business Architects currently exceeds the supply. There are some training and certification programs available based on a body of knowledge, but how do you establish who is a practicing Business Architect if you are looking to recruit?

The Open Group is trying to address this issue and has incorporated a Business Architecture stream into The Open Group Certified Architect (Open CA) program. There has already been significant interest in this stream from both organizations and practitioners alike. This is because Open CA is a skills- and experience-based program that recognizes, at different levels, those individuals who are actually performing in a Business Architecture role. You must complete a candidate application package and be interviewed by your peers. Achieving certification demonstrates your competency as a Business Architect and therefore will stand you in good stead for both next year and beyond.

You can view the conformance criteria for the Open CA Business Architecture stream at https://www2.opengroup.org/ogsys/catalog/X120.

Trusted Technology

By Sally Long, Director of Consortia Services

The interdependency of all countries on global technology providers and technology providers’ dependencies on component suppliers around the world is more certain than ever before.  The need to work together in a vendor-neutral, country-neutral environment to assure there are standards for securing technology development and supply chain operations will become increasingly apparent in 2013. Securing the global supply chain can not be done in a vacuum, by a few providers or a few governments, it must be achieved by working together with all governments, providers, component suppliers and integrators and it must be done through open standards and accreditation programs that demonstrate conformance to those standards and are available to everyone.

The Open Group’s Trusted Technology Forum is providing that open, vendor and country-neutral environment, where suppliers from all countries and governments from around the world can work together in a trusted collaborative environment, to create a standard and an accreditation program for securing the global supply chain. The Open Trusted Technology Provider Standard (O-TTPS) Snapshot (Draft) was published in March of 2012 and is the basis for our 2013 predictions.

We predict that in 2013:

  • Version 1.0 of the O-TTPS (Standard) will be published.
  • Version 1.0 will be submitted to the ISO PAS process in 2013, and will likely become part of the ISO/IEC 27036 standard, where Part 5 of that ISO standard is already reserved for the O-TTPS work
  • An O-TTPS Accreditation Program – open to all providers, component suppliers, and integrators, will be launched
  • The Forum will continue the trend of increased member participation from governments and suppliers around the world

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Different Words Meant Different Things, Part 3

By Leonard Fehskens, The Open Group

In the second part of this series, I examined the effect of our definition of enterprise on how we think about EA.

To close, I’ll consider the implications of a more inclusive concept of enterprise on the future of Enterprise Architecture.

The current cohort of EAs who have grown accustomed to a misnamed and narrowly focused discipline will eventually retire.  They will be replaced, over time, by EAs who learn the discipline in academic programs rather than by making it up on the job.  They will chuckle in amusement at a “body of knowledge” that is like that of medicine before germ theory, geology before plate tectonics, or astronomy before heliocentrism.  These programs are being created now, and academics are not interested in teaching a discipline with an irrational and inconsistent vocabulary.  They don’t want to have to explain to their students that it is for “historical reasons” that “enterprise means the IT part of a business.”

The focus of an academic program on Enterprise Architecture will necessarily reflect the prevailing concept of enterprise.  The commonly used model of Enterprise Architecture being about people, process and technology provides a useful context for considering this influence.

An IT-centric concept of Enterprise Architecture, like the one currently espoused by most of the community, will emphasize the role of information technology in supporting the needs of the business.  It will include just enough about business and people to enable practitioners to address the goal of “aligning IT with the business.”

A concept of Enterprise Architecture based on the idea of enterprise as business will emphasize business, especially business processes, as they are the primary locus of technological support.  It will include just enough about information technology and people to enable practitioners to address the goal of making IT a strategic asset for businesses.

A concept of Enterprise Architecture based on the idea of enterprise as human endeavor will emphasize the role of people, and be built around the sociology and psychology of individuals, groups and organizations, especially leadership and management as means to achieving organizational goals.  It will devote some attention to business as a particular kind of enterprise, but will look at other forms of enterprise and their unique concerns as well.  Finally, it will consider technology in its most general sense as the means of instantiating the infrastructure necessary to realize an enterprise.  There will be a lot of harumphing about how the conventional wisdom is correct by definition because it is what is practiced by the majority of practitioners, but there is a noisy and insistent contingent that will continue to point out that the world is not flat and the sun does not go around the earth.  Only time will tell, but however you measure it, over 90% of most organizations is “not-IT”, and the IT-centric perspective is simply so imbalanced that it can’t ultimately prevail.

Adopting a broader concept of enterprise consistent with its meaning in common English usage does not in any way invalidate any of the current applications or interpretations of Enterprise Architecture.  It simply allows the application of architectural thinking to other kinds of purposeful human activity besides commercial business organizations to be subsumed under the rubric “Enterprise Architecture”.  All entities that are enterprises by these more restrictive definitions clearly fit unchanged into this more inclusive definition of enterprise.

 Len Fehskens is Vice President of Skills and Capabilities at The Open GroupHe is responsible for The Open Group’s activities relating to the professionalization of the discipline of enterprise architecture. Prior to joining The Open Group, Len led the Worldwide Architecture Profession Office for HP Services at Hewlett-Packard. He majored in Computer Science at MIT, and has over 40 years of experience in the IT business as both an individual contributor and a manager, within both product engineering and services business units. Len has worked for Digital Equipment Corporation, Data General Corporation, Prime Computer, Compaq and Hewlett Packard.  He is the lead inventor on six software patents on the object oriented management of distributed systems.

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Different Words Mean Different Things, Part 2

By Leonard Fehskens, The Open Group

In the first part of this series, I proposed distinct meanings of enterprise, business, organization and corporation.

As I noted earlier, you don’t have to agree with the distinctions I am making here.  But words are a finite, “nonrenewable” resource – if you treat these four words as interchangeable synonyms, you will not be able to make these distinctions without finding other words to make them for you.  In particular, you will not be able to distinguish an endeavor from the means of realizing it (similar to confusing an architecture and a blueprint).  You will not be able to distinguish one particular kind of endeavor (for example, a commercial endeavor) from other kinds of endeavors.  You will not be able to distinguish one particular kind of organization from other kinds of organizations.

Treating these four words as synonyms makes these words unavailable to describe larger and more inclusive domains for the application of architectural thinking.  What’s more, it does so needlessly.  This discipline doesn’t need synonyms any more than an organization needs multiple different systems that do the same thing.  Synonyms are redundancies that reduce the expressive power of the language we use to talk about what we do.  We need to be able to make distinctions between things that are important to distinguish from one another, and there are only so many words available to us to do so.

I acknowledge that for most of the community of practicing business and enterprise architects, most if not all of their practice occurs in the context of business-as-commercial-entities.  It is therefore not surprising that many people in the Business and Enterprise Architecture communities would not believe these distinctions are worth making, and be perfectly happy to (if not insistent that we) treat these words as synonyms.  But we have to be careful to avoid the example of the six blind men and the elephant, and being able to explain a predisposition to make these words synonymous doesn’t make it the right thing to do.

There’s even a contingent that insists that enterprise doesn’t just mean a commercial business organization, that it means a specific kind of commercial business organization, one that exceeds some critical threshold with respect to its scale, complexity, sophistication, ambition or consequence.  This is a bit like insisting that the implied “building” in “(building) architecture” means “commercial building”, or more specifically, “skyscraper.”

The problem with this concept of enterprise arises when one tries to specify the objective criteria by which one distinguishes a mere business from the bigger, more complex, more sophisticated, more ambitious or more consequential business that deserves to be called an enterprise.  It is certainly the case that the larger, more complex, more sophisticated, more ambitious and more consequential a commercial business organization is, the more likely architectural thinking will be necessary and beneficial.  But this observation about Enterprise Architecture does not mean that we ought to define enterprise to mean a large, complex, sophisticated, ambitious and consequential commercial business organization.

Why have so many naval vessels been named Enterprise?  Why was the Starship Enterprise from the Star Trek franchise so named, and why was this thought to be an appropriate name for the first space shuttle?  It was not because these vessels embodied some idea of a commercial business organization or because the word connoted a big, complex, sophisticated, ambitious or consequential business.  And surely if the latter had been the reason, there would be many lesser vessels named simply “Business”?

There are two significant consequences to basing Enterprise Architecture (EA) on a concept of enterprise that is limited to a particular kind of organization.  The first has to do with the applicability of the discipline, and the second has to do with how we educate enterprise architects.

If we restrict the definition of enterprise to a specific kind of purposeful activity, whether the criteria we use for this restriction are subjective or objective, we must either argue that architectural thinking is inapplicable to those purposeful activities that do not satisfy these restrictions, or we have to find a word to denote the larger class of purposeful activities to which architectural thinking applies, a class that includes both the restricted concept of enterprise and all other activities to which architectural thinking applies.

If enterprise means the same thing as commercial business organization, what do we call an entity that is not a commercial business organization (e.g., a church, a hospital, a government, or an army)?  Does Enterprise Architecture not apply to such endeavors because they are not created primarily to conduct business transactions?  What do we call organizations that are not businesses?  If we want to talk about an organization that is a business, why can’t we just use the compound “business organization”, which not only does not erase the distinction, it makes clear the relationship between the two?  Similarly, if we want to talk about an enterprise that is a business, as an enterprise, why can’t we just use the compound “business enterprise”?

Similarly, what should we call the architectural discipline that applies to human enterprise in general, and of which any more narrowly defined concept of Enterprise Architecture is necessarily a specialization?

Expanding definitions

The recent surge of interest in “Business Architecture” is, in my opinion, reflective of both the realization by the community that the historically IT-centric focus of Enterprise Architecture is unnecessarily circumscribed, and the lack of a systematic and internally consistent concept of Enterprise Architecture shared throughout that community.

There is a growing faction within the EA community that argues that most of Enterprise Architecture as practiced is actually enterprise IT architecture (EITA), and calling this practice EA is a misuse of the term.  Despite this, the widespread adoption of the egregiously oversimplified model of an enterprise as comprising “the business” and IT, and thus, Enterprise Architecture as comprising “Business Architecture” and “IT Architecture”, has led to the emergence of “Business Architecture” as a distinct if ill-defined concept.

It seems to me that many people consider Enterprise Architecture to be so hopelessly tainted by its historic IT-centricity that they view the best course to be allowing Enterprise Architecture to continue to be misused to mean EITA, and letting Business Architecture take its place as what EA “should have meant.”  I note in passing that there are some people who insist that EA “has always meant,” or at least “originally” meant, the architecture of the enterprise as a whole, but was hijacked by the IT community, though no one has been able to provide other than thirty year old recollections to support this assertion.

As I noted at the outset, I think Enterprise Architecture should encompass the application of architectural thinking to human endeavors of all kinds, not just those that are primarily business in nature, including, for example, governmental, military, religious, academic, or medical enterprises.  Yes, these endeavors all have some business aspects, but they are not what we normally call businesses, and calling the discipline “Business Architecture” almost unavoidably encourages us to overlook the architectural needs of such non-business-centric endeavors and focus instead on the needs of one specific kind of endeavor.

We have the words to name these things properly. We simply have to start doing so.

In part 3 of this series, I’ll consider the implications of a more inclusive concept of enterprise on the future of Enterprise Architecture.

 Len Fehskens is Vice President of Skills and Capabilities at The Open GroupHe is responsible for The Open Group’s activities relating to the professionalization of the discipline of enterprise architecture. Prior to joining The Open Group, Len led the Worldwide Architecture Profession Office for HP Services at Hewlett-Packard. He majored in Computer Science at MIT, and has over 40 years of experience in the IT business as both an individual contributor and a manager, within both product engineering and services business units. Len has worked for Digital Equipment Corporation, Data General Corporation, Prime Computer, Compaq and Hewlett Packard.  He is the lead inventor on six software patents on the object oriented management of distributed systems.

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PODCAST: Exploring business-IT alignment: A 20-year struggle culminating in the role and impact of Business Architecture

Listen to this recorded podcast here: Exploring Business-IT Alignment: A 20-Year Struggle Culminating in the Role and Impact of Business Architecture

The following is the transcript of a sponsored podcast panel discussion on defining the role and scope of the Business Architect, in conjunction with the The Open Group Conference, Austin 2011.

Dana Gardner: Hi, this is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, and you’re listening to BriefingsDirect. Today, we present a sponsored podcast discussion in conjunction with The Open Group Conference in Austin, Texas, the week of July 18, 2011. We’ve assembled a distinguished panel to delve into the role and opportunity for business architecture. We’ll examine how the definition of business architect has matured and we’ll see why it’s so important for this new role to flourish in today’s dynamic business and IT landscapes. We’ll also see how certification and training are helping to shape the business architecture leaders of tomorrow.

Here to help better understand the essential impact of business architecture on business success, is Harry Hendrickx, the Chief Technology Officer, CME Industry Unit, HP Enterprise Services and a Certified Global Enterprise Architect. Welcome, Harry.

Harry Hendrickx: Thank you, Dana.

Gardner: We’re also here with Dave van Gelder, Global Architect in the Financial Services Strategic Business Unit at Capgemini. Welcome, Dave.

Dave van Gelder: Thank you, Dana.

Gardner: And we’re also here with Mieke Mahakena. She is the Label Leader for Architecture in the Training Portfolio at Capgemini Academy and also a Certified Architect. Welcome, Mieke.

Mieke Mahakena: Thank you.

Gardner: Also, Peter Haviland, head of Architecture Services in the Americas for Ernst & Young. Hello, Peter.

Peter Haviland: Morning, Dana.

Gardner: And last, Kevin Daley, Chief Architect in the Technology and Innovation Group at IBM Global Business Services. Hello, Kevin.

Kevin Daley: Hello, Dana.

Gardner: Let me start by addressing both Harry and Kevin. There’s been a new paper that you are working on refining the definition of business architecture, but I’m interested why this is so important now. We see that CEOs around the world really are seeking fundamental change. They recognize that we’re at an inflection point. Why is that the case? Why is the role of business architect so important now? Let’s start with Harry, please.

Business-IT alignment

Hendrickx: Thank you very much, Dana. Yes, it is a very important question, of course. Why are we putting so much effort in getting business architecture on the scene? Over the past one or two decades, business-IT alignment has been number one on the CIO agenda, and apparently the organizations have increasing difficulty getting business-IT alignment resolved.

There are quite a few people pioneering in business-IT alignment, but apparently there was no urgency yet to recognize this role more specifically. HP, in the past two years, interviewed CIOs worldwide, and they all indicated that they face quite large and complex transformation processes. They also recognize that business-IT alignment is one of key issues. We think that the business architect really can provide some resolution to get those processes in better shape and more successful.

Gardner: Kevin, your thoughts. Why is it so important right now?

Daley: At IBM, we have a CEO study and a CIO study that come out in alternating years. One of the things that started coming out loud and clear in 2010 was that managing complexity and building operating dexterity required a better understanding across the entire company.

We’ve started seeing a trend to move not just from business IT alignment, but to business and IT convergence. There’s an understanding more and more that information technology, and technology in general, is a core part of the business model now. There’s an understanding that now we have a situation where business and IT aren’t so much aligned, because of the fact that IT is part of business.

Where we did interviews and surveys and then compiled them for thousands of CEOs, we came up with three key elements. Amongst those was managing and taking advantage of complexity while building operating dexterity. That’s the key theme.

One of the problems that we’re seeing from the CEOs is having for decades separated IT as if it was its own business unit, instead of part of the true sense of the business. It’s been an interpretive science. To manage that complexity they needed a means by which to start with the design of where they’re going and have have a business strategy.

How do they take that strategy and transform it into technology and into information management? They needed an ability to have a framework in which to have that substantive discussion between the people who were responsible, such as the CIO who is responsible for technology and the operations and the COOs, who are really about the execution of the overall picture.

What we’ve seen from our CEOs is a need to start being more integrated. There have been market pressures that they having to respond to. The big economic downturn was a big change for everyone, and they are trying to address it.

They’re looking at means that they can start integrating more globally. They can start to increase their cost variability and start becoming more agile in how they operate their business. To do that they need a means by which they can more effectively communicate.

Driving understanding

So far, we’ve been seeing that business architecture is a perfect way to start driving an understanding. It’s a place where both people who are used to seeing standard business models like revenue and capability are able to associate that to the different types of architectures and designs that we see coming out of the technology group.

It’s giving them a common place to meet and jointly move forward with what they’re trying to do in terms of managing the complexity, so they can be more agile and dexterous.

Gardner: Dave van Gelder, it sounds as if what we’re trying to do here is at a very high level in the organization. Does a business architect and architecture have to be at a high level to be successful? Where in the org chart do we typically see this role? Is it near the top? Does it matter?

van Gelder: It depends on the maturity of an organization. Within Capgemini nowadays, we talk about business technology. As Kevin said, business and technology are not separate. Technology is part of the total business.

When we started the Business Architecture Working Group in 2006, there was a lot of discussion about two words, business and architecture, and nobody knew exactly what we were talking about. Everybody had a different understanding of those words. In the last years what you have seen is that business architecture is looked at in a different way. Currently in the Business Architecture Working Group, we see business architecture as something that brings the balance between all the other architectures in the company — that’s IT architecture, financial architecture, money, people architecture, and a lot of other architectures.

If business architecture is bringing the balance between the different aspects of a company, then business architecture is something that should be handled in the top of the organization, because balance should be created between all the different aspects in the organization.

Gardner: Based on what Dave said. it sounds, Mieke, as if we’re talking about a federation of architectures,. What then is the fundamental problem that the business architect needs to solve? Is this getting into the actual mechanisms or is it about organizing the people around some sort of a vision or strategy?

Mahakena: It’s more like making sure that, whatever transformation you’re going to implement, you align all those different aspects. As Dave told us, there are a number of aspects in an organization that might need to change, and you can have all those different architectures for those aspects. But, if every aspect goes its own way in changing, then they will never be aligned. Business architecture is meant to align all of those aspects to make sure that you have a balanced, consistent, and coherent set of operations at the end.

Gardner: It sounds as if we’re in agreement that this is a high level function, but what is it that people might stumble upon, if they direct this in a wrong direction? What is business architecture not good at? Peter, what should we avoid? What’s a misstep in terms of either the level in the organization or the target of the activity?

Many things at once

Haviland: 

Business architecture is similar to other forms of architecture, in that it tends to try to do many things all at once. The idea of enterprise alignment is definitely the right outcome, but there is enough complexity there to blow steam out of your head for many, many years to come.

Certainly in our experience of implementing these types of functions in organizations, functions that constrain scope very well also tend to communicate very well around what their status is, what their progress is against milestones, and what outcomes they’ve achieved: and they tend to articulate those outcomes in terms of real business value. What business architecture is not very good at are broad-reaching types of goals that don’t have measurable outcomes.

Gardner: So, it’s not just let’s have a designated business architect and a laurels-wearing individual, but move more towards something that’s very practical and that shows results. That leads to a question about how to professionalize this role.

Anyone could stand up and call themselves a business architect, but what is The Open Group, in particular, doing about actually certifying and moving towards a standardization of some sort. Does anybody have any thoughts about how to make this more rigorous?

Hendrickx: The first question we get asked is, what’s the difference between a business consultant and a business architect or a business analyst and a business architect? We also have enterprise architects and technology architects. Is there a reason for being for the business architect?

This is something we did a lot of research on at HP and we delineated the role of the business architect quite clearly from the business consulting and the business analyst aspect. The business architect’s role is distinct, because he combines the organizational strategy with the operations. He identifies the implications of this strategy, as well as that of the technology for the business operations. This is opposed to the business consultant, who is more outwardly looking to the commercial aspects of the organization and what that means for the structure. The business analyst is looking more at not the structure of the operation, but at the solution level.

When we look at the enterprise architect and the solution architect, the business architect focuses more on the complete implications of the strategy and technology trends on the operations, whereas the enterprise architect is more interested in the IT and the implications for the IT strategy and how IT should be deployed. The business architect is much more focused on the complete performance of the business operations.

So, the bottom line of these delineations of the past one-and-a-half years is that there is a reason for being for a business architect. It is a distinct role and it has a real solution for a problem.

Gardner: Thank you, Harry. Anyone else with some thoughts about how to make the certification and standardization of this stick?

Defining the profession

Mahakena: What we’ve been doing in the Business Forum, after we decided that business architecture has its own reason for existence, we described the business architecture profession — what’s the scope and what should be the outcome of business architecture. Now, we’re working on the practice of business architecture by defining a framework, looking at methods, and defining approaches you can use to do business architecture.

Parallel to that, if you know what the profession is and what the practice is, you’re able to create the business architecture certification, because those things help you define the required skills and experience a business architect needs. So, we are working on that in the Business Forum.

Daley: Let’s look at business architecture from the concept that has existed, combining the thoughts of what Mieke and Harry have already talked about. When we work with clients, for those of us that are in consultancies, we see that there is normally something that’s similar to business architecture, but it’s either a shadow organization inside a purely business unit that isn’t technology focused, or it is things like the enterprise architects who are having to learn the business concepts around business architect anecdotally, so that they can be successful in their roles.

I’d suggest that we’re seeing a need to make it more refined and more explicit, so that we’re able to identify the people that fit for this. They have specific things, instead of having general things that we have today. For me, the certification helps provide that certainty as a hiring manager or as somebody who is looking to staff an organization.

It provides that kind of clarity of what they should be doing, giving them specific activities, specific things they do that create value for the company. It takes out of the behind the scenes action and pull something that’s critical to success into the front with people who are specifically aligned and educated to do that.

Gardner: Thank you, Kevin. Let’s speak a little bit about why the strategic and top-level aspects of this certified individual or office is so important. It seems to me that, on one hand, we have more need for different technology competencies in an organization, but at the same time, we’re starting to see consolidation, particularly at the data center level, fewer data centers, more powerful and vast data centers and consolidation across different regions. How does globalization fit into this? Do we need to think about the fact that if we have fewer data centers but more technology requirements, doesn’t the role of somebody or some group need to come together so that there is a pan organizational or even global type of effect?

Let’s start with you Peter. How does the globalization impact the importance of this role?

Haviland: Globalization is creating more and more complexity in the business modelsthat organizations are trying to operate. Over the last couple of decades, with the science and the engineering of IT, there has been enormous investment by companies to actually operate, maintain, and improve their IT in their current world.

In many cases this IT work has outpaced the comparable business efforts inside those organizations when they think about their business, their business models, and their business operating principles. What we’re actually seeing now is that the rigor, the engineering, and the effort that’s put into technical architecture and IT architecture is now being proposed on the business side, with many businesses managing process improvement activities. These tend to be at quite a low level, however, when you compare them to business architecture initiatives at the enterprise level.

What we’re actually seeing now is that the rigor, the engineering, and the effort that’s put into technical architecture and IT architecture is now being proposed on the business side and many businesses have process improvement activities. Many of them see to be at the process level. Those processes are defined at quite a low level, when you compare it to some architecture initiatives that are enterprise wide.

Scope and challenge

If those architecture initiatives are at the high levels that are needed, you start to consider the scope and challenges that come into play, when you start talking about globalization. So, with the increase in scope and the global way that people are operating across cultures, geographies, and languages, that requires this discipline, which does operate at that high level to start to organize the other areas, but perhaps at a lower level.

Gardner: Harry Hendrickx, thoughts about this issue of increased complexity and yet more consolidation in terms of where IT is housed, managed, and governed?

Hendrickx: There are two aspects that need to be paid more attention to with globalization and more complexity. First, the business architect is, or should be, equipped to look at the organization, not only within the boundaries of an organization, but also the ecosystem of organizations that will mold together and have to be connected to produce the value.

Since these are more formalized contracts or relationship with different organizations connected to each other, there is a dynamic that is hardly seen anymore, that is not transparent anymore. There clearly needs to be some more detailed insights and transparency for each organization, so that people understand what the impact of certain developments or events will be. This can’t be done just by logic or just by watching carefully. This really needs some in-depth analysis for which the business architecture is built.

The second part of it is that the due to the complexity, the decision making process has become more complex and there will be more stakeholders involved in the different areas of decision making. The business architect has a clear task and challenge as well. By absorbing the strategy, technology trends, and the different developments and focusing on the applications for operations, he has the opportunity to discuss with the different stakeholders. He has the opportunity to get those stakeholders either mobilized or focused on specific decisions: the deliverables you will provide.

Gardner: We certainly see a lot of important characteristics in this role: global, strategic high level, encompassing business understanding, as well as technology. Dave van Gelder, where do you go to find these kinds of people? Who tends to make a good business architect or is there no real pattern yet established as to who steps up to the plate to be able to manage this type of a job?

van Gelder: To all the complexity already mentioned, I’d want to add something else that we found in the Business Architecture Working Group, which is more research in the whole field. That’s the problem of communication. How do people communicate with each other?

If you look in the IT world, most people come from an engineering background. It’s hard enough to talk to each other and to be clear to each other about what’s possible and how you should go or what you should go for. If you start talking to all those other areas in the business, then suddenly people have a completely other way of thinking. Sometimes they use the same words and don’t understand each other.

It’s not easy to have these kinds of people that need very good communication skills next to all the complexity that you have to handle. On the other hand, you need an architect when it’s complex. You don’t need an architect when it’s simple, because everybody can do it. But an architect is just a person. I say if I am a simple person, I can only handle simple things. What you need are people who can structure. I can only work with things when I can structure it, when the complexity is fairly well-structured. I then have overview of all those complexities, and then I can start communicating with all the parties I have to communicate with.

No real training

At the moment, I don’t see any real training or development of these kinds of people that you need. Most of them come with a lot of experience in a lot of fields, and because of that, they have the possibility to talk to all kinds of people and to bring the message.

Gardner: Mieke, at Capgemini Academy, you’ve obviously encouraged and encountered folks moving towards a business architect role. What are your thoughts on what it takes and where they tend to come from?

Mahakena: Let’s have a look where they can come from. What you see is that this role of business architect can be a next step in one’s career. For example, a business analyst, who has been creating a lot of experience in all kinds of fields, and he could evolve to watch a business architect. This person needs to get away from the detail and move towards the strategy and a more holistic view.

Another example could be an enterprise architect who already has analytics skills and communication skills. But, enterprise architects are more or less focusing on IT, so they should move more towards the business part and towards strategy and operations.

One could be the business consultant who is now focusing on strategy, also should have those communication skills, and will be able to communicate with stakeholders in high positions in companies. Business consultants have a lot of industry knowledge. So they should need more knowledge about technology and perhaps improve their analytics skills and learn more to how to structure operations.

So, there are number of existing roles that already have a lot of skills required for business architecture. They just have to enhance skills and get new skills to do this new role.

Gardner: We talked about how this is important because of the internal organizational shifts and the need for transformation. We’ve seen how globalization makes this more important, but I’d like to also look a little bit at some of the trends and technology.

We’ve seen a great deal of emphasis on cloud computing, hybrid computing, the role of mobile devices, wirelessly connected devices, sensors, and fabric of information which, of course, leads to massive data, and they need to then analyze that data.

This is just a handful of some of the major technology trends. Kevin Daley, it seems to me that managing these trends and these new capabilities for organizations also undergirds and supports this need. So how do you see the technology impetus for encouraging the role of business architect?

Daley: I’m seeing from my work in the field that we’ve got all these things that are converging. Certainly, you’ve got all these enabling technologies and things that are emerging that are making it easier to do technology types of things and speeding them up. So, as they start maturing and as organizations start consuming them, what we’re seeing is that there’s a lack of alignment.

Business relevancy

What this trend is really doing is making sure that you have something that is your controlling device that says what is the business relevancy? Are we measuring these peer-to-peer — measuring something such as massive data and information fabrics compared to something like cloud computing, where you are dispersing the ability to access that more readily. It creates a problem in that you have to make sure that people are aligned on what they’re trying to accomplish.

We’re seeing that the technologies that are emerging are actually enabling business architecture in a fashion. It provides that unified vision, that holism, that you can start looking at combinations of these technologies, instead of having to look at them as we’ve had to in the past of siloed elements of technologies that have their own implications.

We’re using business architecture as a means to provide the information back to the business analyst who is going to look and help. You can provide the business implications, but then you have to analyze what that implication means and make decisions for how much of that you’re willing to accept within your organization.

In the notions around how I investigate risk, how I look at what is going to improve market, and what is the capacity of what I can do, there’s a disconnect that business for which architecture is helping provide the filler for to get to the people that are doing these corporate strategies and corporate analysis at a level. That allows them to virtualize the concept of the technology, consume what it means and what that relates to for a business or in terms of its operation and strategy and the technology itself.

We’re seeing this become the means by which you can have that universal understanding that these are the implications, and that those implications can now be layered, so that you can look at them in combination instead of having to deal with each technology trend as if it’s a standalone piece.

We’re seeing this as a means by which to provide some clarity around what any adoption would be. When you adopt technology, it obviously has a level of maturity it has to reach, but it also has a level of complexity. It’s being able to start taking advantage of more than just one technology trend at the same time and being able to realistically deliver that into their business model.

What I have been seeing is that the technologies are driving the need for business architecture, because they need that framework to make sure that they are talking apples to apples and that they are meaning the same thing, so that we get out of the interpretation that we have had in the past and get into something that’s very tactical and very tactile, and that you can structure and align in the same way, so you understand what the full ramifications are.

Gardner: Peter Haviland, we have these multiple technology developments overlapping. They can be opportunities for businesses, but they can also perhaps be problems, if you don’t manage them.

What are the stakes here for business architecture and for organizations that can master this? It seems to me that they would have a significant advantage. For those that don’t, it could mean a significant cratering of their business potentially. So are we talking about an existential level importance for business architecture? How important is this now?

Haviland: IIt’s extremely important. What I see is that this is a discipline that’s just crying out for more people and more maturity. You almost need it to become pervasive throughout organizations now.

Feeding technology

The most common story I encounter is simply that organizations spent a lot of time in the past creating their processes and then they spent a lot of time feeding technology solutions to those processes. In recent times, the pace of technology change has moved faster than that previous paradigm.

What you’re looking at is at people saying, well, I am the business, there are all of these technology options out there. I cannot find a way forward and so how do I exploit those? That is where the business architecture profession is really being pushed to the front.

That said, there is a slight risk here that it may be considered too much in isolation. I mean, it is an architecture profession, it is a part of architecture, and the value of architecture is to provide that aligned view across the various domains that are important in terms of business, technology, information, security, and those types of elements.

When it comes back to what’s at stake for businesses that are investing in this particular area and for businesses that are trying to reconsider the way that they can operate themselves to support technology, they are moving ahead and they have competitive advantage. Businesses that aren’t doing that tend to be left behind, because the pace of change of technology is going to get faster.

Gardner: We’re here at The Open Group Conference. I wonder if any of you could fill us in on what The Open Group is now doing to advance this definition, mature the role, promulgate certification, and hasten the effect and benefits of business architecture in the field. Who can update us briefly on where we stand with The Open Group’s movement on certification and definition?

Mahakena: All those subjects you mentioned are part of the work of the Business Forum. The Business Forum is working in parallel on all those things. For example, it’s defining the profession and defining business architecture, working on methods and frameworks and approaches, and working on certification.

We need to do that in parallel, because all those aspects have to be aligned. We also need alignment in our own work to make sure that the certification, for example, are just the skills you actually need to do the business architecture and to create the outcomes we have defined in the profession and practice part.

We’re on our way as a Business Forum and we have done a huge amount of work, but we’re not ready yet. There are still a number of subjects we need to discuss, and we need to align everything we have now to make sure that we have a consistent package of deliverables that can be used by the members of The Open Group and anyone outside as well.

That’s where we are at this moment, and we are hoping to deliver a set of documents that will be accepted by The Open Group, by the members, and then they can be shared.

Hendrickx: I want to extend a little bit on where we are, because there has been some investigation in the 28 frameworks, which are very close or are meant to be frameworks for business architects. From this it resulted that none of these really had a complete holistic approach, as the role is identified currently, or at least how the needs have been identified in the marketplace.

Some have gaps

Some are quite close, but quite a few have gaps in one of the areas that should be touched, like strategy, operations, processes, or technology. We currently try to identify and fill that gap. That’s one point.

The other one is that most of the techniques used by the business architect are very well- embedded in academic research and are often and sometimes already used by different roles as well.

I’m thinking of things like the systems approach, and the systems thinkers have quite a few techniques. There are also techniques developed by IBM, HP, and Capgemini on the business architecture, which are well-versed and well-embedded in academic research of the past 20, 30 years. So, it’s not just a set of techniques that are built together. These are really based on insights which we have gained over several decades.

Gardner: Very good. I understand that many of these resources and the ability to take part in some of these working groups are all available on the newly redesigned Open Group website. That would be opengroup.org online and easily found from search.

I want to close up by thanking our guests. We’ve been discussing the burgeoning role of, and the opportunity for, business architecture and its practitioners in a dynamic global business environment.

This podcast is coming to you as a sponsored activity in conjunction with The Open Group Conference in Austin, Texas, the week of July 18, 2011.

So thanks to our guests. We’ve been joined by Harry Hendrickx, Chief Technology Officer, CME Industry Unit in HP’s Enterprise Services, and also a Certified Global Enterprise Architect. Thank you, Harry.

Hendrickx: Thank you, Dana.

Gardner: And also Dave van Gelder, Global Architect in the Financial Services Strategic Business unit at Capgemini. Thank you, Dave.

van Gelder: Thank you, Dana.

Gardner: We’re also here with Mieke Mahakena. She is the Label Leader for Architecture in the Training Portfolio at Capgemini Academy, and also a Certified Architect. Thank you, Mieke.

Mahakena: You are welcome, Dana.

Gardner: Peter Haviland, Head of the Architecture Services for Americas at Ernst & Young has also joined us. Thank you, Peter.

Haviland: Thanks, Dana. Thanks everyone.

Gardner: And lastly, Kevin Daley, Chief Architect in the Technology and Innovation Group at IBM Global Business Services. Thanks so much, Kevin.

Daley: Thank you, Dana. Again, thanks to everyone else also.

Gardner: This is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions. Thanks again for listening, and come back next time.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Podcast.com.

Copyright The Open Group 2011. All rights reserved.

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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PODCAST: How the role of certification impacts professionalization of IT and skills management

By Dana Gardner, Interabor Solutions

Listen to this recorded podcast here: Architect Certification Increasingly Impacts Professionalization of IT in Cloud Era

The following is the transcript of a sponsored podcast panel discussion on certification and its impact on the professionalization of IT and skills management, in conjunction with the The Open Group Conference, Austin 2011.

Dana Gardner: Hi, this is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, and you’re listening to BriefingsDirect. Today, we present a sponsored podcast discussion in conjunction with The Open Group Conference in Austin, Texas, the week of July 18, 2011. We’ve assembled a panel to update us on the impact and role of certifications for IT professionals. We’ll examine how certification for enterprise architects, business architects, and such industry initiatives as ArchiMate® are proving instrumental as IT organizations seek to reinvent themselves.

There are now a lot of shifts in skills and a lot of movement about how organizations should properly staff themselves. There have been cost pressures and certification issues for regulation and the adoption of new technologies. We’re going to look at how all these are impacting the role of certification out in the field. Here to help us better understand how an organization like The Open Group is alleviating the impact and importance of IT skills and role certification amid this churning change in the IT organizations is Steve Philp. He is the Marketing Director for Professional Certification at The Open Group. Welcome, Steve.

Steve Philp: Thank you.

Gardner: We are also here with Andrew Josey. He is Director of Standards at The Open Group. Welcome, Andrew.

Andrew Josey: Thank you, Dana.

Gardner: And we’re here with James de Raeve. He is Vice President of Certification at The Open Group. Hello, James.

James de Raeve: Thanks, Dana.

Gardner: Let’s start with you. As I said, we’re seeing a lot of change about many things in IT, but certainly how to properly staff, especially as you start to consider outsourcing options and Cloud and software-as-a-service (SaaS) types of options. Organizations are also looking at consolidation around their applications and infrastructure. So there’s quite a bit of change. Naturally, the people in the “people, processes, and technology” spectrum need to be addressed. From your perspective, why is there the need for more professionalization, or what are the trends that are driving the need to reexamine your staff and how to properly certify your IT leadership?

de Raeve: The primary driver here that we’re hearing from members and customers is that they need to get more out of the investments that they’re making — their payroll for their IT staff. They need to get more productivity. And that has a number of consequences.

Realizing talent

They want to ensure that the people they are employing and that they’re staffing their teams with are effective. They want to be sure that they’re not bringing in external experts when they don’t need to. So there is a need to realize the talent that they’ve actually got in their internal IT community and to develop that talent, nurture it, and exploit it for the benefit of the organization.

And professionalism, professionalization, and profession frameworks are all tools that can be used in identifying, measuring, and developing the talents and capabilities of your people. That seems to be the major driver.

Gardner: Steve, any further thoughts on the trends that are driving certification and professionalization issues?

Steve PhilpPhilp: Something I have noticed since joining The Open Group is that we’ve got some skills and experience-based certifications. They seem to be the things that people are particularly interested in, because it’s not just a test of your knowledge about a particular vendor or product, but how you have applied your skills and experience out there in the marketplace. They have proven to be very successful in helping people assess where they are and in working towards developing a career path. That’s one of the areas of certification that things are going to move more towards — more skills and experience-based certification programs in organizations.

Gardner: Where are we seeing this most in demand? Are there particular types of technology certification or professional role certification that are in the most demand? Where is this the most hot or impactful right now?

Philp: Looking at certification in general, you still have areas like Microsoft MCSE, Microsoft technical specialist, application development, and project management that are in demand, and things like CCNA from Cisco. But I’ve also noticed a lot more in the security field. CISSP and CCSA seem to be the ones that are always getting a lot of attention. In terms of security, the trends in mobile computing, cloud computing, means that security certification is a big growth area.

We’re just about to put a security track into our Certified IT Specialist Program at The Open Group, so there will be a skills and experience-based track for security practitioners soon.

Gardner: James, of course we should point out for our listeners that we’re not just talking about certification from vendors and suppliers about the specific products and/or platforms, but we’re really looking at a skill- and roles-based approach. Maybe you could help us distinguish between the two and why it’s important to do so?

de Raeve: The difference, as Steve alluded to, is that there is a whole world out there of technology and product-related certifications that are fulfilling a very important function in helping people establish and demonstrate their knowledge of those particular products and technologies.

But there is a need for people too in the building of teams and in the delivering of results to nurture and grow their people to be team players and team participants and to be able to work with them to function within the organization as, for want of a better term, “t-shaped people,” where there are a number of soft and people-related skills and potentially architecture related skills for the IT specialists, and skills and capabilities enable people to be rounded professionals within an organization.

T-shaped people

It’s that aspect that differentiates the professionalization and the profession-oriented certification programs that we’re operating here at The Open Group — The Open Certified Architect, The Open Certified IT Specialist. Those are t-shaped people and we think that makes a huge difference. It’s what’s going to enable organizations to be more effective by developing their people to have that more rounded t-shaped capability.

Gardner: Andrew, with the emphasis on standards and your role there, how does the impact of certification on the ability to adhere to and exploit standards come together? What’s the relationship between making sure you have standardization around your people and their skill sets, but also being able to exploit standardization and even more automation across your organization?

Josey: We see the certification as being the ultimate drive in the uptake of the standards, and so we’re able to go from not just having a standard on the shelf to actually seeing it being deployed in the field and used. We’ve actually got some people certification programs, such as TOGAF®, and we’ve got some over 20,000 practitioners now.

We’ve gone through the certification program and we’ve been using and evangelizing, TOGAF as a standard in the field and then feeding that back to our members and, through the association, the feedback improvements to the standards. So it’s very much part of the end-to-end ecosystem — developing a standard for deploying it, and getting people on it, and then getting the feedback in the right way.

Gardner: I suppose that as organizations want to create a level playing field, we’re starting to see calls for this type of certification in requests for proposal (RFPs) around projects. For folks on the buy side who are seeking either people or the suppliers themselves, a supply chain and ecosystem of providers, how much is certification playing a role and how they can pick and choose among each other with some sense of trust and reliability?

Philp: It’s very much an important part of the process now. TOGAF and IT Architect Certification (ITAC) have appeared in a number of RFPs for government and for major manufacturing organizations. So it’s important that the suppliers and the buyers recognize these programs.

Similarly with recruitment, you find that things like TOGAF will appear in most recruitment ads for architects. Certainly, people want knowledge of it, but more and more you’ll see TOGAF certification is required as well.

ITAC, which is now Open CA, has also appeared in a number of recruitment ads for members like Logica, Capgemini, Shell. More recently, organizations like the CBS, EADS, ADGA Group, Direct Energy have requested it. And the list goes on. It’s a measure of how important the awareness is for these certifications and that’s something we will continue to drive at The Open Group.

Gardner: All right, Steve, thanks for that. As you mentioned, there have been some changes in terms of the branding around some of these. Let’s take a quick review if we could around what’s being happening at the Austin Conference, but also what’s new and what’s been going on with the branding. Let’s look at the TOGAF, ArchiMate®, and business architecture certifications. What’s new and interesting there?

In development

Josey: I am speaking up on what we are doing in ArchiMate first, before I talk about TOGAF, and then Steve will tell us what the Business Forum is up to.

ArchiMate certification is something new that we’re developing right now. We haven’t deployed a certification program as yet. The previous certification program was under the ArchiMate Foundation, which was the body that developed ArchiMate, before it transferred into The Open Group.

We’re currently working on the new program which will be similar to some aspects of our TOGAF program, and it’ll be knowledge base certification with an assessment by exam and a practical assessment in which the candidate can actually do modeling. So this will be people certification and there will also be accredited training course certification.

And then also what we’re going to do there is actually to provide certification for tools. There will be certifications there.

That’s pretty much what we’re doing in ArchiMate, so we don’t have a firm timeline. So it will not be available it looks like, probably towards the end of the year would be the earliest, but possibly early next year.

Gardner: Knowing that we reach a wide audience, could you give a quick overview of what ArchiMate is for those who might not be familiar.

Josey: ArchiMate is a modeling language for enterprise architecture (EA) in general and specifically it’s a good fit for TOGAF. It’s a way of communicating and developing models for TOGAF EA. Originally it was developed by the Telematica Instituut and funded, I think, by the EU and a number of commercial companies in the Netherlands. It was actually brought into The Open Group in 2008 by the ArchiMate Foundation and is now managed by the ArchiMate Forum within The Open Group.

Gardner: Now we’re going to hear an update on TOGAF.

Josey: The latest version of TOGAF is TOGAF 9 for certification. As we mentioned earlier, there are two types of certification programs, skills and knowledge based. TOGAF falls into the knowledge based camp. We have two levels. TOGAF 9 Foundation, which is our level one, is for individuals to assess that they know the terminology and basic concepts of EA in TOGAF.

Level two, which is a superset of level one, in addition assesses analysis and comprehension. The idea is that some people who are interested in just getting familiar with TOGAF and those people who work around enterprise architects can go into TOGAF Foundation. And these enterprise architects themselves should initially start with the TOGAF Certified, the level two, and then perhaps move on later to Open CA. That will be helpful.

For TOGAF 9 Certification, we introduced that by midyear 2009. We launched TOGAF 9 in February, and it took a couple of months to just roll out all these certifications through all the exam channels. Since then, we’ve gone through 8,000 certifications (see June blog post). We’ve seen that two-thirds of those were at the higher level, level two, for EA practitioners and one-third of those are currently at the foundation level.

Gardner: And lastly, business architecture?

A new area

Philp: Business architecture is a new area that we’ve been working on. Let me just to go back to what we did on the branding, because it ties in with that. We launched The Open Group’s new website recently and we used that as the opportunity to re-brand ITAC as The Open Group Certified Architect (Open CA) program. The IT Specialist Certification (ITSC) has now become The Open Group Certified IT Specialist or Open CITS Program.

We did the rebranding at that time, because we wanted to be it associated with the word “open.” We wanted to give the skills and experience-based certification a closer linkage to The Open Group. That’s why we changed from ITAC to Open CA. But, we’ve not changed the actual program itself. Candidates still have to create a certification package and be interviewed by three board members, and there are still three levels of certification: Certified, Master, and Distinguished.

However, what we’re intending to do is have some core requirements that architects need to meet, and then add some specific specializations for different types of architects. The one that we’ve been working on the most recently is the Business Architecture Certification. This came about from an initiative about 18 months ago.

We formed something called the Business Forum with a number of Platinum Members who got involved with it –companies like IBM, HP, SAP, Oracle and Capgemini. We’ve been defining the conformance requirements for the business architecture certification. It’s going through the development process and hopefully will be launched sometime later this year or early next year.

Gardner: I’m interested in how this is making a difference in the field. There’s a lot of change going on this consolidation. There’s re-factoring of what’s core and what’s context in what IT department should focus on and, therefore, what their skill sets need to be. They’re adopting new technologies. I wonder if you have any examples of where we’ve seen certification come to play when an organization is looking to change its workforce. Any thoughts about some organizations and what the impact has been?

de Raeve: There’s a very good example of an organization that had exactly that problem, and they’ve done a presentation about this in one of our conferences. It’s Philips, and they used to have an IT workforce that was divided among the business units. The different businesses had their own IT function.

They changed that and went to a single IT function across the organization, providing services to the businesses. In doing so, they needed to rationalize things like grades, titles, job descriptions, and they were looking around for a framework within which they could do this and they evaluated a number of them.

They were working with a partner who wass helping them do this. The partner was an Open Group member and suggested they look at The Open Group’s IT Specialist Certification, the CITS Certification Program, as it provides a set of definitions for the capabilities and skills required for IT professionals. They picked it up and used it, because it covered the areas they were interested in.

This was sufficient and complete enough to be useful to them, and it was vendor-neutral, and an industry best practice. So they could pick this up and use it with confidence. And that has been very successful. They initially benchmarked their entire 900 strong IT workforce against The Open Group definition, so they could get to calibrate themselves, where their people were on their journey through development as professionals.

They’ve started to embrace the certification programs as a method of not only measuring their people, but also rewarding them. It’s had a very significant impact in terms of not only enabling them to get a handle upon their people, but also in terms of their employee engagement. In the engagement surveys that they do with their staff, some of the comments they got back after they started doing this process were, “For the first time we feel like management is paying attention to us.”

It was very positive feedback, and the net result is that they are well on their way to meeting their goal of no longer having automatically to bring in an external service provider whenever they were dealing with a new project or a new topic. They know that they’ve got people with sufficient expertise in-house on their own payroll now. They’ve been able to recognize that capability, and the use of it has had a very positive effect. So it’s a very strong good story.

I think that the slides will be available to our members in the conference’s proceedings from the London Conference in April. That will be worth something to look at.

Gardner: Where would you go for more information, if you were a practitioner, a budding enterprise architect and you wanted to certify yourself and/or if you were in an organization trying to determine more precisely what certification would mean to you as you’re trying to reengineer, modernize and right-size your organization? Where do you go for more information?

Philp: If you go to The Open Group website, http://www.opengroup.org/certifications, all of the people-based certifications are there, along with the benefits for individuals, benefits for organizations and various links to the appropriate literature. There’s also a lot of other useful things, like self-assessment tests, previous webinars, sample packages, etc. That will give you more of an idea of what’s required for certification along with the conformance requirements and other program documentation. There’s a lot of useful information on the website.

Gardner: Very good. We’ve been discussing how the role and impact of IT Certification is growing and some of the reasons for that. We’ve also looked at how organizations like The Open Group are elevating the role of certification and providing means to attain it and measure it the standard.

I’d like to thank our guests for delivering this sponsored podcast discussion in conjunction with The Open Group Conference in Austin, Texas, the week of July 18, 2011 We’ve been joined by our panel, Steve Philp, he is the Marketing Director for Professional Certification at the Open Group. Thank you, Steve.

Philp: Thank you, Dana.

Gardner: And we are also have been joined by by Andrew Josey, Director of Standards at The Open Group. Thank you, Andrew.

Josey: Thank you, Dana.

Gardner: And lastly, James de Raeve, he is the Vice President of Certification, once again at The Open Group. Thanks James.

de Raeve: Thank you, Dana, and thanks to everyone who has listened.

Gardner: Right. This is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions. Thanks for listening and come back next time.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Podcast.com.

Copyright The Open Group 2011. All rights reserved.

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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What’s the use of getting certified?

By Mieke Mahakena, Capgemini

After a day discussing business architecture methods and certification at The Open Group Conference in San Diego last week, I had to step back and consider if what I have been doing was still adding value. It seems to me that there is still much resistance against certification. “I don’t need to be certified; I have my college degree.” Or, “I have so much experience. Why should I need to prove anything?”

But let me ask you a question. Suppose you need to have surgery. The surgeon tells you that he hasn’t got a medical license, but you shouldn’t worry because he is so experienced. Would you let him perform surgery on you? I wouldn’t! So, if we expect others to be able to prove their skills before we hire them to work for us, shouldn’t the same apply to business architects? In our profession, mistakes can have severe consequences. As such, it is only reasonable for customers to demand some kind of impartial proof of our professional skills.

To become a good surgeon you not only need good education, you need a lot of practical experience as well. The same goes for the IT and architecture profession: Your skills develop with every new practical experience. This brings us to the importance of the ITAC or ITSC certifications. Both programs define the skills necessary for a certain profession and use a well-defined certification process to ensure that the candidate has the experience needed to develop those skills.

During The Open Group India Conference in March, you will be able to learn more about these certification programs and find out if they can bring value to you and your organization.

Certification will be a topic of discussion at The Open Group India Conference in Chennai (March 7), Hyderabad (March 9) and Pune (March 11). Join us for best practices and case studies in the areas of Enterprise Architecture, Security, Cloud and Certification, presented by preeminent thought leaders in the industry.

Find out more about the ITSC program by joining our webinar on Thursday, March 3.

Mieke Mahakena is an architect and architecture trainer at Capgemini Academy and label lead for the architecture training portfolio. She is the chair of the Business Forum at The Open Group, working on business architecture methods and certification. She is based in the Netherlands.

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