Tag Archives: Business Architecture

“New Now” Planning

By Stuart Boardman, KPN

In my last post I introduced the idea of “the new now,” which I borrowed from Jack Martin Leith. I suggested that the planning of large transformation projects needs to focus more on the first step than on the end goal, because that first step, once taken, will be the “new now” – the reality with which the organization will have to work. There were some interesting comments that have helped me further develop my ideas. I also got pointed, via Twitter to this interesting and completely independent piece that comes to very similar conclusions.

I promised to try to explain how this might work in practice, so it here goes…

As I see it, we would start our transformation program by looking at both the first step and the long term vision more or less in parallel.

In order to establish what that first step should be, we need to ask what we want the “new now” to look like. If we could have a “new now” – right now – what would that be? In other words, what is it that we can’t do at the moment that we believe we really need to be able to do? This is a question that should be asked as broadly as possible across the organization. There are three reasons for that:

  1. We’ll probably come across a variety of opinions and we’ll need to know why they vary and why people think they are important, if we are to define something feasible and useful. It’s also possible that out of this mixture of views something altogether different may emerge.
  2. Changes in the relatively near future will tend to be changes to operational practices and those are best determined and managed by the part of the organization that performs them (see Stafford Beer’s Viable Systems Model and associated work by Patrick Hoverstadt and others).
  3. Everyone’s going to experience the “new now” (that’s why we call it the “new now”), so it would be good not to just drop it on them as if this were a new form of big bang. By involving them now, they’ll have known what’s coming and be more likely to accept it than if they were just “informed.” And at least we’ll know how people will react if the “new now” doesn’t meet their particular wishes.

This process addresses, I hope, both Ron van den Burg’s comment about different people having different “horizons” and an interesting observation made by Mark Skilton at The Open Group Conference in Newport Beach that at any one time an organization may have a large number of “strategies” in play.

The longer term perspective is about vision and strategy. What is the vision of the enterprise and what does it want to become? What are the strategies to achieve that? That’s something typically determined at the highest levels of an organization, even though one might hope these days that the whole organization would be able to contribute. For the moment, we’ll regard it as a board decision.

Maybe the board is perfectly happy and doesn’t need to change the vision or strategy. In that case we’re not talking about transformation, so let’s assume they do see a need to change something. A strategic change doesn’t necessarily have to affect the entire organization. It may be that the way a particular aspect of the enterprise’s mission is performed needs to be changed. Nonetheless if it’s at a strategic level it’s going to involve a transformation.

Now we can lay the “new now” and the long term vision next to each other and see how well they fit. Is the first step indeed a step towards the vision? If not we need to understand why. Traditionally we would tend to say the first step must then be wrong. That’s a possibility but it’s equally possible that the long-term view is simply too long-term and is missing key facts about the organization. The fact alone that the two don’t fit may indicate a disconnect within the organization and require a different change altogether. So simply by performing this action, we are addressing one of the risks to a transformation project. If we had simply defined the first step based on the long term vision, we’d probably have missed it. If, however, the fit is indeed good, then we know we have organizational buy-in for the transformation.

Once we have broad alignment, we need to re-examine the first step for feasibility. It mustn’t be more ambitious than we can deliver within a reasonable time and budget. Nothing new there. What is different is that while we require the first step to be aware of the long term vision, we don’t expect it to put a platform in place for everything the future may bring. That’s exactly what it shouldn’t do, because the only thing we know for certain is that we need to be adaptable to change

What about the second step? We’ve delivered the first step. We’re at the “new now.” How does that feel? Where would we like to be now? This essentially an iteration over the process we used for the first step. There’s a strong chance that we’ll get a different result than we would have had, if we’d planned this second step back at the beginning. After all, we have a new “now,” so our starting state is something that we couldn’t experience back then. We also need to revisit the vision/strategy aspect. The world (the Environment in VSM terms) will not have stood still in the meantime. One would hope that our vision wasn’t so fragile that it would change drastically but at the very least we need to re-validate it.

So now we can compare the new next step and the (revised) vision, just as we did with our first step. And then we move on.

So what this process comes down to is essentially a series of movements to a “new now.” After each movement we have a new reality. So yes, we’re still planning. We’re just not making hard plans for fuzzy objectives. Our planning process is as flexible as our results need to be. Of course that doesn’t mean we can’t start thinking about step two before we actually arrive at step one but these plans only become concrete when we know what the “new now” feels like and therefore exactly what the following “new now” should be.

In their comments on the previous blog both Matt Kern and Peter Bakker made the reasonable points that without a plan, you’re probably not going to get funding. The other side of the coin is that these days (and actually for a few years now) it’s increasingly difficult to get funding for multi-year transformation processes, exactly because the return on investment takes too long – and is too uncertain. That’s exactly what I’m trying to address. The fundamental concept of “new now” planning is that something of agreed value is delivered within an acceptable timescale. Isn’t that more likely to get funding?

Once again, I’d be delighted to see people’s reaction to these ideas. I’m 100 percent certain they can be improved.

Stuart Boardman is a Senior Business Consultant with KPN where he co-leads the Enterprise Architecture practice as well as the Cloud Computing solutions group. He is co-lead of The Open Group Cloud Computing Work Group’s Security for the Cloud and SOA project and a founding member of both The Open Group Cloud Computing Work Group and The Open Group SOA Work Group. Stuart is the author of publications by the Information Security Platform (PvIB) in The Netherlands and of his previous employer, CGI. He is a frequent speaker at conferences on the topics of Cloud, SOA, and Identity. 

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The Death of Planning

By Stuart Boardman, KPN

If I were to announce that planning large scale transformation projects was a waste of time, you’d probably think I’d taken leave of my senses. And yet, somehow this thought has been nagging at me for some time now. Bear with me.

It’s not so long ago that we still had debates about whether complex projects should be delivered as a “big bang” or in phases. These days the big bang has pretty much been forgotten. Why is that? I think the main reason is the level of risk involved with running a long process and dropping it into the operational environment just like that. This applies to any significant change, whether related to a business model and processes or IT architecture or physical building developments. Even if it all works properly, the level of sudden organizational change involved may stop it in its tracks.

So it has become normal to plan the change as a series of phases. We develop a roadmap to get us from here (as-is) to the end goal (to-be). And this is where I begin to identify the problem.

A few months ago I spent an enjoyable and thought provoking day with Jack Martin Leith (@jackmartinleith). Jack is a master in demystifying clichés but when he announced his irritation with “change is a journey,” I could only respond, “but Jack, it is.” What Jack made me see is that, whilst the original usage was a useful insight, it’s become a cliché which is commonly completely misused. It results in some pretty frustrating journeys! To understand that let’s take the analogy literally. Suppose your objective is to travel to San Diego but there are no direct flights from where you live. If the first step on your journey is a 4 hour layover at JFK, that’s at best a waste of your time and energy. There’s no value in this step. A day in Manhattan might be a different story. We can (and do) deal with this kind of thing for journeys of a day or so but imagine a journey that takes three or more years and all you see on the way is the inside of airports.

My experience has been that the same problem too often manifests itself in transformation programs. The first step may be logical from an implementation perspective, but it delivers no discernible value (tangible or intangible). It’s simply a validation that something has been done, as if, in our travel analogy, we were celebrating travelling the first 1000 kilometers, even if that put us somewhere over the middle of Lake Erie.

What would be better? An obvious conclusion that many have drawn is that we need to ensure every step delivers business value but that’s easier said than done.

Why is it so hard? The next thing Jack said helped me understand why. His point is that when you’ve taken the first step on your journey, it’s not just some intermediate station. It’s the “new now.” The new reality. The new as-is. And if the new reality is hanging around in some grotty airport trying to do your job via a Wi-Fi connection of dubious security and spending too much money on coffee and cookies…….you get the picture.

The problem with identifying that business value is that we’re not focusing on the new now but on something much more long-term. We’re trying to interpolate the near term business value out of the long term goal, which wasn’t defined based on near term needs.

What makes this all the more urgent is the increasing rate and unpredictability of change – in all aspects of doing business. This has led us to shorter planning horizons and an increasing tendency to regard that “to be” as nothing more than a general sense of direction. We’re thinking, “If we could deliver the whole thing really, really quickly on the basis of what we know we’d like to be able to do now, if it were possible, then it would look like this” – but knowing all the time that by the time we get anywhere near that end goal, it will have changed. It’s pretty obvious then that a first step, whose justification is entirely based on that imagined end goal, can easily be of extremely limited value.

So why not put more focus on the first step? That’s going to be the “new now.” How about making that our real target? Something that the enterprise sees as real value and that is actually feasible in a reasonable time scale (whatever that is). Instead of scoping that step as an intermediate (and rather immature) layover, why not put all our efforts into making it something really good? And when we get there and people know how the new now looks and feels, we can all think afresh about where to go next. After all, a journey is not simply defined by its destination but by how you get there and what you see and do on the way. If the actual journey itself is valuable, we may not want to get to the end of it.

Now that doesn’t mean we have to forget all about where we might want to be in three or even five years — not at all. The long term view is still important in helping us to make smart decisions about shorter term changes. It helps us allow for future change, even if only because it lets us see how much might change. And that helps us make sound decisions. But we should accept that our three or five year horizon needs to be continually open to revision – not on some artificial yearly cycle but every time there’s a “new now.” And this needs to include the times where the new now is not something we planned but is an emergent development from within or outside of the enterprise or is due to a major regulatory or market change.

So, if the focus is all on the first step and if our innovation cycle is getting steadily shorter, what’s the value of planning anything? Relax, I’m not about to fire the entire planning profession. If you don’t plan how you’re going to do something, what your dependencies are, how to react to the unexpected, etc., you’re unlikely to achieve your goal at all. Arguably that’s just project planning.

What about program planning? Well, if the program is so exposed to change maybe our concept of program planning needs to change. Instead of the plan being a thing fixed in stone that dictates everything, it could become a process in which the whole enterprise participates – itself open to emergence. The more I think about it, the more appealing that idea seems.

In my next post, I’ll go into more detail about how this might work, in particular from the perspective of Enterprise Architecture. I’ll also look more at how “the new planning” relates to innovation, emergence and social business and at the conflicts and synergies between these concerns. In the meantime, feel free to throw stones and see where the story doesn’t hold up.

Stuart Boardman is a Senior Business Consultant with KPN where he co-leads the Enterprise Architecture practice as well as the Cloud Computing solutions group. He is co-lead of The Open Group Cloud Computing Work Group’s Security for the Cloud and SOA project and a founding member of both The Open Group Cloud Computing Work Group and The Open Group SOA Work Group. Stuart is the author of publications by the Information Security Platform (PvIB) in The Netherlands and of his previous employer, CGI. He is a frequent speaker at conferences on the topics of Cloud, SOA, and Identity. 

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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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2013 Open Group Predictions, Vol. 1

By The Open Group

A big thank you to all of our members and staff who have made 2012 another great year for The Open Group. There were many notable achievements this year, including the release of ArchiMate 2.0, the launch of the Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE™) Technical Standard and the publication of the SOA Reference Architecture (SOA RA) and the Service-Oriented Cloud Computing Infrastructure Framework (SOCCI).

As we wrap up 2012, we couldn’t help but look towards what is to come in 2013 for The Open Group and the industries we‘re a part of. Without further ado, here they are:

Big Data
By Dave Lounsbury, Chief Technical Officer

Big Data is on top of everyone’s mind these days. Consumerization, mobile smart devices, and expanding retail and sensor networks are generating massive amounts of data on behavior, environment, location, buying patterns – etc. – producing what is being called “Big Data”. In addition, as the use of personal devices and social networks continue to gain popularity so does the expectation to have access to such data and the computational power to use it anytime, anywhere. Organizations will turn to IT to restructure its services so it meets the growing expectation of control and access to data.

Organizations must embrace Big Data to drive their decision-making and to provide the optimal service mix services to customers. Big Data is becoming so big that the big challenge is how to use it to make timely decisions. IT naturally focuses on collecting data so Big Data itself is not an issue.. To allow humans to keep on top of this flood of data, industry will need to move away from programming computers for storing and processing data to teaching computers how to assess large amounts of uncorrelated data and draw inferences from this data on their own. We also need to start thinking about the skills that people need in the IT world to not only handle Big Data, but to make it actionable. Do we need “Data Architects” and if so, what would their role be?

In 2013, we will see the beginning of the Intellectual Computing era. IT will play an essential role in this new era and will need to help enterprises look at uncorrelated data to find the answer.

Security

By Jim Hietala, Vice President of Security

As 2012 comes to a close, some of the big developments in security over the past year include:

  • Continuation of hacktivism attacks.
  • Increase of significant and persistent threats targeting government and large enterprises. The notable U.S. National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace started to make progress in the second half of the year in terms of industry and government movement to address fundamental security issues.
  • Security breaches were discovered by third parties, where the organizations affected had no idea that they were breached. Data from the 2012 Verizon report suggests that 92 percent of companies breached were notified by a third party.
  • Acknowledgement from senior U.S. cybersecurity professionals that organizations fall into two groups: those that know they’ve been penetrated, and those that have been penetrated, but don’t yet know it.

In 2013, we’ll no doubt see more of the same on the attack front, plus increased focus on mobile attack vectors. We’ll also see more focus on detective security controls, reflecting greater awareness of the threat and on the reality that many large organizations have already been penetrated, and therefore responding appropriately requires far more attention on detection and incident response.

We’ll also likely see the U.S. move forward with cybersecurity guidance from the executive branch, in the form of a Presidential directive. New national cybersecurity legislation seemed to come close to happening in 2012, and when it failed to become a reality, there were many indications that the administration would make something happen by executive order.

Enterprise Architecture

By Leonard Fehskens, Vice President of Skills and Capabilities

Preparatory to my looking back at 2012 and forward to 2013, I reviewed what I wrote last year about 2011 and 2012.

Probably the most significant thing from my perspective is that so little has changed. In fact, I think in many respects the confusion about what Enterprise Architecture (EA) and Business Architecture are about has gotten worse.

The stress within the EA community as both the demands being placed on it and the diversity of opinion within it increase continues to grow.  This year, I saw a lot more concern about the value proposition for EA, but not a lot of (read “almost no”) convergence on what that value proposition is.

Last year I wrote “As I expected at this time last year, the conventional wisdom about Enterprise Architecture continues to spin its wheels.”  No need to change a word of that. What little progress at the leading edge was made in 2011 seems to have had no effect in 2012. I think this is largely a consequence of the dust thrown in the eyes of the community by the ascendance of the concept of “Business Architecture,” which is still struggling to define itself.  Business Architecture seems to me to have supplanted last year’s infatuation with “enterprise transformation” as the means of compensating for the EA community’s entrenched IT-centric perspective.

I think this trend and the quest for a value proposition are symptomatic of the same thing — the urgent need for Enterprise Architecture to make its case to its stakeholder community, especially to the people who are paying the bills. Something I saw in 2011 that became almost epidemic in 2012 is conflation — the inclusion under the Enterprise Architecture umbrella of nearly anything with the slightest taste of “business” to it. This has had the unfortunate effect of further obscuring the unique contribution of Enterprise Architecture, which is to bring architectural thinking to bear on the design of human enterprise.

So, while I’m not quite mired in the slough of despond, I am discouraged by the community’s inability to advance the state of the art. In a private communication to some colleagues I wrote, “the conventional wisdom on EA is at about the same state of maturity as 14th century cosmology. It is obvious to even the most casual observer that the earth is both flat and the center of the universe. We debate what happens when you fall off the edge of the Earth, and is the flat earth carried on the back of a turtle or an elephant?  Does the walking of the turtle or elephant rotate the crystalline sphere of the heavens, or does the rotation of the sphere require the turtlephant to walk to keep the earth level?  These are obviously the questions we need to answer.”

Cloud

By Chris Harding, Director of Interoperability

2012 has seen the establishment of Cloud Computing as a mainstream resource for enterprise architects and the emergence of Big Data as the latest hot topic, likely to be mainstream for the future. Meanwhile, Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) has kept its position as an architectural style of choice for delivering distributed solutions, and the move to ever more powerful mobile devices continues. These trends have been reflected in the activities of our Cloud Computing Work Group and in the continuing support by members of our SOA work.

The use of Cloud, Mobile Computing, and Big Data to deliver on-line systems that are available anywhere at any time is setting a new norm for customer expectations. In 2013, we will see the development of Enterprise Architecture practice to ensure the consistent delivery of these systems by IT professionals, and to support the evolution of creative new computing solutions.

IT systems are there to enable the business to operate more effectively. Customers expect constant on-line access through mobile and other devices. Business organizations work better when they focus on their core capabilities, and let external service providers take care of the rest. On-line data is a huge resource, so far largely untapped. Distributed, Cloud-enabled systems, using Big Data, and architected on service-oriented principles, are the best enablers of effective business operations. There will be a convergence of SOA, Mobility, Cloud Computing, and Big Data as they are seen from the overall perspective of the enterprise architect.

Within The Open Group, the SOA and Cloud Work Groups will continue their individual work, and will collaborate with other forums and work groups, and with outside organizations, to foster the convergence of IT disciplines for distributed computing.

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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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Different Words Mean Different Things, Part 1

By Leonard Fehskens, The Open Group

Over on the LinkedIn Enterprise Architecture Network discussion group there is a thread on the relationship between Enterprise Architecture (EA) and Business Architecture that as of late November 2012 had run to over 4100 comments.

Some of the sprawl of this thread is due to the usual lack of discipline in staying on topic.  Some of it is due to the rehashing of well-worn themes as newcomers arrive.  It seems clear to me though, that even when long time contributors try to move the subject forward, a lot of the back and forth that fails to converge is a consequence of the community’s lack of an appropriate and widely shared vocabulary.

In particular, there are four words that many in the Enterprise and Business Architecture communities seem to use interchangeably – enterprise, business, organization and corporation.

Before I tackle this subject, there is some context I should provide.

First, people who know me consider me to be obsessive about the precise use of language, and they’re right.  I think of Enterprise Architecture as more a craft than a science, and as such, the language we use to express it is ordinary language (as opposed to, for example, mathematics).  To me it follows that it is especially important that we use that language carefully.

Second, I’m coming at this from the perspective of creating a profession and its supporting ecosystem.  I believe a profession should be broadly applicable, with specializations within the profession addressing more narrowly focused concerns.

Finally, though much of the discussion about Enterprise Architecture is in English, I acknowledge that for a large fraction of the community English is a second (or third) language.  So, while this post is specifically about English usage, I suspect much of it applies as well to other languages, and I don’t want to imply that the conventions of English usage are the only ones worthy of consideration.

That’s enough by way of preamble.

The EA community may not have agreed upon definitions of many of the words it uses, but as these words are drawn from the vernacular, the rest of the world does.  This conventional usage makes clear distinctions between enterprise, business, organization and corporation.

While it is true that these words all have some sense in which they are roughly synonymous, they have primary definitions that distinguish them from one another.  I think we ought to observe these distinctions because they are useful, especially in that they allow us to sensibly relate the concepts they represent to one another, and they do not needlessly foreclose the broader application of these concepts.

First, I’m going to propose definitions for these words to be used in the context of Enterprise Architecture.  Then I’m going to look at what these definitions imply about the relationships between the things these words denote, and how the current usage obscures or denies these relationships.

It’s very possible, if not likely, that you will not agree with these definitions.  I’ll deal with that later.

Enterprise

The Oxford English Dictionary (Compact Edition, 1971) defines “enterprise” as:

Derived from the French entreprendre, “to take in hand, undertake”.

    1. A design of which the execution is attempted; a piece of work taken in hand, an undertaking; chiefly, and now exclusively, a bold, arduous, or momentous undertaking.
      • b. engagement in such undertaking
    2. Disposition or readiness to engage in undertakings of difficulty, risk, or danger; daring spirit.
    3. The action of taking in hand; management, superintendence. Obsolete.

So, enterprise means “undertaking” or “endeavor,” especially one that is relatively ambitious.  Implicit in this concept of enterprise is the intentional action of one of more people.  It is intentional in the sense that the action is intended to achieve some outcome.  The role of people is important; we do not generally consider machines, regardless of their purpose, to exhibit “enterprise” in this sense.  For me, the essential properties of an enterprise are people and their activity in pursuit of explicit intent.

This is a deliberately, very broadly inclusive concept of enterprise.  All of the following are, in my opinion, enterprises:

  • A child’s lemonade stand
  • A club
  • A professional society
  • A committee or working group
  • A town, state or country government
  • An international/multinational coalition
  • A military unit
  • A department or ministry of defense
  • A for-profit, non-profit or not-for-profit corporation
  • A partnership
  • A consortium
  • A church
  • A university or college
  • A hospital

Business

English speakers commonly use the word “business” to mean three things, and are usually able to infer the intended meaning from context.  These three common meanings of business are:

Business-as-commerce: The exchange of goods and services for some form of compensation for the costs and risks of doing so.

Business-as-commercial-entity: An entity whose primary activity is the conduct of some form of business-as-commerce.  In colloquial terms, the primary purpose of such an entity is to “make money”, and if it does not “make money” it will “go out of business.”

Business-as-primary-concern: The primary concern or activity of some entity.

These three different commonly understood meanings of business make it possible for someone to say something like:

“The business of my business is business.”

I.e., “The business-as-primary-concern of my business-as-commercial-entity is business-as-commerce.”

Organization

An “organization” is a structured (i.e., “organized”) group of people and resources, usually acting in concert to achieve some shared purpose.

Corporation

Finally, a “corporation” is an organization structured and operated in a particular way so as to satisfy certain legal constraints and thus benefit from the legal consequences of that conformance.  Strictly speaking, a corporation is a legal entity that has an organization associated with it.  In the case of a “shell” or “dummy” corporation, the associated organization’s people and resources may be minimal.

Observations

Based on these definitions, one can make some observations.

An organization is typically the means by which an enterprise is realized.  Small scale enterprises may be realized by a single individual, which is a trivial case of an organization.

Not all organizations are business-as-commercial-entities.  Organizations that are not businesses will almost certainly conduct some business-as-commerce as an adjunct activity in support of their primary intent.

Not all enterprises have as their intent some form of business-as-commerce. An organization that realizes such an enterprise will not be a business-as-commercial-entity.  While all business-as-commercial-entities realize an enterprise, not all enterprises are realized by business-as-commercial-entities.

Not all organizations are corporations.

Not all business-as-commercial-entities are corporations.

These relationships are depicted below.

 Len diagram

This is a three-part series that discusses how our vocabulary affects the way we conceptualize Enterprise Architecture, Business Architecture and their relationship.  Part 2 will examine the effect of our definition of enterprise on how we think about EA. 

 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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The Open Group Newport Beach Conference – Early Bird Registration Ends January 4

By The Open Group Conference Team

The Open Group is busy gearing up for the Newport Beach Conference. Taking place January 28-31, 2013, the conference theme is “Big Data – The Transformation We Need to Embrace Today” and will bring together leading minds in technology to discuss the challenges and solutions facing Enterprise Architecture around the growth of Big Data. Register today!

Information is power, and we stand at a time when 90% of the data in the world today was generated in the last two years alone.  Despite the sheer enormity of the task, off the shelf hardware, open source frameworks, and the processing capacity of the Cloud, mean that Big Data processing is within the cost-effective grasp of the average business. Organizations can now initiate Big Data projects without significant investment in IT infrastructure.

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

  • The ways that Cloud Computing is transforming the possibilities for collecting, storing, and processing big data.
  • How to contend with Big Data in your Enterprise?
  • How does Big Data enable your Business Architecture?
  • What does the Big Data revolution mean for the Enterprise Architect?
  • Real-time analysis of Big Data in the Cloud.
  • Security challenges in the world of outsourced data.
  • What is an architectural view of Security for the Cloud?

Plenary speakers include:

  • Christian Verstraete, Chief Technologist – Cloud Strategy, HP
  • Mary Ann Mezzapelle, Strategist – Security Services, HP
  • Michael Cavaretta, Ph.D, Technical Leader, Predictive Analytics / Data Mining Research and Advanced Engineering, Ford Motor Company
  • Adrian Lane, Analyst and Chief Technical Officer, Securosis
  • David Potter, Chief Technical Officer, Promise Innovation Oy
  • Ron Schuldt, Senior Partner, UDEF-IT, LLC

A full conference agenda is available here. Tracks include:

  • Architecting Big Data
  • Big Data and Cloud Security
  • Data Architecture and Big Data
  • Business Architecture
  • Distributed Services Architecture
  • EA and Disruptive Technologies
  • Architecting the Cloud
  • Cloud Computing for Business

Early Bird Registration

Early Bird registration for The Open Group Conference in Newport Beach ends January 4. Register now and save! For more information or to register: http://www.opengroup.org/event/open-group-newport-beach-2013/reg

Upcoming Conference Submission Deadlines

In addition to the Early Bird registration deadline to attend the Newport Beach conference, there are upcoming deadlines for speaker proposal submissions to Open Group conferences in Sydney, Philadelphia and London. To submit a proposal to speak, click here.

Venue Industry Focus Submission Deadline
Sydney (April 15-17) Finance, Defense, Mining January 18, 2013
Philadelphia (July 15-17) Healthcare, Finance, Defense April 5, 2013
London (October 21-23) Finance, Government, Healthcare July 8, 2013

We expect space on the agendas of these events to be at a premium, so it is important for proposals to be submitted as early as possible. Proposals received after the deadline dates will still be considered, if space is available; if not, they may be carried over to a future conference. Priority will be given to proposals received by the deadline dates and to proposals that include an end-user organization, at least as a co-presenter.

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Call for Submissions

By Patty Donovan, The Open Group

The Open Group Blog is celebrating its second birthday this month! Over the past few years, our blog posts have tended to cover Open Group activities – conferences, announcements, our lovely members, etc. While several members and Open Group staff serve as regular contributors, we’d like to take this opportunity to invite our community members to share their thoughts and expertise on topics related to The Open Group’s areas of expertise as guest contributors.

Here are a few examples of popular guest blog posts that we’ve received over the past year

Blog posts generally run between 500 and 800 words and address topics relevant to The Open Group workgroups, forums, consortiums and events. Some suggested topics are listed below.

  • ArchiMate®
  • Big Data
  • Business Architecture
  • Cloud Computing
  • Conference recaps
  • DirectNet
  • Enterprise Architecture
  • Enterprise Management
  • Future of Airborne Capability Environment (FACE™)
  • Governing Board Businesses
  • Governing Board Certified Architects
  • Governing Board Certified IT Specialists
  • Identity Management
  • IT Security
  • The Jericho Forum
  • The Open Group Trusted Technology Forum (OTTF)
  • Quantum Lifecycle Management
  • Real-Time Embedded Systems
  • Semantic Interoperability
  • Service-Oriented Architecture
  • TOGAF®

If you have any questions or would like to contribute, please contact opengroup (at) bateman-group.com.

Please note that all content submitted to The Open Group blog is subject to The Open Group approval process. The Open Group reserves the right to deny publication of any contributed works. Anything published shall be copyright of The Open Group.

Patricia 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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The Open Group Barcelona Conference – Early Bird Registration ends September 21

By The Open Group Conference Team

Early Bird registration for The Open Group Conference in Barcelona ends September 21. Register now and save!

The conference runs October 22-24, 2012. On Monday, October 22, the plenary theme is “Big Data – The Next Frontier in the Enterprise,” and speakers will address the challenges and solutions facing Enterprise Architecture within the context of the growth of Big Data. Topics to be explored include:

  • How does an enterprise adopt the means to contend with Big Data within its information architecture?
  • How does Big Data enable your business architecture?
  • What are the issues concerned with real-time analysis of the data resources on the cloud?
  • What are the information security challenges in the world of outsourced and massively streamed data analytics?
  • What is the architectural view of security for cloud computing? How can you take a risk-based approach to cloud security?

Plenary speakers include:

  • Peter Haviland, head of Business Architecture, Ernst & Young
  • Ron Tolido, CTO of Application Services in Europe, Capgemini; and Manuel Sevilla, chief technical officer, Global Business Information Management, Capgemini
  • Scott Radeztsky, chief technical officer, Deloitte Analytics Innovation Centers
  • Helen Sun, director of Enterprise Architecture, Oracle

On Tuesday, October 23, Dr. Robert Winter, Institute of Information Management, University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, will kick off the day with a keynote on EA Management and Transformation Management.

Tracks include:

  • Practice-driven Research on Enterprise Transformation (PRET)
  • Trends in Enterprise Architecture Research (TEAR)
  • TOGAF® and ArchiMate® Case Studies
  • Information Architecture
  • Distributed Services Architecture
  • Holistic Enterprise Architecture Workshop
  • Business Innovation & Technical Disruption
  • Security Architecture
  • Big Data
  • Cloud Computing for Business
  • Cloud Security and Cloud Architecture
  • Agile Enterprise Architecture
  • Enterprise Architecture and Business Value
  • Setting Up A Successful Enterprise Architecture Practice

For more information or to register: http://www.opengroup.org/barcelona2012/registration

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Enterprise Architects and Paradigm Shifts

By Stuart Boardman, KPN

It’s interesting looking back at what people have written over the course of the year and seeing which themes appear regularly in their blogs. I thought I’d do the same with my own posts for The Open Group and see whether I could pull some of it together. I saw that the recurring themes for me have been dealing with uncertainty, the changing nature of the enterprise and the influence of information technology from outside the enterprise – and all of this in relation to the practice of enterprise architecture. I also explored the mutual influences these themes have on each other.

Unsurprisingly I’m not alone in picking up on these themes. At the risk of offending anyone I don’t mention, I note that Serge Thorn, Raghuraman Krishnamurthy and Len Fehskens have given their own perspectives on The Open Group’s Blog on some or all of these themes. And of course there’s plenty of writing on these themes going on in the blogosphere at large. In one sense I think writing about this is part of a process of trying to understand what’s going on in the world.

After some reflection, it seems to me that all of this converges in what tends to be called ”social business.” For better or worse, there is no fixed definition of the term. I would say it describes a way of working where, both within and across organizations, hierarchies and rules are being replaced by networks and collaboration. The concept of the enterprise in such a system is then definitively extended to include a whole ecosystem of customers and suppliers as well as investors and beneficiaries. Any one organization is just a part of the enterprise – a stakeholder. And of course the enterprise will look different dependent on the viewpoint of a particular stakeholder. That should be a familiar concept anyway for an enterprise architect. That one participant can be a stakeholder in multiple enterprises is not really new – it’s just something we now have no choice but to take into account.

Within any one organization, social business means that creativity and strategy development takes place at and across multiple levels. We can speak of networked, podular or fractal forms of organization. It also means a lot of other things with wider economic, social and political implications but that’s not my focus here.

Another important aspect is the relationship with newer developments in information and communication technology. We can’t separate social business from the technology which has helped it to develop and which in turn is stimulated by its existence and demands. I don’t mean any one technology and I won’t even insist on restricting it to information technology. But it’s clear that there is at least a high degree of synergy between newer IT developments and social business. In other words, the more an organization becomes a social business, the more its business will involve the use of information technology – not as a support function but as an essential part of how it does its business.  Moreover exactly this usage of IT is not and cannot be (entirely) under its own control.

A social business therefore demonstrates, in all aspects of the enterprise, fuzzy boundaries and a higher level of what I call entropy (uncertainty, rate of change, sensitivity to change). It means we need new ways of dealing with complexity, which fortunately is a topic a lot of people are looking at. It means that simplicity is not in every case a desirable goal and that, scary as it may seem, we may actually need to encourage entropy (in some places) in order to develop the agility to respond to change – effectively and without making any unnecessary long term assumptions.

So, if indeed the world is evolving to such a state, what can enterprise architects do to help their own organizations become successful social businesses (social governments – whatever)?

Enterprise Architecture is a practice that is founded in communication. To support and add value to that communication we have developed analysis methods and frameworks, which help us model what we learn and, in turn, communicate the results. Enterprise Architects work across organizations to understand how the activities of the participants relate to the strategy of the organization and how the performance of each person/group’s activities can optimally support and reinforce everyone else’s. We don’t do their work for them and don’t, if we do our work properly, have any sectional interests. We are the ultimate generalists, specialized in bringing together all those aspects, in which other people are the experts. We’re therefore ideally placed to facilitate the development of a unified vision and a complementary set of practices. OK, that sounds a bit idealistic. We know reality is never perfect but, if we don’t have ideals, we’d be hypocrites to be doing this work anyway. Pragmatism and ideals can be a positive combination.

Yes, there’s plenty of work to do to adapt our models to this new reality. Our goals, the things we try to achieve with EA will not be different. In some significant aspects, the results will be – if only because of the scope and diversity of the enterprise. We’ll certainly need to produce some good example EA artifacts to show what these results will look like. I can see an obvious impact in business architecture and in governance – most likely other areas too. But the issues faced in governance may be similar to those being tackled by The Open Group’s Cloud Governance project. And business architecture is long due for expansion outside of the single organization, so there’s synergy there as well. We can also look outside of our own community for inspiration – in the area of complexity theory, in business modeling, in material about innovation and strategy development and in economic and even political thinking about social business.

We’ll also be faced with organizational challenges. EA has for too long and too often been seen as the property of the IT department. That’s always been a problem anyway, but to face the challenges of social business, EA must avoid the slightest whiff of sectional interest and IT centrism. And, ironically, the best hope for the IT department in this scary new world may come from letting go of what it does not need to control and taking on a new role as a positive enabler of change.

There could hardly be a more appropriate time to be working on TOGAF Next. What an opportunity!

Stuart Boardman is a Senior Business Consultant with KPN where he co-leads the Enterprise Architecture practice as well as the Cloud Computing solutions group. He is co-lead of The Open Group Cloud Computing Work Group’s Security for the Cloud and SOA project and a founding member of both The Open Group Cloud Computing Work Group and The Open Group SOA Work Group. Stuart is the author of publications by the Information Security Platform (PvIB) in The Netherlands and of his previous employer, CGI. He is a frequent speaker at conferences on the topics of Cloud, SOA, and Identity. 

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Security and Cloud Computing Themes to be explored at The Open Group San Francisco Conference

By The Open Group Conference Team

Cybersecurity and Cloud Computing are two of the most pressing trends facing enterprises today. The Open Group Conference San Francisco will feature tracks on both trends where attendees can learn about the latest developments in both disciplines as well as hear practical advice for implementing both secure architectures and for moving enterprises into the Cloud.  Below are some of the highlights and featured speakers from both tracks.

Security

The San Francisco conference will provide an opportunity for practitioners to explore the theme of “hacktivism,” the use and abuse of IT to drive social change, and its potential impact on business strategy and Enterprise Transformation.  Traditionally, IT security has focused on protecting the IT infrastructure and the integrity of the data held within.  However, in a rapidly changing world where hacktivism is an enterprise’s biggest threat, how can enterprise IT security respond?

Featured speakers and panels include:

  • Steve Whitlock, Chief Security Strategist, Boeing, “Information Security in the Internet Age”
  • Jim Hietala, Vice President, Security, The Open Group, “The Open Group Security Survey Results”
  • Dave Hornford, Conexiam, and Chair, The Open Group Architecture Forum, “Overview of TOGAF® and SABSA® Integration White Paper”
  • Panel – “The Global Supply Chain: Presentation and Discussion on the Challenges of Protecting Products Against Counterfeit and Tampering”

Cloud Computing

According to Gartner, Cloud Computing is now entering the “trough of disillusionment” on its hype cycle. It is critical that organizations better understand the practical business, operational and regulatory issues associated with the implementation of Cloud Computing in order to truly maximize its potential benefits.

Featured speakers and panels include:

  • David JW Gilmour, Metaplexity Associates, “Architecting for Information Security in a Cloud Environment”
  • Chris Lockhart, Senior Enterprise Architect, UnitedHeal, “Un-Architecture: How a Fortune 25 Company Solved the Greatest IT Problem”
  • Penelope Gordon, Cloud and Business Architect, 1Plug Corporation, “Measuring the Business Performance of Cloud Products”
  • Jitendra Maan, Tata Consultancy, “Mobile Intelligence with Cloud Strategy”
  • Panel – “The Benefits, Challenges and Survey of Cloud Computing Interoperability and Portability”
    • Mark Skilton, Capgemini; Kapil Bakshi, Cisco; Jeffrey Raugh, Hewlett-Packard

Please join us in San Francisco for these speaking tracks, as well as those on our featured them of Enterprise Transformation and the role of enterprise architecture. For more information, please go to the conference homepage: http://www3.opengroup.org/sanfrancisco2012

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2012 Open Group Predictions, Vol. 2

By The Open Group

Continuing on the theme of predictions, here are a few more, which focus on enterprise architecture, business architecture, general IT and Open Group events in 2012.

Enterprise Architecture – The Industry

By Leonard Fehskens, VP of Skills and Capabilities

Looking back at 2011 and looking forward to 2012, I see growing stress within the EA community as both the demands being placed on it and the diversity of opinions within it increase. While this stress is not likely to fracture the community, it is going to make it much more difficult for both enterprise architects and the communities they serve to make sense of EA in general, and its value proposition in particular.

As I predicted around this time last year, the conventional wisdom about EA continues to spin its wheels.  At the same time, there has been a bit more progress at the leading edge than I had expected or hoped for. The net effect is that the gap between the conventional wisdom and the leading edge has widened. I expect this to continue through the next year as progress at the leading edge is something like the snowball rolling downhill, and newcomers to the discipline will pronounce that it’s obvious the Earth is both flat and the center of the universe.

What I had not expected is the vigor with which the loosely defined concept of business architecture has been adopted as the answer to the vexing challenge of “business/IT alignment.” The big idea seems to be that the enterprise comprises “the business” and IT, and enterprise architecture comprises business architecture and IT architecture. We already know how to do the IT part, so if we can just figure out the business part, we’ll finally have EA down to a science. What’s troubling is how much of the EA community does not see this as an inherently IT-centric perspective that will not win over the “business community.” The key to a truly enterprise-centric concept of EA lies inside that black box labeled “the business” – a black box that accounts for 95% or more of the enterprise.

As if to compensate for this entrenched IT-centric perspective, the EA community has lately adopted the mantra of “enterprise transformation”, a dangerous strategy that risks promising even more when far too many EA efforts have been unable to deliver on the promises they have already made.

At the same time, there is a growing interest in professionalizing the discipline, exemplified by the membership of the Association of Enterprise Architects (AEA) passing 20,000, TOGAF® 9 certifications passing 10,000, and the formation of the Federation of Enterprise Architecture Professional Organizations (FEAPO). The challenge that we face in 2012 and beyond is bringing order to the increasing chaos that characterizes the EA space. The biggest question looming seems to be whether this should be driven by IT. If so, will we be honest about this IT focus and will the potential for EA to become a truly enterprise-wide capability be realized?

Enterprise Architecture – The Profession

By Steve Nunn, COO of The Open Group and CEO of the Association of Enterprise Architects

It’s an exciting time for enterprise architecture, both as an industry and as a profession. There are an abundance of trends in EA, but I wanted to focus on three that have emerged and will continue to evolve in 2012 and beyond.

  • A Defined Career Path for Enterprise Architects: Today, there is no clear career path for the enterprise architect. I’ve heard this from college students, IT and business professionals and current EAs. Up until now, the skills necessary to succeed and the roles within an organization that an EA can and should fill have not been defined. It’s imperative that we determine the skill sets EAs need and the path for EAs to acquire these skills in a linear progression throughout their career. Expect this topic to become top priority in 2012.
  • Continued EA Certification Adoption: Certification will continue to grow as EAs seek ways to differentiate themselves within the industry and to employers. Certifications and memberships through professional bodies such as the Association of Enterprise Architects will offer value to members and employers alike by identifying competent and capable architects. This growth will also be supported by EA certification adoption in emerging markets like India and China, as those countries continue to explore ways to build value and quality for current and perspective clients, and to establish more international credibility.
  • Greater Involvement from the Business: As IT investments become business driven, business executives controlling corporate strategy will need to become more involved in EA and eventually drive the process. Business executive involvement will be especially helpful when outsourcing IT processes, such as Cloud Computing. Expect to see greater interest from executives and business schools that will implement coursework and training to reflect this shift, as well as increased discussion on the value of business architecture.

Business Architecture – Part 2

By Kevin Daley, IBM and Vice-Chair of The Open Group Business Forum

Several key technologies have reached a tipping point in 2011 that will move them out of the investigation and validation by enterprise architects and into the domain of strategy and realization for business architects. Five areas where business architects will be called upon for participation and effort in 2012 are related to:

  • Cloud: This increasingly adopted and disruptive technology will help increase the speed of development and change. The business architect will be called upon to ensure the strategic relevancy of transformation in a repeatable fashion as cycle times and rollouts happen faster.
  • Social Networking / Mobile Computing: Prevalent consumer usage, global user adoption and improvements in hardware and security make this a trend that cannot be ignored. The business architect will help develop new strategies as organizations strive for new markets and broader demographic reach.
  • Internet of Things: This concept from 2000 is reaching critical mass as more and more devices become communicative. The business architect will be called on to facilitate the conversation and design efforts between operational efforts and technologies managing the flood of new and usable information.
  • Big Data and Business Intelligence: Massive amounts of previously untapped data are being exposed, analyzed and made insightful and useful. The business architect will be utilized to help contain the complexity of business possibilities while identifying tactical areas where the new insights can be integrated into existing technologies to optimize automation and business process domains.
  • ERP Resurgence and Smarter Software: Software purchasing looks to continue its 2011 trend towards broader, more intuitive and feature-rich software and applications.  The business architect will be called upon to identify and help drive getting the maximum amount of operational value and output from these platforms to both preserve and extend organizational differentiation.

The State of IT

By Dave Lounsbury, CTO

What will have a profound effect on the IT industry throughout 2012 are the twin horses of mobility and consumerization, both of which are galloping at full tilt within the IT industry right now. Key to these trends are the increased use of personal devices, as well as favorite consumer Cloud services and social networks, which drive a rapidly growing comfort among end users with both data and computational power being everywhere. This comfort brings a level of expectations to end users who will increasingly want to control how they access and use their data, and with what devices. The expectation of control and access will be increasingly brought from home to the workplace.

This has profound implications for core IT organizations. There will be less reliance on core IT services, and with that an increased expectation of “I’ll buy the services, you show me know to knit them in” as the prevalent user approach to IT – thus requiring increased attention to use of standards conformance. IT departments will change from being the only service providers within organizations to being a guiding force when it comes to core business processes, with IT budgets being impacted. I see a rapid tipping point in this direction in 2012.

What does this mean for corporate data? The matters of scale that have been a part of IT—the overarching need for good architecture, security, standards and governance—will now apply to a wide range of users and their devices and services. Security issues will loom larger. Data, apps and hardware are coming from everywhere, and companies will need to develop criteria for knowing whether systems are robust, secure and trustworthy. Governments worldwide will take a close look at this in 2012, but industry must take the lead to keep up with the pace of technology evolution, such as The Open Group and its members have done with the OTTF standard.

Open Group Events in 2012

By Patty Donovan, VP of Membership and Events

In 2012, we will continue to connect with members globally through all mediums available to us – our quarterly conferences, virtual and regional events and social media. Through coordination with our local partners in Brazil, China, France, Japan, South Africa, Sweden, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, we’ve been able to increase our global footprint and connect members and non-members who may not have been able to attend the quarterly conferences with the issues facing today’s IT professionals. These events in conjunction with our efforts in social media has led to a rise in member participation and helped further develop The Open Group community, and we hope to have continued growth in the coming year and beyond.

We’re always open to new suggestions, so if you have a creative idea on how to connect members, please let me know! Also, please be sure to attend the upcoming Open Group Conference in San Francisco, which is taking place on January 30 through February 3. The conference will address enterprise transformation as well as other key issues in 2012 and beyond.

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Save the Date—The Open Group Conference San Francisco!

By Patty Donovan, The Open Group

It’s that time again to start thinking ahead to The Open Group’s first conference of 2012 to be held in San Francisco, January 30 – February 3, 2012. Not only do we have a great venue for the event, the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins (home of the famous “Top of the Mark” sky lounge—with amazing views of all of San Francisco!), but we have stellar line up for our winter conference centered on the theme of Enterprise Transformation.

Enterprise Transformation is a theme that is increasingly being used by organizations of all types to represent the change processes they implement in response to internal and external business drivers. Enterprise Architecture (EA) can be a means to Enterprise Transformation, but most enterprises today because EA is still largely limited to the IT department and transformation must go beyond the IT department to be successful. The San Francisco conference will focus on the role that both IT and EA can play within the Enterprise Transformation process, including the following:

  • The differences between EA and Enterprise Transformation and how they relate  to one another
  • The use of EA to facilitate Enterprise Transformation
  • How EA can be used to create a foundation for Enterprise Transformation that the Board and business-line managers can understand and use to their advantage
  • How EA facilitates transformation within IT, and how does such transformation support the transformation of the enterprise as a whole
  • How EA can help the enterprise successfully adapt to “disruptive technologies” such as Cloud Computing and ubiquitous mobile access

In addition, we will be featuring a line-up of keynotes by some of the top industry leaders to discuss Enterprise Transformation, as well as themes around our regular tracks of Enterprise Architecture and Professional Certification, Cloud Computing and Cybersecurity. Keynoting at the conference will be:

  • Joseph Menn, author and cybersecurity correspondent for the Financial Times (Keynote: What You’re Up Against: Mobsters, Nation-States and Blurry Lines)
  • Celso Guiotoko, Corporate Vice President and CIO, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. (Keynote: How Enterprise Architecture is helping NISSAN IT Transformation)
  • Jeanne W. Ross, Director & Principal Research Scientist, MIT Center for Information Systems Research (Keynote: The Enterprise Architect: Architecting Business Success)
  • Lauren C. States, Vice President & Chief Technology Officer, Cloud Computing and Growth Initiatives, IBM Corp. (Keynote: Making Business Drive IT Transformation Through Enterprise Architecture)
  • Andy Mulholland, Chief Global Technical Officer, Capgemini (Keynote: The Transformed Enterprise)
  • William Rouse, Executive Director, Tennenbaum Institute at Georgia Institute of Technology (Keynote: Enterprise Transformation: An Architecture-Based Approach)

For more on the conference tracks or to register, please visit our conference registration page. And stay tuned throughout the next month for more sneak peeks leading up to The Open Group Conference San Francisco!

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2012 Open Group Predictions, Vol. 1

By The Open Group

Foreword

By Allen Brown, CEO

2011 was a big year for The Open Group, thanks to the efforts of our members and our staff – you all deserve a very big thank you. There have been so many big achievements, that to list them all here would mean we would never get to our predictions. Significantly though, The Open Group continues to grow and this year the number of enterprise members passed the 400 mark which means that around 30,000 people are involved, some more so than others, from all over the world.

Making predictions is always risky but we thought it might be fun anyway. Here are three trends that will wield great influence on IT in 2012 and beyond:

  • This year we experienced the consumerization of IT accelerating the pace of change for the enterprise at an astonishing rate as business users embraced new technologies that transformed their organizations. As this trend continues in 2012, the enterprise architect will play a critical role in supporting this change and enabling the business to realize their goals.
  • Enterprise architecture will continue its maturity in becoming a recognized profession. As the profession matures, employers of enterprise architects and other IT professionals, for that matter, will increasingly look for industry recognized certifications.
  • As globalization continues, security and compliance will be increasing issues for companies delivering products or services and there will be a growing spotlight on what might be inside IT products. Vendors will be expected to warrant that the products they purchase and integrate into their own products come from a trusted source and that their own processes can be trusted in order not to introduce potential threats to their customers. At the same time, customers will be increasingly sensitive to the security and dependability of their IT assets. To address this situation, security will continue to be designed in from the outset and be tightly coupled with enterprise architecture.

In addition to my predictions, Other Open Group staff members also wanted to share their predictions for 2012 with you:

Security

By Jim Hietala, VP of Security

Cloud security in 2012 becomes all about point solutions to address specific security pain points. Customers are realizing that to achieve an acceptable level of security, whether for IaaS, SaaS, or PaaS, they need to apply controls in addition to the native platform controls from the Cloud service provider. In 2012, this will manifest as early Cloud security technologies target specific and narrow security functionality gaps. Specific areas where we see this playing out include data encryption, data loss prevention, identity and access management, and others.

Cloud

By Chris Harding, Director of Interoperability

There is a major trend towards shared computing resources that are “on the Cloud” – accessed by increasingly powerful and mobile personal computing devices but decoupled from the users.

This may bring some much-needed economic growth in 2012, but history shows that real growth can only come from markets based on standards. Cloud portability and interoperability standards will enable development of re-usable components as commodity items, but the need for them is not yet appreciated. And, even if the vendors wanted these standards for Cloud Computing, they do not yet have the experience to create good ones.  But, by the end of the year, we should understand Cloud Computing better and will perhaps have made a start on the standardization that will lead to growth in the years ahead.

Here are some more Cloud predictions from my colleagues in The Open Group Cloud Work Group: http://blog.opengroup.org/2011/12/19/cloud-computing-predictions-for-2012/

Business Architecture

By Steve Philp, Professional Certification

There are a number of areas for 2012 where Business Architects will be called upon to engage in transforming the business and applying technologies such as Cloud Computing, social networking and big data. Therefore, the need to have competent Business Architects is greater than ever. This year organizations have been recruiting and developing Business Architects and the profession as a whole is now starting to take shape. But how do you establish who is a practicing Business Architect?

In response to requests from our membership, next year The Open Group will incorporate 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 performing in a Business Architecture role. I believe this initiative will further help to develop the profession over the next few years and especially in 2012.

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Taking Decisions In The Face Of Uncertainty (Responsible Moments)

By Stuart Boardman, KPN

Ruth Malan recently tweeted a link to a piece by Alistair Cockburn about the Last Responsible Moment concept (LRM) in Lean Software Development. I’ve been out of software development for a while now but I could guess what that might mean in an “agile” context and wondered how it might apply to problems I’ve been considering recently in Enterprise Architecture. Anyway, Alistair Cockburn is an interesting writer who would be deservedly famous even if he’d never done anything after writing the most practical and insightful book ever written about use cases. So I read on. The basic idea of the LRM is that in order to deal with uncertainty you avoid taking deterministic decisions until just before it would become irresponsible (for cost or delivery reasons) not to take them. Or to put it another way, don’t take decisions you don’t yet need to take if the result will be to constrain your options but do be ready to take them when it’s dangerous to wait longer.

Alistair’s not a big fan of LRM. He makes the following statement: “If you keep all decisions open until the hypothetical LRM, then your brain will be completely cluttered with open decisions and you won’t be able to keep track of them all.” Later in the discussion, he modifies this a bit but it certainly struck a chord with me. I’ve argued recently in this column that the degree of uncertainty (I called this entropy) in which enterprise architects have to operate is only increasing and that this in turn is due to three factors: the increasing rate of change happening in or affecting the enterprise; the increasing complexity of the environment in which the enterprise exists; and the decreasing extent to which any one enterprise can control that environment. This in turn increases the level of complexity in decision making. I’ll come back to these factors later but if you give me the benefit of the doubt for the moment, you can see that there’s actually a pretty good argument for taking any decision you can reasonably take (i.e. one which does not unjustifiably constrain everything else), as early as you can – in order to minimize complexity as you go along.

This is not (repeat not) a dogma. If it’s totally unclear what decision you should take, you’d probably be better off waiting for more information – and a last responsible moment will undoubtedly arrive.

So assuming you gave me the benefit of the doubt, you might now reasonably be thinking that this is theoretically all very well but how can we actually put it into practice. To do that we need first to look at the three sources of complexity I mentioned:

  • That the rate of change is increasing is pretty much a truism. Some change is due to market forces such as competition, availability/desirability of new capabilities, withdrawal of existing capabilities or changes in the business models of partners and suppliers. Some change is due to regulation (or deregulation) or to indirect factors such as changing demographics. Factors such as social media and Cloud are perhaps more optional but are certainly disruptive – and themselves constantly in change.
  • The increase in complexity of the environment is largely due to the increase in the number of partners and to more or less formal value networks (extended enterprise), to an increased number of delivery channels and to lack of standardization at both the supply and delivery ends.
  • The decrease in control (or more accurately in exclusive and total control) arises from all forms of shared services, which the enterprise one way or another makes use of. This can be Cloud (in which case we talk about multi-tenancy), social media (in which case we talk about anarchy) but equally well the extended enterprise network where not merely do our partners and suppliers have other customers but they also have their own partners and suppliers who have other customers. A consequence of most of this is that you can’t expect to be consulted before change decisions are made.

At best you will be notified well enough in advance of it happening. So you need to take that into account in what you implement.

Each of these factors may affect what the organization is – its core values, its key value propositions, its strategy. They may also affect how it carries out its business – its key activities and processes, its partners and even its customers. And they can affect how those activities and processes are implemented, which by the way can in turn drive change at the strategic level – it’s not just one way traffic – but this is a subject worthy of its own blog.

The point is that, if we want to be able to deal with this, to make sensible decisions in a non-deterministic environment, we would do well to address them where they first manifest themselves in order to avoid a geometric expansion of complexity further on. I’m inclined to think this is primarily in the business architecture (assuming we all accept that business architecture is not just a collection of process models). Almost all of the factors are encountered first here and subsequently reflected possibly in strategy and nearly always on the implementation side. If we make the reasonable assumption that the implementation side will encounter its own complexities, we can at least keep that manageable by not passing on all the possible options from the business architecture.

I said almost all factors are encountered first in the business architecture. The most obvious exceptions I can think of are the Infrastructure as a Service and Platform as a Service variants on Cloud. There’s a good case to be made that the effects of these are primarily felt within IT (strategy and implementation). But wherever we start, the principle doesn’t change – start the analysis at the first point of impact.

The next thing we need to do is look for ways to a) reduce the level of entropy in the part of the system we start with and b) understand how to make decisions that don’t create unnecessary lock in.  There’s not enough space in a blog to go into this in detail but it’s worth mentioning some new and some established techniques.

My attention has recently been drawn (by Verna Allee and others) to the study of networks of things, organizations and people. This in turn makes a lot of use of visualizations. These enable us to “see” the level of entropy around the particular element we’re focusing on – without the penalty of losing sight of the big picture. An example that I found useful is by Eric Berlow.  Another concept in this area involves identifying what are referred to as communities (because the idea came out of the study of social networks – clusters of related elements, which are only loosely coupled to other communities. These techniques allow us to reduce the scope (and therefore complexity) of the problem we’re trying to solve at any one time without falling into the trap of assuming it’s entirely self- contained.

A few blogs ago I mentioned an idea of Robert Phipps’s, where he visualizes the various forces within an organization as vectors. Each vector represents some factor driving (or even constraining) change. Those can be formal or informal organizational groupings (people), stakeholders both within and external to the organization, economic factors around supply or revenue, changes in the business model or even in technology. In that blog I used this as a way of illustrating entropy but Robert is actually looking at ways of applying measures to these vectors in order to be able to establish their actual force (and direction) and therefore their impact on change. Turning an apparently random factor into something knowable reduces the level of entropy and makes us more confident about taking decisions early – and therefore in turn reduces the entropy at a later stage.

One more example: Ruth Malan and Dana Bredemeyer produced a paper last year in which they examined the idea that organizations can make the most use of the creativity of their personnel by replacing the traditional hierarchical and compartmentalized structures with what they called a fractal approach. The idea is that patterns of strategy creation are reflected in all parts of an organization, thus making strategy integral to an organization rather than merely dictated from “above”. It has the added benefit of making the overall complexity more manageable. Architects belong in each fractal both as creators and interpreters of strategy. I can’t possibly do this long paper justice here but I wanted to mention an additional thought I had. What can also help architects is to look for these fractals even in formally hierarchical organizations. There’s a great chance that they really exist and are just waiting for someone to pay them attention.

Having achieved focus on a manageable area and gathered as much meaningful data as possible, we can then apply some basic (but often forgotten or ignored) design principles. Think of separation of concerns, low coupling, high cohesion. All that starts by focusing on the core purpose of the element(s) of the architecture we’ve zoomed in on. And folks, the good news is that this will all have to wait for another occasion.

The very last thing I want to say is something I tend to hammer on about. You have to take some risks. No creative, successful organization does not take risks. You need a degree of confidence about the level and potential impact of the risk but at the end of the day you’ll have to make a decision anyway. Even if you believe that everything is potentially knowable, you know that we often don’t have the information available to achieve that. So you take a gamble on something that seems to deliver value and where the risk is at worst manageable. And by doing that you reduce the total entropy in the system and make taking other decisions easier.

Stuart Boardman is a Senior Business Consultant with KPN where he co-leads the Enterprise Architecture practice as well as the Cloud Computing solutions group. He is co-lead of The Open Group Cloud Computing Work Group’s Security for the Cloud and SOA project and a founding member of both The Open Group Cloud Computing Work Group and The Open Group SOA Work Group. Stuart is the author of publications by the Information Security Platform (PvIB) in The Netherlands and of his previous employer, CGI. He is a frequent speaker at conferences on the topics of Cloud, SOA, and Identity. 

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Enterprise Architecture and Emergence of Social Media

By Raghuraman Krishnamurthy, Cognizant Technology Solutions

If your enterprise is predominantly a consumer goods enterprise, you would have noticed tectonic shifts in the marketing focus. Traditionally, the goods and services were promoted through the enterprise websites and advertisements; however today the added focus is on having a vibrant social media presence. Success stories of Intuit and McDonald add credence to this trend. Stories like how customer complaints that are tweeted gain immediate attention abound in the world of consumer goods. Digital media has enabled conversations and enterprises are eager at the possibility of hearing directly from the customers. The new mantras are: more listening than talking, formation of communities, word of mouth as the ultimate marketing vehicle, active monitoring of social media, identification of key advocates, etc. Internally, within enterprises, Yammer is a very popular tool for tweeting. That information systems that acquired distinct organizational flavor are now making ground for customer/human flavor is no more a fiction.

This trend of social media brings in challenges and opportunities to EA. EA aims to holistically understand business; recent attempts on extended enterprises tended to predominantly focus on “firms part of the value chain” of enterprise. Social media is a new plane of reality where customers influence the enterprise success in the marketplace. The notion of extended enterprises now need to embrace social presence. Any EA effort that does not take cognizance of emerging forces will invite greater risk in building overall understanding of enterprise and its operating environment.  Earlier CRM efforts were focused on understanding individual customers; the need of the today is to understand the communities.

Like how The Open Group suggested changes to TOGAF to accommodate SOA, we need to work on integrating social media. Some suggested approaches for EA are:

Business Architecture:

  • Focus on forming & cultivating community, nurturing and ensuring vibrancy
  • Promote word of mouth and induce consumers to share experiences
  • Listen to social media

Information Architecture:

  • Integrate information from social media to internal systems
  • Develop analytical capabilities towards measuring effective presence in the social world

Opportunities & Solutions:

  • Build vs Buy – subscription models to get feeds

How are you addressing the social media channel in your enterprise? Would love to hear your experiences.

Raghuraman Krishnamurthy works as a Principal Architect at Cognizant Technology Solutions and is based in India. He can be reached at Raghuraman.krishnamurthy2@cognizant.com.

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Does IT mean Information Technology? Or is it Just a Department?

By Stuart Boardman, KPN

Some Enterprise Architects I greatly respect frequently stress the point that EA is not just or even primarily about IT. Some others go as far as to argue that it’s nothing to do with IT at all (the same people appear to think that this applies to all technology). At the other extreme, people, possibly unaware of these discussions, appear to believe that it’s only about IT. The problem with both extremes is that, when it comes down to it they are talking about the role of an organization’s own IT department rather than the role of information technology in business. The result is that IT is perceived as purely a support function (i.e. nothing more than the automation of traditional business activities). That works well for both parties, because it’s then easy to isolate it and make it either a universe in itself or an uninteresting minor galaxy.

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Are Business Process Management and Business Architecture a perfect match?

by Serge Thorn, Architecting the Enterprise

Whenever I suggest collaboration between these two worlds, I always observe some sort of astonishment from my interlocutors. Many Enterprise Architects or Business Architects do not realise there may be synergies. Business Process Management (BPM) team have not understood what Enterprise Architecture is all about and the other way around… There is no a single definition of Business Process Management, often it means different things to different people. To keep it very generic, BPM relates to any activities an organization does to support its process efforts.

There are many activities which can be included in such efforts:

  • The use of industry Business Reference Model (or Business Process Reference Model), a reference for the operational activities of an organization, a framework facilitating a functional Lines of Business, such as
      • The Federal Enterprise Architecture Business Reference Model of the US Federal Government
      • The DoD Business Reference Model
      • The Open Group Exploration and Mining Business Reference Model
      • Frameworx (eTOM) for Telco companies
      • The Supply Chain Operations Reference (SCOR®) model
      • The SAP R/3 Reference Model
      • The Oracle Business Models : Oracle Industry Reference Model for Banking, (IRM), Oracle Retail Reference Model
      • And others…
  • The use of organization specific Business Reference models
  • The use of Business process improvement methodologies
      • Lean, a quantitative data driven methodology based on statistics, process understanding and process control
      • Six Sigma, a methodology that mainly focuses on eliminating bad products or services to clients by using statistical evaluation
  • Business Process Reengineering, which in reality is a facet of BPM
  • The understanding of Business Change Management, the process that empowers staff to accept changes that will improve performance and productivity
  • The understanding of Business Transformation, the continuous process, essential to any organization in implementing its business strategy and achieving its vision
  • The use of Business Rules Management which enables organizations to manage business rules for decision automation
  • The understanding of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) services to reduce costs and increase efficiency
  • The support of Business Process modeling and design, which is illustrated description of business processes, usually created with flow diagrams. The model contains the relationship between activities, processes, sub-processes and information, as well as roles, the organization and resources. This can done with many notations such as flow chart, functional flow block diagram, control flow diagram, Gantt chart, PERT diagram, IDEF, and nowadays with the standard de facto notations such as UML and BPMN
  • The support of BPM tools and suites implementation. With the right, process models can be simulated, to drive workflow or BPMS systems, and can be used as the basis for an automated process monitoring system (BAM)
  • The support of Business Activity Monitoring (BAM), the ability to have end-to-end visibility and control over all parts of a process or transaction that spans multiple applications and people in one or even more companies

To combine Business Process Management and Enterprise Architecture for better business outcomes is definitely the way forward, where BPM provides the business context, understanding, and- metrics, and Enterprise Architecture provides the discipline to translate business vision and strategy into architectural changes. Both are needed for sustainable continuous improvement. When referring to Enterprise Architecture, we would mainly refer to Business Architecture. Business Architecture involves more than just the structure of business processes. It also entails the organization of departments, roles, documents, assets, and all other process-related information.

Business Architects may be defining and implementing the Business Process framework and, in parallel, influencing the strategic direction for Business Process Management and improvement methodologies (e.g. Lean, Six Sigma). The business process owners and Business Analysts are working within their guidelines at multiple levels throughout the organizations’ business process. They have roles and responsibilities to manage, monitor and control their processes.

An important tool in developing Business Architecture is a Business Reference Model. These types of models are enormously beneficial. They can be developed in the organization to build and extend the information architecture. The shared vocabulary (verbal and visual) that emerges from these efforts promotes clear and effective communication.

To illustrate the touch points between Enterprise Architecture and Business Process Management, I have illustrated in the table below the synergies between the two approaches using TOGAF® 9.

In this table, we observe that, there is a perfect match between Business Process Management and the use of an Enterprise Architecture framework such as TOGAF. BPM is often project based and the Business Architect (or Enterprise Architect) may be responsible for identifying cross-project and cross-process capabilities. It can be considered as being the backbone of an Enterprise Architecture program. We can also add to this, that Service Oriented Architecture is the core operational or transactional capability while BPM does the coordination and integration into business processes.

When using BPM tools and suites, you should also consider the following functionalities: workflow, enterprise application integration, content management and business activity monitoring. These four components are traditionally provided by vendors as separate applications which are merged through BPM into a single application with high levels of integration. The implementation of a BPM solution should theoretically eliminate the maintenance and support cost of these four applications resulting in reducing the total cost of ownership.

Business Architecture provides the governance, alignment and transformational context for BPM across business units and silos. Enterprise Architects, Business Architects, Business Analysts should work together with BPM teams, when approaching the topic of Business Process Management. BPM efforts need structures and appropriate methodologies. It needs a structure to guide efforts at different levels of abstraction (separating “the what“ (the hierarchical structure of business functions) from “the how” (how the desired results are achieved), a documented approach and structure to navigate among the business processes of the organization, i.e. a Business Architecture. They also need a methodology such as an Enterprise Architecture framework to retain and leverage what they have learned about managing and conducting BPM projects.

Editor’s note: The Open Group Architecture Forum and the TM Forum have published a technical report exploring the synergies and identifying integration points between TOGAF and Frameworx. Download it here

This article has previously appeared in Serge Thorn’s personal blog and appears here with his permission.

Serge Thorn is CIO of Architecting the Enterprise.  He has worked in the IT Industry for over 25 years, in a variety of roles, which include; Development and Systems Design, Project Management, Business Analysis, IT Operations, IT Management, IT Strategy, Research and Innovation, IT Governance, Architecture and Service Management (ITIL). He has more than 20 years of experience in Banking and Finance and 5 years of experience in the Pharmaceuticals industry. Among various roles, he has been responsible for the Architecture team in an international bank, where he gained wide experience in the deployment and management of information systems in Private Banking, Wealth Management, and also in IT architecture domains such as the Internet, dealing rooms, inter-banking networks, and Middle and Back-office. He then took charge of IT Research and Innovation (a function which consisted of motivating, encouraging creativity, and innovation in the IT Units), with a mission to help to deploy a TOGAF based Enterprise Architecture, taking into account the company IT Governance Framework. He also chaired the Enterprise Architecture Governance worldwide program, integrating the IT Innovation initiative in order to identify new business capabilities that were creating and sustaining competitive advantage for his organization. Serge has been a regular speaker at various conferences, including those by The Open Group. His topics have included, “IT Service Management and Enterprise Architecture”, “IT Governance”, “SOA and Service Management”, and “Innovation”. Serge has also written several articles and whitepapers for different magazines (Pharma Asia, Open Source Magazine). He is the Chairman of the itSMF (IT Service Management forum) Swiss chapter and is based in Geneva, Switzerland.

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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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