Tag Archives: enterprise architecture

ArchiMate® Q&A with Phil Beauvoir

By The Open Group

The Open Group’s upcoming Amsterdam Summit in May will feature a full day on May 14 dedicated to ArchiMate®, an open and independent modeling language for Enterprise Architecture, supported by tools that allow Enterprise Architects to describe, analyze and visualize relationships among business domains in an unambiguous way.

One of the tools developed to support ArchiMate is Archi, a free, open-source tool created by Phil Beauvoir at the University of Bolton in the UK as part of a Jisc-funded Enterprise Architecture project that ran from 2009-2012. Since its development, Archi has grown from a relatively small, home-grown tool to become a widely used open-source resource that averages 3000 downloads per month and whose community ranges from independent practitioners to Fortune 500 companies. Here we talk with Beauvoir about how Archi was developed, the problems inherent in sustaining an open source product, its latest features and whether it was named after the Archie comic strip.

Beauvoir will be a featured speaker during the ArchiMate Day in Amsterdam.

Tell us about the impetus for creating the Archi tool and how it was created…
My involvement with the ArchiMate language has mainly been through the development of the software tool, Archi. Archi has, I believe, acted as a driver and as a hub for activity around the ArchiMate language and Enterprise Architecture since it was first created.

I’ll tell you the story of how Archi came about. Let’s go back to the end of 2009. At that point, I think ArchiMate and Enterprise Architecture were probably being used quite extensively in the commercial sector, especially in The Netherlands. The ArchiMate language had been around for a while at that point but was a relatively new thing to many people, at least here in the UK. If you weren’t part of the EA scene, it would have been a new thing to you. In the UK, it was certainly new for many in higher education and universities, which is where I come in.

Jisc, the UK funding body, funded a number of programs in higher education exploring digital technologies and other initiatives. One of the programs being funded was to look at how to improve systems using Enterprise Architecture within the university sector. Some of the universities had already been led to ArchiMate and Enterprise Architecture and were trying it out for themselves – they were new to it and, of course, one of the first things they needed were tools. At that time, and I think it’s still true today, a lot of the tools were quite expensive. If you’re a big commercial organization, you might be able to afford the licensing costs for tools and support, but for a small university project it can be prohibitive, especially if you’re just dipping your toe into something like this. So some colleagues within Jisc and the university I worked at said, ‘well, what about creating a small, open source project tool which isn’t over-complicated but does enough to get people started in ArchiMate? And we can fund six months of money to do this as a proof of concept tool’.

That takes us into 2010, when I was working for the university that was approached to do this work. After six months, by June 2010, I had created the first 1.0 version of Archi and it was (and still is) free, open source and cross-platform. Some of the UK universities said ‘well, that’s great, because now the barrier to entry has been lowered, we can use this tool to start exploring the ArchiMate language and getting on board with Enterprise Architecture’. That’s really where it all started.

So some of the UK universities that were exploring ArchiMate and Enterprise Architecture had a look at this first version of Archi, version 1.0, and said ‘it’s good because it means that we can engage with it without committing at this stage to the bigger tooling solutions.’ You have to remember, of course, that universities were (and still are) a bit strapped for cash, so that’s a big issue for them. At the time, and even now, there really aren’t any other open-source or free tools doing this. That takes us to June 2010. At this point we got some more funding from the Jisc, and kept on developing the tool and adding more features to it. That takes us through 2011 and then up to the end of 2012, when my contract came to an end.

Since the official funding ended and my contract finished, I’ve continued to develop Archi and support the community that’s built up around it. I had to think about the sustainability of the software beyond the project, and sometimes this can be difficult, but I took it upon myself to continue to support and develop it and to engage with the Archi/ArchiMate community.

How did you get involved with The Open Group and bringing the tool to them?
I think it was inevitable really due to where Archi originated, and because the funding came from the Jisc, and they are involved with The Open Group. So, I guess The Open Group became aware of Archi through the Jisc program and then I became involved with the whole ArchiMate initiative and The Open Group. I think The Open Group is in favor of Archi, because it’s an open source tool that provides a neutral reference implementation of the ArchiMate language. When you have an open standard like ArchiMate, it’s good to have a neutral reference model implementation.

How is this tool different from other tools out there and what does it enable people to do?
Well, firstly Archi is a tool for modeling Enterprise Architecture using the ArchiMate language and notation, but what really makes it stand out from the other tools is its accessibility and the fact that it is free, open source and cross-platform. It can do a lot of, if not all of, the things that the bigger tools provide without any financial or other commitment. However, free is not much use if there’s no quality. One thing I’ve always strived for in developing Archi is to ensure that even if it only does a few things compared with the bigger tools, it does those things well. I think with a tool that is free and open-source, you have a lot of support and good-will from users who provide positive encouragement and feedback, and you end up with an interesting open development process.

I suppose you might regard Archi’s relationship to the bigger ArchiMate tools in the same way as you’d compare Notepad to Microsoft Word. Notepad provides the essential writing features, but if you want to go for the full McCoy then you go and buy Microsoft Word. The funny thing is, this is where Archi was originally targeted – at beginners, getting people to start to use the ArchiMate language. But then I started to get emails — even just a few months after its first release — from big companies, insurance companies and the like saying things like ‘hey, we’re using this tool and it’s great, and ‘thanks for this, when are we going to add this or that feature?’ or ‘how many more features are you going to add?’ This surprised me somewhat since I wondered why they hadn’t invested in one of the available commercial tools. Perhaps ArchiMate, and even Enterprise Architecture itself, was new to these organizations and they were using Archi as their first software tool before moving on to something else. Having said that, there are some large organizations out there that do use Archi exclusively.

Which leads to an interesting dilemma — if something is free, how do you continue developing and sustaining it? This is an issue that I’m contending with right now. There is a PayPal donation button on the front page of the website, but the software is open source and, in its present form, will remain open source; but how do you sustain something like this? I don’t have the complete answer right now.

Given that it’s a community product, it helps that the community contributes ideas and develops code, but at the same time you still need someone to give their time to coordinate all of the activity and support. I suppose the classic model is one of sponsorship, but we don’t have that right now, so at the moment I’m dealing with issues around sustainability.

How much has the community contributed to the tool thus far?
The community has contributed a lot in many different ways. Sometimes a user might find a bug and report it or they might offer a suggestion on how a feature can be improved. In fact, some of the better features have been suggested by users. Overall, community contributions seem to have really taken off more in the last few months than in the whole lifespan of Archi. I think this may be due to the new Archi website and a lot more renewed activity. Lately there have been more code contributions, corrections to the documentation and user engagement in the future of Archi. And then there are users who are happy to ask ‘when is Archi going to implement this big feature, and when is it going to have full support for repositories?’ and of course they want this for free. Sometimes that’s quite hard to accommodate, because you think ‘sure, but who’s going to do all this work and contribute the effort.’ That’s certainly an interesting issue for me.

How many downloads of the tool are you getting per month? Where is it being used?
At the moment we’re seeing around 3,000 downloads a month of the tool — I think that’s a lot actually. Also, I understand that some EA training organizations use Archi for their ArchiMate training, so there are quite a few users there, as well.

The number one country for downloading the app and visiting the website is the Netherlands, followed by the UK and the United States. In the past three months, the UK and The Netherlands have been about equal in numbers in their visits to the website and downloads, followed by the United States, France, Germany, Canada, then Australia, Belgium, and Norway. We have some interest from Russia too. Sometimes it depends on whether ArchiMate or Archi is in the news at any given time. I’ve noticed that when there’s a blog post about ArchiMate, for example, you’ll see a spike in the download figures and the number of people visiting the website.

How does the tool fit into the overall schema of the modeling language?
It supports all of the ArchiMate language concepts, and I think it offers the core functionality of you’d want from an ArchiMate modeling tool — the ability to create diagrams, viewpoints, analysis of model objects, reporting, color schemes and so on. Of course, the bigger ArchiMate tools will let you manipulate the model in more sophisticated ways and create more detailed reports and outputs. This is an area that we are trying to improve, and the people who are now actively contributing to Archi are full-time Enterprise Architects who are able to contribute to these areas. For example, we have a user and contributor from France, and he and his team use Archi, and so they are able to see first-hand where Archi falls short and they are able to say ‘well, OK, we would like it to do this, or that could be improved,’ so now they’re working towards strengthening any weak areas.

How did you come up with the name?
What happens is you have pet names for projects and I think it just came about that we started calling it “Archie,” like the guy’s name. When it was ready to be released I said, ‘OK, what should we really call the app?’ and by that point everyone had started to refer to it as “Archie.” Then somebody said ‘well, everybody’s calling it by that name so why don’t we just drop the “e” from the name and go with that?’ – so it became “Archi.” I suppose we could have spent more time coming up with a different name, but by then the name had stuck and everybody was calling it that. Funnily enough, there’s a comic strip called ‘Archie’ and an insurance company that was using the software at the time told me that they’d written a counterpart tool called ‘Veronica,’ named after a character in the comic strip.

What are you currently working on with the tool?
For the last few months, I’ve been adding new features – tweaks, improvements, tightening things up, engaging with the user community, listening to what’s needed and trying to implement these requests. I’ve also been adding new resources to the Archi website and participating on social media like Twitter, spreading the word. I think the use of social media is really important. Twitter, the User Forums and the Wikis are all points where people can provide feedback and engage with me and other Archi developers and users. On the development side of things, we host the code at GitHub, and again that’s an open resource that users and potential developers can go to. I think the key words are ‘open’ and ‘community driven.’ These social media tools, GitHub and the forums all contribute to that. In this way everyone, from developer to user, becomes a stakeholder – everyone can play their part in the development of Archi and its future. It’s a community product and my role is to try and manage it all.

What will you be speaking about in Amsterdam?
I think the angle I’m interested in is what can be achieved by a small number of people taking the open source approach to developing software and building and engaging with the community around it. For me, the interesting part of the Archi story is not so much about the software itself and what it does, but rather the strong community that’s grown around it, the extent of the uptake of the tool and the way in which it has enabled people to get on board with Enterprise Architecture and ArchiMate. It’s the accessibility and agility of this whole approach that I like and also the activity and buzz around the software and from the community – that for me is the interesting thing about this process.

For more information on ArchiMate, please visit:
http://www.opengroup.org/subjectareas/enterprise/archimate

For information on the Archi tool, please visit: http://www.archimatetool.com/

For information on joining the ArchiMate Forum, please visit: http://www.opengroup.org/getinvolved/forums/archimate

philbeauvoirPhil Beauvoir has been developing, writing, and speaking about software tools and development for over 25 years. He was Senior Researcher and Developer at Bangor University, and, later, the Institute for Educational Cybernetics at Bolton University, both in the UK. During this time he co-developed a peer-to-peer learning management and groupware system, a suite of software tools for authoring and delivery of standards-compliant learning objects and meta-data, and tooling to create IMS Learning Design compliant units of learning.  In 2010, working with the Institute for Educational Cybernetics, Phil created the open source ArchiMate Modelling Tool, Archi. Since 2013 he has been curating the development of Archi independently. Phil holds a degree in Medieval English and Anglo-Saxon Literature.

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The Financial Incentive for Health Information Exchanges

By Jim Hietala, VP, Security, The Open Group

Health IT professionals have always known that interoperability would be one of the most important aspects of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Now doctors have financial incentive to be proactive in taking part in the process of exchange information between computer systems.

According to a recent article in MedPage Today, doctors are now “clamoring” for access to patient information ahead of the deadlines for the government’s “meaningful use” program. Doctors and hospitals will get hit with fines for not knowing about patients’ health histories, for patient readmissions and unnecessary retesting. “Meaningful use” refers to provisions in the 2009 Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, which authorized incentive payments through Medicare and Medicaid to clinicians and hospitals that use electronic health records in a meaningful way that significantly improves clinical care.
Doctors who accept Medicare will find themselves penalized for not adopting or successfully demonstrating meaningful use of a certified electronic health record (EHR) technology by 2015. Health professionals’ Medicare physician fee schedule amount for covered professional services will be adjusted down by 1% each year for certain categories.  If less than 75% of Eligible Professionals (EPs) have become meaningful users of EHRs by 2018, the adjustment will change by 1% point each year to a maximum of 5% (95% of Medicare covered amount).

With the stick, there’s also a carrot. The Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs provide incentive payments to eligible professionals, eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals (CAHs) as they adopt, implement, upgrade or demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHR technology. Eligible professionals can receive up to $44,000 through the Medicare EHR Incentive Program and up to $63,750 through the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program.

According to HealthIT.Gov, interoperability is essential for applications that interact with users (such as e-prescribing), systems that communicate with each other (such as messaging standards) information processes and management (such as health information exchange) how consumer devices integrate with other systems and applications (such as tablet, smart phones and PCs).

The good news is that more and more hospitals and doctors are participating in data exchanges and sharing patient information. On January 30th, the eHealth Exchange, formerly the Nationwide Health Information Network, and operated by Healtheway, reported a surge in network participation numbers and increases in secure online transactions among members.

According to the news release, membership in the eHealth Exchange is currently pegged at 41 participants who together represent some 800 hospitals, 6,000 mid-to-large medical groups, 800 dialysis centers and 850 retail pharmacies nationwide. Some of the earliest members to sign on with the exchange were the Veterans Health Administration, Department of Defense, Kaiser Permanente, the Social Security Administration and Dignity Health.

While the progress in health information exchanges is good, there is still much work to do in defining standards, so that the right information is available at the right time and place to enable better patient care. Devices are emerging that can capture continuous information on our health status. The information captured by these devices can enable better outcomes, but only if the information is made readily available to medical professionals.

The Open Group recently formed The Open Group Healthcare Forum, which focuses on bringing  Boundaryless Information Flow™ to the healthcare industry enabling data to flow more easily throughout the complete healthcare ecosystem.  By leveraging the discipline and principles of Enterprise Architecture, including TOGAF®, an Open Group standard, the forum aims to develop standardized vocabulary and messaging that will result in higher quality outcomes, streamlined business practices and innovation within the industry.

62940-hietalaJim Hietala, CISSP, GSEC, is the Vice President, Security for The Open Group, where he manages all IT security, risk management and healthcare programs and standards activities. He participates in the SANS Analyst/Expert program and has also published numerous articles on information security, risk management, and compliance topics in publications including The ISSA Journal, Bank Accounting & Finance, Risk Factor, SC Magazine, and others.

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Q&A with Allen Brown, President and CEO of The Open Group

By The Open Group

Last month, The Open Group hosted its San Francisco 2014 conference themed “Toward Boundaryless Information Flow™.” Boundaryless Information Flow has been the pillar of The Open Group’s mission since 2002 when it was adopted as the organization’s vision for Enterprise Architecture. We sat down at the conference with The Open Group President and CEO Allen Brown to discuss the industry’s progress toward that goal and the industries that could most benefit from it now as well as The Open Group’s new Dependability through Assuredness™ Standard and what the organization’s Forums are working on in 2014.

The Open Group adopted Boundaryless Information Flow as its vision in 2002, and the theme of the San Francisco Conference has been “Towards Boundaryless Information Flow.” Where do you think the industry is at this point in progressing toward that goal?

Well, it’s progressing reasonably well but the challenge is, of course, when we established that vision back in 2002, life was a little less complex, a little bit less fast moving, a little bit less fast-paced. Although organizations are improving the way that they act in a boundaryless manner – and of course that changes by industry – some industries still have big silos and stovepipes, they still have big boundaries. But generally speaking we are moving and everyone understands the need for information to flow in a boundaryless manner, for people to be able to access and integrate information and to provide it to the teams that they need.

One of the keynotes on Day One focused on the opportunities within the healthcare industry and The Open Group recently started a Healthcare Forum. Do you see Healthcare industry as a test case for Boundaryless Information Flow and why?

Healthcare is one of the verticals that we’ve focused on. And it is not so much a test case, but it is an area that absolutely seems to need information to flow in a boundaryless manner so that everyone involved – from the patient through the administrator through the medical teams – have all got access to the right information at the right time. We know that in many situations there are shifts of medical teams, and from one medical team to another they don’t have access to the same information. Information isn’t easily shared between medical doctors, hospitals and payers. What we’re trying to do is to focus on the needs of the patient and improve the information flow so that you get better outcomes for the patient.

Are there other industries where this vision might be enabled sooner rather than later?

I think that we’re already making significant progress in what we call the Exploration, Mining and Minerals industry. Our EMMM™ Forum has produced an industry-wide model that is being adopted throughout that industry. We’re also looking at whether we can have an influence in the airline industry, automotive industry, manufacturing industry. There are many, many others, government and retail included.

The plenary on Day Two of the conference focused on The Open Group’s Dependability through Assuredness standard, which was released last August. Why is The Open Group looking at dependability and why is it important?

Dependability is ultimately what you need from any system. You need to be able to rely on that system to perform when needed. Systems are becoming more complex, they’re becoming bigger. We’re not just thinking about the things that arrive on the desktop, we’re thinking about systems like the barriers at subway stations or Tube stations, we’re looking at systems that operate any number of complex activities. And they bring an awful lot of things together that you have to rely upon.

Now in all of these systems, what we’re trying to do is to minimize the amount of downtime because downtime can result in financial loss or at worst human life, and we’re trying to focus on that. What is interesting about the Dependability through Assuredness Standard is that it brings together so many other aspects of what The Open Group is working on. Obviously the architecture is at the core, so it’s critical that there’s an architecture. It’s critical that we understand the requirements of that system. It’s also critical that we understand the risks, so that fits in with the work of the Security Forum, and the work that they’ve done on Risk Analysis, Dependency Modeling, and out of the dependency modeling we can get the use cases so that we can understand where the vulnerabilities are, what action has to be taken if we identify a vulnerability or what action needs to be taken in the event of a failure of the system. If we do that and assign accountability to people for who will do what by when, in the event of an anomaly being detected or a failure happening, we can actually minimize that downtime or remove it completely.

Now the other great thing about this is it’s not only a focus on the architecture for the actual system development, and as the system changes over time, requirements change, legislation changes that might affect it, external changes, that all goes into that system, but also there’s another circle within that system that deals with failure and analyzes it and makes sure it doesn’t happen again. But there have been so many evidences of failure recently. In the banks for example in the UK, a bank recently was unable to process debit cards or credit cards for customers for about three or four hours. And that was probably caused by the work done on a routine basis over a weekend. But if Dependability through Assuredness had been in place, that could have been averted, it could have saved an awfully lot of difficulty for an awful lot of people.

How does the Dependability through Assuredness Standard also move the industry toward Boundaryless Information Flow?

It’s part of it. It’s critical that with big systems the information has to flow. But this is not so much the information but how a system is going to work in a dependable manner.

Business Architecture was another featured topic in the San Francisco plenary. What role can business architecture play in enterprise transformation vis a vis the Enterprise Architecture as a whole?

A lot of people in the industry are talking about Business Architecture right now and trying to focus on that as a separate discipline. We see it as a fundamental part of Enterprise Architecture. And, in fact, there are three legs to Enterprise Architecture, there’s Business Architecture, there’s the need for business analysts, which are critical to supplying the information, and then there are the solutions, and other architects, data, applications architects and so on that are needed. So those three legs are needed.

We find that there are two or three different types of Business Architect. Those that are using the analysis to understand what the business is doing in order that they can inform the solutions architects and other architects for the development of solutions. There are those that are more integrated with the business that can understand what is going on and provide input into how that might be improved through technology. And there are those that can actually go another step and talk about here we have the advances and the technology and here are the opportunities for advancing our competitiveness and organization.

What are some of the other key initiatives that The Open Group’s forum and work groups will be working on in 2014?

That kind question is like if you’ve got an award, you’ve got to thank your friends, so apologies to anyone that I leave out. Let me start alphabetically with the Architecture Forum. The Architecture Forum obviously is working on the evolution of TOGAF®, they’re also working with the harmonization of TOGAF with Archimate® and they have a number of projects within that, of course Business Architecture is on one of the projects going on in the Architecture space. The Archimate Forum are pushing ahead with Archimate—they’ve got two interesting activities going on at the moment, one is called ArchiMetals, which is going to be a sister publication to the ArchiSurance case study, where the ArchiSurance provides the example of Archimate is used in the insurance industry, ArchiMetals is going to be used in a manufacturing context, so there will be a whitepaper on that and there will be examples and artifacts that we can use. They’re also working on in Archimate a standard for interoperability for modeling tools. There are four tools that are accredited and certified by The Open Group right now and we’re looking for that interoperability to help organizations that have multiple tools as many of them do.

Going down the alphabet, there’s DirecNet. Not many people know about DirecNet, but Direcnet™ is work that we do around the U.S. Navy. They’re working on standards for long range, high bandwidth mobile networking. We can go to the FACE™ Consortium, the Future Airborne Capability Environment. The FACE Consortium are working on their next version of their standard, they’re working toward accreditation, a certification program and the uptake of that through procurement is absolutely amazing, we’re thrilled about that.

Healthcare we’ve talked about. The Open Group Trusted Technology Forum, where they’re working on how we can trust the supply chain in developed systems, they’ve released the Open Trusted Technology Provider™ Standard (O-TTPS) Accreditation Program, that was launched this week, and we already have one accredited vendor and two certified test labs, assessment labs. That is really exciting because now we’ve got a way of helping any organization that has large complex systems that are developed through a global supply chain to make sure that they can trust their supply chain. And that is going to be invaluable to many industries but also to the safety of citizens and the infrastructure of many countries. So the other part of the O-TTPS is that standard we are planning to move toward ISO standardization shortly.

The next one moving down the list would be Open Platform 3.0™. This is really exciting part of Boundaryless Information Flow, it really is. This is talking about the convergence of SOA, Cloud, Social, Mobile, Internet of Things, Big Data, and bringing all of that together, this convergence, this bringing together of all of those activities is really something that is critical right now, and we need to focus on. In the different areas, some of our Cloud computing standards have already gone to ISO and have been adopted by ISO. We’re working right now on the next products that are going to move through. We have a governance standard in process and an ecosystem standard has recently been published. In the area of Big Data there’s a whitepaper that’s 25 percent completed, there’s also a lot of work on the definition of what Open Platform 3.0 is, so this week the members have been working on trying to define Open Platform 3.0. One of the really interesting activities that’s gone on, the members of the Open Platform 3.0 Forum have produced something like 22 different use cases and they’re really good. They’re concise and they’re precise and the cover a number of different industries, including healthcare and others, and the next stage is to look at those and work on the ROI of those, the monetization, the value from those use cases, and that’s really exciting, I’m looking forward to peeping at that from time to time.

The Real Time and Embedded Systems Forum (RTES) is next. Real-Time is where we incubated the Dependability through Assuredness Framework and that was where that happened and is continuing to develop and that’s really good. The core focus of the RTES Forum is high assurance system, and they’re doing some work with ISO on that and a lot of other areas with multicore and, of course, they have a number of EC projects that we’re partnering with other partners in the EC around RTES.

The Security Forum, as I mentioned earlier, they’ve done a lot of work on risk and dependability. So they’ve not only their standards for the Risk Taxonomy and Risk Analysis, but they’ve now also developed the Open FAIR Certification for People, which is based on those two standards of Risk Analysis and Risk Taxonomy. And we’re already starting to see people being trained and being certified under that Open FAIR Certification Program that the Security Forum developed.

A lot of other activities are going on. Like I said, I probably left a lot of things out, but I hope that gives you a flavor of what’s going on in The Open Group right now.

The Open Group will be hosting a summit in Amsterdam May 12-14, 2014. What can we look forward to at that conference?

In Amsterdam we have a summit – that’s going to bring together a lot of things, it’s going to be a bigger conference that we had here. We’ve got a lot of activity in all of our activities; we’re going to bring together top-level speakers, so we’re looking forward to some interesting work during that week.

 

 

 

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The Open Group Amsterdam Summit to Discuss Enabling Boundaryless Information Flow™

By The Open Group

The next Open Group Summit will cover the major issues and trends surrounding Boundaryless Information Flow™ on May 12-14 in Amsterdam. The event will feature presentations from leading companies, including IBM and Philips, on the key challenges facing effective information integration and enabling boundaryless information, as well as a day dedicated to ArchiMate®, a modeling language for Enterprise Architecture.

Boundaryless Information Flow™:

Boundaryless Information Flow, a shorthand representation of “access to integrated information to support business process improvements,” represents a desired state of an enterprise’s infrastructure that provides services to customers in an extended enterprise with the right information, at the right time and in the right context.

The Amsterdam Summit will bring together many individuals from throughout the globe to discuss key areas to enable Boundaryless Information Flow, including:

  • How EA and business processes can be used to facilitate integrated access to integrated information by staff, customers, suppliers and partners, to support the business
  • How organizations can achieve their business objectives by adopting new technologies and processes as part of the Enterprise Transformation management principles – making the whole process more a matter of design than of chance
  • How organizations move towards the interoperable enterprise, switching focus from IT-centric to enterprise-centric

ArchiMate Day:

On May 14, there will be an entire day dedicated to ArchiMate®, an Open Group standard. ArchiMate is an open and independent modelling language for enterprise architecture that is supported by different tool vendors and consulting firms. ArchiMate provides instruments to enable enterprise architects to describe, analyze and visualize the relationships among business domains in an unambiguous way. ArchiMate Day is appropriately located, as The Netherlands ranks as the number 1 country in the world for the number of ArchiMate® 2 certified individuals and as the number 3 country in the world for the number of TOGAF® 9 certified individuals.

The ArchiMate Day will provide the opportunity for attendees to:

  • Interact directly with other ArchiMate users and tool providers
  • Listen and understand how ArchiMate can be used to develop solutions to common industry problems
  • Learn about the future directions and meet with key users and developers of the language and tools
  • Interact with peers to broaden your expertise and knowledge in the ArchiMate language

Don’t wait to register! Early Bird registration ends March 30, 2014 Register now!

 

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CIOs to Leverage EA to Bolster their Presence in the C-Suite

by Naveed Rajput, Lead Enterprise Architect, Capco (Capital Markets)

Changing CIO landscape:    

The gulf between the Business and IT has been recognised in the enterprises for many years. However this chronic organisational impairment has started causing landslides in the CIO landscapes. There exists maturity mismatch between business and other central functions as well but IT capability has been brought under intense scrutiny due to increasingly frequent high profile failures.

Global macro forces such as economic fragility, financial crisis, heightened regulations, investment shortfall, fierce competition, globalisation, to name a few, are constantly transforming the business landscape.  Technology is one of the key considerations to untangle the complexity and volatility yielded by above mentioned macro commotion. The issue gets further flared up due to scarily high correlation between these factors which translates into a direct impact on the bottom line of firms.

Cost reduction has become a strategic driver for businesses and as a result, tech savvy finance chiefs are getting popular to lead Technology investment decisions. This paradigm shift in the CIO landscape is an important corporate event which presents an enterprise with burgeoning complexities and ultimately does more harm than good. Enterprise IT which is run as a cost centre struggles to provide sustainable competitiveness and In fact stifles innovation and future growth.

Investment Governance & CIO and CFO Alignment:              

The remedial actions mandate CIOs to assume ascendance to fill the void between IT and Business. The Enterprise Architecture function and governance can play a key strategic role for CIOs if structured and operated properly.

The biggest flashpoint to address includes capital planning and IT investment governance. CIOs can leverage and adapt the investment decision making framework and models used by their business counterparts. Using common factor models allow CIOs to analyse and calibrate the IT investment proposals similar to the way investment decisions are made by business lines – Think risk adjusted returns by deploying capital in a diversified portfolio.

Instead of using fairly lightweight valuation method, CIOs should strengthen their capabilities in deploying sophisticated valuation techniques to demonstrate understanding of the cost and benefits profile of the proposals. Apart from using the standard NPV, IRR, Profitability Index, and Payback Period, they should also consider quantifying embedded options and flexibility in project proposals.

Proposal Calibration and Comparative Investment Analysis:

IT can liaise with Finance to establish quantitative attributes to ensure alignment of parametric model. One of the key measures is the discount rate for which the weighted average cost of capital (WACC) could be a reasonable starting proxy to estimate the opportunity cost.

Once all the relevant input factors are established, the proposals with different time horizon and risk profile should be scaled and standardised for comparative analysis. Equivalent Annual Annuity (EAA) or Least Common Multiple of Lives (LCML) method is often used to bring the proposals to comparative scale. Subsequently, discount rates are adjusted to reflect the riskiness of the projects – think project specific beta.

Depending on the level of sophistication and maturity CIOs can use scenario analysis or Monte Carlo to simulate sensitivity of various factors on the outcome of the corporate portfolio. The extent to which the projects are aligned or misaligned with the strategy should also be part of the quantification.

Investment Fabric – Tying it all Together with EA 

Investment governance is more art than science for executives who ultimately use qualitative judgement for their decisions. Quantitative rigour applied to the process and mature analytics driven due-diligence process develops their gut feel and assists with alignment of views in the C-suite.

CIOs should creatively craft investment fabric to realise enterprise strategy roadmap. They should use EA to decipher correlation between proposed projects and establish P&L attribution to formulate portfolio balance sheet. Beyond the investment decisions, an effective EA can provide adequate architectural insights to the programmes and initiatives spanning across multiple product lines and business functions.

There is a lot that CIOs can leverage from the rest of the C-suite. CIOs should reclaim more power on IT strategy and decision making and by doing so enable the rest of the C-suite to drive the enterprise forward in the most efficient way possible.

Naveed RajputNaveed Rajput is an experienced strategy consultant and a business savvy technologist. He specialises in driving CXO engagements and enterprise strategy initiatives. He is a TOGAF® practitioner with well over 15 years of experience in delivering variety of complex and major global programmes including cross-functional Target Operating Models (TOM), Architecture Maturity, IT Capital Planning, and Investment Governance Initiatives. He has orchestrated technology and regulatory driven change agendas for top Fortune and FTSE financial and professional services firms including Logica, Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse, Capco, Commerzbank, Mizuho Securities, Shell, and Wolters Kluwer-CCH.

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Q&A with Jim Hietala on Security and Healthcare

By The Open Group

We recently spoke with Jim Hietala, Vice President, Security for The Open Group, at the 2014 San Francisco conference to discuss upcoming activities in The Open Group’s Security and Healthcare Forums.

Jim, can you tell us what the Security Forum’s priorities are going to be for 2014 and what we can expect to see from the Forum?

In terms of our priorities for 2014, we’re continuing to do work in Security Architecture and Information Security Management. In the area of Security Architecture, the big project that we’re doing is adding security to TOGAF®, so we’re working on the next version of the TOGAF standard and specification and there’s an active project involving folks from the Architecture Forum and the Security Forum to integrate security into and stripe it through TOGAF. So, on the Security Architecture side, that’s the priority. On the Information Security Management side, we’re continuing to do work in the area of Risk Management. We introduced a certification late last year, the OpenFAIR certification, and we’ll continue to do work in the area of Risk Management and Risk Analysis. We’re looking to add a second level to the certification program, and we’re doing some other work around the Risk Analysis standards that we’ve introduced.

The theme of this conference was “Towards Boundaryless Information Flow™” and many of the tracks focused on convergence, and the convergence of things Big Data, mobile, Cloud, also known as Open Platform 3.0. How are those things affecting the realm of security right now?

I think they’re just beginning to. Cloud—obviously the security issues around Cloud have been here as long as Cloud has been over the past four or five years. But if you look at things like the Internet of Things and some of the other things that comprise Open Platform 3.0, the security impacts are really just starting to be felt and considered. So I think information security professionals are really just starting to wrap their hands around, what are those new security risks that come with those technologies, and, more importantly, what do we need to do about them? What do we need to do to mitigate risk around something like the Internet of Things, for example?

What kind of security threats do you think companies need to be most worried about over the next couple of years?

There’s a plethora of things out there right now that organizations need to be concerned about. Certainly advanced persistent threat, the idea that maybe nation states are trying to attack other nations, is a big deal. It’s a very real threat, and it’s something that we have to think about – looking at the risks we’re facing, exactly what is that adversary and what are they capable of? I think profit-motivated criminals continue to be on everyone’s mind with all the credit card hacks that have just come out. We have to be concerned about cyber criminals who are profit motivated and who are very skilled and determined and obviously there’s a lot at stake there. All of those are very real things in the security world and things we have to defend against.

The Security track at the San Francisco conference focused primarily on risk management. How can companies better approach and manage risk?

As I mentioned, we did a lot of work over the last few years in the area of Risk Management and the FAIR Standard that we introduced breaks down risk into what’s the frequency of bad things happening and what’s the impact if they do happen? So I would suggest that taking that sort of approach, using something like taking the Risk Taxonomy Standard that we’ve introduced and the Risk Analysis Standard, and really looking at what are the critical assets to protect, who’s likely to attack them, what’s the probably frequency of attacks that we’ll see? And then looking at the impact side, what’s the consequence if somebody successfully attacks them? That’s really the key—breaking it down, looking at it that way and then taking the right mitigation steps to reduce risk on those assets that are really important.

You’ve recently become involved in The Open Group’s new Healthcare Forum. Why a healthcare vertical forum for The Open Group?

In the area of healthcare, what we see is that there’s just a highly fragmented aspect to the ecosystem. You’ve got healthcare information that’s captured in various places, and the information doesn’t necessarily flow from provider to payer to other providers. In looking at industry verticals, the healthcare industry seemed like an area that really needed a lot of approaches that we bring from The Open Group—TOGAF and Enterprise Architecture approaches that we have.

If you take it up to a higher level, it really needs the Boundaryless Information Flow that we talk about in The Open Group. We need to get to the point where our information as patients is readily available in a secure manner to the people who need to give us care, as well as to us because in a lot of cases the information exists as islands in the healthcare industry. In looking at healthcare it just seemed like a natural place where, in our economies – and it’s really a global problem – a lot of money is spent on healthcare and there’s a lot of opportunities for improvement, both in the economics but in the patient care that’s delivered to individuals through the healthcare system. It just seemed like a great area for us to focus on.

As the new Healthcare Forum kicks off this year, what are the priorities for the Forum?

The Healthcare Forum has just published a whitepaper summarizing the workshop findings for the workshop that we held in Philadelphia last summer. We’re also working on a treatise, which will outline our views about the healthcare ecosystem and where standards and architecture work is most needing to be done. We expect to have that whitepaper produced over the next couple of months. Beyond that, we see a lot of opportunities for doing architecture and standards work in the healthcare sector, and our membership is going to determine which of those areas to focus on, which projects to initiate first.

For more on the The Open Group Security Forum, please visit http://www.opengroup.org/subjectareas/security. For more on the The Open Group Healthcare Forum, see http://www.opengroup.org/getinvolved/industryverticals/healthcare.

62940-hietalaJim Hietala, CISSP, GSEC, is the Vice President, Security for The Open Group, where he manages all IT security, risk management and healthcare programs and standards activities. He participates in the SANS Analyst/Expert program and has also published numerous articles on information security, risk management, and compliance topics in publications including The ISSA Journal, Bank Accounting & Finance, Risk Factor, SC Magazine, and others.

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Filed under Cloud/SOA, Conference, Data management, Healthcare, Information security, Open FAIR Certification, Open Platform 3.0, RISK Management, TOGAF®, Uncategorized

Facing the Challenges of the Healthcare Industry – An Interview with Eric Stephens of The Open Group Healthcare Forum

By The Open Group

The Open Group launched its new Healthcare Forum at the Philadelphia conference in July 2013. The forum’s focus is on bringing Boundaryless Information Flow™ to the healthcare industry to enable data to flow more easily throughout the complete healthcare ecosystem through a standardized vocabulary and messaging. Leveraging the discipline and principles of Enterprise Architecture, including TOGAF®, the forum aims to develop standards that will result in higher quality outcomes, streamlined business practices and innovation within the industry.

At the recent San Francisco 2014 conference, Eric Stephens, Enterprise Architect at Oracle, delivered a keynote address entitled, “Enabling the Opportunity to Achieve Boundaryless Information Flow” along with Larry Schmidt, HP Fellow at Hewlett-Packard. A veteran of the healthcare industry, Stephens was Senior Director of Enterprise Architects Excellus for BlueCross BlueShield prior to joining Oracle and he is an active member of the Healthcare Forum.

We sat down after the keynote to speak with Stephens about the challenges of healthcare, how standards can help realign the industry and the goals of the forum. The opinions expressed here are Stephens’ own, not of his employer.

What are some of the challenges currently facing the healthcare industry?

There are a number of challenges, and I think when we look at it as a U.S.-centric problem, there’s a disproportionate amount of spending that’s taking place in the U.S. For example, if you look at GDP or percentage of GDP expenditures, we’re looking at now probably 18 percent of GDP [in the U.S.], and other developed countries are spending a full 5 percent less than that of their GDP, and in some cases they’re getting better outcomes outside the U.S.

The mere fact that there’s the existence of what we call “medical tourism, where if I need a hip replacement, I can get it done for a fraction of the cost in another country, same or better quality care and have a vacation—a rehab vacation—at the same time and bring along a spouse or significant other, means there’s a real wide range of disparity there. 

There’s also a lack of transparency. Having worked at an insurance company, I can tell you that with the advent of high deductible plans, there’s a need for additional cost information. When I go on Amazon or go to a local furniture store, I know what the cost is going to be for what I’m about to purchase. In the healthcare system, we don’t get that. With high deductible plans, if I’m going to be responsible for a portion or a larger portion of the fee, I want to know what it is. And what happens is, the incentives to drive costs down force the patient to be a consumer. The consumer now asks the tough questions. If my daughter’s going in for a tonsillectomy, show me a bill of materials that shows me what’s going to be done – if you are charging me $20/pill for Tylenol, I’ll bring my own. Increased transparency is what will in turn drive down the overall costs.

I think there’s one more thing, and this gets into the legal side of things. There is an exorbitant amount of legislation and regulation around what needs to be done. And because every time something goes sideways, there’s going to be a lawsuit, doctors will prescribe an extra test, and extra X-ray for a patient whether they need it or not.

The healthcare system is designed around a vicious cycle of diagnose-treat-release. It’s not incentivized to focus on prevention and management. Oregon is promoting these coordinated care organizations (CCOs) that would be this intermediary that works with all medical professionals – whether it was physical, mental, dental, even social worker – to coordinate episodes of care for patients. This drives down inappropriate utilization – for example, using an ER as a primary care facility and drives the medical system towards prevention and management of health. 

Your keynote with Larry Schmidt of HP focused a lot on cultural changes that need to take place within the healthcare industry – what are some of the changes necessary for the healthcare industry to put standards into place?

I would say culturally, it goes back to those incentives, and it goes back to introducing this idea of patient-centricity. And for the medical community, to really start recognizing that these individuals are consumers and increased choice is being introduced, just like you see in other industries. There are disruptive business models. As a for instance, medical tourism is a disruptive business model for United States-based healthcare. The idea of pharmacies introducing clinical medicine for routine care, such as what you see at a CVS, Wal-Mart or Walgreens. I can get a flu shot, I can get a well-check visit, I can get a vaccine – routine stuff that doesn’t warrant a full-blown medical professional. It’s applying the right amount of medical care to a particular situation.

Why haven’t existing standards been adopted more broadly within the industry? What will help providers be more likely to adopt standards?

I think the standards adoption is about “what’s in it for me, the WIIFM idea. It’s demonstrating to providers that utilizing standards is going to help them get out of the medical administration business and focus on their core business, the same way that any other business would want to standardize its information through integration, processes and components. It reduces your overall maintenance costs going forward and arguably you don’t need a team of billing folks sitting in an doctor’s office because you have standardized exchanges of information.

Why haven’t they been adopted? It’s still a question in my mind. Why would a doctor not want to do that is perhaps a question we’re going to need to explore as part of the Healthcare Forum.

Is it doctors that need to adopt the standards or technologies or combination of different constituents within the ecosystem?

I think it’s a combination. We hear a lot about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the health exchanges. What we don’t hear about is the legislation to drive toward standardization to increase interoperability. So unfortunately it would seem the financial incentives or things we’ve tried before haven’t worked, and we may simply have to resort to legislation or at least legislative incentives to make it happen because part of the funding does cover information exchanges so you can move health information between providers and other actors in the healthcare system.

You’re advocating putting the individual at the center of the healthcare ecosystem. What changes need to take place within the industry in order to do this?

I think it’s education, a lot of education that has to take place. I think that individuals via the incentive model around high deductible plans will force some of that but it’s taking responsibility and understanding the individual role in healthcare. It’s also a cultural/societal phenomenon.

I’m kind of speculating here, and going way beyond what enterprise architecture or what IT would deliver, but this is a philosophical thing around if I have an ailment, chances are there’s a pill to fix it. Look at the commercials, every ailment say hypertension, it’s easy, you just dial the medication correctly and you don’t worry as much about diet and exercise. These sorts of things – our over-reliance on medication. I’m certainly not going to knock the medications that are needed for folks that absolutely need them – but I think we can become too dependent on pharmacological solutions for our health problems.   

What responsibility will individuals then have for their healthcare? Will that also require a cultural and behavioral shift for the individual?

The individual has to start managing his or her own health. We manage our careers and families proactively. Now we need to focus on our health and not just float through the system. It may come to financial incentives for certain “individual KPIs such as blood pressure, sugar levels, or BMI. Advances in medical technology may facilitate more personal management of one’s health.

One of the Healthcare Forum’s goals is to help establish Boundaryless Information Flow within the Healthcare industry you’ve said that understanding the healthcare ecosystem will be a key component for that what does that ecosystem encompass and why is it important to know that first?

Very simply we’re talking about the member/patient/consumer, then we get into the payers, the providers, and we have to take into account government agencies and other non-medical agents, but they all have to work in concert and information needs to flow between those organizations in a very standardized way so that decisions can be made in a very timely fashion.

It can’t be bottled up, it’s got to be provided to the right provider at the right time, otherwise, best case, it’s going to cost more to manage all the actors in the system. Worst case, somebody dies or there is a “never event due to misinformation or lack of information during the course of care. The idea of Boundaryless Information Flow gives us the opportunity to standardize, have easily accessible information – and by the way secured – it can really aide in that decision-making process going forward. It’s no different than Wal-Mart knowing what kind of merchandise sells well before and after a hurricane (i.e., beer and toaster pastries, BTW). It’s the same kind of real-time information that’s made available to a Google car so it can steer its way down the road. It’s that kind of viscosity needed to make the right decisions at the right time.

Healthcare is a highly regulated industry, how can Boundarylesss Information Flow and data collection on individuals be achieved and still protect patient privacy?

We can talk about standards and the flow and the technical side. We need to focus on the security and privacy side.  And there’s going to be a legislative side because we’re going to touch on real fundamental data governance issue – who owns the patient record? Each actor in the system thinks they own the patient record. If we’re going to require more personal accountability for healthcare, then shouldn’t the consumer have more ownership? 

We also need to address privacy disclosure regulations to avoid catastrophic data leaks of protected health information (PHI). We need bright IT talent to pull off the integration we are talking about here. We also need folks who are well versed in the privacy laws and regulations. I’ve seen project teams of 200 have up to eight folks just focusing on the security and privacy considerations. We can argue about headcount later but my point is the same – one needs some focused resources around this topic.

What will standards bring to the healthcare industry that is missing now?

I think the standards, and more specifically the harmonization of the standards, is going to bring increased maintainability of solutions, I think it’s going to bring increased interoperability, I think it’s going to bring increased opportunities too. We see mobile computing or even DropBox, that has API hooks into all sorts of tools, and it’s well integrated – so I can integrate and I can move files between devices, I can move files between apps because they have hooks it’s easy to work with. So it’s building these communities of developers, apps and technical capabilities that makes it easy to move the personal health record for example, back and forth between providers and it’s not a cataclysmic event to integrate a new version of electronic health records (EHR) or to integrate the next version of an EHR. This idea of standardization but also some flexibility that goes into it.

Are you looking just at the U.S. or how do you make a standard that can go across borders and be international?

It is a concern, much of my thinking and much of what I’ve conveyed today is U.S.-centric, based on our problems, but many of these interoperability problems are international. We’re going to need to address it; I couldn’t tell you what the sequence is right now. There are other considerations, for example, single vs. multi-payer—that came up in the keynote. We tend to think that if we stay focused on the consumer/patient we’re going to get it for all constituencies. It will take time to go international with a standard, but it wouldn’t be the first time. We have a host of technical standards for the Internet (e.g., TCP/IP, HTTP). The industry has been able to instill these standards across geographies and vendors. Admittedly, the harmonization of health care-related standards will be more difficult. However, as our world shrinks with globalization an international lens will need to be applied to this challenge. 

Eric StephensEric Stephens (@EricStephens) is a member of Oracle’s executive advisory community where he focuses on advancing clients’ business initiatives leveraging the practice of Business and Enterprise Architecture. Prior to joining Oracle he was Senior Director of Enterprise Architecture at Excellus BlueCross BlueShield leading the organization with architecture design, innovation, and technology adoption capabilities within the healthcare industry.

 

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Filed under Conference, Data management, Enterprise Architecture, Healthcare, Information security, Standards, TOGAF®