Tag Archives: Enterprise Transformation

A World Without IT4IT: Why It’s Time to Run IT Like a Business

By Dave Lounsbury, CTO, The Open Group

IT departments today are under enormous pressure. In the digital world, businesses have become dependent on IT to help them remain competitive. However, traditional IT departments have their roots in skills such as development or operations and have not been set up to handle a business and technology environment that is trying to rapidly adapt to a constantly changing marketplace. As a result, many IT departments today may be headed for a crisis.

At one time, IT departments led technology adoption in support of business. Once a new technology was created—departmental servers, for instance—it took a relatively long time before businesses took advantage of it and even longer before they became dependent on the technology. But once a business did adopt the technology, it became subject to business rules—expectations and parameters for reliability, maintenance and upgrades that kept the technology up to date and allowed the business it supported to keep up with the market.

As IT became more entrenched in organizations throughout the 1980s and 1990s, IT systems increased in size and scope as technology companies fought to keep pace with market forces. In large enterprises, in particular, IT’s function became to maintain large infrastructures, requiring small armies of IT workers to sustain them.

A number of forces have combined to change all that. Today, most businesses do their business operations digitally—what Constellation Research analyst Andy Mulholland calls “Front Office Digital Business.” Technology-as-a-service models have changed how the technologies and applications are delivered and supported, with support and upgrades coming from outsourced vendors, not in-house staff. With Cloud models, an IT department may not even be necessary. Entrepreneurs can spin up a company with a swipe of a credit card and have all the technology they need at their fingertips, hosted remotely in the Cloud.

The Gulf between IT and Business

Although the gap between IT and business is closing, the gulf in how IT is run still remains. In structure, most IT departments today remain close to their technology roots. This is, in part, because IT departments are still run by technologists and engineers whose primary skills lie in the challenge (and excitement) of creating new technologies. Not every skilled engineer makes a good businessperson, but in most organizations, people who are good at their jobs often get promoted into management whether or not they are ready to manage. The Peter Principle is a problem that hinders many organizations, not just IT departments.

What has happened is that IT departments have not traditionally been run as if they were a business. Good business models for how IT should be run have been piecemeal or slow to develop—despite IT’s role in how the rest of the business is run. Although some standards have been developed as guides for how different parts of IT should be run (COBIT for governance, ITIL for service management, TOGAF®, an Open Group standard, for architecture), no overarching standard has been developed that encompasses how to holistically manage all of IT, from systems administration to development to management through governance and, of course, staffing. For all its advances, IT has yet to become a well-oiled business machine.

The business—and technological—climate today is not the same as it was when companies took three years to do a software upgrade. Everything in today’s climate happens nearly instantaneously. “Convergence” technologies like Cloud Computing, Big Data, social media, mobile and the Internet of Things are changing the nature of IT. New technical skills and methodologies are emerging every day, as well. Although languages such as Java or C may remain the top programming languages, new languages like Pig or Hive are emerging everyday, as are new approaches to development, such as Scrum, Agile or DevOps.

The Consequences of IT Business as Usual

With these various forces facing IT, departments will either need to change and adopt a model where IT is managed more effectively or departments may face some impending chaos that ends up hindering their organizations.

Without an effective management model for IT, companies won’t be able to mobilize quickly for a digital age. Even something as simple as an inability to utilize data could result in problems such as investing in a product prototype that customers aren’t interested in. Those are mistakes most companies can’t afford to make these days.

Having an umbrella view of what all of IT does also allows the department to make better decisions. With technology and development trends changing so quickly, how do you know what will fit your organization’s business goals? You want to take advantage of the trends or technologies that make sense for the company and leave behind those that don’t.

For example, in DevOps, one of the core concepts is to bring the development phase into closer alignment with releasing and operating the software. You need to know your business’s operating model to determine whether this approach will actually work or not. Having a sense of that also allows IT to make decisions about whether it’s wise to invest in training or hiring staff skilled in those methods or buying new technologies that will allow you to adopt the model.

Not having that management view can leave companies subject to the whims of technological evolution and also to current IT fads. If you don’t know what’s valuable to your business, you run the risk of chasing every new fad that comes along. There’s nothing worse—as the IT guy—than being the person who comes to the management meeting each month saying you’re trying yet another new approach to solve a problem that never seems to get solved. Business people won’t respond to that and will wonder if you know what you’re doing. IT needs to be decisive and choose wisely.

These issues not only affect the IT department but to trickle up to business operations. Ineffective IT shops will not know when to invest in the correct technologies, and they may miss out on working with new technologies that could benefit the business. Without a framework to plan how technology fits into the business, you could end up in the position of having great IT bows and arrows but when you walk out into the competitive world, you get machine-gunned.

The other side is cost and efficiency—if the entire IT shop isn’t running smoothly throughout then you end up spending too much money on problems, which in turn takes money away from other parts of the business that can keep the organization competitive. Failing to manage IT can lead to competitive loss across numerous areas within a business.

A New Business Model

To help prevent the consequences that may result if IT isn’t run more like a business, industry leaders such as Accenture; Achmea; AT&T; HP IT; ING Bank; Munich RE; PwC; Royal Dutch Shell; and University of South Florida, recently formed a consortium to address how to better run the business of IT. With billions of dollars invested in IT each year, these companies realized their investments must be made wisely and show governable results in order succeed.

The result of their efforts is The Open Group IT4IT™ Forum, which released a Snapshot of its proposed Reference Architecture for running IT more like a business this past November. The Reference Architecture is meant to serve as an operating model for IT, providing the “missing link” that previous IT-function specific models have failed to address. The model allows IT to achieve the same level of business, discipline, predictability and efficiency as other business functions.

The Snapshot includes a four-phase Value Chain for IT that provides both an operating model for an IT business and outlines how value can be added at every stage of the IT process. In addition to providing suggested best practices for delivery, the Snapshot includes technical models for the IT tools that organizations can use, whether for systems monitoring, release monitoring or IT point solutions. Providing guidance around IT tools will allow these tools to become more interoperable so that they can exchange information at the right place at the right time. In addition, it will allow for better control of information flow between various parts of the business through the IT shop, thus saving IT departments the time and hassle of aggregating tools or cobbling together their own tools and solutions. Staffing guidance models are also included in the Reference Architecture.

Why IT4IT now? Digitalization cannot be held back, particularly in an era of Cloud, Big Data and an impending Internet of Things. An IT4IT Reference Architecture provides more than just best practices for IT—it puts IT in the context of a business model that allows IT to be a contributing part of an enterprise, providing a roadmap for digital businesses to compete and thrive for years to come.

Join the conversation! @theopengroup #ogchat

By The Open GroupDavid is Chief Technical Officer (CTO) and Vice President, Services for The Open Group. As CTO, he ensures that The Open Group’s people and IT resources are effectively used to implement the organization’s strategy and mission.  As VP of Services, David leads the delivery of The Open Group’s proven collaboration processes for collaboration and certification both within the organization and in support of third-party consortia.

David holds a degree in Electrical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and is holder of three U.S. patents.

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The Open Group San Diego 2015 – Day Two Highlights

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

Day two, February 3, kicked off with a presentation by Allen Brown, President and CEO of The Open Group, “What I Don’t Need from Business Architecture… and What I Do”.

Allen began with a brief history of The Open Group vision of Boundaryless Information Flow™, which enables the break down of barriers to cross-functional organization when information is held in siloed parts. Allen and team used the word “boundaryless” that was started by Jack Welch in 2002 with the phrase “Boundaryless Organization”. This approach focused on thinking and acting, not technical. “Boundaryless” does not mean there are no boundaries, it means that boundaries are permeable to enable business.

Allen also discussed brand actualization, and that organizations wishing to achieve brand recognition such as Nike and Apple must be aware of the customer journey. The journey entails awareness, evaluation, joining, participation, renewal and advocacy. The organization needs to learn more about the people so as not to segment, since people are not “one size fits all”. Business Architecture helps with understanding the customer journey.

By Loren K. Baynes

Business Architecture is part of Enterprise Architecture, he continued. A greater focus on the “what”, including strategic themes, capabilities and interdependencies, can add a lot of value. It is applicable to the business of government as well as to the business of “businesses” and non-profit organizations.

John Zachman, Founder & Chairman, Zachman International and Executive Director of FEAC Institute, presented “The Zachman Framework and How It Complements TOGAF® and Other Frameworks”. John stated the biggest problem is change. The two reasons to do architecture are complexity and change. A person or organization needs to understand and describe the problem before solving it.

“All I did was, I saw the pattern of the structure of the descriptive representations for airplanes, buildings, locomotives and computers, and I put enterprise names on the same patterns,” he said. “Now you have the Zachman Framework, which basically is Architecture for Enterprises. It is Architecture for every other object known to human kind.” Thus the Zachman Framework was born.

According to John, what his Framework is ultimately intended for is describing a complex object, an Enterprise. In that sense, the Zachman Framework is the ontology for Enterprise Architecture, he stated. What it doesn’t do is tell you how to do Enterprise Architecture.

“My framework is just the definition and structure of the descriptive representation for enterprises,” he said. That’s where methodologies, such as TOGAF®, an Open Group standard, or other methodological frameworks come in. It’s not Zachman OR TOGAF®, it’s TOGAF® AND Zachman.

By Loren K. BaynesJohn Zachman

Allen and John then participated in a Q&A session. Both are very passionate about professionalizing the architecture profession. Allen and John agreed there should be a sense of urgency for architecture to keep up with the rapid evolution of technology.

The plenary continued with Chris Forde, GM APAC Region and VP, Enterprise Architecture, The Open Group on “The Value of TOGAF® Architecture Development Method (ADM) and Open Systems Architecture”. Chris was presenting on behalf of Terry Blevins, Fellow of The Open Group, who could not attend.

Chris said, “Enterprise Architecture is a constant journey.” The degree of complexity of organizations or objects (such as airplanes) is enormous. Architecture is a means to an end. ADM is the core of TOGAF.

Enterprise Architecture (EA) is nothing but a paperweight if there are no plans in place to use it to make decisions. Supporting decision-making is the key reason to produce an Enterprise Architecture. Chris noted sound decisions sometimes need to be made without all of the information required. EA is a management tool, not a technology tool.

Allen Brown chaired a panel, “Synergy of EA Frameworks”, with panelists Chris Forde, John Zachman, Dr. Beryl Bellman, Academic Director, FEAC Institute, and Iver Band, Enterprise Architect, Cambia Health Solutions.

Iver began the panel session by discussing ArchiMate®, an Open Group standard, which is a language for building understanding and communicating and managing change.

One of the questions the panel addressed was how does EA take advantage of emerging technologies such as mobile, big data and cloud? The “as designed” logic can be implemented in any technology. Consideration should also be given to synergy among the different architectures. EA as a management discipline helps people to ask the right questions about activities and technologies to mitigate risk, take advantage of the situation and/or decide whether or not to deploy the strategies and tactics. The idea is not to understand everything and every framework, but to get the right set of tools for interaction and navigation.

In the afternoon, tracks consisted of Risk, Dependability and Trusted Technology, Open Platform 3.0™, Architecture Frameworks and EA and Business Transformation. Presenters were from a wide range of organizations including HP, Tata Consulting Services (India), Wipro, IBM, Symantic and Arca Success Group.

A networking reception was held at the Birch Aquarium, Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Attendees enjoyed a scrumptious dinner and experienced the wonders of ocean and marine life.

A very special thank you goes to our San Diego 2015 sponsors and exhibitors: BiZZdesign, Corso, FEAC Institute, AEA, Good E-learning, SimpliLearn and Van Haren Publishing.

Most of our plenary proceedings are available at Livestream.com/opengroup

Please join the conversation – @theopengroup #ogSAN

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

 

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Filed under Business Architecture, Conference, Enterprise Architecture, Enterprise Transformation, Internet of Things, Interoperability, Open Platform 3.0, Professional Development, Standards, TOGAF®, Value Chain

The Open Group San Diego 2015 – Day One Highlights

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

The Open Group San Diego 2015, with over 200 guests in attendance, had a powerful start on Monday, February 2 with a presentation by Dawn Meyerriecks, CIA Deputy Director for Science and Technology and Emeritus of The Open Group.

Dawn’s presentation, entitled “Emerging Tech Trends: The Role of Government”, focused on the US government, but she emphasized that global reach is necessary as are international relationships. US investment in R&D and basic research is accelerating. She continued, the government is great at R&D but not necessarily bringing it to market. Furthermore, as physical and virtual converge (i.e. Internet of Things), this fuels the state of IT. The US is well ahead of other countries in R&D, but China and Japan are increasing their spend, along with other markets. Discussions about supply chain, dependability, platforms, mobility and architectural framework are also required.

Big data analytics are key as is the access to analytics and the ability to exploit it to have market growth. The government works with partners on many levels. Leading experts from academia, governments, and industry collaborate to solve hard problems in big data analytics, including the impacts on life such as trying to predict societal unrest. The complex technologies focus must utilize incisive analysis, safe and secure operations and smart collection.

By The Open GroupDawn Meyerriecks

When Allen Brown, President and CEO of The Open Group, introduced Dawn, he mentioned her integral role in launching the Association of Enterprise Architects (AEA), formerly AOGEA, in 2007 which initially had 700 members. AEA now has over 40,000 members and is recognized worldwide as a professional association.

Dawn’s presentation was followed by a Q&A session with Allen who further addressed supply chain, ethical use of data, cloud systems and investment in cybersecurity. Allen emphasized that The Open Trusted Technology Provider™ Standard (O-TTPS) Accreditation Program is in place but there needs to be a greater demand.

Next on the agenda was the The Open Group overview and Forum Highlights presented by Allen Brown. The Open Group has 488 member organizations signed in 40 countries such as Australia, Czech Republic, Japan, Nigeria, Philippines and United Arab Emirates. In 2014, The Open Group signed 93 new membership agreements in 22 countries.

Allen presented updates on all The Open Group Forums: ArchiMate®, Architecture, DirectNet®, EMMM, Enterprise Management, FACE®, Healthcare, IT4IT™, Open Platform 3.0™, Open Trusted Technology, Security. Highlights included:

  • ArchiMate® Forum – The Open Group now sponsors the Archi tool, a free open source tool; recently published TOGAF® Framework/ArchiMate® Modeling Language Harmonization guide
  • Architecture Forum – TOGAF® 9 reached 40,000 certifications; 75,000 TOGAF publications download in 166 countries; TOGAF books sales reached 11,000
  • Healthcare Forum – first round analysis submission for Federal Health Information Model (FHIM) was very well-accepted; white paper in development
  • The Open Group IT4IT™ Forum – launched in October 2014
  • Open Platform 3.0™ Forum – snapshot 2 in development; produced two Internet of Things (IoT) standards in 2014; relaunching UDEF in 2015
  • Security Forum – increasing activities with organizations in India

The plenary continued with a joint presentation by Dr. Ron Ross, Fellow of National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and Mary Ann Davidson, Chief Security Officer, Oracle and entitled “Cybersecurity Standards: Finding the Right Balance for Securing Your Enterprise”.

Dr. Ross stated the world is developing the most complicated IT infrastructure ever. Critical missions and business functions are at risk – affecting national economic security interests of the US. Companies throughout the globe are trying to make systems secure, but there are challenges when getting to the engineering aspect. Assurance, trustworthiness, resiliency is the world we want to build. “Building stronger, more resilient systems requires effective security standards for software assurance, systems security engineering, supply chain risk management.” It is critical to focus on the architecture and engineering. The essential partnership is government, academia and industry.

Mary Ann posed the question “why cybersecurity standards?” with the answer being that standards help ensure technical correctness, interoperability, trustworthiness and best practices. In her view, the standards ecosystem consists of standards makers, reviewers, mandaters, implementers, certifiers, weaponizers (i.e. via regulatory capture). She stated the “Four Ps of Benevolent Standards” are problem statement, precise language and scope, pragmatic solutions and prescriptive minimization. “Buyers and practitioners must work hand in hand; standards and practice should be neck and neck, not miles apart.”

The plenary culminated with the Cybersecurity Panel. Dave Lounsbury, CTO, The Open Group, moderated the panel. Panelists were Edna Conway, Chief Security Officer for Global Supply Chain, Cisco; Mary Ann Mezzapelle, America CTO for Enterprise Security Services, HP, Jim Hietala, VP Security, The Open Group, Rance Delong, Security and High Assurance Systems, Santa Clara University. They all agreed the key to Security is to learn the risks, vulnerabilities and what can you control. Technology and controls are out there but organizations need to implement them effectively. Also, collaboration is important among public, private, industry and supply chain, and people, processes and technology.

By The Open Group

Rance Delong, Jim Hietala, Edna Conway, Mary Ann Mezzapelle, Dave Lounsbury

The afternoon featured tracks Risk, Dependability and Trusted Technology; IT4IT™; EA Practice and Professional Development. One of the sessions “Services Model Backbone – the IT4IT™ Nerve System” was presented by Lars Rossen, Distinguished Technologist and Chief Architect, IT4IT Initiative, HP.

In the evening, The Open Group hosted a lovely reception on the outside terrace at the Westin Gaslamp.

Most plenary sessions are available via: Livestream.com/opengroup

Please join the conversation – @theopengroup #ogSAN

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Business Architecture, Conference, Cybersecurity, Enterprise Architecture, Enterprise Transformation, O-TTF, Professional Development, Security, Standards

A Historical Look at Enterprise Architecture with John Zachman

By The Open Group

John Zachman’s Zachman Framework is widely recognized as the foundation and historical basis for Enterprise Architecture. On Tuesday, Feb. 3, during The Open Group’s San Diego 2015 event, Zachman will be giving the morning’s keynote address entitled “Zachman on the Zachman Framework and How it Complements TOGAF® and Other Frameworks.”

We recently spoke to Zachman in advance of the event about the origins of his framework, the state of Enterprise Architecture and the skills he believes EAs need today.

As a discipline, Enterprise Architecture is still fairly young. It began getting traction in the mid to late 1980s after John Zachman published an article describing a framework for information systems architectures in the IBM Systems Journal. Zachman said he lived to regret initially calling his framework “A Framework for Information Systems Architecture,” instead of “Enterprise Architecture” because the framework actually has nothing to do with information systems.

Rather, he said, it was “A Framework for Enterprise Architecture.” But at the time of publication, the idea of Enterprise Architecture was such a foreign concept, Zachman said, that people didn’t understand what it was. Even so, the origins of his ontological framework were already almost 20 years old by the time he first published them.

In the late 1960s, Zachman was working as an account executive in the Marketing Division of IBM. His account responsibility was working with the Atlantic Richfield Company (better known as ARCO). In 1969, ARCO had just been newly formed out of the merger of three separate companies, Atlantic Refining out of Philadelphia and Richfield in California, which merged and then bought Sinclair Oil in New York in 1969.

“It was the biggest corporate merger in history at the time where they tried to integrate three separate companies into one company. They were trying to deal with an enterprise integration issue, although they wouldn’t have called it that at the time,” Zachman said.

With three large companies to merge, ARCO needed help in figuring out how to do the integration. When the client asked Zachman how they should handle such a daunting task, he said he’d try to get some help. So he turned to a group within IBM called the Information Systems Control and Planning Group and the group’s Director of Architecture, Dewey Walker, for guidance.

Historically, when computers were first used in commercial applications, there already were significant “Methods and Procedures” systems communities in most large organizations whose job was to formalize many manual systems in order to manage the organization, Zachman said. When computers came on the scene, they were used to improve organizational productivity by replacing the people performing the organizations’ processes. However, because manual systems defined and codified organizational responsibilities, when management made changes within an organization, as they often did, it would render the computer systems obsolete, which required major redevelopment.

Zachman recalled Walker’s observation that “organizational responsibilities” and “processes” were two different things. As such, he believed systems should be designed to automate the process, not to encode the organizational responsibilities, because the process and the organization changed independently from one another. By separating these two independent variables, management could change organizational responsibilities without affecting or changing existing systems or the organization. Many years later, Jim Champy and Mike Hammer popularized this notion in their widely read 1991 book, “Reengineering the Corporation,” Zachman said.

According to Zachman, Walker created a methodology for defining processes as separate entities from the organizational structure. Walker came out to Los Angeles, where Zachman and ARCO were based to help provide guidance on the merger. Zachman recalls Walker telling him that the key to defining the systems for Enterprise purposes was in the data, not necessarily the process itself. In other words, the data across the company needed to be normalized so that they could maintain visibility into the assets and structure of the enterprise.

“The secret to this whole thing lies in the coding and the classification of the data,” Zachman recalled Walker saying. Walker’s methodology, he said, began by classifying data by its existence not by its use.

Since all of this was happening well before anyone came up with the concept of data modeling, there were no data models from which to design their system. “Data-oriented words were not yet in anyone’s vocabulary,” Zachman said. Walker had difficulty articulating his concepts because the words he had at his disposal were inadequate, Zachman said.

Walker understood that to have structural control over the enterprise, they needed to look at both processes and data as independent variables, Zachman said. That would provide the flexibility and knowledge base to accommodate escalating change. This was critical, he said, because the system is the enterprise. Therefore, creating an integrated structure of independent variables and maintaining visibility into that structure are crucial if you want to be able to manage and change it. Otherwise, he says, the enterprise “disintegrates.”

Although Zachman says Walker was “onto this stuff early on,” Walker eventually left IBM, leaving Zachman with the methodology Walker had named “Business Systems Planning.” (Zachman said Walker knew that it wasn’t just about the information systems, but about the business systems.) According to Zachman, he inherited Walker’s methodology because he’d been working closely with Walker. “I was the only person that had any idea what Dewey was doing,” he said.

What he was left with, Zachman says, was what today he would call a “Row 1 methodology”—or the “Executive Perspective” and the “Scope Contexts” in what would eventually become his ontology.

According to Zachman, Walker had figured out how to transcribe enterprise strategy in such a fashion that engineering work could be derived from it. “What we didn’t know how to do,” Zachman said, “was to transform the strategy (Zachman Framework Row 1), which tends to be described at a somewhat abstract level of definition into the operating Enterprise (Row 6), which was comprised of very precise instructions (explicit or implicit) for behavior of people and/or machines.”

Zachman said that they knew that “Architecture” had something to do with the Strategy to Instantiation transformation logic but they didn’t know what architecture for enterprises was in those days. His radical idea was to ask someone who did architecture for things like buildings, airplanes, locomotives, computers or battleships. What the architecture was for those Industrial Age products. Zachman believed if he could find out what they thought architecture was for those products, he might be able to figure out what architecture was for enterprises and thereby figure out how to transform the strategy into the operating enterprise to align the enterprise implementation with the strategy.

With this in mind, Zachman began reaching out to people in other disciplines to see how they put together things like buildings or airplanes. He spoke to an architect friend and also to some of the aircraft manufacturers that were based in Southern California at the time. He began gathering different engineering specs and studying them.

One day while he was sitting at his desk, Zachman said, he began sorting the design artifacts he’d collected for buildings and airplanes into piles. Suddenly he noticed there was something similar in how the design patterns were described.

“Guess what?” he said. “The way you describe buildings is identical to the way you describe airplanes, which turns out to be identical to the way you describe locomotives, which is identical to the way you describe computers. Which is identical to the way you describe anything else that humanity has ever described.”

Zachman says he really just “stumbled across” the way to describe the enterprise and attributes his discovery to providence, a miracle! Despite having kick-started the discipline of Enterprise Architecture with this recognition, Zachman claims he’s “actually not very innovative,” he said.

“I just saw the pattern and put enterprise names on it,” he said

Once he understood that Architectural design descriptions all used the same categories and patterns, he knew that he could also define Architecture for Enterprises. All it would take would be to apply the enterprise vocabulary to the same pattern and structure of the descriptive representations of everything else.

“All I did was, I saw the pattern of the structure of the descriptive representations for airplanes, buildings, locomotives and computers, and I put enterprise names on the same patterns,” he says. “Now you have the Zachman Framework, which basically is Architecture for Enterprises. It is Architecture for every other object known to human kind.”

Thus the Zachman Framework was born.

Ontology vs. Methodology

According to Zachman, what his Framework is ultimately intended for is describing a complex object, an Enterprise. In that sense, the Zachman Framework is the ontology for Enterprise Architecture, he says. What it doesn’t do, is tell you how to do Enterprise Architecture.

“Architecture is architecture is architecture. My framework is just the definition and structure of the descriptive representation for enterprises,” he said.

That’s where methodologies, such as TOGAF®, an Open Group standard, DoDAF or other methodological frameworks come in. To create and execute an Architecture, practitioners need both the ontology—to help them define, translate and place structure around the enterprise descriptive representations—and they need a methodology to populate and implement it. Both are needed—it’s an AND situation, not an OR, he said. The methodology simply needs to use (or reuse) the ontological constructs in creating the implementation instantiations in order for the enterprise to be “architected.”

The Need for Architecture

Unfortunately, Zachman says, there are still a lot of companies today that don’t understand the need to architect their enterprise. Enterprise Architecture is simply not on the radar of general management in most places.

“It’s not readily acknowledged on the general management agenda,” Zachman said.

Instead, he says, most companies focus their efforts on building and running systems, not engineering the enterprise as a holistic unit.

“We haven’t awakened to the concept of Enterprise Architecture,” he says. “The fundamental reason why is people think it takes too long and it costs too much. That is a shibboleth – it doesn’t take too long or cost too much if you know what you’re doing and have an ontological construct.”

Zachman believes many companies are particularly guilty of this type of thinking, which he attributes to a tendency to think that there isn’t any work being done unless the code is up and running. Never mind all the work it took to get that code up and running in the first place.

“Getting the code to run, I’m not arguing against that, but it ought to be in the context of the enterprise design. If you’re just providing code, you’re going to get exactly what you have right now—code. What does that have to do with management’s intentions or the Enterprise in its entirety?”

As such, Zachman compares today’s enterprises to log cabins rather than skyscrapers. Many organizations have not gotten beyond that “primitive” stage, he says, because they haven’t been engineered to be integrated or changed.

According to Zachman, the perception that Enterprise Architecture is too costly and time consuming must change. And, people also need to stop thinking that Enterprise Architecture belongs solely under the domain of IT.

“Enterprise Architecture is not about building IT models. It’s about solving general management problems,” he said. “If we change that perception, and we start with the problem and we figure out how to solve that problem, and then, oh by the way we’re doing Architecture, then we’re going to get a lot of Architecture work done.”

Zachman believes one way to do this is to build out the Enterprise Architecture iteratively and incrementally. By tackling one problem at a time, he says, general management may not even need to know whether you’re doing Enterprise Architecture or not, as long as their problem is being solved. The governance system controls the architectural coherence and integration of the increments. He expects that EA will trend in that direction over the next few years.

“We’re learning much better how to derive immediate value without having the whole enterprise engineered. If we can derive immediate value, that dispels the shibboleth—the misperception that architecture takes too long and costs too much. That’s the way to eliminate the obstacles for Enterprise Architecture.”

As far as the skills needed to do EA into the future, Zachman believes that enterprises will eventually need to have multiple types of architects with different skill sets to make sure everything is aligned. He speculates that someday, there may need to be specialists for every cell in the framework, saying that there is potentially room for a lot of specialization and people with different skill sets and a lot of creativity. Just as aircraft manufacturers need a variety of engineers—from aeronautic to hydraulic and everywhere in between—to get a plane built. One engineer does not engineer the entire airplane or a hundred-story building or an ocean liner, or, for that matter, a personal computer. Similarly, increasingly complex enterprises will likely need multiple types of engineering specialties. No one person knows everything.

“Enterprises are far more complex than 747s. In fact, an enterprise doesn’t have to be very big before it gets really complex,” he said. “As enterprise systems increase in size, there is increased potential for failure if they aren’t architected to respond to that growth. And if they fail, the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of thousand of people can be affected, particularly if it’s a public sector Enterprise.”

Zachman believes it may ultimately take a generation or two for companies to understand the need to better architect the way they run. As things are today, he says, the paradigm of the “system process first” Industrial Age is still too ingrained in how systems are created. He believes it will be a while before that paradigm shifts to a more Information Age-centric way of thinking where the enterprise is the object rather than the system.

“Although this afternoon is not too early to start working on it, it is likely that it will be the next generation that will make Enterprise Architecture an essential way of life like it is for buildings and airplanes and automobiles and every other complex object,” he said.

By The Open GroupJohn A. Zachman, Founder & Chairman, Zachman International, Executive Director of FEAC Institute, and Chairman of the Zachman Institute

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Catching Up with The Open Group Internet of Things Work Group

By The Open Group

The Open Group’s Internet of Things (IoT) Work Group is involved in developing open standards that will allow product and equipment management to evolve beyond the traditional limits of product lifecycle management. Meant to incorporate the larger systems management that will be required by the IoT, these standards will help to handle the communications needs of a network that may encompass products, devices, people and multiple organizations. Formerly known as the Quantum Lifecycle Management (QLM) Work Group, its name was recently changed to the Internet of Things Work Group to more accurately reflect its current direction and focus.

We recently caught up with Work Group Chairman Kary Främling to discuss its two new standards, both of which are geared toward the Internet of Things, and what the group has been focused on lately.

Over the past few years, The Open Group’s Internet of Things Work Group (formerly the Quantum Lifecycle Management Work Group) has been working behind the scenes to develop new standards related to the nascent Internet of Things and how to manage the lifecycle of these connected products, or as General Electric has referred to it, the “Industrial Internet.”

What their work ultimately aims to do is help manage all the digital information within a particular system—for example, vehicles, buildings or machines. By creating standard frameworks for handling this information, these systems and their related applications can be better run and supported during the course of their “lifetime,” with the information collected serving a variety of purposes, from maintenance to improved design and manufacturing to recycling and even refurbishing them.

According to Work Group Chairman Kary Främling, CEO of ControlThings and Professor of Practice in Building Information Modeling at Aalto University in Finland, the group has been working with companies such as Caterpillar and Fiat, as well as refrigerator and machine tool manufacturers, to enable machines and equipment to send sensor and status data on how machines are being used and maintained to their manufacturers. Data can also be provided to machine operators so they are also aware of how the machines are functioning in order to make changes if need be.

For example, Främling says that one application of this system management loop is in HVAC systems within buildings. By building Internet capabilities into the system, now a ventilation system—or air-handling unit—can be controlled via a smartphone from the moment it’s turned on inside a building. The system can provide data and alerts to facilities management about how well it’s operating and whether there are any problems within the system to whomever needs it. Främling also says that the system can provide information to both the maintenance company and the system manufacturer so they can collect information from the machines on performance, operations and other indicators. This allows users to determine things as simple as when an air filter may need changing or whether there are systematic problems with different machine models.

According to Främling, the ability to monitor systems in this way has already helped ventilation companies make adjustments to their products.

“What we noticed was there was a certain problem with certain models of fans in these machines. Based on all the sensor readings on the machine, I could deduce that the air extraction fan had broken down,” he said.

The ability to detect such problems via sensor data as they are happening can be extremely beneficial to manufacturers because they can more easily and more quickly make improvements to their systems. Another advantage afforded by machines with Web connectivity, Främling says, is that errors can also be corrected remotely.

“There’s so much software in these machines nowadays, so just by changing parameters you can make them work better in many ways,” he says.

In fact, Främling says that the Work Group has been working on systems such as these for a number of years already—well before the term “Internet of Things” became part of industry parlance. They first worked on a system for a connected refrigerator in 2007 and even worked on systems for monitoring how vehicles were used before then.

One of the other things the Work Group is focused on is working with the Open Platform 3.0 Forum since there are many synergies between the two groups. For instance, the Work Group provided a number of the uses cases for the Forum’s recent business scenarios.

“I really see what we are doing is enabling the use cases and these information systems,” Främling says.

Two New Standards

In October, the Work Group also published two new standards, both of which are two of the first standards to be developed for the Internet of Things (IoT). A number of companies and universities across the world have been instrumental in developing the standards including Aalto University in Finland, BIBA, Cambridge University, Infineon, InMedias, Politechnico di Milano, Promise Innovation, SAP and Trackway Ltd.

Främling likens these early IoT standards to what the HTML and HTTP protocols did for the Internet. For example, the Open Data Format (O-DF) Standard provides a common language for describing any kind of IoT object, much like HTML provided a language for the Web. The Open Messaging Interface (O-MI) Standard, on the other hand, describes a set of operations that enables users to read information about particular systems and then ask those systems for that information, much like HTTP. Write operations then allow users to also send information or new values to the system, for example, to update the system.

Users can also subscribe to information contained in other systems. For instance, Främling described a scenario in which he was able to create a program that allowed him to ask his car what was wrong with it via a smartphone when the “check engine” light came on. He was then able to use a smartphone application to send an O-MI message to the maintenance company with the error code and his location. Using an O-MI subscription the maintenance company would be able to send a message back asking for additional information. “Send these five sensor values back to us for the next hour and you should send them every 10 seconds, every 5 seconds for the temperature, and so on,” Främling said. Once that data is collected, the service center can analyze what’s wrong with the vehicle.

Främling says O-MI messages can easily be set up on-the-fly for a variety of connected systems with little programming. The standard also allows users to manage mobility and firewalls. O-MI communications are also run over systems that are already secure to help prevent security issues. Those systems can include anything from HTTP to USB sticks to SMTP, as well, Främling says.

Främling expects that these standards can also be applied to multiple types of functionalities across different industries, for example for connected systems in the healthcare industry or to help manage energy production and consumption across smart grids. With both standards now available, the Work Group is beginning to work on defining extensions for the Data Format so that vocabularies specific to certain industries, such as healthcare or manufacturing, can also be developed.

In addition, Främling expects that as protocols such as O-MI make it easier for machines to communicate amongst themselves, they will also be able to begin to optimize themselves over time. Cars, in fact, are already using this kind of capability, he says. But for other systems, such as buildings, that kind of communication is not happening yet. He says in Finland, his company has projects underway with manufacturers of diesel engines, cranes, elevators and even in Volkswagen factories to establish information flows between systems. Smart grids are also another potential use. In fact his home is wired to provide consumption rates in real-time to the electric company, although he says he does not believe they are currently doing anything with the data.

“In the past we used to speak about these applications for pizza or whatever that can tell a microwave oven how long it should be heated and the microwave oven also checks that the food hasn’t expired,” Främling said.

And while your microwave may not yet be able to determine whether your food has reached its expiration date, these recent developments by the Work Group are helping to bring the IoT vision to fruition by making it easier for systems to begin the process of “talking” to each other through a standardized messaging system.

By The Open GroupKary Främling is currently CEO of the Finnish company ControlThings, as well as Professor of Practice in Building Information Modeling (BIM) at Aalto University, Finland. His main research topics are on information management practices and applications for BIM and product lifecycle management in general. His main areas of competence are distributed systems, middleware, multi-agent systems, autonomously learning agents, neural networks and decision support systems. He is one of the worldwide pioneers in the Internet of Things domain, where he has been active since 2000.

@theopengroup; #ogchat

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Filed under digital technologies, Enterprise Transformation, Future Technologies, Internet of Things, Open Platform 3.0, Uncategorized

Putting Information Technology at the Heart of the Business: The Open Group San Diego 2015

By The Open Group

The Open Group is hosting the “Enabling Boundaryless Information Flow™” event February 2 – 5, 2015 in San Diego, CA at the Westin San Diego Gaslamp Quarter. The event is set to focus on the changing role of IT within the enterprise and how new IT trends are empowering improvements in businesses and facilitating Enterprise Transformation. Key themes include Dependability through Assuredness™ (The Cybersecurity Connection) and The Synergy of Enterprise Architecture Frameworks. Particular attention throughout the event will be paid to the need for continued development of an open TOGAF® Architecture Development Method and its importance and value to the wider business architecture community. The goal of Boundaryless Information Flow will be featured prominently in a number of tracks throughout the event.

Key objectives for this year’s event include:

  • Explore how Cybersecurity and dependability issues are threatening business enterprises and critical infrastructure from an integrity and a Security perspective
  • Show the need for Boundaryless Information Flow™, which would result in more interoperable, real-time business processes throughout all business ecosystems
  • Outline current challenges in securing the Internet of Things, and about work ongoing in the Security Forum and elsewhere that will help to address the issues
  • Reinforce the importance of architecture methodologies to assure your enterprise is transforming its approach along with the ever-changing threat landscape
  • Discuss the key drivers and enablers of social business technologies in large organizations which play an important role in the co-creation of business value, and discuss the key building blocks of social business transformation program

Plenary speakers at the event include:

  • Chris Forde, General Manager, Asia Pacific Region & VP, Enterprise Architecture, The Open Group
  • John A. Zachman, Founder & Chairman, Zachman International, and Executive Director of FEAC Institute

Full details on the range of track speakers at the event can be found here, with the following (among many others) contributing:

  • Dawn C. Meyerriecks, Deputy Director for Science and Technology, CIA
  • Charles Betz, Founder, Digital Management Academy
  • Leonard Fehskens. Chief Editor, Journal of Enterprise Architecture, AEA

Registration for The Open Group San Diego 2015 is open and available to members and non-members. Please register here.

Join the conversation via Twitter – @theopengroup #ogSAN

 

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Filed under Boundaryless Information Flow™, Dependability through Assuredness™, Internet of Things, Professional Development, Security, Standards, TOGAF®, Uncategorized

The Business of Managing IT: The Open Group IT4IT™ Forum

By The Open Group

At The Open Group London 2014 event in October, the launch of The Open Group IT4IT™ Forum was announced. The goal of the new Forum is to create a Reference Architecture and standard that will allow IT departments to take a more holistic approach to managing the business of IT with continuous insight and control, enabling Boundaryless Information Flow™ across the IT Value Chain.

We recently spoke to Forum member Charlie Betz, Founder, Digital Management Academy, LLC, about the new Forum, its origins and why it’s time for IT to be managed as if it were a business in itself.

As IT has become more central to organizations, its role has changed drastically from the days when companies had one large mainframe or just a few PCs. For many organizations today, particularly large enterprises, IT is becoming a business within the business.

The problem with most IT departments, though, is that IT has never really been run as if it was a business.

In order for IT to better cope with rapid technological change and become more efficient at transitioning to the service-based model that most businesses today require, IT departments need guidance as to how the business of IT can be run. What’s at stake are things such as how to better manage IT at scale, how to understand IT as a value chain in its own right and how organizations can get better visibility into the vast amount of economic activity that’s currently characterized in organizations through technology.

The Open Group’s latest Forum aims to do just that.

The Case for IT Management

In the age of digital transformation, IT has become an integral part of how business is done. So says Charlie Betz, one of the founding members of the IT4IT Forum. From the software in your car to the supply chain that brings you your bananas, IT has become an irreplaceable component of how things work.

Quoting industry luminary Marc Andreessen, Betz says “software is eating the world.” Similarly, Betz says, IT management is actually beginning to eat management, too. Although this might seem laughable, we have become increasingly dependent on computing systems in our everyday lives. With that dependence comes significant concerns about the complexity of those systems and the potential they carry for chaotic behaviors. Therefore, he says, as technology becomes pervasive, how IT is managed will increasingly dictate how businesses are managed.

“If IT is increasing in its proportion of all product management, and all markets are increasingly dependent on managing IT, then understanding pure IT management becomes critically important not just for IT but for all business management,” Betz says.

According to Betz, the conversation about running the business of IT has been going on in the industry for a number of years under the guise of ideas such as “enterprise resource planning for IT” and the like. Ultimately, though, Betz says managing IT comes down to determining what IT’s value chain is and how to deliver on it.

By The Open GroupBetz compares modern IT departments to atoms, cells and bits where atoms represent hardware, including servers, data centers and networks; cells represent people; and bits are represented by software. In this analogy, these three things comprise the fundamental resources that an IT department manages. When reduced to economic terms, Betz says, what is currently lacking in most IT departments is a sense of how much things are worth, what the total costs are for acquisition and maintenance for capabilities and the supply and demand dynamics for IT services.

For example, in traditional IT management, workloads are defined by projects, tickets and also a middle ground characterized by work that is smaller than a project and larger than a ticket, Betz says. Often IT departments lack an understanding of how the three relate to each other and how they affect resources—particularly in the form of people—which becomes problematic because there is no holistic view of what the department is doing. Without that aggregate view, management is not only difficult but nearly impossible.

Betz says that to get a grasp on the whole, IT needs to take a cue from the lean management movement and first understand where the work originates and what it’s nature is so activities and processes don’t continue to proliferate without being managed.

Betz believes part of the reason IT has not better managed itself to date is because the level of complexity within IT has grown so quickly. He likens it to the frog in the boiling water metaphor—if the heat is turned up incrementally, the frog doesn’t know what’s hit him until it’s too late.

“Back when you had one computer it just wasn’t a concern,” he said. “You had very few systems that you were automating. It’s not that way nowadays. You have thousands of them. The application portfolio in major enterprises—depending on how you count applications, which is not an easy question in and of itself—the range is between 5000-10,000 applications. One hundred thousand servers is not unheard of. These are massive numbers, and the complexity is unimaginable. The potential for emergent chaotic behavior is unprecedented in human technological development.”

Betz believes the reason there is a perception that IT is poorly managed is also because it’s at the cutting-edge of every management question in business today. And because no one has ever dealt with systems and issues this complex before, it’s difficult to get a handle on them. Which is why the time for creating a framework for how IT can be managed has come.

IT4IT

The IT4IT Forum grew out of a joint initiative that was originally undertaken by Royal Dutch Shell and HP. Begun as a high-level user group within HP, companies such as Accenture, Achmea, Munich RE and PwC have also been integral in pulling together the initial work that has been provided to The Open Group to create the Forum. As the group began to develop a framework, it was clear that what they were developing needed to become an open standard, Betz says, so the group turned to The Open Group.

“It was pretty clear that The Open Group was the best fit for this,” he says. “There was clearly recognition and understanding on the part of The Open Group senior staff that this was a huge opportunity. They were very positive about it from the get-go.”

Currently in development, the IT4IT standard will provide guidance and specifications for how IT departments can provide consistent end-to-end service across the IT Value Chain and lifecycle. The IT Value Chain is meant to provide a model for managing the IT services life cycle and for how those service can be brokered with enterprises. By providing the IT similar level functionality as other critical business functions (such as finance or HR), IT is enabled to achieve better levels of predictability and efficiency.

By The Open Group

Betz says developing a Reference Architecture for IT4IT will be helpful for IT departments because it will provide a tested model for departments to begin the process of better management. And having that model be created by a vendor-neutral consortium helps provide credibility for users because no one company is profiting from it.

“It’s the community telling itself a story of what it wants to be,” he said.

The Reference Architecture will not only include prescriptive methods for how to design, procure and implement the functionality necessary to better manage IT departments but will also include real-world use cases related to current industry trends such as Cloud-sourcing, Agile, Dev-Ops and service brokering. As an open standard, it will also be designed to work with existing industry standards that IT departments may already be using including ITIL®, CoBIT®, SAFe® and TOGAF®, an Open Group standard.

With almost 200 pages of material already developed toward a standard, Betz says the Forum released its initial Snapshot for the standard available in late November. From there the Forum will need to decide which sections should be included as normative parts for the standard. The hope is to have the first version of the IT4IT Reference Architecture standard available next summer, Betz says.

For more on The Open Group IT4IT Forum or to become a member, please visit http://www.opengroup.org/IT4IT.

 

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Filed under architecture, IT, IT4IT, Standards, Uncategorized, Value Chain