Tag Archives: IT

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Boundaryless Information Flow™, Enterprise Architecture, Healthcare, Professional Development, Standards, TOGAF®, Uncategorized

Evolving Business and Technology Toward an Open Platform 3.0™

By Dave Lounsbury, Chief Technical Officer, The Open Group

The role of IT within the business is one that constantly evolves and changes. If you’ve been in the technology industry long enough, you’ve likely had the privilege of seeing IT grow to become integral to how businesses and organizations function.

In his recent keynote “Just Exactly What Is Going On in Business and Technology?” at The Open Group London Conference in October, Andy Mulholland, former Global Chief Technology Officer at Capgemini, discussed how the role of IT has changed from being traditionally internally focused (inside the firewall, proprietary, a few massive applications, controlled by IT) to one that is increasingly externally focused (outside the firewall, open systems, lots of small applications, increasingly controlled by users). This is due to the rise of a number of disruptive forces currently affecting the industry such as BYOD, Cloud, social media tools, Big Data, the Internet of Things, cognitive computing. As Mulholland pointed out, IT today is about how people are using technology in the front office. They are bringing their own devices, they are using apps to get outside of the firewall, they are moving further and further away from traditional “back office” IT.

Due to the rise of the Internet, the client/server model of the 1980s and 1990s that kept everything within the enterprise is no more. That model has been subsumed by a model in which development is fast and iterative and information is constantly being pushed and pulled primarily from outside organizations. The current model is also increasingly mobile, allowing users to get the information they need anytime and anywhere from any device.

At the same time, there is a push from business and management for increasingly rapid turnaround times and smaller scale projects that are, more often than not, being sourced via Cloud services. The focus of these projects is on innovating business models and acting in areas where the competition does not act. These forces are causing polarization within IT departments between internal IT operations based on legacy systems and new external operations serving buyers in business functions that are sourcing their own services through Cloud-based apps.

Just as UNIX® provided a standard platform for applications on single computers and the combination of servers, PCs and the Internet provided a second platform for web apps and services, we now need a new platform to support the apps and services that use cloud, social, mobile, big data and the Internet of Things. Rather than merely aligning with business goals or enabling business, the next platform will be embedded within the business as an integral element bringing together users, activity and data. To work properly, this must be a standard platform so that these things can work together effectively and at low cost, providing vendors a worthwhile market for their products.

Industry pundits have already begun to talk about this layer of technology. Gartner calls it the “Nexus of Forces.” IDC calls it the “third platform.” At the The Open Group, we refer to it as Open Platform 3.0™, and we announced a new Forum to address how organizations can address and support these technologies earlier this year. Open Platform 3.0 is meant to enable organizations (including standards bodies, users and vendors) coordinate their approaches to the new business models and IT practices driving the new platform to support a new generation of interoperable business solutions.

As is always the case with technologies, a point is reached where technical innovation must transition to business benefit. Open Platform 3.0 is, in essence, the next evolution of computing. To help the industry sort through these changes and create vendor-neutral standards that foster the cohesive adoption of new technologies, The Open Group must also evolve its focus and standards to respond to where the industry is headed.

The work of the Open Platform 3.0 Forum has already begun. Initial actions for the Forum have been identified and were shared during the London conference.  Our recent survey on Convergent Technologies confirmed the need to address these issues. Of those surveyed, 95 percent of respondents felt that converged technologies were an opportunity for business, and 84 percent of solution providers are already dealing with two or more of these technologies in combination. Respondents also saw vendor lock-in as a potential hindrance to using these technologies underscoring the need for an industry standard that will address interoperability. In addition to the survey, the Forum has also produced an initial Business Scenario to begin to address these industry needs and formulate requirements for this new platform.

If you have any questions about Open Platform 3.0 or if you would like to join the new Forum, please contact Chris Harding (c.harding@opengroup.org) for queries regarding the Forum or Chris Parnell (c.parnell@opengroup.org) for queries regarding membership.

 

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

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under Cloud, Data management, Future Technologies, Open Platform 3.0, Standards, Uncategorized, UNIX

Flexibility, Agility and Open Standards

By Jose M. Sanchez Knaack, IBM

Flexibility and agility are terms used almost interchangeably these days as attributes of IT architectures designed to cope with rapidly changing business requirements. Did you ever wonder if they are actually the same? Don’t you have the feeling that these terms remain abstract and without a concrete link to the design of an IT architecture?

This post searches to provide clear definitions for both flexibility and agility, and explain how both relate to the design of IT architectures that exploit open standards. A ‘real-life’ example will help to understand these concepts and render them relevant to the Enterprise Architect’s daily job.

First, here is some context on why flexibility and agility are increasingly important for businesses. Today, the average smart phone has more computing power than the original Apollo mission to the moon. We live in times of exponential change; the new technological revolution seems to be always around the corner and is safe to state that the trend will continue as nicely visualized in this infographic by TIME Magazine.

The average lifetime of a company in the S&P 500 has fallen by 80 percent since 1937. In other words, companies need to adapt fast to capitalize on business opportunities created by new technologies at the price of loosing their leadership position.

Thus, flexibility and agility have become ever present business goals that need to be supported by the underlying IT architecture. But, what is the precise meaning of these two terms? The online Merriam-Webster dictionary offers the following definitions:

Flexible: characterized by a ready capability to adapt to new, different, or changing requirements.

Agile: marked by ready ability to move with quick easy grace.

To understand how these terms relate to IT architecture, let us explore an example based on an Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) scenario.

An ESB can be seen as the foundation for a flexible IT architecture allowing companies to integrate applications (processes) written in different programming languages and running on different platforms within and outside the corporate firewall.

ESB products are normally equipped with a set of pre-built adapters that allow integrating 70-80 percent of applications ‘out-of-the-box’, without additional programming efforts. For the remaining 20-30 percent of integration requirements, it is possible to develop custom adapters so that any application can be integrated with any other if required.

In other words, an ESB covers requirements regarding integration flexibility, that is, it can cope with changing requirements in terms of integrating additional applications via adapters, ‘out-of-the-box’ or custom built. How does this integration flexibility correlate to integration agility?

Let’s think of a scenario where the IT team has been requested to integrate an old manufacturing application with a new business partner. The integration needs to be ready within one month; otherwise the targeted business opportunity will not apply anymore.

The picture below shows the underlying IT architecture for this integration scenario.

jose diagram

Although the ESB is able to integrate the old manufacturing application, it requires an adapter to be custom developed since the application does not support any of the communication protocols covered by the pre-built adapters. To custom develop, test and deploy an adapter in a corporate environment is likely going to take longer that a month and the business opportunity will be lost because the IT architecture was not agile enough.

This is the subtle difference between flexible and agile.

Notice that if the manufacturing application had been able to communicate via open standards, the corresponding pre-built adapter would have significantly shortened the time required to integrate this application. Applications that do not support open standards still exist in corporate IT landscapes, like the above scenario illustrates. Thus, the importance of incorporating open standards when road mapping your IT architecture.

The key takeaway is that your architecture principles need to favor information technology built on open standards, and for that, you can leverage The Open Group Architecture Principle 20 on Interoperability.

Name Interoperability
Statement Software and hardware should conform to defined standards that promote interoperability for data, applications, and technology.

In summary, the accelerating pace of change requires corporate IT architectures to support the business goals of flexibility and agility. Establishing architecture principles that favor open standards as part of your architecture governance framework is one proven approach (although not the only one) to road map your IT architecture in the pursuit of resiliency.

linkedin - CopyJose M. Sanchez Knaack is Senior Manager with IBM Global Business Services in Switzerland. Mr. Sanchez Knaack professional background covers business aligned IT architecture strategy and complex system integration at global technology enabled transformation initiatives.

 

 

 

Comments Off

Filed under Enterprise Architecture

Data Governance: A Fundamental Aspect of IT

By E.G. Nadhan, HP

In an earlier post, I had explained how you can build upon SOA governance to realize Cloud governance.  But underlying both paradigms is a fundamental aspect that we have been dealing with ever since the dawn of IT—and that’s the data itself.

In fact, IT used to be referred to as “data processing.” Despite the continuing evolution of IT through various platforms, technologies, architectures and tools, at the end of the day IT is still processing data. However, the data has taken multiple shapes and forms—both structured and unstructured. And Cloud Computing has opened up opportunities to process and store structured and unstructured data. There has been a need for data governance since the day data processing was born, and today, it’s taken on a whole new dimension.

“It’s the economy, stupid,” was a campaign slogan, coined to win a critical election in the United States in 1992. Today, the campaign slogan for governance in the land of IT should be, “It’s the data, stupid!”

Let us challenge ourselves with a few questions. Consider them the what, why, when, where, who and how of data governance.

What is data governance? It is the mechanism by which we ensure that the right corporate data is available to the right people, at the right time, in the right format, with the right context, through the right channels.

Why is data governance needed? The Cloud, social networking and user-owned devices (BYOD) have acted as catalysts, triggering an unprecedented growth in recent years. We need to control and understand the data we are dealing with in order to process it effectively and securely.

When should data governance be exercised? Well, when shouldn’t it be? Data governance kicks in at the source, where the data enters the enterprise. It continues across the information lifecycle, as data is processed and consumed to address business needs. And it is also essential when data is archived and/or purged.

Where does data governance apply? It applies to all business units and across all processes. Data governance has a critical role to play at the point of storage—the final checkpoint before it is stored as “golden” in a database. Data Governance also applies across all layers of the architecture:

  • Presentation layer where the data enters the enterprise
  • Business logic layer where the business rules are applied to the data
  • Integration layer where data is routed
  • Storage layer where data finds its home

Who does data governance apply to? It applies to all business leaders, consumers, generators and administrators of data. It is a good idea to identify stewards for the ownership of key data domains. Stewards must ensure that their data domains abide by the enterprise architectural principles.  Stewards should continuously analyze the impact of various business events to their domains.

How is data governance applied? Data governance must be exercised at the enterprise level with federated governance to individual business units and data domains. It should be proactively exercised when a new process, application, repository or interface is introduced.  Existing data is likely to be impacted.  In the absence of effective data governance, data is likely to be duplicated, either by chance or by choice.

In our data universe, “informationalization” yields valuable intelligence that enables effective decision-making and analysis. However, even having the best people, process and technology is not going to yield the desired outcomes if the underlying data is suspect.

How about you? How is the data in your enterprise? What governance measures do you have in place? I would like to know.

A version of this blog post was originally published on HP’s Journey through Enterprise IT Services blog.

NadhanHP Distinguished Technologist and Cloud Advisor, E.G.Nadhan has more than 25 years of experience in the IT industry across the complete spectrum of selling, delivering and managing enterprise level solutions for HP customers. He is the founding co-chair for The Open Group SOCCI project, and is also the founding co-chair for the Open Group Cloud Computing Governance project. Connect with Nadhan on: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Journey Blog.

1 Comment

Filed under Cloud, Cloud/SOA

2013 Open Group Predictions, Vol. 1

By The Open Group

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

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

Big Data
By Dave Lounsbury, Chief Technical Officer

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

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

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

Security

By Jim Hietala, Vice President of Security

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

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

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

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

Enterprise Architecture

By Leonard Fehskens, Vice President of Skills and Capabilities

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cloud

By Chris Harding, Director of Interoperability

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

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

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

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

3 Comments

Filed under Business Architecture, Cloud, Cloud/SOA, Cybersecurity, Enterprise Architecture

The Cloud Infrastructure for Next-Generation – Big Data Computing

By Pethuru Raj, Wipro Consulting Services

There are several remarkable trends in the IT field. Business-automation and acceleration technologies, open and industry-strength standards, adaptive architectures, facilitating frameworks, best practices for software engineering, converged platforms, Cloud infrastructures, lean processes, design patterns, enabling tools, and key implementation guidelines are flourishing for simplified IT, which is more tuned for business and customer-centricity. Businesses are consciously striving to achieve strategic transformations on their business operation model, the information captured, catalogued and stocked, and for sharply enhancing the user-experience in the extremely connected world.

The device ecosystem is growing faster with the ready availability of gadgets for personal and professional use. The application landscape is on the climb with the addition of Cloud, social, mobile and sensor services. Then, there are introspective middleware solutions built to integrate disparate, distributed and decentralised systems and data sources. Amongst the most captivating technologies, the Cloud technology stands out.

Clouds as the next-generation IT Infrastructure

As we all know, the Cloud paradigm has laid the foundation for fulfilling the grand vision of IT infrastructure optimization through a seamless synchronization of several enterprise-scale and mission-critical technologies. This pioneering evolution has impacted business as well as IT. Clouds are being positioned as the highly consolidated, virtualized, and shared and automated IT environments for hosting and compactly delivering a galaxy of diverse IT resources and business services for anyone, anytime and anywhere through any device and service. That is, all kinds of services, applications and data are now being modernized and migrated to Cloud platforms and infrastructures in order to reap all the Cloud’s benefits to end users and businesses.

Cloud Computing has become a versatile IT phenomenon and has inspired many to come out with a number of -centric services, products and platforms that facilitate scores of rich applications. There have also been a variety of generic and specific innovations in the form of best practices   for managing the rising complexity of IT and enhancing IT agility, autonomy and affordability.

All of the improvisations happening in the IT landscape with the adaption of Cloud are helping worldwide business enterprises to achieve the venerable mission of “achieving more with less.” Thus, Cloud as the core infrastructure and driver behind the business changes taking place today lead to   a brighter future for all businesses.

The Eruption of Big Data Computing

The most noteworthy trend today is the data explosion. As there are more machines and sensors deployed and managed in our everyday environments, machine-generated data has become much larger than the man-generated data. Furthermore, the data structure varies from non-structured to semi-structured and structured style, and there are pressures to unearth fresh database systems, such as Cloud-based NoSQL databases in order to swiftly capture, store, access and retrieve large-scale and multi-structured data.

Data velocity is another critical factor to be considered in order to extract actionable insights and to contemplate the next-course of actions. There are Cloud integration appliances and solutions in order to effortlessly integrate date across Clouds – private, public and hybrid.

Besides Big Data storage and management, Big Data analytics has become increasingly important as data across Cloud, social, mobile and enterprise spaces needs to be identified and aggregated, subjected to data mining, processing and analysis tasks through well-defined policies in order to benefit any organization. The Hadoop framework, commodity hardware and specific data appliances are the prominent methods being used to accommodate terabytes and even petabytes of incongruent data, empowering executives, entrepreneurs and engineers to make informed decisions with actionable data. The data architecture for new-generation enterprises will go through a tectonic shift, and leading market watchers predict that Big Data management and intelligence will become common and led to the demise of conventional data management solutions.

Clouds are set to become the optimised, adaptive and real-time infrastructure for Big Data storage, management and analysis. I have authored a book with the title, “Cloud Enterprise Architecture.” I have written extensively about the positive impacts of the transformative and disruptive Cloud technology on enterprises. I have also written about the futuristic enterprise data architecture with the maturity and stability of the Cloud paradigm.  In a nutshell, with Cloud in connivance with mobile, social and analytic technologies, the aspects such as business acceleration, automation and augmentation are bound to see a drastic and decisive growth.

Dr. Pethuru Raj is an enterprise architecture (EA) consultant in Wipro Technologies, Bangalore, India. He has been providing technology advisory service for worldwide companies for smoothly enabling them to transition into smarter organizations. He has been writing book chapters for a number of technology books (BPM, SOA, Cloud Computing, enterprise architecture, and Big Data) being edited by internationally acclaimed professors and professionals. He has authored a solo book with the title “Cloud Enterprise Architecture” through the CRC Press, USA. 

1 Comment

Filed under Cloud

Build Upon SOA Governance to Realize Cloud Governance

By E.G. Nadhan, HP

The Open Group SOA Governance Framework just became an International Standard available to government and enterprises worldwide. At the same time, I read an insightful post by ZDNet Blogger, Joe McKendrick who states that Cloud and automation drive new growth in SOA governance market. I have always maintained that the fundamentals of Cloud Computing are based upon SOA principles. This brings up the next natural question: Where are we with Cloud Governance?

I co-chair the Open Group project for defining the Cloud Governance framework. Fundamentally, the Cloud Governance framework builds upon The Open Group SOA Governance Framework and provides additional context for Cloud Governance in relation to other governance standards in the industry. We are with Cloud Governance today where we were with SOA Governance a few years back when The Open Group started on the SOA Governance framework project.

McKendrick goes on to say that the tools and methodologies built and stabilized over the past few years for SOA projects are seeing renewed life as enterprises move to the Cloud model. In McKendrick’s words, “it is just a matter of getting the word out.” That may be the case for the SOA governance market. But, is that so for Cloud Governance?

When it comes to Cloud Governance, it is more than just getting the word out. We must make progress in the following areas for Cloud Governance to become real:

  • Sustained adoption. Enterprises must continuously adopt cloud based services balancing it with outsourcing alternatives. This will give more visibility to the real-life use cases where Cloud Governance can be exercised to validate and refine the enabling set of governance models.
  • Framework Definition. Finally, Cloud Governance needs a standard framework to facilitate its adoption. Just like the SOA Governance Framework, the definition of a standard for the Cloud Governance Framework as well as the supporting reference models will pave the way for the consistent adoption of Cloud Governance.

Once these progressions are made, Cloud Governance will be positioned like SOA Governance—and it will then be just a “matter of getting the word out.”

A version of this blog post originally appeared on the Journey through Enterprise IT Services Blog.

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

1 Comment

Filed under Cloud, Cloud/SOA

RECAP: The Open Group Brazil Conference – May 24, 2012

By Isabela Abreu, The Open Group

Under an autumn Brazilian sky, The Open Group held its first regional event in São Paulo, Brazil, and it turned out to be a great success. More than 150 people attended the conference – including Open Group platinum members (CapGemini, HP, IBM and Oracle), the Brazil chapter of the Association of Enterprise Architecture (AEA), and Brazilian organizations (Daryus, Sensedia) – displaying a robust interest for Enterprise Architecture (EA) within the world’s sixth largest economy. The Open Group also introduced its mission, vision and values to the marketplace – a working model not very familiar to the Brazilian environment.

After the 10 hour, one-day event, I’m pleased to say that The Open Group’s first formal introduction to Brazil was well received, and the organization’s mission was immediately understood!

Introduction to Brazil

The event started with a brief introduction of The Open Group by myself, Isabela Abreu, Open Group country manager of Brazil, and was followed by an impressive presentation by Allen Brown, CEO of The Open Group, on how enterprise architects hold the power to change an organization’s future, and stay ahead of competitors, by using open standards that drive business transformation.

The conference aimed to provide an overview of trending topics, such as business transformation, EA, TOGAF®, Cloud Computing, SOA and Information Security. The presentations focused on case studies, including one by Marcelo Sávio of IBM that showed how the organization has evolved through the use of EA Governance; and one by Roberto Soria of Oracle that provided an introduction to SOA Governance.

Enterprise Architecture

Moving on to architecture, Roberto Severo, president of the AEA in Brazil, pointed out why architects must join the association to transform the Brazil EA community into a strong and ethical tool for transforming EA. He also demonstrated how to align tactical decisions to strategic objectives using Cloud Computing. Then Cecilio Fraguas of CPM Braxis CapGemini provided an introduction to TOGAF®; and Courtnay Guimarães of Instisys comically evinced that although it is sometimes difficult to apply, EA is a competitive tool for investment banks

Security

On the security front, Rodrigo Antão of Apura showed the audience that our enemies know us, but we don’t know them, in a larger discussion about counter-intelligence and cybersecurity; he indicated that architects are wrong when tend to believe EA has nothing to do with Information Security. In his session titled, “OSIMM: How to Measure Success with SOA and Design the Roadmap,” Luís Moraes of Sensedia provided a good overview for architects and explained how to measure success with SOA and design roadmaps with OSIMM - a maturity model of integration services soon to become an ISO standard, based on SOA and developed by The Open Group. Finally, Alberto Favero of Ernst & Young presented the findings of the Ernst & Young 2011 Global Information Security Survey, closing the event.

Aside from the competitive raffle, the real highlight of the event happened at lunch when I noticed the networking between conference attendees. I can testify that the Brazilian EA community actively ideas, in the spirit of The Open Group!

By the end of the day, everybody returned home with new ideas and new friends. I received many inquiries on how to keep the community engaged after the conference, and I promise to keep activities up and running here, in Brazil.

Stay tuned, as we plan sending on a survey to conference attendees, as well the link to all of the presentations. Thanks to everyone who made the conference a great success!

Isabela Abreu is The Open Group country manager for Brazil. She is a member of AEA Brazil and has participated in the translation of the glossary of TOGAF® 9.1, ISO/IEC 20000:1 and ISO/IEC 20000:5 and ITIL V3 to Portuguese. Abreu has worked for itSMF Brazil, EXIN Brazil – Examination Institute for Information Science, and PATH ITTS Consultancy, and is a graduate of São Paulo University.

1 Comment

Filed under Cloud, Conference, Cybersecurity, Enterprise Architecture, TOGAF®

2012 Open Group Predictions, Vol. 1

By The Open Group

Foreword

By Allen Brown, CEO

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

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

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

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

Security

By Jim Hietala, VP of Security

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

Cloud

By Chris Harding, Director of Interoperability

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

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

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

Business Architecture

By Steve Philp, Professional Certification

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

In response to requests from our membership, next year The Open Group will incorporate a Business Architecture stream into The Open Group Certified Architect (Open CA) program. There has already been significant interest in this stream from both organizations and practitioners alike. This is because Open CA is a skills and experience based program that recognizes, at different levels, those individuals who are performing in a Business Architecture role. I believe this initiative will further help to develop the profession over the next few years and especially in 2012.

1 Comment

Filed under Business Architecture, Cloud, Cybersecurity, Enterprise Architecture, Enterprise Transformation, Semantic Interoperability, Uncategorized

The Open Group Surpasses 400 Member Milestone

By Allen Brown, The Open Group

I’m pleased to announce The Open Group has recently surpassed the 400 member mark. Reaching this milestone is a true testament to the commitment our members and staff have made to promoting open standards over the past 25 years.

The Open Group’s strategy has been shaped by IT users through the development of open, vendor-neutral standards and certifications. Today’s milestone validates that this strategy is continuing to resonate, particularly with global organizations that demand greater interoperability, trusted ways to architect their information systems and qualified IT people to lead the effort.

Our members continue to collaborate on developing long term, globally accepted solutions surrounding the most critical IT issues facing business today. Some of the work areas include Enterprise Architecture, Cloud Computing, real-time and embedded systems, operating platform, semantic interoperability and cyber-security to name a few. The members’ leadership around these issues is increasingly global through a larger roster of regional events and local offices now based in China, France, Japan, South Africa, South America, Sweden, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the UK and US. As a result, we now have more than 30,000 individual members participating from 400 global organizations in more than 85 countries worldwide.

This is a great milestone to end the year on, and we’re looking forward to celebrating more occasions like it resulting from the members’ hard work and contributions in 2012.

2 Comments

Filed under Enterprise Transformation, Semantic Interoperability, Standards

What does developing an IT Strategy mean?

By Serge Thorn, Architecting the Enterprise

I have observed many situations where a c-level person was supposed to document an IT Strategy in a short period of time, in order to prepare the following year’s annual budget. Very often, they lack much supporting documented business information in order to achieve this task. The result is a weak strategy, sometimes ignored by the user’s community, the key stakeholders.

A weak IT strategy can be costly and wasteful, especially for resource-constrained organizations that operate with minimal budget, tools, knowledge and people.  It also implies that organizations cannot respond to changing business requirements rapidly enough. The absence of strategic anticipation causes organizations to be inefficiently reactive, forcing them to work in a constant state of catch-up.

An IT Strategy should answer the following questions:

  • Are we doing the right things with technology to address the organization’s most important business priorities and continuously deliver value to the clients?
  • Are we making the right technology investments?
  • Do we measure what is the real value to the organization derived from that technology?
  • Is our current Information Technology agile enough; flexible to continuously support a successful organization?
  • Is our Information Technology environment properly managed, maintained, secured, able to support the clients, and is it cost effective?
  • Can our strategy support current and future business needs?

Quite often the first thing we should consider when writing such a document is the targeted audience and its content. Different people with varying roles and responsibilites may read an IT Strategy within a company, so the document may need to serve several different purposes.  It is not easy to pitch a strategy to different levels in the hierarchy within an organization, and at the appropriate level of detail. Sometimes it is too detailed and does not always match the stakeholder’s needs.

An IT Strategy is an iterative process to align IT capabilities with the business strategy and requirements:

  • It is a documented and approved process (part of the organization’s governance framework)
  • It is iterative (it needs to be frequently be revisited). Traditionally, IT strategies are updated and communicated on an annual basis, usually to meet budget cycles. This should be considered the minimum review period. If an emerging technology surfaces that has the potential to enhance the business, it should be investigated and communicated to the business as soon as possible. A one-year cycle may  be too late.
  • It  is a strong alignment of business and IT capabilities rather than designing IT solutions to support business requirements
    • Assuming  that both business and IT capabilities drive each other
    • Assuming that business drives IT and not the other way around
  • The IT Strategy sets future direction for IT function in the organization
    • Ensuring that the IT budget is spent on value creation activities for the business
    • Creating shareholder value
    • Helping to maximize the return on IT investments
  • The IT Strategy may include sub-elements such as:
    • Infrastructure strategy
    • Application strategy
    • Integration strategy
    • Service strategy
    • Sourcing strategy
    • Innovation strategy

This pyramid diagram can be used to illustrate the IT strategy and vision, and how the technology and business strategies are totally aligned. At the top of the pyramid is the enterprise overarching vision. Aligned below that is how IT supports the vision by becoming a premier IT organization in creating competitive advantage for the clients. The IT vision is in turn supported by three pillars: integration, improvement, and innovation.

To deliver this, the business strategy should clearly be articulated and documented taking into account some IT aspects. There are different ways of gathering these business inputs.

The first approach is a very classical one where you develop a questionnaire in business terms which asks each business unit to identify their future requirements for infrastructure growth, taking into account capacity and availability requirements. This extracts the data you need for business driven strategy.

This questionnaire may include some of the following examples of questions:

  1. What are your top 5 business “pain” points? These are things that you wish you had a solution for
  2. What are your top 5 business objectives? These can be short term or long term, can be driven by revenue, cost, time, time to market, competitive advantage, risk or various other reasons
  3. How do you plan to achieve these objectives?
  4. What will we gain by leveraging IT Capabilities across the business?
  5. What is in the way of achieving your business imperatives?
  6. Can IT help achieve your business imperatives?
  7. How much do you spend on IT capabilities?
  8. What is your technology ROI?
  9. Does your company have a plan for technology?
  10. Does your business plan include a technology plan?
  11. Where is IT being used across your business unit?

The second approach would be the use of Enterprise Architecture that I will explain later on.

With this input you may now start to consider the structure of your document. It may look similar to this example below:

An executive summary

  • An introduction
    • The purpose
    • The background
    • The Business drivers
    • The Organizational drivers
    • The IT drivers
  • The Business and IT aspects
    • The Business Goals and Objectives
    • The IT approaches and principles
  • The IT components
    • Business application systems
    • IT infrastructure
    • Security and IT Service continuity
  • Structure, organization and management
    • IT Governance
    • Skills, knowledge and education
    • IT Financial management
    • KPIS, measurement and metrics, balance scorecards
  • Technologies opportunities
  • Key issues

And this is where Enterprise Architecture may have to play an important and even crucial role. Some companies I have encountered have an Enterprise Architecture team, and in parallel, somebody called an IT Strategist. Frequently the connection is non-existing or quite weak.  Other organizations may also have a Strategic Planning unit, again without any connection with the Enterprise Architecture team.

An Enterprise Architecture must play the important role of assessing; existing IT assets, architecture standards and the desired business strategy to create a unified enterprise-wide environment – where the core hardware and software systems are standardised and integrated across the entire organisation’s business processes, to greatly enhance competitive advantage and innovation. The IT Strategy details the technologies, application and the data foundation needed to deliver the goals of the corporate strategy, while Enterprise Architecture is the bridge between strategy and execution; providing the organising logic to ensure the integration and standardisation of key processes that drive greater agility, higher profitability, faster time to market, lower IT costs, improved access to shared customer data and lower risk of mission-critical systems failures.

As a real example, TOGAF 9 is perfect way to produce that IT Strategy document during the Phase F: Migration Planning.

Below you will find the relationship between some phases of the ADM and the structure of the above document. It needs to be said that we should probably use a Strategic architecture level to deliver a first version of the document, which then could be reviewed with Segment or Capability architectures.

Content Examples Enterprise Architecture and TOGAF
An executive summary
An introduction (This document must be business oriented)
Content Examples Enterprise Architecture and TOGAF
The purpose Key elements of the scope, audience, time horizon The Preliminary phase is about defining ‘‘where, what, why, who, and how” Enterprise Architecture will be done and will provide all information. It also creates the conditions and context for an Architecture Capability
The background Business problems, constraints (financial, resources, IT, legal, etc.) This is covered by the Phase A: Architecture Vision. An Architecture Visionsets stage for each iteration of ADM cycle.-Provides high-level, aspirational view of target the sponsor uses to describe how business goals are met and stakeholder concerns are addressed
-Provides an executive summary version of full Architecture
-Drives consensus on desired outcomeThe Business Scenarios is used to discover and document business requirements, identify constraints, etc.
The Business drivers Market conditions, competition, consumer trends, new customers, products sales, costs savings, incremental services revenues, drivers related to the IT function In the Phase A: Architecture Vision, we:Identify business goals and strategic drivers-Ensure that descriptions used are current-Clarify any areas of ambiguityDefine constraints-Enterprise-wide constraints

-Architecture project-specific constraints

The Organizational drivers Profitability, financial performance, change in strategic objectives, end of the product development life cycle, mergers and acquisitions, staffs, risks
The IT drivers New or obsolete technologies, updates Considering that IT is part of the Business, these drivers should also be considered in that phase
The Business and IT aspects
The Business Goals and Objectives Market growth, entering new markets, addressing manufacturing capacities In the Phase A: Architecture Vision, we:Identify business goals and strategic drivers
-Ensure that descriptions used are current
-Clarify any areas of ambiguity
-Define constraints
-Enterprise-wide constraints
-Architecture project-specific constraints
The IT approaches and principles IT standards, development, implementation, delivery, testing, consolidation, maturity, best practices Standards should be documented in the SIB (Standard Information Base)When we define the Architecture Governance Framework during the Preliminary Phase, we identy the various touch points with existing other frameworks in the organization
IT principles should have already have been defined by the IT department
The IT components
Business application systems Baseline (main applications: ERP, CRM, customers facing systems). Future plans, concerns, time period, priorities) This will be addressed by Phase C: Information Systems based on the Statement of Architecture Work, output from the Phase A
IT infrastructure Baseline (servers, network , middleware, technical services) This will be addressed by Phase D: Technology Architecture based on the Statement of Architecture Work, output from the Phase A
Security and IT Service continuity Issues, challenges, opportunities related to security, security principles, controls Security concerns are addressed during all phases of the ADM
Structure, organization and management
IT Governance Best practices, frameworks, management and monitoring, resource management, portfolio management, vendors management, IT service management, project management, etc. IT Governance will be considered when the Architecture Governance Framework is defined. There will obviously be touch points between the ADM and some other best practices used by the organization. IT Governance is defined outside of the Enterprise Architecture programme
Skills, knowledge and education Skills, knowledge and education Enterprise Architecture skills will have to be addressed by the Architecture Capability Framework. Other skills may also be identified independently of the Enterprise Architecture programme
IT Financial management IT budget, costs structures, measurement and metrics, targets, areas needing investments, etc. This is addressed is outside of the Enterprise Architecture programme
KPIS, measurement and metrics, balance scorecards IT performance measurements on SMART objectives ((Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, & Time bound) Every governance frameworks may have its own KPIs. Enterprise Architecture KPIs may be added to that list.
Technologies opportunities Emerging technologies, business related benefits This can be done in parallel of the Enterprise Architecture programme
Key issues and initiatives Summary or link to the IT Project portfolio This can be done in parallel of the Enterprise Architecture programme
Color legend
Direct relationship with Enterprise Architecture
Indirect relationship with Enterprise Architecture
Produced somewhere else

The next step would be the review of the IT Strategy document by the main stakeholders who would accept or reject technology opportunities. This could also be used as an important source of information for the Strategic Planning exercise (please refer to another article for additional information:  “How Strategic Planning relates to Enterprise Architecture?“).

Once the IT Strategy has been reviewed, amended and authorised (which should in reality already be approved, as it is the result of various ADM cycles and the output of Phase F: Migration planning), the multi-disciplinary programme team for the implementation during Phase G: Implementation Governance, will deliver the solutions to the business.

As already mentioned previously, the outline strategies will be refined and expanded with a low level of detail when addressing Segment and Capability architectures. This is the part that meets the first challenge described above, where we need different levels of detail for different stakeholders. The documents should be hierarchical, with the ability to drill down to lower levels as more detail is required.

One of the main reasons for developing an Enterprise Architecture with TOGAF 9 is to support the business by providing the fundamental technology and process structure for an IT Strategy.  Enterprise Architecture is the superset that represents both Business and IT Strategy; this is reflected in Enterprise Architecture’s basic structure of strategy, business architecture and technology/information architecture. One can certainly do an IT Strategy without Enterprise Architecture, but Enterprise Architecture cannot be done without an IT Strategy; the same would apply to business strategy/business architecture.

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

3 Comments

Filed under Enterprise Architecture, Semantic Interoperability, TOGAF®

Taking Decisions In The Face Of Uncertainty (Responsible Moments)

By Stuart Boardman, KPN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1 Comment

Filed under Business Architecture, Cloud/SOA, Enterprise Architecture

Enterprise Architecture and Emergence of Social Media

By Raghuraman Krishnamurthy, Cognizant Technology Solutions

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

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

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

Business Architecture:

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

Information Architecture:

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

Opportunities & Solutions:

  • Build vs Buy – subscription models to get feeds

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

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

1 Comment

Filed under Business Architecture, Enterprise Architecture

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

By Stuart Boardman, KPN

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

Continue reading

Comments Off

Filed under Enterprise Architecture

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

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

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

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

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

Harry Hendrickx: Thank you, Dana.

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

Dave van Gelder: Thank you, Dana.

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

Mieke Mahakena: Thank you.

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

Peter Haviland: Morning, Dana.

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

Kevin Daley: Hello, Dana.

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

Business-IT alignment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Driving understanding

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Many things at once

Haviland: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Defining the profession

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scope and challenge

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No real training

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Business relevancy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Feeding technology

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some have gaps

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hendrickx: Thank you, Dana.

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

van Gelder: Thank you, Dana.

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

Mahakena: You are welcome, Dana.

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

Haviland: Thanks, Dana. Thanks everyone.

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

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

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

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

Copyright The Open Group 2011. All rights reserved.

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

2 Comments

Filed under Business Architecture

EA Fundamentalism

By Stuart Boardman, Getronics

It’s an unfortunate fact that when times get tough, the tough, rather than get going, tend to pick on other people. What we see is that most formal and informal groups tend to turn inwards and splinter into factions, each possessing the only true gospel. When times are good, we’re all too busy doing what we actually want to do to want to waste time sniping at other folks.

Maybe this isn’t the reason but it strikes me that in the EA blogosphere at the moment (e.g. the EA group on LinkedIn) every discussion seems to deteriorate into debate about what the proper definition of EA is (guess how many different “right answers” there are) or which of TOGAF® or Zachman or <insert your favourite framework here> is the (only) correct framework or why all of them are totally wrong, or worse still, what the correct interpretation of the minutiae of some aspect of framework X might be.

Perhaps the only comfort we can draw from the current lack of proper recognition of EA by the business is the fact that the Zachmanites are actually not firing bullets at the Rheinlanders (or some other tribe). Apart from the occasional character assassination, it’s all reasonably civilized. There’s just not enough to lose. But this sort of inward looking debate gets us nowhere.

I use TOGAF® . If you use another framework that’s better suited to your purpose, I don’t have a problem with that. I use it as framework to help me think. That’s what frameworks are for. A good framework doesn’t exclude the possibility that you use other guidance and insights to address areas it doesn’t cover. For example, I make a lot of use of the Business Model Canvas from Osterwalder and Pigneur and I draw ideas from folks like Tom Graves (who in turn has specialized the Business Model Canvas to EA). A framework (and any good methodology) is not a cookbook. If you understand what it tries to achieve, you can adapt it to fit each practical situation. You can leave the salt out. You can even leave the meat out! There are some reasonable criticisms of TOGAF® from within and outside The Open Group. But I can use TOGAF® with those in mind. And I do. One of the things I like about The Open Group is that it’s open to change – and always working on it. So the combination of The Open Group and TOGAF® and the awareness of important things coming from other directions provides me with an environment that, on the one hand, encourages rigour, and on the other, constantly challenges my assumptions.

It’s not unusual in my work that I liaise with other people officially called Enterprise Architects. Some of these folks think EA is only about IT. Some of them think it’s only about abstractions. I also work with Business Architects and Business Process Architects and Business Strategists and Requirements Engineers and….. I could go on for a very long time indeed. All of these people have definitions of their own scope and responsibilities, which overlap quite enough to allow not just for fundamentalism but also serious turf wars. Just as out there in the real world, the fundamentalists and those who define their identity by what they are not are the ones who start wars which everyone loses.

The good news is that just about enough of the time enough of these folks are happy to look at what we are all trying to achieve and who can bring what to the party and will work together to produce a result that justifies our existence. And every time that happens I learn new things – things that will make a me a better Enterprise Architect. So if I get noticeably irritated by the religious disputes and respond a bit unreasonably in web forum debates, I hope you’ll forgive me. I don’t like war.

By the way, credit for the “fundamentalism” analogy goes to my friend and former colleague, François Belanger. Thanks François.

Enterprise Architecture will be a major topic of discussion at The Open Group Conference, Austin, July 18-22. Join us for best practices and case studies on Enterprise Architecture, Cloud, Security and more, presented by preeminent thought leaders in the industry.

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

4 Comments

Filed under Enterprise Architecture, TOGAF®

Why standards in information technology are critical

By Mark Skilton, Capgemini

See the next article in Mark’s series on standards here.

Information technology as an industry is at the center of communications and exchange of information, and increasingly, fully digitized products and services. Its span of influence and control is enabled through the ability of protocols, syntax and nomenclatures to be defined and known between consumers and providers. The Internet is testament to HTTP, TCP-IP, HTML, URL, MAC and XML standards that have become universal languages to enable its very existence. These “universal common standards” are an example of a homogenous, all-pervasive standard that enables the construction and use of resources and connections that are built on these standards.

These “building blocks” are a necessary foundation to enable more advanced language and exchange interactions to become possible. It can be argued that with every new technology advance, a new language is needed to express and drive that new advance. Prior to the Internet, earlier standards of timeshare mainframes, virtual memory, ISA chip architecture and fiber optics established scale and increasing capacity to affect simple to more complex tasks. There simply was no universal protocol-based standards that could support the huge network of wired and wireless communications. Commercial-scale computing was locked and limited inside mainframe and PC computers.

With federated distributed computing standards, all that changed. The Client-Server era enabled cluster intranet and peer-to-peer networks. Email exchange, web access and data base access evolved to be across a number of computers and to connect groups of computers together for shared resource services. The web browser running as a client program at the user computer enables access to information at any web server in the world. So standards come and go, and evolve in cycles as existing technology matures and new technologies and capabilities evolve much like the cycles of innovation explained in the development of technology and innovation seen in the published works of “Machine that Changed the World” by James Womack 1990, “Clock Speed” by Charles Fine in 1999 and recently the “Innovators Dilemma” by Clayton Christensen in the mid 2000’s.

The challenge is to position standards and policies to use those standards in a way that establish and enable products, services and markets to be created or developed. The Open Group does just that.

Mark Skilton will be presenting on “Building A Cloud Computing Roadmap View To Your Enterprise Planning” at The Open Group Conference, Austin, July 18-22. Join us for best practices and case studies on Enterprise Architecture, Cloud, Security and more, presented by preeminent thought leaders in the industry.

Mark Skilton, Director, Capgemini, is the Co-Chair of The Open Group Cloud Computing Work Group. He has been involved in advising clients and developing of strategic portfolio services in Cloud Computing and business transformation. His recent contributions include the publication of Return on Investment models on Cloud Computing widely syndicated that achieved 50,000 hits on CIO.com and in the British Computer Society 2010 Annual Review. His current activities include development of a new Cloud Computing Model standards and best practices on the subject of Cloud Computing impact on Outsourcing and Off-shoring models and contributed to the second edition of the Handbook of Global Outsourcing and Off-shoring published through his involvement with Warwick Business School UK Specialist Masters Degree Program in Information Systems Management.

4 Comments

Filed under Standards

“He who does not understand history…

By Stuart Boardman, Getronics

….is doomed to repeat it.” (Misquote from Burke – so sue me.)

What exactly is our industry’s problem with history? Why are we so good at dredging it up and so bad at learning from it? Every new development that comes along is treated by some people as a silver bullet that will magically solve all the problems we had before, whilst there are always others keen to assure us there’s nothing new and we were doing it all years ago, so what’s all the fuss about? Neither of these factions seems the least interested in the question of what we were doing wrong before or why, if we already knew how to do it, we so often didn’t get it right.

Right now the big hype and centre of discussion is Cloud but let’s take a look at some history – seen through the filter of my own experience.

My first exposure to a “paradigm shift” was Object Orientation. OO was going to supply us the means to prevent us from making all the errors we made in the past. (One could go back to Structured Programming for the same lessons but that’s before my time). With encapsulation, information hiding, polymorphism and all that great stuff, it would no longer be possible to produce highly coupled application modules with little cohesion. Uh huh. A couple of smart guys called Sharble and Cohen back in 1993 wrote a study called The Object Oriented Brewery (never mind why) in which they demonstrated exactly how easy it was to produce highly coupled, low cohesion code in an OO language. And why was it so easy? Because avoiding these errors requires understanding how they happen – not just technically but the kind of circumstances and thinking that produce them – and there are lots of different ways of getting it wrong! If this is news to you, you could do worse than check this Wikipedia page.

So then the next big thing was SOA. Here again we had the silver bullet merchants (mostly selling ESBs and the like) on the one hand and on the other the “this is just EAI on steroids” bunch, who could all tell you how they’d been doing this for 10 years already. Which of course begs the question: “so why is it such a mess?” It’s not as if we didn’t have good methodologies. I have seen EAI methodologies that really were pretty much SOA. But still it went wrong. We just took those N2-1 interfaces that EAI was supposed to eliminate and stuffed them inside a black box. So clearly the high priests of SOA needed to be asking themselves why this happened. At least they did, if they didn’t want it to happen again. And hey, look – most of them didn’t ask and we did indeed finish up with the same old mess (except now we call it JBOWS). The folks who should have known better (the old hacks) just let it happen. There’ll be a reason for that too.

So what about Cloud? It’s easy to argue that it’s nothing new. I’ve even seen someone argue it all started in 1960! We certainly used to have “time sharing” services, which offered a limited form of what we would now call PaaS over a dial-up connection. More than 20 years ago I was working on an IBM VM system, which one could reasonably describe as fully PaaS (including a usage based charging capability). I also recall an (unsuccessful) IBM initiative to deliver software over the internet direct to user PCs – somewhat along the lines of what app stores do now. And then of course we’ve had outsourcing and managed services in shared data centres, which has also rendered mixed results.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to argue that Cloud is just old wine in new bottles. It represents an aggregation of a variety of capabilities, which at its best has a coherence one couldn’t claim was available in earlier manifestations. It’s to a considerable extent platform independent. (I didn’t say interoperable, OK?)

But there’s nothing inherent to Cloud that will stop us making the same old mistakes. Speaking for myself I have no expectation on Cloud providers to do it for us. I’m happy if they just don’t make it harder for us to do it right. It’s down to us (IT folks and Enterprise Architects) to learn from history, to use methodologies intelligently, find ways to minimize the risk and get business buy-in. The Cloud business model is a good stimulus for that buy-in. Separation of interface and implementation may sound like techno-babble but it’s exactly what both providers and consumers need, if they’re to get business value from the Cloud.

The Open Group has an important role to play here. Sitting at the junction of business and IT, we’re ideally placed to address these problems in a way that is meaningful to the business and technically effective. We cover most applicable areas with the work of the Jericho and Security Forums and of the SOA and Cloud Computing Work Groups. We have TOGAF® and we have our own collective experience. And we’re seeing more and more joint efforts across Forums and Work Groups. If we use all that to make an honest assessment of what went right and wrong in the past (and why), we will do something really useful for all parties in the Cloud.

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

1 Comment

Filed under Cloud, Enterprise Architecture

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

By Awel Dico, Bank of Montreal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2 Comments

Filed under Service Oriented Architecture

The Cloud “Through a Glass, Darkly”

Results of The Open Group “State of the Industry” Cloud Survey

By Dr. Chris Harding, The Open Group

Cloud Computing has been a major topic of interest and excitement in the world of Information Technology for a couple of years now. This is time enough for enterprises to understand its impact, or so you would think. So how exactly are they planning to make use of this phenomenon?

Obtaining a clear view of a current cloud such as Cloud Computing is notoriously difficult. It is like trying to see the world outside clearly through the dirty, distorted windows that were commonplace in England in the 17th century, when the simile “as through a glass, darkly” became established. But the “State of the Industry” Cloud survey, released today by The Open Group, sheds light on the topic, and provides some interesting insights.

The Open Group is a vendor- and technology-neutral consortium of IT customers and vendors, with a strong focus on Enterprise Architecture. The State of the Industry survey captures the views of its customer side, which is well representative of the global IT user community. It gives us a good understanding of how user enterprises currently perceive the Cloud.

Cloud certainly has the users’ attention. Only 8% of survey respondents said that Cloud was not currently on their IT roadmap. But substantial take-up is only just starting. Nearly half of those for whom Cloud is on the roadmap have not yet begun to use it, and half of the rest have only started recently.

The respondents have a clear idea of how they will use the Cloud. The majority expect to have some element of private Cloud, with 29% saying that private Cloud would best meet their organisations’ business requirements, and 45% saying that hybrid Cloud would do so, as opposed to 17% for public Cloud. Only 9% were unsure.

They also have a clear view of the advantages and drawbacks. Cost, agility, and resource optimisation came out as the three main reasons for using Cloud Computing, with business continuity also a significant factor. Security, integration issues, and governance were the three biggest concerns, with ability to cope with change, vendor lock-in, cost to deploy, and regulatory compliance also being significant worries.

Return on Investment (ROI) is probably the most commonly used measure of success of a technical change, and The Open Group has produced a landmark White Paper “Building Return on Investment from Cloud Computing”. The survey respondents felt on balance (by 55% to 45%) that Cloud ROI should be easy to evaluate and justify. Cost, quality of delivered result, utilisation, speed of operation, and scale of operation were felt to be the most useful Cloud ROI metrics. But only 35% had mechanisms in place to measure Cloud ROI as opposed to 45% that did not, with the other 20% being unsure.

The question on the impact of Cloud produced the most striking of the survey’s results. While 82% said that they expected their Cloud initiatives to have significant impact on one or more business processes, only 28% said that they were prepared for these changes.

Cloud Computing is primarily a technical phenomenon, but it has the ability to transform business. Its lower cost and increased agility and speed of operation can dramatically improve profitability of existing business processes. More than this, and perhaps more importantly, it enables new ways of collaborative working and can support new processes. It is therefore not surprising that people do not yet feel fully prepared — but it is interesting that the survey should bring this point out quite so clearly.

The ability to transform business is the most exciting feature of the Cloud phenomenon. But users currently see it “through a glass darkly,” and perhaps with a measure of faith and hope. There is a lesson in this for industry consortia such as The Open Group. More needs to be done to develop understanding of the business impact of Cloud Computing, and we should focus on this, as well as on the technical possibilities.

To obtain a copy of the survey, download it here, or media may email us a request at opengrouppr@opengroup.org.

Cloud Computing is a major topic of discussion at The Open Group Conference, London, which is currently underway.

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

6 Comments

Filed under Cloud/SOA