Tag Archives: IT

“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.

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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.

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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.

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The Open Group Conference, London: An open environment for challenging times

By Allen Brown, CEO, The Open Group

In little over a week, The Open Group will convene in London to debate some of today’s key IT issues such as Cloud Computing and Enterprise Architecture.

Our members span a range of companies and organisations, including Capgemini, HP, IBM, Oracle, Kingdee and SAP, and hail from around the globe. It’s not easy trying to get such a range of individuals to reach some sort of consensus; our conferences are vital in developing open standards and certifications. Our rich and varied membership certainly makes for interesting and lively debates. During the London Conference, May 9-13, we’ll hear plenty of opinions on a variety of topics including enterprise architecture (EA), business transformation, cyber-security, Cloud Computing, SOA and skills-based certifications.

We’ve got an excellent group of speakers attending the conference including Peter Edwards, Associate Director, IT & Communications Consulting, Arup, who’ll describe his experiences of being an Enterprise Architect in the land of Architects and Civil Engineers. His speech will discuss his position at Arup and some aspects of his role as Chief Enterprise Architect for the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA)​. He’ll discuss examples from recent work on major airports, sports facilities, “smart cities” and efficient data centres, explaining how these all rely heavily and increasingly on complex, integrated systems and how the concepts, tools and techniques of enterprise architecture are helpful in planning and integrating such systems, and in helping to bridge the communication gap between the different types of stakeholders.

Other presenters will address the role of technical experts to investigate organised crime, Cloud vendor selection (how to pick the right combination of better, faster and cheaper), architecting Cloud Computing, securing the global supply chain and much more.

As the IT media is dominated by stories on Cloud and cyber-security, it will be refreshing to debate these in an open environment and discuss the many challenges we all face in navigating an increasingly complex IT world. I’d love to hear your views on the type of questions you’d like answered and any particular issues you feel passionate about.

The Open Group Conference, London, May 9-13 is almost here! Join us for best practices and case studies on Enterprise Architecture, Cloud, Security and more, presented by preeminent thought leaders in the industry.

Allen BrownAllen Brown is the President and CEO of The Open GroupFor more than ten years, he has been responsible for driving the organization’s strategic plan and day-to-day operations; he was also instrumental in the creation of The Association of Open Group Enterprise Architects (AOGEA). Allen is based in the U.K.

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Giving EA the much-needed business slant: some thoughts

By Raghuraman Krishnamurthy, Cognizant Technology Solutions

Recently, I had the opportunity to quickly look at Chris Potts’s absorbingly written book titled recrEAtion: Realizing the Extraordinary Contribution of Your Enterprise Architects. The best contribution of EA, the book illustrates through a fictitious story line told with finesse, is much beyond IT. Enterprise architects need to be thinking more of business and contribute to strategy coherence by being uniquely able to link business goals with IT.

The word ‘architecture’ has an unfortunate connation with IT resulting in lumping of any architecture into the IT/IS function. That EA is much more than IT/IS has been the uniform rallying point of the community of enterprise architects for several years. There is a degree of success in this effort: for instance, the importance of EA in planning, alignment and program management is well researched and there is evidence in industry of realizing benefits that EA provides in this direction. However, for EA to earn its glorious position of the overall enterprise wide architecture management function,  it needs business embracement.

Business architecture is part of enterprise architecture. Let us consider some of the challenges that have business ramification in equal (or perhaps more) measure as technology:

  • Gaining customer insight is no longer possible with internal systems alone. There are social sites where the views of the customers are shared and debated within the community. How would this challenge be addressed in business architecture?
  • Mobility is opening up enterprise’s business opportunities in innovative ways. Mobility gives the customer the power to do business truly anytime, anywhere. How an enterprise can improve the collaboration in novel ways and generate close customer touch using new channels like mobility? How is business going to measure the effectiveness of this channel and what type of architecture models will be relevant?
  • Business processes are keys to realizing business objectives. How the business process, the associated rules, performance of the business process itself can be modeled in business terms? How can workflows and the associated documents be modeled in business terms?

The above could be some areas that EA can focus on giving the business flavor.

‘Evolving EA to Architect the Business’ is a subject that will be discussed in depth during The Open Group Conference, London, May 9-13. Join us for best practices and case studies on Enterprise Architecture, Cloud, Security and more, presented by preeminent thought leaders in the industry.

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

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The Open Group Events in Arabia and India

By Jim Hietala, The Open Group

One of the real benefits of working for The Open Group is the opportunity to meet with leading organizations around the world, and to hear their views and concerns around architecture, IT and security issues. I had the great pleasure of participating recently in The Open Group Conferences in Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) and in Chennai, Hyderabad, and Pune (India).

From a personal standpoint, The Open Group team had nothing but great experiences in both India and UAE, and The Open Group partners in each region (Shift Technologies in Arabia, and Capgemini in India) did an outstanding job of organizing the events and providing real value to attendees.

It was interesting to engage with customer organizations in both countries, and to hear their pressing concerns around IT security, enterprise architecture, and Cloud Computing. While there are differences between regions — including adoption rates for Cloud Computing and other factors — I was struck to a much greater degree by how similar the concerns are.

Specific to IT security, the world is indeed flat, and the threats being faced as well as the security concerns and approaches in India and UAE mirror those in the US, Europe, and elsewhere. The combination of ubiquitous, global network access and highly motivated cyber-adversaries has brought new meaning to the old security maxim “there’s no security in obscurity”.

Security will be a major topic of discussion at The Open Group Conference, London, May 9-13. Join us for best practices, case studies and the future of information security, presented by preeminent thought leaders in the industry.

Thanks to Jim Hietala, contributor of The Open Group Blog’s 50th post!

Jim HietalaAn IT security industry veteran, Jim is Vice President of Security at The Open Group, where he is responsible for security programs and standards activities. He holds the CISSP and GSEC certifications. Jim is based in the U.S.

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Enterprise IT’s Inflection Point!

By Balasubramanian Somasundram, Honeywell Technology Solutions Ltd.

Of late, the online media is flooded with plenty of articles/opinions on the future of Enterprise IT and CIO roles in next decades! It’s interesting to read many different perspectives on the possibilities.

But the biggest question is – Why now? Why do we see such futuristic, inspirational, transformational viewpoints doing the rounds these days? I strongly believe that Enterprise IT is at its inflection point due to two main mega trends happening in the industry.

One is the introduction of Cloud Computing, and another is IT getting pervasive and embedded in almost all products and services that touch the end consumer. The irony is, these trends pose the biggest threats and biggest opportunities! I am going to talk about the opportunities here.

As mentioned in the CIO.com article, “The Cloud CIO: A Tale of Two IT Futures,” one of the potential approaches for leveraging these trends could be to push Enterprise IT’s non-core portfolio to Cloud Computing and divest those saved efforts in partnering with business to build new products and services. Here is an interesting perspective published in InformationWeek where Chris Murphy takes a stand that IT must create products, not just cut costs.

I also believe the fundamental capability that would enable the Enterprise IT to accomplish this transition is IT’s Enterprise Architecture competencies. Enterprise IT organizations that have their strengths in architecture competencies — such as Technology Architecture, Business Architecture, Solution Architecture and Infrastructure Architecture — are bound to succeed in the mega trends of Cloud Computing and business partnering!

Adoption of emerging technologies and combining them with suitable business scenarios to deliver a compelling business solution calls for a strong Solution Architecture practice. The Solution Architecture is the System/Technical Architecture that realizes the Business Architecture scenarios.  Similarly, identification of non-core areas in the business/IT portfolio and transitioning to Cloud Computing requires a systemic view of the Enterprise and it should address the critical concerns such as data governance, security and infrastructure architecture.

In addition, IT’s traditional strengths such as project management, cost efficiency, security, licensing and software maintenance would be a big boon for software-intensive product businesses. These competencies in combination with Enterprise Architecture would be the stepping stone for the next biggest leap of Enterprise IT!

Balasubramanian Somasundaram is an Enterprise Architect with Honeywell Technology Solutions Ltd, Bangalore, a division of Honeywell Inc, USA. Bala has been with Honeywell Technology Solutions for the past five years and contributed in several technology roles. His current responsibilities include Architecture/Technology Planning and Governance, Solution Architecture Definition for business-critical programs, and Technical oversight/Review for programs delivered from Honeywell IT India center. With more than 12 years of experience in the IT services industry, Bala has worked with variety of technologies with a focus on IT architecture practice.  His current interests include Enterprise Architecture, Cloud Computing and Mobile Applications. He periodically writes about emerging technology trends that impact the Enterprise IT space on his blog. Bala holds a Master of Science in Computer Science from MKU University, India.

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PODCAST: Examining the current state of Enterprise Architecture with The Open Group’s Steve Nunn

By Dana Gardner, Interabor Solutions

Listen to this recorded podcast here: BriefingsDirect-Open Group COO Steve Nunn on EA Professional Groups

The following is the transcript of a sponsored podcast panel discussion on the state of EA, from The Open Group Conference, San Diego 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 held in San Diego, the week of February 7, 2011. We’re here with an executive from The Open Group to examine the current state of enterprise architecture (EA). We’ll hear about how EA is becoming more business-oriented and how organizing groups for the EA profession are consolidating and adjusting. [Disclosure: The Open Group is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

We’ll get an update on The Association of Open Group Enterprise Architects (AOGEA) and learn more about its recent merger with the Association of Enterprise Architects. What’s more, we’ll get an assessment of the current maturity levels and overall professionalism drive of EA, and we’re going to learn more about what to expect from the EA field and these organizing groups over the next few years.

Here to help us delve into the current state of EA, please join me now in welcoming Steve Nunn, Chief Operating Officer of The Open Group and CEO of The Association of Open Group Enterprise Architects.

Welcome back, Steve.

Steve Nunn: Hi, Dana. Good to be back.

Gardner: We’re hearing an awful lot these days about EA being dead, outmoded, or somehow out of sync. I know there’s a lot more emphasis on the business issues, rather than just the technical or IT issues, but what’s going on with that? Are we at a point where this topic, this professional category, is in some danger?

Nunn: Absolutely not. EA is very much the thing of the moment, but it’s also something that’s going to be with us for the foreseeable future too. Both inside The Open Group and the AOGEA, we’re seeing significant growth and interest in the area of EA. In the association, it’s individuals becoming certified and wanting to join a professional body for their own purposes and to help the push to professionalize EA.

Within The Open Group, it’s entities and organizations. Whether they be commercial, governments, academic, they are regularly joining The Open Group Architecture Forum. So, it’s far from dead and in terms of the importance of business overall, EA being relevant to business.

Tomorrow’s plenary session here at the Conference is a good example. It’s about using EA for business transformation. It’s about using EA to tie IT into the business. There is no point in doing IT for IT’s sake. It’s there to support the business, and people are finding that one way of doing that is EA.

Gardner: I would think too, Steve, that some of the major trends around mobile, security, and cyber risk would augment the need for a more holistic governing role, and the architect seems to fit that bill quite nicely. So is there wind in your sails around some of these trends?

Central to the organization

Nunn: Absolutely. We’re seeing increasingly that you can’t just look at EA in some kind of silo. It’s more about how it fits. It’s so central to an organization and the way that organizations are built that it has all of the factors that you mentioned. Security is a good one, as well as cloud. They’re all impacted by EA. EA has a role to play in all of those.

Inside the Open Group, what’s happening is a lot of cross-functional working groups between the Architecture Forum, the Security Forum, and the Cloud Work Group, which is just recognition of that fact. But, the central tool of it is EA.

Gardner: In addition to recognizing that the function of the EA is important, you can’t just have people walking the door and say, well, I’m an enterprise architect. It’s hard to define the role, but it seems necessary. Tell me about the importance of certification, so that we really know what an enterprise architect is.

Nunn: That’s right. Everyone seems to want to be an enterprise architect or an IT architect right now. It’s that label to have on your business card. What we’re trying to do is separate the true architects from one of these, and certification is a key part of that.

If you’re an employer and you’re looking to take somebody on to help in the EA role, then it’s having some means to assess whether somebody really has any experience of EA, whether they know any frameworks, and what projects they’ve led that involve EA. All those things are obviously important to know.

There are various certification programs, particularly in The Open Group, that help with that. The TOGAF® Certification Program is focused on the TOGAF® framework. At the other end of the spectrum is the ITAC Program, which is a skills- and experience-based program that assesses by peer review an individual’s experience in EA.

There are those, there are others out there, and there are more coming. One of the great things we see is the general acceptance of certification as a means to telling the wood from the trees.

Gardner: So, we certainly have a need. We have some major trends that are requiring this role and we have the ability to begin certifying. Looking at this whole professionalism of EA, we also have these organizations. It was three years ago this very event that The AOGEA was officially launched. Maybe you could tell us what’s happened over the past three years and set the stage for what’s driving the momentum in the organization itself?

Nunn: Three years ago, we launched the association with 700 members. We were delighted to have that many at the start. As we sit here today, we have over 18,000 members. Over that period, we added members through more folks becoming certified through not only The Open Group programs, but with other programs. For example, we acknowledged the FIAC Certification Program as a valid path to full membership of the association.

We also embraced the Global Enterprise Architecture Organization (GEAO), and those folks, relevant to your earlier question, really have a particular business focus. We’ve also embraced the Microsoft Certified Architect individuals. Microsoft stopped its own program about a year ago now, and one of the things they encouraged their individuals who were certified to do was to join the association. In fact, Microsoft would help them pay to be members of the association, which was good.

So, it reflects the growth and membership reflects the interest in the area of EA and the interest in individuals’ wanting to advance their own careers through being part of a profession.

Valuable resource

Enterprise architects are a highly valuable resource inside an organization, and so we are both promoting that message to the outside world. For our members as individuals what we’re focusing on is delivering to them latest thinking in EA moving towards best practices, whitepapers, and trying to give them, at this stage, a largely virtual community in which to deal with each other.

Where we have turned it in to real community is through local chapters. We now have about 20 local chapters around the world. The members have formed those. They meet at varying intervals, but the idea is to get face time with each other and talk about issues that concern enterprise architects and the advancement of profession. It’s all good stuff. It’s growing by the week, by the month, in terms of the number of folks who want to do that. We’re very happy with what has gone in three years.

Gardner: We’ve got a little bit of alphabet soup out there. There are several organizations, several communities, that have evolved around them, but now you are working to bring that somewhat together.

As I alluded to earlier, the AOGEA has just announced its merger with the Association of Enterprise Architects (AEA). What’s the difference now? How does that shape up? Is this simply a melding of the two or is there something more to it?

Nunn: Well, it is certainly a melding of the two. The two organizations actually became one in late fall last year, and obviously we have the usual post merger integration things to take care of.

But, I think it’s not just a melding. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts. We have two different communities. We have the AOGEA folks who have come primarily through certification route, and we also have the AEA folks who haven’t been so, so focused on certification, but they bring to the table something very important. They have chapters in different areas than the AOGEA folks by and large.

Also, they have a very high respected quarterly publication called The Journal of Enterprise Architecture, along the lines of an academic journal, but with a leaning towards practitioners as well. That’s published on a quarterly basis. The great thing is that that’s now a membership benefit to the merged association membership of over 18,000, rather than the subscribed base before the merger.

As we develop, we’re getting closer to our goal of being able to really promote the profession of EA in a coherent way. There are other groups beyond that, and there are the early signs of co- operation and working together to try to achieve one voice for the profession going forward.

Gardner: And this also followed about a year ago, the GOAO merger with the AOGEA. So, it seems as if we’re getting the definitive global organization with variability in terms of how it can deal with communities, but also that common central organizing principle. Tell me about this new über organization, what are you going to call it and what is the reach? How big is it going to be?

Nunn: Well, the first part of that is the easy part. We have consulted the membership multiple times now actually, and we are going to name the merged organization, The Association of Enterprise Architects. So that will keep things nice and simple and that will be the name going forward. It does encompass so far GEAO, AOGEA and AEA. It’s fair to say that, as a membership organization, it is the leading organization for enterprise architects.

Role to play

There are other organizations in the ecosystem who are, for example, advocacy groups, training organizations, or certification groups, and they all have a role to play in the profession. But, where we’re going with AEA in the future is to make that the definitive professional association for enterprise architects. It’s a non-profit 501(c)(6) incorporated organization, which is there to act as the professional body for its members.

Gardner: You have been with The Open Group for well over 15 years now. You’ve seen a lot of the evolution and maturity. Let’s get back to the notion of the enterprise architect as an entity. As you said, we have now had a process where we recognize the need. We’ve got major trends and dynamics in the marketplace. We have organizations that are out there helping to corral people and manage the whole notion of EA better.

What is it about the maturity? Where are we in a spectrum, on a scale of 1 to 10? What does that mean for where there is left go? This isn’t cooked yet. You can’t take it out of the oven quite yet.

Nunn: No, absolutely no. There’s a long way to go, and I think to measure it on a scale of 1 to 10, I’d like to say higher, but it’s probably about 2 right now. Just because a lot of things that need to be done to create profession are partly done by one group or another, but not done in a unified way or with anything like one voice for the profession.

It’s interesting. We did some research on how long we might expect to take to achieve the status of a profession. Certainly, in the US at least, the shortest period of time taken so far was 26 years by librarians, but typically it was closer to 100 years and, in fact, the longest was 170-odd years. So, we’re doing pretty well. We’re going pretty quickly compared to those organizations.

We’re trying to do it on a global basis, which to my knowledge is the first time that’s been done for any profession. If anything, that will obviously make things a little more complicated, but I think there is a lot of will in the EA world to make this happen, a lot of support from all sorts of groups. Press and analysts are keen to see it happen from the talks that we’ve had and the articles we’ve read. So, where there is a will there is a way. There’s a long way to go, but we’ve made good progress in a short numbers of years, really.

Gardner: So, there’s a great deal of opportunity coming up. We’ve talked about how this is relevant to the individual. This is something good for their career. They recognize a path where they can be beneficial, appreciated, and valued. But, what’s in it for the enterprise, for the organizations that are trying to run their businesses dealing with a lot of change already? What does a group like the AEA do for them?

Nunn: It’s down to giving them the confidence that the folks that they are hiring or the folks that they are developing to do EA work within their enterprise are qualified to do that, knowledgeable to do that, or on a path to becoming true professionals in EA.

Certainly if you were hiring into your organization an accountant or a lawyer, you’d be looking to hire one that was a member of the relevant professional body with the appropriate certifications. That’s really what we’re promoting for EA. That’s the role that the association can play.

Confidence building

When we achieve success with the association is when folks are hiring enterprise architects, they will only look at folks who are members of the association, because to do anything else would be like hiring an unqualified lawyer or accountant. It’s about risk minimization and confidence building in your staff.

Gardner: Now, you wear two hats. You’re the Chief Operating Officer at The Open Group and you’re the CEO of the AEA. How do these two groups relate? You’re in the best position to tell us what’s the relationship or the context that the listeners should appreciate in terms of how these shakeouts?

Nunn: That’s a good point. It’s something that I do get asked periodically. The fact is that the association, whilst a separately incorporated body, was started by The Open Group. With these things, somebody has to start them and The Open Group’s Membership was all you needed for this to happen. So, very much the association has its roots in The Open Group and today still it works very closely with The Open Group in terms of how it operates and certain infrastructure things for the association are provided by The Open Group.

The support is still there, but increasingly the association is becoming a separate body. I mentioned the journal that’s published in the association’s name that has its own websites, its own membership.

So, little by little, there will be more separation between the two, but the aims of the two or the interests of the two are both served by EA becoming recognized as profession. It just couldn’t have happened without The Open Group, and we intend to pay a lot of attention to what goes on inside The Open Group in EA. It’s one of the leading organizations in the EA space and a group that the association would be foolish not to pay attention to, in terms of the direction of certifications and what the members, who are enterprise architects, are saying, experiencing, and what they’re needing for the future.

Gardner: So, I suppose we should expect an ongoing partnership between them for quite some time.

Nunn: Absolutely. A very close partnership and along with partnerships with other groups. The association is not looking to take anyone’s turf or tread on anyone’s toes, but to partner with the other groups that are in the ecosystem. Because if we work together, we’ll get to this profession status a lot quicker, but certainly a key partner will be The Open Group.

Gardner: Well, very good. We have been looking at the current state of EA as profession, learning about the organizing groups around that effort and the certification process that they support. We’ve been talking with Steve Nunn, the Chief Operating Officer at The Open Group and also the CEO of the newly named Association of Enterprise Architects. Thank you so much, Steve.

Nunn: Thank you, Dana.

Gardner: You’ve been listening to a sponsored BriefingsDirect podcast coming to you in conjunction with the Open Group Conference here in San Diego, the week of the February 7, 2011. This is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions. Thanks for joining, and come back next time.

Copyright The Open Group and Interarbor Solutions, LLC, 2005-2011. 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 BriefingsDirectblogs, podcasts and video-podcasts to support conversational education about SOA, software infrastructure, Enterprise 2.0, and application development and deployment strategies.

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Enterprise Architecture’s Quest for its Identity

By Len Fehskens, The Open Group

It is my impression, from what I read and hear in many enterprise and business architecture blogs and forums, that the enterprise architecture community comprises multiple factions, and which faction you are part of depends on how you answer two questions. These are fundamental questions that I suspect many in the EA community (present company excepted, of course) have not asked themselves explicitly, or, if they have, considered why they would answer them one way or the other. I believe the answers to these questions color the way we talk and think about enterprise architecture, and until the EA community as a whole comes to a consensus regarding their answers, we risk talking past one another, using the same words but meaning significantly different things.

The two questions are:

  • Is enterprise architecture primarily about IT or is it about the entire enterprise?
  • Is enterprise architecture a “hard” discipline or a “soft” discipline?

My answers:

Enterprise architecture ought to be about the entire enterprise, because that’s what the name implies. If it’s really about IT, it ought to be called enterprise IT architecture. Whether or not you believe it’s possible or desirable to apply architectural thinking to the entire enterprise doesn’t change the fact that we ought to name things honestly. And when we name architectures, it seems reasonable to me to expect that if an architecture is implemented primarily in the <x> domain, it ought to be called an <x> architecture. Adding two more syllables (IT) to the seven (en-ter-prise ar-chi-tec-ture), or inserting two characters (IT) in the acronym (EA), isn’t an unbearable burden. Say it – “enterprise IT architecture.” Spell it – “EITA.”

Rarely has the cost of honesty been so modest. If you mean the architecture of an enterprise’s IT assets and capabilities, say EITA. Don’t say EA unless you really mean the architecture of the entire enterprise, not just its IT assets. Even if you consider the needs of the enterprise, or the structure of the enterprise’s processes, if the implementation of the architecture you’re developing will be mostly in the IT domain, it’s EITA, not EA. Even if you believe that architectural thinking can be meaningfully applied only to the IT function of an enterprise, it’s still EITA, not EA.

My answer to the second question is that I believe enterprise architecture, as scoped above, is a “soft” discipline. I think talking about “manufacturing” or “engineering” enterprises is just silly; it’s another example of the kind of aggrandizement that misnaming enterprise IT architecture represents.

Even calling an enterprise a “system” is risky. We use the word system in two senses. One is a very broadly inclusive idea, often expressed as “everything is a system,” in that many things can be viewed as assemblies or aggregates of smaller components. This concept of system is useful because it encourages us to take a holistic, rather than reductionist, perspective, acknowledging that the relationships between the pieces are as important as the individual pieces themselves. The other sense of “system” is the one engineers use – a system is an artifact that has been methodically designed and built from interconnected components. Calling something a system in the first sense doesn’t make it a system in the second sense; it doesn’t make its behavior and performance analytically tractable or deterministic.

It is simply not possible to specify an enterprise as completely, and to the same level of detail, as it is to specify a building or a locomotive or an airplane. And, for the purpose of enterprise architecture, i.e., to ensure that an enterprise’s assets and capabilities are aligned with its vision, mission and strategy, it isn’t necessary to do so, even if we could.

It may be possible to do so for EITA, and maybe that’s where the idea that the same can be said of the enterprise as a whole comes from.

If the enterprise as a whole is a system, it’s a people-intensive system, and as such one might as well talk about manufacturing or engineering people.

After all, why do we call them “enterprises”? Consider the first definition of the noun “enterprise” in the Oxford English Dictionary: “A design of which the execution is attempted; a piece of work taken in hand, an undertaking; chiefly, and now exclusively, a bold, arduous or momentous undertaking.” Clearly implicit in this definition is that this is something undertaken by people.  There’s a nod to this reality when we refer to an enterprise as a “sociotechnical system”, but the “socio” too often gets short shrift while the “technical” gets the bulk of the attention.

Yes, people play a role in other “systems” – they live and work in buildings, they drive locomotives and pilot airplanes. But people don’t just interact with an enterprise; in a fundamental sense, they are the enterprise. And unlike buildings and locomotives and airplanes, enterprises are continually adapting themselves, in the homeostatic sense of maintaining their integrity and identity in the face of internal and external change, and in the sense of deliberately repurposing themselves in response to such change.

How would you answer these questions, and why would you answer them that way? Our answers strongly influence what we believe is within the purview of enterprise architecture, how we address that scope, and what we imagine we can accomplish by doing so.

Len Fehskens is Vice President of Skills and Capabilities at The Open Group. He is responsible for The Open Group’s activities relating to the professionalization of the discipline of enterprise architecture. Prior to joining The Open Group, Len led the Worldwide Architecture Profession Office for HP Services at Hewlett-Packard. Len is based in the US.

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PODCAST: Cloud Computing panel forecasts transition phase for Enterprise Architecture

By Dana Gardner, Interabor Solutions

Listen to this recorded podcast here: BriefingsDirect-Open Group Cloud Panel Forecasts Transition Phase for Enterprise IT

The following is the transcript of a sponsored podcast panel discussion on newly emerging Cloud models and their impact on business and government, from The Open Group Conference, San Diego 2011.

Dana Gardner: Hi, this is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, and you’re listening to BriefingsDirect.

We now present a sponsored podcast discussion coming to you live from The Open Group 2011 Conference in San Diego. We’re here the week of February 7, and we have assembled a distinguished panel to examine the expectation of new types of cloud models and perhaps cloud specialization requirements emerging quite soon.

By now, we’re all familiar with the taxonomy around public cloud, private cloud, software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and my favorite, infrastructure as a service (IaaS), but we thought we would do you all an additional service and examine, firstly, where these general types of cloud models are actually gaining use and allegiance, and we’ll look at vertical industries and types of companies that are leaping ahead with cloud, as we now define it. [Disclosure: The Open Group is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

Then, second, we’re going to look at why one-size-fits-all cloud services may not fit so well in a highly fragmented, customized, heterogeneous, and specialized IT world.

How much of cloud services that come with a true price benefit, and that’s usually at scale and cheap, will be able to replace what is actually on the ground in many complex and unique enterprise IT organizations?

What’s more, we’ll look at the need for cloud specialization, based on geographic and regional requirements, as well as based on the size of these user organizations, which of course can vary from 5 to 50,000 seats. Can a few types of cloud work for all of them?

Please join me now in welcoming our panel. Here to help us better understand the quest for “fit for purpose” cloud balance and to predict, at least for some time, the considerable mismatch between enterprise cloud wants and cloud provider offerings we’re here with Penelope Gordon, the cofounder of 1Plug Corporation, based in San Francisco. Welcome, Penelope.

Penelope Gordon: Thank you.

Gardner: We’re also here with Mark Skilton. He is the Director of Portfolio and Solutions in the Global Infrastructure Services with Capgemini in London. Thank you for coming, Mark.

Mark Skilton: Thank you.

Gardner: Ed Harrington joins us. He is the Principal Consultant in Virginia for the UK-based Architecting the Enterprise organization. Thank you, Ed.

Ed Harrington: Thank you.

Gardner: Tom Plunkett is joining us. He is a Senior Solution Consultant with Oracle in Huntsville, Alabama.

Tom Plunkett: Thank you, Dana.

Gardner: And lastly, we’re here with TJ Virdi. He is Computing Architect in the CAS IT System Architecture Group at Boeing based in Seattle. Welcome.

TJ Virdi: Thank you.

Gardner: Let me go first to you, Mark Skilton. One size fits all has rarely worked in IT. If it has, it has been limited in its scope and, most often, leads to an additional level of engagement to make it work with what’s already there. Why should cloud be any different?

Three areas

Skilton: Well, Dana, from personal experience, there are probably three areas of adaptation of cloud into businesses. For sure, there are horizontal common services to which, what you call, the homogeneous cloud solution could be applied common to a number of business units or operations across a market.

But, we’re starting to increasingly see the need for customization to meet vertical competitive needs of a company or the decisions within that large company. So, differentiation and business models are still there, they are still in platform cloud as they were in the pre-cloud era.

But, the key thing is that we’re seeing a different kind of potential that a business can do now with cloud — a more elastic, explosive expansion and contraction of a business model. We’re seeing fundamentally the operating model of the business growing, and the industry can change using cloud technology.

So, there are two things going on in the business and the technologies are changing because of the cloud.

Gardner: Well, for us to understand where it fits best, and perhaps not so good, is to look at where it’s already working. Ed, you talked about the federal government. They seem to be going like gangbusters in the cloud. Why so?

Harrington: Perceived cost savings, primarily. The (US) federal government has done some analysis. In particular, the General Services Administration (GSA), has done some considerable analysis on what they think they can save by going to, in their case, a public cloud model for email and collaboration services. They’ve issued a $6.7 million contract to Unisys as the systems integrator, with Google being the cloud services supplier.

So, the debate over the benefits of cloud, versus the risks associated with cloud, is still going on quite heatedly.

Gardner: How about some other verticals? Where is this working? We’ve seen in some pharma, health-care, and research environments, which have a lot of elasticity, it makes sense, given that they have very variable loads. Any other suggestions on where this works, Tom?

Plunkett: You mentioned variable workloads. Another place where we are seeing a lot of customers approach cloud is when they are starting a new project. Because then, they don’t have to migrate from the existing infrastructure. Instead everything is brand new. That’s the other place where we see a lot of customers looking at cloud, your greenfields.

Gardner: TJ, any verticals that you are aware of? What are you seeing that’s working now?

Virdi: It’s not probably related with any vertical market, but I think what we are really looking for speed to put new products into the market or evolve the products that we already have and how to optimize business operations, as well as reduce the cost. These may be parallel to any vertical industries, where all these things are probably going to be working as a cloud solution.

Gardner: We’ve heard the application of “core and context” to applications, but maybe there is an application of core and context to cloud computing, whereby there’s not so much core and lot more context. Is that what you’re saying so far?

Unstructured data

Virdi: In a sense, you would have to measure not only the structured documents or structured data, but unstructured data as well. How to measure and create a new product or solutions is the really cool things you would be looking for in the cloud. And, it has proved pretty easy to put a new solution into the market. So, speed is also the big thing in there.

Gardner: Penelope, use cases or verticals where this is working so far?

Gordon: One example in talking about core and context is when you look in retail. You can have two retailers like a Walmart or a Costco, where they’re competing in the same general space, but are differentiating in different areas.

Walmart is really differentiating on the supply chain, and so it’s not a good candidate for public cloud computing solutions. We did discuss it that might possibly be a candidate for private cloud computing.

But that’s really where they’re going to invest in the differentiating, as opposed to a Costco, where it makes more sense for them to invest in their relationship with their customers and their relationship with their employees. They’re going to put more emphasis on those business processes, and they might be more inclined to outsource some of the aspects of their supply chain.

A specific example within retail is pricing optimization. A lot of grocery stores need to do pricing optimization checks once a quarter, or perhaps once a year in some of their areas. It doesn’t makes sense for smaller grocery store chains to have that kind of IT capability in house. So, that’s a really great candidate, when you are looking at a particular vertical business process to outsource to a cloud provider who has specific industry domain expertise.

Gardner: So for small and medium businesses (SMBs) that would be more core for them than others.

Gordon: Right. That’s an example, though, where you’re talking about what I would say is a particular vertical business process. Then, you’re talking about a monetization strategy and then part of the provider, where they are looking more at a niche strategy, rather than a commodity, where they are doing a horizontal infrastructure platform.

Gardner: Ed, you had a thought?

Harrington: Yeah, and it’s along the SMB dimension. We’re seeing a lot of cloud uptake in the small businesses. I work for a 50-person company. We have one “sort of” IT person and we do virtually everything in the cloud. We’ve got people in Australia and Canada, here in the States, headquartered in the UK, and we use cloud services for virtually everything across that. I’m associated with a number of other small companies and we are seeing big uptake of cloud services.

Gardner: Allow me to be a little bit of a skeptic, because I’m seeing these reports from analyst firms on the tens of billions of dollars in potential cloud market share and double-digit growth rates for the next several years. Is this going to come from just peripheral application context activities, mostly SMBs? What about the core in the enterprises? Does anybody have an example of where cloud is being used in either of those?

Skilton: In the telecom sector, which is very IT intensive, I’m seeing the emergence of their core business of delivering service to a large end user or multiple end user channels, using what I call cloud brokering.

Front-end cloud

So, if where you’re going with your question is that, certainly in the telecom sector we’re seeing the emergence of front end cloud, customer relationship management (CRM) type systems and also sort of back-end content delivery engines using cloud.

The fundamental shift away from the service orientated architecture (SOA) era is that we’re seeing more business driven self-service, more deployment of services as a business model, which is a big difference of the shift of the cloud. Particularly in telco, we’re seeing almost an explosion in that particular sector.

Gordon: A lot of companies don’t even necessarily realize that they’re using cloud services, particularly when you talk about SaaS. There are a number of SaaS solutions that are becoming more and more ubiquitous. If you look at large enterprise company recruiting sites, often you will see Taleo down at the bottom. Taleo is a SaaS. So, that’s a cloud solution, but it’s just not thought necessarily of in that context.

Gardner: Right. Tom?

Plunkett: Another place we’re seeing a lot of growth with regards to private clouds is actually on the defense side. The Defense Department is looking at private clouds, but they also have to deal with this core and context issue. We’re in San Diego today. The requirements for a shipboard system are very different from the land-based systems.

Ships have to deal with narrow bandwidth and going disconnected. They also have to deal with coalition partners or perhaps they are providing humanitarian assistance and they are dealing even with organizations we wouldn’t normally consider military. So, they have to deal with lots of information, assurance issues, and have completely different governance concerns that we normally think about for public clouds.

Gardner: However, in the last year or two, the assumption has been that this is something that’s going to impact every enterprise, and everybody should get ready. Yet, I’m hearing mostly this creeping in through packaged applications on a on-demand basis, SMBs, greenfield organizations, perhaps where high elasticity is a requirement.

What would be necessary for these cloud providers to be able to bring more of the core applications the large enterprises are looking for? What’s the new set of requirements? As I pointed out, we have had a general category of SaaS and development, elasticity, a handful of infrastructure services. What’s the next set of requirements that’s going to make it palatable for these core activities and these large enterprises to start doing this? Let me start with you, Penelope.

Gordon: It’s an interesting question and it was something that we were discussing in a session yesterday afternoon. Here is a gentleman from a large telecommunications company, and from his perspective, trust was a big issue. To him, part of it was just an immaturity of the market, specifically talking about what the new style of cloud is and that branding. Some of the aspects of cloud have been around for quite some time.

Look at Linux adoption as an analogy. A lot of companies started adopting Linux, but it was for peripheral applications and peripheral services, some web services that weren’t business critical. It didn’t really get into the core enterprise until much later.

We’re seeing some of that with cloud. It’s just a much bigger issue with cloud, especially as you start looking at providers wanting to moving up the food chain and providing greater value. This means that they have to have more industry knowledge and that they have to have more specialization. It becomes more difficult for large enterprises to trust a vendor to have that kind of knowledge.

No governance

Another aspect of what came up in the afternoon is that, at this point, while we talk about public cloud specifically, it’s not the same as saying it’s a public utility. We talk about “public utility,” but there is no governance, at this point, to say, “Here is certification that these companies have been tested to meet certain delivery standards.” Until that exists, it’s going to be difficult for some enterprises to get over that trust issue.

Gardner: Assuming that the trust and security issues are worked out over time, that experience leads to action, it leads to trust, it leads to adoption, and we have already seen that with SaaS applications. We’ve certainly seen it with the federal government, as Ed pointed out earlier.

Let’s just put that aside as one of the requirements that’s already on the drawing board and that we probably can put a checkmark next to at some point. What’s next? What about customization? What about heterogeneity? What about some of these other issues that are typical in IT, Mark Skilton?

Skilton: One of the under-played areas is PaaS. We hear about lock-in of technology caused by the use of the cloud, either putting too much data in or doing customization of parameters and you lose the elastic features of that cloud.

As to your question about what do vendors or providers need to do more to help the customer use the cloud, the two things we’re seeing are: one, more of an appliance strategy, where they can buy modular capabilities, so the licensing issue, solutioning issue, is more contained. The client can look at it more in a modular appliance sort of way. Think of it as cloud in a box.

The second thing is that we need to be seeing is much more offering transition services, transformation services, to accelerate the use of the cloud in a safe way, and I think that’s something that we need to really push hard to do. There’s a great quote from a client, “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey to the cloud that I need to see.”

Gardner: You mentioned PaaS. We haven’t seen too much yet with a full mature offering of the full continuum of PaaS to IaaS. That’s one where new application development activities and new integration activities would be built of, for, and by the cloud and coordinated between the dev and the ops, with the ops being any number of cloud models — on-premises, off-premises, co-lo, multi-tenancy, and so forth.

So what about that? Is that another requirement that there is continuity between the past and the infrastructure and deployment, Tom?

Plunkett: We’re getting there. PaaS is going to be a real requirement going forward, simply because that’s going to provide us the flexibility to reach some of those core applications that we were talking about before. The further you get away from the context, the more you’re focusing on what the business is really focused in on, and that’s going to be the core, which is going to require effective PaaS.

Gardner: TJ.

More regulatory

Virdi: I want to second that, but at the same time, we’re looking for more regulatory and other kind of licensing and configuration issues as well. Those also make it a little better to use the cloud. You don’t really have to buy, or you can go for the demand. You need to make your licenses a little bit better in such a way that you can just put the product or business solutions into the market, test the water, and then you can go further on that.

Gardner: Penelope, where do you see any benefit of having a coordinated or integrated platform and development test and deploy functions? Is that going to bring this to a more core usage in large enterprises?

Gordon: It depends. I see a lot more of the buying of cloud moving out to the non-IT line of business executives. If that accelerates, there is going to be less and less focus. Companies are really separating now what is differentiating and what is core to my business from the rest of it.

There’s going to be less emphasis on, “Let’s do our scale development on a platform level” and more, “Let’s really seek out those vendors that are going to enable us to effectively integrate, so we don’t have to do double entry of data between different solutions. Let’s look out for the solutions that allow us to apply the governance and that effectively let us tailor our experience with these solutions in a way that doesn’t impinge upon the provider’s ability to deliver in a cost effective fashion.”

That’s going to become much more important. So, a lot of the development onus is going to be on the providers, rather than on the actual buyers.

Gardner: Now, this is interesting. On one hand, we have non-IT people, business people, specifying, acquiring, and using cloud services. On the other hand we’re perhaps going to see more PaaS, the new application development, be it custom or more of a SaaS type of offering that’s brought in with a certain level of adjustment and integration. But, these are going off without necessarily any coordination. At some point, they are going to even come together. It’s inevitable, another “integrationness” perhaps.

Mark Skilton, is that what you see, that we have not just one cloud approach but multiple approaches and then some need to rationalize?

Skilton: There are two key points. There’s a missing architecture practice that needs to be there, which is a workers analysis, so that you design applications to fit specific infrastructure containers, and you’ve got a bridge between the the application service and the infrastructure service. There needs to be a piece of work by enterprise architects that starts to bring that together as a deliberate design for applications to be able to operate in the cloud, and the PaaS platform is a perfect environment.

The second thing is that there’s a lack of policy management in terms of technical governance, and because of the lack of understanding, there needs to be more of a matching exercise going on. The key thing is that that needs to evolve.

Part of the work we’re doing in The Open Group with the Cloud Computing Work Group is to develop new standards and methodologies that bridge those gaps between infrastructure, PaaS, platform development, and SaaS.

Gardner: We already have the Trusted Technology Forum. Maybe soon we’ll see an open trusted cloud technology forum.

Skilton: I hope so.

Gardner: Ed Harrington, you mentioned earlier that the role of the enterprise architect is going to benefit from cloud. Do you see what we just described in terms of dual tracks, multiple inception points, heterogeneity, perhaps overlap and redundancy? Is that where the enterprise architect flourishes?

Shadow IT

Harrington: I think we talked about line management IT getting involved in acquiring cloud services. If you think we’ve got this thing called “shadow IT” today, wait a few years. We’re going to have a huge problem with shadow IT.

From the architect’s perspective, there’s lot to be involved with and a lot to play with, as I said in my talk. There’s an awful lot of analysis to be done — what is the value that the cloud solution being proposed is going to be supplying to the organization in business terms, versus the risk associated with it? Enterprise architects deal with change, and that’s what we’re talking about. We’re talking about change, and change will inherently involve risk.

Gardner: TJ.

Virdi: All these business decisions are going to be coming upstream, and business executives need to be more aware about how cloud could be utilized as a delivery model. The enterprise architects and someone with a technical background needs to educate or drive them to make the right decisions and choose the proper solutions.

It has an impact how you want to use the cloud, as well as how you get out of it too, in case you want to move to different cloud vendors or providers. All those things come into play upstream rather than downstream.

Gardner: We all seem to be resigned to this world of, “Well, here we go again. We’re going to sit back and wait for all these different cloud things to happen. Then, we’ll come in, like the sheriff on the white horse, and try to rationalize.” Why not try to rationalize now before we get to that point? What could be done from an architecture standpoint to head off mass confusion around cloud? Let me start at one end and go down the other. Tom?

Plunkett: One word: governance. We talked about the importance of governance increasing as the IT industry went into SOA. Well, cloud is going to make it even more important. Governance throughout the lifecycle, not just at the end, not just at deployment, but from the very beginning.

Gardner: TJ.

Virdi: In addition to governance, you probably have to figure out how you want to plan to adapt to the cloud also. You don’t want to start as a Big Bang theory. You want to start in incremental steps, small steps, test out what you really want to do. If that works, then go do the other things after that.

Gardner: Penelope, how about following the money? Doesn’t where the money flows in and out of organizations tend to have a powerful impact on motivating people or getting them moving towards governance or not?

Gordon: I agree, and towards that end, it’s enterprise architects. Enterprise architects need to break out of the idea of focusing on how to address the boundary between IT and the business and talk to the business in business terms.

One way of doing that that I have seen as effective is to look at it from the standpoint of portfolio management. Where you were familiar with financial portfolio management, now you are looking at a service portfolio, as well as looking at your overall business and all of your business processes as a portfolio. How can you optimize at a macro level for your portfolio of all the investment decisions you’re making, and how the various processes and services are enabled? Then, it comes down to, as you said, a money issue.

Gardner: Perhaps one way to head off what we seem to think is an inevitable cloud chaos situation is to invoke more shared services, get people to consume services and think about how to pay for them along the way, regardless of where they come from and regardless of who specified them. So back to SOA, back to ITIL, back to the blocking and tackling that’s just good enterprise architecture. Anything to add to that, Mark?

Not more of the same

Skilton: I think it’s a mistake to just describe this as more of the same. ITIL, in my view, needs to change to take into account self-service dynamics. ITIL is kind of a provider service management process. It’s thing that you do to people. Cloud changes that direction to the other way, and I think that’s something that needs to be done.

Also, fundamentally the data center and network strategies need to be in place to adopt cloud. From my experience, the data center transformation or refurbishment strategies or next generation networks tend to be done as a separate exercise from the applications area. So a strong, strong recommendation from me would be to drive a clear cloud route map to your data center.

Gardner: So, perhaps a regulating effect on the self-selection of cloud services would be that the network isn’t designed for it and it’s not going to help.

Skilton: Exactly.

Gardner: That’s one way to govern your cloud. Ed Harrington, any other further thoughts on working towards a cloud future without the pitfalls?

Harrington: Again, the governance, certification of some sort. I’m not in favor of regulation, but I am in favor of some sort of third party certification of services that consumers can rely upon safely. But, I will go back to what I said earlier. It’s a combination of governance, treating the cloud services as services per se, and enterprise architecture.

Gardner: What about the notion that was brought up earlier about private clouds being an important on-ramp to this? If I were a public cloud provider, I would do my market research on what’s going on in the private clouds, because I think they are going to be incubators to what might then become hybrid and ultimately a full-fledged third-party public cloud providing assets and services.

What can we learn from looking at what’s going on with private cloud now, seemingly a lot of trying to reduce cost and energy consumption, but what does that tell us about what we should expect in the next few years? Again, let’s start with you, Tom.

Plunkett: What we’re seeing with private cloud is that it’s actually impacting governance, because one of the things that you look at with private cloud is chargeback between different internal customers. This is forcing these organizations to deal with complex money, business issues that they don’t really like to do.

Nowadays, it’s mostly vertical applications, where you’ve got one owner who is paying for everything. Now, we’re actually going back to, as we were talking about earlier, dealing with some of the tricky issues of SOA.

Gardner: TJ, private cloud as an incubator. What we should expect?

Securing your data

Virdi: Configuration and change management — how in the private cloud we are adapting to it and supporting different customer segments is really the key. This could be utilized in the public cloud too, as well as how you are really securing your information and data or your business knowledge. How you want to secure that is key, and that’s why the private cloud is there. If we can adapt to or mimic the same kind of controls in the public cloud, maybe we’ll have more adoptions in the public cloud too.

Gardner: Penelope, any thoughts on that, the private to public transition?

Gordon: I also look at it in a little different way. For example, in the U.S., you have the National Security Agency (NSA). For a lot of what you would think of as their non-differentiating processes, for example payroll, they can’t use ADP. They can’t use that SaaS for payroll, because they can’t allow the identities of their employees to become publicly known.

Anything that involves their employee data and all the rest of the information within the agency has to be kept within a private cloud. But, they’re actively looking at private cloud solutions for some of the other benefits of cloud.

In one sense, I look at it and say that private cloud adoption to me tells a provider that this is an area that’s not a candidate for a public-cloud solution. But, private clouds could also be another channel for public cloud providers to be able to better monetize what they’re doing, rather than just focusing on public cloud solutions.

Gardner: So, then, you’re saying this is a two-way street. Just as we could foresee someone architecting a good private cloud and then looking to take that out to someone else’s infrastructure, you’re saying there is a lot of public services that for regulatory or other reasons might then need to come back in and be privatized or kept within the walls. Interesting.

Mark Skilton, any thoughts on this public-private tension and/or benefit?

Skilton: I asked an IT service director the question about what was it like running a cloud service for the account. This is a guy who had previously been running hosting and management and with many years experience.

The surprising thing was that he was quite shocked that the disciplines that he previously had for escalating errors and doing planned maintenance, monitoring, billing and charging back to the customer fundamentally were changing, because it had to be done more in real time. You have to fix before it fails. You can’t just wait for it to fail. You have to have a much more disciplined approach to running a private cloud.

The lessons that we’re learning in running private clouds for our clients is the need to have a much more of a running-IT-as-a-business ethos and approach. We find that if customers try to do it themselves, either they may find that difficult, because they are used to buying that as a service, or they have to change their enterprise architecture and support service disciplines to operate the cloud.

Gardner: Perhaps yet another way to offset potential for cloud chaos in the future is to develop the core competencies within the private-cloud environment and do it sooner rather than later? This is where you can cut your teeth or get your chops, some number of metaphors come to mind, but this is something that sounds like a priority. Would you agree with that Ed, coming up with a private-cloud capability is important?

Harrington: It’s important, and it’s probably going to dominate for the foreseeable future, especially in areas that organizations view as core. They view them as core, because they believe they provide some sort of competitive advantage or, as Penelope was saying, security reasons. ADP’s a good idea. ADP could go into NSA and set up a private cloud using ADP and NSA. I think is a really good thing.

Trust a big issue

But, I also think that trust is still a big issue and it’s going to come down to trust. It’s going to take a lot of work to have anything that is perceived by a major organization as core and providing differentiation to move to other than a private cloud.

Gardner: TJ.

Virdi: Private clouds actually allow you to make more business modular. Your capability is going to be a little bit more modular and interoperability testing could happen in the private cloud. Then you can actually use those same kind of modular functions, utilize the public cloud, and work with other commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) vendors that really package this as new holistic solutions.

Gardner: Does anyone consider the impact of mergers and acquisitions on this? We’re seeing the economy pick up, at least in some markets, and we’re certainly seeing globalization, a very powerful trend with us still. We can probably assume, if you’re a big company, that you’re going to get bigger through some sort of merger and acquisition activity. Does a cloud strategy ameliorate the pain and suffering of integration in these business mergers, Tom?

Plunkett: Well, not to speak on behalf of Oracle, but we’ve gone through a few mergers and acquisitions recently, and I do believe that having a cloud environment internally helps quite a bit. Specifically, TJ made the earlier point about modularity. Well, when we’re looking at modules, they’re easier to integrate. It’s easier to recompose services, and all the benefits of SOA really.

Gardner: TJ, mergers and acquisitions in cloud.

Virdi: It really helps. At the same time, we were talking about legal and regulatory compliance stuff. EU and Japan require you to put the personally identifiable information (PII) in their geographical areas. Cloud could provide a way to manage those things without having the hosting where you have your own business.

Gardner: Penelope, any thoughts, or maybe even on a slightly different subject, of being able to grow rapidly vis-à-vis cloud experience and expertise and having architects that understand it?

Gordon: Some of this comes back to some of the discussions we were having about the extra discipline that comes into play, if you are going to effectively consume and provide cloud services, if you do become much more rigorous about your change management, your configuration management, and if you then apply that out to a larger process level.

So, if you define certain capabilities within the business in a much more modular fashion, then, when you go through that growth and add on people, you have documented procedures and processes. It’s much easier to bring someone in and say, “You’re going to be a product manager, and that job role is fungible across the business.”

That kind of thinking, the cloud constructs applied up at a business architecture level, enables a kind of business expansion that we are looking at.

Gardner: Mark Skilton, thoughts about being able to manage growth, mergers and acquisitions, even general business agility vis-à-vis more cloud capabilities.

Skilton: Right now, I’m involved in merging in a cloud company that we bought last year in May, and I would say yes and no. The no point is that I’m trying to bundle this service that we acquired in each product and with which we could add competitive advantage to the services that we are offering. I’ve had a problem with trying to bundle that into our existing portfolio. I’ve got to work out how they will fit and deploy in our own cloud. So, that’s still a complexity problem.

Faster launch

But, the upside is that I can bundle that service that we acquired, because we wanted to get that additional capability, and rewrite design techniques for cloud computing. We can then launch that bundle of new service faster into the market.

It’s kind of a mixed blessing with cloud. With our own cloud services, we acquire these new companies, but we still have the same IT integration problem to then exploit that capability we’ve acquired.

Gardner: That might be a perfect example of where cloud is or isn’t. When you run into the issue of complexity and integration, it doesn’t compute, so to speak.

Skilton: It’s not plug and play yet, unfortunately.

Gardner: Ed, what do you think about this growth opportunity, mergers and acquisitions, a good thing or bad thing?

Harrington: It’s a challenge. I think, as Mark presented it, it’s got two sides. It depends a lot on how close the organizations are, how close their service portfolios are, to what degree has each of the organizations adapted the cloud, and is that going to cause conflict as well. So I think there is potential.

Skilton: Each organization in the commercial sector can have different standards, and then you still have that interoperability problem that we have to translate to make it benefit, the post merger integration issue.

Gardner: We’ve been discussing the practical requirements of various cloud computing models, looking at core and context issues where cloud models would work, where they wouldn’t. And, we have been thinking about how we might want to head off the potential mixed bag of cloud models in our organizations and what we can do now to make the path better, but perhaps also make our organizations more agile, service oriented, and able to absorb things like rapid growth and mergers.

I’d like to thank you all for joining and certainly want to thank our guests. This is a sponsored podcast discussion coming to you from The Open Group’s 2011 Conference in San Diego. We’re here the week of February 7, 2011. A big thank you now to Penelope Gordon, cofounder of 1Plug Corporation. Thanks.

Gordon: Thank you.

Gardner: Mark Skilton, Director of Portfolio and Solutions in the Global Infrastructure Services with Capgemini. Thank you, Mark.

Skilton: Thank you very much.

Gardner: Ed Harrington, Principal Consultant in Virginia for the UK-based Architecting the Enterprise.

Harrington: Thank you, Dana.

Gardner: Tom Plunkett, Senior Solution Consultant with Oracle. Thank you.

Plunkett: Thank you, Dana.

Gardner: TJ Virdi, the Computing Architect in the CAS IT System Architecture group at Boeing.

Virdi: Thank you.

Gardner: I’m Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions. You’ve been listening to a sponsored BriefingsDirect podcast. Thanks for joining, and come back next time.

Copyright The Open Group and Interarbor Solutions, LLC, 2005-2011. 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 BriefingsDirectblogs, podcasts and video-podcasts to support conversational education about SOA, software infrastructure, Enterprise 2.0, and application development and deployment strategies.

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The Business Case for Enterprise Architecture

By Balasubramanian Somasundram, Honeywell Technology Solutions Ltd.

Well, contrary to this blog post title, I am not going to talk about the finer details of preparing a business case for an Enterprise Architecture initiative. Rather, I am going to talk about ‘What makes the client to ask for a business case?”

Here is a little background…

Statistics assert that only 5% of companies practice Enterprise Architecture. And most of them are successful leaders in their businesses, not just IT.

When I attended Zachman’s conference last year, I was surprised to see Zachman being cynical about the realization of EA in the industry. He, in fact, went on to add that it may take 10-20 years to see EA truly alive in companies.

I am also closely watching some of the Enterprise Architects’ blogs. I don’t see convictions by looking at their blog posts titled – ‘Enterprise is a Joke’. ‘Enterprise Architects do only powerpoint presentations’. ‘There are not enough skilled architects’, etc.

In the recent past, when I was evangelizing EA among the top IT leadership, I often got questions on ‘short-term quick hits that can be achieved by EA’. That’s a tough one to answer!

Now the question is – ‘Why there is lack of faith in IT?’

And many of us know the answer – Because the teams often fail to deliver, despite spending lot of cash, effort and energy. The harsh reality is that IT does not believe in itself that it can deliver something significant, valuable and comprehensive.

If IT doesn’t believe in itself, how can we expect business to believe in us, to treat us like partners and not as order takers?

Now, getting to metrics… I happened to read this revealing Datamonitor whitepaper on the EDS site. Though the intent of the paper is to analyze the maintenance issues Vs adopting new innovations in existing applications, I found something very relevant and interesting to our topic of discussion here.

Some of the observations are:

  • IT departments that are overwhelmed by application maintenance do not see the benefit of planning
  • Datamonitor believes that skepticism of these overwhelmed decision makers can be largely attributed to a sense of ‘hopelessness’ or ‘burn out’ over formalized IT strategies.
  • Such decision makers are operating in a state of survival rather than one of enthusiastic optimism
  • IT departments see the value of planning primarily in the ‘build’ phase and not in the ‘run’ phase. They don’t really care too much about the ‘lifecycle’ of those application in the ‘planning’ phase.
  • And now, this compounds the maintenance complexity and inhibits the company from embarking into new initiatives – creating a vicious cycle.

What a resounding observation!

As someone said, adopting EA is like a lifestyle change – like following a fitness regimen. And that cannot be realized without discipline and commitment to change! The problem is not with EA but the way we look at it!

Balasubramanian Somasundaram is an Enterprise Architect with Honeywell Technology Solutions Ltd, Bangalore, a division of Honeywell Inc, USA. Bala has been with Honeywell Technology Solutions for the past five years and contributed in several technology roles. His current responsibilities include Architecture/Technology Planning and Governance, Solution Architecture Definition for business-critical programs, and Technical oversight/Review for programs delivered from Honeywell IT India center. With more than 12 years of experience in the IT services industry, Bala has worked with variety of technologies with a focus on IT architecture practice.  His current interests include Enterprise Architecture, Cloud Computing and Mobile Applications. He periodically writes about emerging technology trends that impact the Enterprise IT space on his blog. Bala holds a Master of Science in Computer Science from MKU University, India.

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World-class EA

By Mick Adams, Capgemini UK

World-class Enterprise Architecture is all about creating definitive collateral that defines how the architecture delivers value for societal value.

I know that’s a big, bold claim, but there’re enough dreamers and doers that are making this happen right now. World-class EA tackles big industry issues and offers big, brave solutions. The Open Group has already published several whitepapers at on this… banking, anyone? no problem… public services? Absolutely. World-class EA tackles these industry verticals and a bunch of others to describe a truly holistic model that unlocks value. Take a look at the World Class EA White Paper available in The Open Group’s online bookstore. Highlights of the whitepaper include:

  • Selection of industry drivers and potential architecture response
  • Suggested maturity model to calibrate organizations
  • Example of applying a maturity rating
  • Set of templates and suggested diagrams to provision TOGAF® 9 content

The work is ongoing; it’s not definitive yet. We are looking for more problem definitions and solutions to drive a collective global mindset forward to ensure that IT delivers benefits across the entire value chain. If we agree on what the problems are, prioritize and work on them in a wholly collegiate manner, the industry is in a better place as a consequence. My view is that The Open Group is the only viable platform to provision BIG IT to industry and society.

The Open Group India is running an event soon that I’m hoping will further refine world-class EA. The IT industry in India is flying red hot, and thriving at the moment. I’ve been lucky enough to work with some of the boldest and most innovative entrepreneurial people in the world that happen to come from India. There is an absolute passion for learning and contribution on the sub continent like no other. At The Open Group India event, we will discuss:

  • Defining the BIG IT topics for today
  • Insights about IT and EA
  • Providing/provisioning demonstrable value to make a difference

The countdown has begun to The Open Group India Conference. If you want to know what’s happening in architecture right now, or want to influence what could happen to our industry in India or globally, come along.

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

As a member of Capgemini global architecture leadership, Mick Adams has been involved in the development of some of the world’s largest enterprise architectures and has managed Capgemini contributions to The Open Group Architecture Forum for over two years. He has wide industry experience but his architecture work is currently focused on Central Government(s) and oil super-majors.

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T-Shaped people

By Steve Philp, The Open Group

We recently had an exhibition stand at the HR Directors Business Summit, which took place in Birmingham, UK. One of the main reasons for us attending this event was to find out the role HR plays in developing an internal IT profession, particularly for their IT Specialists.

On the second day of the conference there was a keynote presentation from Jill McDonald, the CEO and President of McDonald’s UK, who was talking about the CEO’s viewpoint of what is required from the strategic HR Director. Part of this presentation discussed the need to find t-shaped people within the organization. This is something that we often hear from both vendors and corporate organizations when they talk about what they are looking for from their IT staff.

T-shaped people are individuals who are experts or specialists in a core skill but also have a broad range of skills in other areas. A t-shaped person combines the broad level of skills and knowledge (the top horizontal part of the T) with specialist skills in a specific functional area (the bottom, vertical part of the T). They are not generalists because they have a specific core area of expertise but are often also referred to as generalizing specialists as well as T-shaped people.

A generalizing specialist is someone who: 1) Has one or more technical specialties […]. 2) Has at least a general knowledge of software development. 3) Has at least a general knowledge of the business domain in which they work. 4) Actively seeks to gain new skills in both their existing specialties as well as in other areas, including both technical and domain areas. – Scott Ambler, “Generalizing Specialist: A Definition

T-shaped people work well in teams because they can see a situation from a different perspective, can reduce bottlenecks, fill skills gaps and take on new skill sets quickly. This then leads to higher team productivity and greater flexibility.

The Open Group IT Specialist (ITSC) program measures an individual’s core competence in a specific stream or domain. However, it also covers a broader range of skills and competencies related to people, business, project management and architecture. In addition, the program looks at an individual’s work experience, professional development and community contribution. The conformance requirements of the program are mapped against your skills and experience rather than a body of knowledge and we assess people skills as well as technical abilities. Therefore, if it’s t-shaped people that you are looking for, then hiring somebody with ITSC status is a good place to start.

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

Steve PhilpSteve Philp is the Marketing Director for the IT Architect and IT Specialist certification programs at The Open Group. Over the past 20 years, Steve has worked predominantly in sales, marketing and general management roles within the IT training industry. Based in Reading, UK, he joined the Open Group in 2008 to promote and develop the organization’s skills and experience-based IT certifications.

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Cloud Conference — and Unconference

By Dr. Chris Harding, The Open Group

The Wednesday of The Open Group Conference in San Diego included a formal Cloud Computing conference stream. This was followed in the evening by an unstructured CloudCamp, which made an interesting contrast.

The Cloud Conference Stream

The Cloud conference stream featured presentations on Architecting for Cloud and Cloud Security, and included a panel discussion on the considerations that must be made when choosing a Cloud solution.

In the first session of the morning, we had two presentations on Architecting for Cloud. Both considered TOGAF® as the architectural context. The first, from Stuart Boardman of Getronics, explored the conceptual difference that Cloud makes to enterprise architecture, and the challenge of communicating an architecture vision and discussing the issues with stakeholders in the subsequent TOGAF® phases. The second, from Serge Thorn of Architecting the Enterprise, looked at the considerations in each TOGAF® phase, but in a more specific way. The two presentations showed different approaches to similar subject matter, which proved a very stimulating combination.

This session was followed by a presentation from Steve Else of EA Principals in which he shared several use cases related to Cloud Computing. Using these, he discussed solution architecture considerations, and put forward the lessons learned and some recommendations for more successful planning, decision-making, and execution.

We then had the first of the day’s security-related presentations. It was given by Omkhar Arasaratnam of IBM and Stuart Boardman of Getronics. It summarized the purpose and scope of the Security for the Cloud and SOA project that is being conducted in The Open Group as a joint project of The Open Group’s Cloud Computing Work Group, the SOA Work Group, and Security Forum. Omkhar and Stuart described the usage scenarios that the project team is studying to guide its thinking, the concepts that it is developing, and the conclusions that it has reached so far.

The first session of the afternoon was started by Ed Harrington, of Architecting the Enterprise, who gave an interesting presentation on current U.S. Federal Government thinking on enterprise architecture, showing clearly the importance of Cloud Computing to U.S. Government plans. The U.S. is a leader in the use of IT for government and administration, so we can expect that its conclusions – that Cloud Computing is already making its way into the government computing fabric, and that enterprise architecture, instantiated as SOA and properly governed, will provide the greatest possibility of success in its implementation – will have a global impact.

We then had a panel session, moderated by Dana Gardner with his usual insight and aplomb, that explored the considerations that must be made when choosing a Cloud solution — custom or shrink-wrapped — and whether different forms of Cloud Computing are appropriate to different industry sectors. The panelists represented different players in the Cloud solutions market – customers, providers, and consultants – so that the topic was covered in depth and from a variety of viewpoints. They were Penelope Gordon of 1Plug Corporation, Mark Skilton of Capgemini, Ed Harrington of Architecting the Enterprise, Tom Plunkett of Oracle, and TJ Virdi of the Boeing Company.

In the final session of the conference stream, we returned to the topic of Cloud Security. Paul Simmonds, a member of the Board of the Jericho Forum®, gave an excellent presentation on de-risking the Cloud through effective risk management, in which he explained the approach that the Jericho Forum has developed. The session was then concluded by Andres Kohn of Proofpoint, who addressed the question of whether data can be more secure in the Cloud, considering public, private and hybrid Cloud environment.

CloudCamp

The CloudCamp was hosted by The Open Group but run as a separate event, facilitated by CloudCamp organizer Dave Nielsen. There were around 150-200 participants, including conference delegates and other people from the San Diego area who happened to be interested in the Cloud.

Dave started by going through his definition of Cloud Computing. Perhaps he should have known better – starting a discussion on terminology and definitions can be a dangerous thing to do with an Open Group audience. He quickly got into a good-natured argument from which he eventually emerged a little bloodied, metaphorically speaking, but unbowed.

We then had eight “lightning talks”. These were five-minute presentations covering a wide range of topics, including how to get started with Cloud (Margaret Dawson, Hubspan), supplier/consumer relationship (Brian Loesgen, Microsoft), Cloud-based geographical mapping (Ming-Hsiang Tsou, San Diego University), a patterns-based approach to Cloud (Ken Klingensmith, IBM), efficient large-scale data processing (AlexRasmussen, San Diego University), using desktop spare capacity as a Cloud resource (Michael Krumpe, Intelligent Technology Integration), cost-effective large-scale data processing in the Cloud (Patrick Salami, Temboo), and Cloud-based voice and data communication (Chris Matthieu, Tropo).

The participants then split into groups to discuss topics proposed by volunteers. There were eight topics altogether. Some of these were simply explanations of particular products or services offered by the volunteers’ companies. Others related to areas of general interest such as data security and access control, life-changing Cloud applications, and success stories relating to “big data”.

I joined the groups discussing Cloud software development on Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure. These sessions had excellent information content which would be valuable to anyone wishing to get started in – or already engaged in – software development on these platforms. They also brought out two points of general interest. The first is that the dividing line between IaaS and PaaS can be very thin. AWS and Azure are in theory on opposite sides of this divide; in practice they provide the developer with broadly similar capabilities. The second point is that in practice your preferred programming language and software environment is likely to be the determining factor in your choice of Cloud development platform.

Overall, the CloudCamp was a great opportunity for people to absorb the language and attitudes of the Cloud community, to discuss ideas, and to pick up specific technical knowledge. It gave an extra dimension to the conference, and we hope that this can be repeated at future events by The Open Group.

Cloud and SOA are a topic of discussion at The Open Group Conference, San Diego, 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 Open Group and other conferences on a range of topics, and contributes articles to on-line journals. He is a member of the BCS, the IEEE, and the AOGEA, and is a certified TOGAF® practitioner.

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8 Ways to strengthen your business case for using Cloud

By Pamela Isom, IBM

With the rapid emergence of new technologies such as the Cloud, it is important for business executives and stakeholders to focus on the real business challenges and the needs of the enterprise. By examining some of the key business problems that are prompting companies to use the Cloud, it is possible to build a stronger business case for adopting this technology.

I’ve explored many different use-cases for Cloud Computing from several industries and found common drivers throughout. The use-cases demonstrated business value through optimising resources, lowering costs, and providing solutions on-demand when and where customers, partners and employees need it. The following are key business benefits of the Cloud that organizations require to optimise their business performance.

1. The ability to consolidate information across disparate systems with complete transparency to the user. When information is stored in the cloud, the user does not need to know where the information is stored, whether in one cloud server location or more.

2. The ability to modernize business systems at a low-cost and fast speed of deployment. With Cloud Computing, business leaders engage with service providers to “rent” versus “buy” these new innovative services and solutions. This significantly reduces the cost of entry for new solutions and allows businesses to innovate quickly.

3. The ability to move to a remote desktop services model using the Cloud. With this model, users access applications when and where needed, then release the application license back to the Cloud so that other users in the company can share a common pool of licenses.

4. The need to support high storage capacity requirements, which can ebb and flow in size requirement throughout any given month or year. By leveraging storage capacity via the Cloud, businesses use and pay for only the storage capacity they need, when they need it, on demand.

5. Rapid deployment emerges as a consistent business value theme. With Cloud services, new solutions are accessed via the Cloud by end users, lowering time and cost to deploy solutions across many physical locations. Also, with this central control of IT, business value is driven by the ability to centrally manage user access for security purposes, perform IT maintenance, and address any IT problems.

6. The ability to provide IT using self-service capabilities. In the new Cloud model, development employees can self-provision a very specific hardware and software environment for their testing purposes without requiring additional assistance from hardware and software support personnel.

7. The need to support mobile services. Many solutions in enterprises are “going mobile”, whether supporting mobile employees or services to customers via mobile devices. With mobility services accessed and delivered via the Cloud, support for mobile users is transparent and available on-demand at lower costs to the enterprise.

8. The need to support internal and external collaboration for employees and partners. To minimise cost while driving collaboration, many of the use-cases examined take advantage of collaboration via the cloud to share documents and support meetings online to reduce travel costs.

The ability to drive innovation while at the same time lower costs is a true business benefit to any enterprise, and will certainly strengthen any business case for using Cloud.

Republished with permission from Business Computing World, originally published Feb. 2, 2011

Cloud will be a topic of discussion at The Open Group Conference, San Diego, Feb. 7-11. Join us for best practices, case studies and the future of information security, presented by preeminent thought leaders in the industry.

Pamela K. Isom is a Senior Certified, Executive IT Architect with IBM Global Business Services. Pamela joined IBM in June 2000 and currently leads efforts that drive Smarter Planet efficiencies (such as the adoption of Cloud and green computing) throughout client enterprises using, and often times enhancing, its Enterprise Architecture (EA). Pamela is a trusted advisor to clients and she is a hands-on Cloud adoption strategist and implementer. Pamela is a Distinguished Chief/Lead IT Architect with The Open Group where she leads the Cloud Business Use Case Work Group.

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New year, new certification

By Steve Philp, The Open Group

At the beginning of every new calendar year, many organizations discuss with employees specific job-related objectives and career development plans for the next 12 months and beyond. For many individuals, certification is highlighted as something that they should be working towards during the course of the year.

Until recently, virtually all IT certifications have been based on an individual’s recollection of a body of knowledge and his/her ability to pass a computer-based test. Unfortunately, these certifications do not prove that you can apply this knowledge successfully in practice. To achieve certified status you usually have to attend the relevant training course or read the appropriate self-study material before taking the examination. However, knowledge in itself is not an accurate measure of competence and, while question-based tests are practical and objective, they are also more susceptible to fraud.http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=1152

Perhaps a better method of evaluating competence to carry out a specific role is to examine the skills and experience that an individual has demonstrated in his/her work. This type of certification usually requires you to prepare some form of written application followed by either an individual or panel interview which may or may not involve a formal presentation as part of the process.

In recent years, The Open Group has developed the IT Architect Certification (ITAC) and IT Specialist (ITSC) programs that are based entirely on skills and experience, and that assess an individual’s “people skills” as well as their technical abilities. There is no test-based examination but instead, applicants must complete a comprehensive application package and then be interviewed by three existing certified board members. Each of the interviews last for one hour and gives the candidate the opportunity to explain to the interviewer how they have met the conformance requirements of the program.

Many organizations around the world have identified this type of skills- and experienced-based program as a necessary part of the process to develop their own internal IT profession. These certifications can also be used in the recruitment process and help to guarantee a consistent and quality-assured service on project proposals, procurements and on service level agreements. As a result, the benefit of achieving this type of IT certification often proves to be much more rewarding for both individuals and organizations.

Steve PhilpSteve Philp is the Marketing Director for the IT Architect and IT Specialist certification programs at The Open Group. Over the past 20 years, Steve has worked predominantly in sales, marketing and general management roles within the IT training industry. Based in Reading, UK, he joined The Open Group in 2008 to promote and develop the organization’s skills and experience-based IT certifications.

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IT: The professionals

By Steve Philp, The Open Group

The European Commission (EC) recently warned of a potential 350,000-plus shortfall in IT practitioners in the region by 2015 and criticised the UK for failing to adequately promote professionalism in the industry.  According to EC principal administrator André Richier, although Europe has approximately four million IT practitioners, 50 per cent are not IT degree-qualified.certification

While the EC raises some interesting points about the education of those entering the field of IT, it’s important not to lose sight of what’s really important – ensuring IT executives are continually improving and developing their skills and capabilities.

Developments in technology are moving faster than ever and bringing about major changes to the lives of IT professionals.  Today, for instance, it’s crucial IT professionals are not just technical experts but able to speak the language of business and ensure the work of the IT function is closely aligned to business objectives.  This is particularly so when it comes to cloud computing where pressure is mounting for IT teams to clearly articulate the benefits the technology can offer the business.

Business decision makers aren’t interested in the details of cloud computing implementation but do want to know that IT teams understand their situation and are well placed to solve the challenges they face.  In short, they want to know important IT decisions being made in their business are in the hands of true professionals.

ITSCCertification can act as an important mark of professional standards and inspire confidence by verifying the qualities and skills IT executives have with regards to the effective deployment, implementation and operation of IT solutions. It’s these factors that led to the launch of the Open Group’s IT Specialist Certification (ITSC) Programme.  The programme is peer reviewed, vendor-neutral and global, ensuring IT executives can use it to distinguish their skills regardless of the organisation they work for.  As such, it guarantees a professional standard, assuring business leaders that the IT professionals they have in place can help address the challenges they face.  Given the current pressures to do more with less and the rising importance of IT to business, expect to see certification rise in importance in the months ahead.

Steve PhilpSteve Philp is the Marketing Director for the IT Architect and IT Specialist certification programs at The Open Group. Over the past 20 years, Steve has worked predominantly in sales, marketing and general management roles within the IT training industry. Based in Reading, UK, he joined the Open Group in 2008 to promote and develop the organization’s skills and experience-based IT certifications.

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The Newest from SOA: The SOA Ontology Technical Standard

By Heather Kreger, IBM

The Open Group just announced the availability of The Open Group SOA Ontology Technical Standard.

Ontology?? Sounds very ‘semantic Web,’ doesn’t it? Just smacks of reasoning engines. What on earth do architects using SOA want with reasoning engines?

Actually, Ontologies are misunderstood — an Ontology is simply the definition of a set of concepts and the relationships between them for a particular domain — in this case, the domain is SOA.

They don’t HAVE to be used for reasoning… or semantic Web. And they are more than a simple glossary which defines terms, because they also define relationships between them — something important for SOA, we thought. It’s also important to note that they are more formal than Reference Models, usually by providing representations in OWL (just in case you want to use popular tools for Ontology and reasoners).

What would an architect do with THIS ontology?Image credit: jscreationzs

It can be used simply to read and understand the key concepts of SOA, and more importantly, a set of definitions and UNDERSTANDING of key concepts that you can agree to use with others in your company and between organizations. Making sure you are ‘speaking the same language’ is essential for any architect to be able to communicate effectively with IT, business, and marketing professionals within the enterprise as well as with vendors and suppliers outside the enterprise. This common language can help ensure that you can ask the right questions and interpret the answers you get unambiguously.

It can be used as a basis for the models for the SOA solution as well. In fact, this is happening in the SOA repository standard under development in OASIS, S-RAMP, where they have used the SOA Ontology as the foundational business model for registry/repository integration.

The Ontology can also be augmented with additional related domain-specific ontologies; for example, on Governance or Business Process Management… or even in a vertical industry like retail where ARTS is developing service models. In fact, we, the SOA Ontology project, tried to define the minimum, absolutely core concepts needed for SOA and allow other domain experts to define additional details for Policy, Process, Service Contract, etc.

This Ontology was developed to be consistent with existing and developing SOA standards including OMG’s SOA/ML and BPMN and those in The Open Group SOA Workgroup: SOA Governance Framework, OSIMM, and the SOA Reference Architecture. It seems it would have been good to have developed this standard before now, but the good news is that it is grounded in extensive real-world experience developing, deploying and communicating about SOA solutions over the past five years. The Ontology reflects the lessons learned about what terms NOT to use to avoid confusion, and how to best distinguish among some common and often overused concepts like service composition, process, service contracts, and policy and their roles in SOA.

Have a look at the new SOA Ontology and see if it can help you in your communications for SOA. It’s available to you free at this link: http://www.opengroup.org/bookstore/catalog/c104.htm

Additional Links:

Heather KregerHeather Kreger is IBM’s lead architect for Smarter Planet, Policy, and SOA Standards in the IBM Software Group, with 15 years of standards experience. She has led the development of standards for Cloud, SOA, Web services, Management and Java in numerous standards organizations, including W3C, OASIS, DMTF, and Open Group. Heather is currently co-chair for The Open Group’s SOA Work Group and liaison for the Open Group SOA and Cloud Work Groups to ISO/IEC JTC1 SC7 SOA SG and INCITS DAPS38 (US TAG to ISO/IEC JTC 1 SC38). Heather is also the author of numerous articles and specifications, as well as the book Java and JMX, Building Manageable Systems, and most recently was co-editor of Navigating the SOA Open Standards Landscape Around Architecture.

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When IT is really about communication

By Allen Brown, CEO, The Open Group

In his classic book Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, John Gray sets out to give us a guide to understanding the opposite sex. This is something that has been perplexing our species since we first arrived on this the third rock from the sun, yet there is a much more important distinction that we need to understand as IT becomes more and more a part of the enterprise.

BusinessWe hear talk of IT specialists and enterprise and IT architects needing to speak the language of business, but there is much more to it than that. At various times I hear statements like, “What CEOs need to understand is…” or, “Our business leaders do not understand their business processes.” Just as Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady asked that wonderfully expressive yet completely un-PC question, “Why can’t a woman be more like a man?” so are people who are equally exasperated asking, “Why can’t a business leader be more like an IT expert?”

Fortunately we are all different. Business leaders, with some exceptions, do not have their brains wired in a perfectly logical manner nor do they inhabit a planet where everything is clear and every action is obvious.  Instead they live in a world where decisions have to be made based on incomplete information, where risk and reward is the way of life and where things often get done in spite of the organization’s formal structure rather than because of it.

John Gray points out that, “You cannot, nor should you ever try to, change your partner. That is his or her job. Your job is to change the ways you communicate, react and respond to your partner.”

The same is true for us. You cannot, nor should you ever try to change your business leaders. That is their job. Your job is to change the ways you communicate, react and respond to your business leaders.

Allen BrownAllen Brown is the President and CEO of The Open Group. For more than ten years, he has been responsible for driving the organization’s strategic plan and day-to-day operations; he was also instrumental in the creation of The Association of Open Group Enterprise Architects (AOGEA). Allen is based in the U.K.

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Welcome to The Open Group blog

What do you do when you are full of ideas, are privy to the collaboration initiatives between the top IT, security and EA professionals in the world, and have a lot to say?

You start a blog, of course. Welcome to oursWelcome globe

Our members, staff and partners will be expounding here on the hot topics of the day, be they advancing the professionalism of enterprise architecture, the security of Cloud, business transformation and much more. We invite you to join the discussion and visit us often!

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