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San Francisco Conference Observations: Enterprise Transformation, Enterprise Architecture, SOA and a Splash of Cloud Computing

By Chris Harding, The Open Group 

This week I have been at The Open Group conference in San Francisco. The theme was Enterprise Transformation which, in simple terms means changing how your business works to take advantage of the latest developments in IT.

Evidence of these developments is all around. I took a break and went for coffee and a sandwich, to a little cafe down on Pine and Leavenworth that seemed to be run by and for the Millennium generation. True to type, my server pulled out a cellphone with a device attached through which I swiped my credit card; an app read my screen-scrawled signature and the transaction was complete.

Then dinner. We spoke to the hotel concierge, she tapped a few keys on her terminal and, hey presto, we had a window table at a restaurant on Fisherman’s Wharf. No lengthy phone negotiations with the Maitre d’. We were just connected with the resource that we needed, quickly and efficiently.

The power of ubiquitous technology to transform the enterprise was the theme of the inspirational plenary presentation given by Andy Mulholland, Global CTO at Capgemini. Mobility, the Cloud, and big data are the three powerful technical forces that must be harnessed by the architect to move the business to smarter operation and new markets.

Jeanne Ross of the MIT Sloan School of Management shared her recipe for architecting business success, with examples drawn from several major companies. Indomitable and inimitable, she always challenges her audience to think through the issues. This time we responded with, “Don’t small companies need architecture too?” Of course they do, was the answer, but the architecture of a big corporation is very different from that of a corner cafe.

Corporations don’t come much bigger than Nissan. Celso Guiotoko, Corporate VP and CIO at the Nissan Motor Company, told us how Nissan are using enterprise architecture for business transformation. Highlights included the concept of information capitalization, the rationalization of the application portfolio through SOA and reusable services, and the delivery of technology resource through a private cloud platform.

The set of stimulating plenary presentations on the first day of the conference was completed by Lauren States, VP and CTO Cloud Computing and Growth Initiatives at IBM. Everyone now expects business results from technical change, and there is huge pressure on the people involved to deliver results that meet these expectations. IT enablement is one part of the answer, but it must be matched by business process excellence and values-based culture for real productivity and growth.

My role in The Open Group is to support our work on Cloud Computing and SOA, and these activities took all my attention after the initial plenary. If you had, thought five years ago, that no technical trend could possibly generate more interest and excitement than SOA, Cloud Computing would now be proving you wrong.

But interest in SOA continues, and we had a SOA stream including presentations of forward thinking on how to use SOA to deliver agility, and on SOA governance, as well as presentations describing and explaining the use of key Open Group SOA standards and guides: the Service Integration Maturity Model (OSIMM), the SOA Reference Architecture, and the Guide to using TOGAF for SOA.

We then moved into the Cloud, with a presentation by Mike Walker of Microsoft on why Enterprise Architecture must lead Cloud strategy and planning. The “why” was followed by the “how”: Zapthink’s Jason Bloomberg described Representational State Transfer (REST), which many now see as a key foundational principle for Cloud architecture. But perhaps it is not the only principle; a later presentation suggested a three-tier approach with the client tier, including mobile devices, accessing RESTful information resources through a middle tier of agents that compose resources and carry out transactions (ACT).

In the evening we had a CloudCamp, hosted by The Open Group and conducted as a separate event by the CloudCamp organization. The original CloudCamp concept was of an “unconference” where early adopters of Cloud Computing technologies exchange ideas. Its founder, Dave Nielsen, is now planning to set up a demo center where those adopters can experiment with setting up private clouds. This transition from idea to experiment reflects the changing status of mainstream cloud adoption.

The public conference streams were followed by a meeting of the Open Group Cloud Computing Work Group. This is currently pursuing nine separate projects to develop standards and guidance for architects using cloud computing. The meeting in San Francisco focused on one of these – the Cloud Computing Reference Architecture. It compared submissions from five companies, also taking into account ongoing work at the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), with the aim of creating a base from which to create an Open Group reference architecture for Cloud Computing. This gave a productive finish to a busy week of information gathering and discussion.

Ralph Hitz of Visana, a health insurance company based in Switzerland, made an interesting comment on our reference architecture discussion. He remarked that we were not seeking to change or evolve the NIST service and deployment models. This may seem boring, but it is true, and it is right. Cloud Computing is now where the automobile was in 1920. We are pretty much agreed that it will have four wheels and be powered by gasoline. The business and economic impact is yet to come.

So now I’m on my way to the airport for the flight home. I checked in online, and my boarding pass is on my cellphone. Big companies, as well as small ones, now routinely use mobile technology, and my airline has a frequent-flyer app. It’s just a shame that they can’t manage a decent cup of coffee.

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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Filed under Cloud, Cloud/SOA, Conference, Enterprise Architecture, Enterprise Transformation, Service Oriented Architecture, Standards

The Open Group San Francisco Conference: Day 1 Highlights

By The Open Group Conference Team

With the end of the first day of the conference, here are a few key takeaways from Monday’s key note sessions:

The Enterprise Architect: Architecting Business Success

Jeanne Ross, Director & Principal Research Scientist, MIT Center for Information Systems Research

Ms. Ross began the plenary discussing the impact of enterprise architecture on the whole enterprise. According to Ross “we live in a digital economy, and in order to succeed, we need to excel in enterprise architecture.” She went on to say that the current “plan, build, use” model has led to a lot of application silos. Ms. Ross also mentioned that enablement doesn’t work well; while capabilities are being built, they are grossly underutilized within most organizations.

Enterprise architects need to think about what capabilities their firms will exploit – both in the short- and long-terms. Ms. Ross went on to present case studies from Aetna, Protection 1, USAA, Pepsi America and Commonwealth of Australia. In each of these examples, architects provided the following business value:

  • Helped senior executives clarify business goals
  • Identified architectural capability that can be readily exploited
  • Presented Option and their implications for business goals
  • Built Capabilities incrementally

A well-received quote from Ms. Ross during the Q&A portion of the session was, “Someday, CIOs will report to EA – that’s the way it ought to be!”

How Enterprise Architecture is Helping Nissan IT Transformation

Celso Guiotoko, Corporate Vice President and CIO, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.

Mr. Guiotoko presented the steps that Nissan took to improve the efficiency of its information systems. The company adapted BEST – an IT mid-term plan that helped led enterprise transformation within the organization. BEST was comprised of the following components:

  • Business Alignment
  • Enterprise Architecture
  • Selective Sourcing
  • Technology Simplification

Guided by BEST and led by strong Enterprise Architecture, Nissan saw the following results:

  • Reduced cost per user from 1.09 to 0.63
  • 230,000 return with 404 applications reduced
  • Improved solution deployment time
  • Significantly reduced hardware costs

Nissan recently created the next IT mid-term plan called “VITESSE,” which stands for value information, technology, simplification and service excellence. Mr. Guiotoko said that VITESSE will help the company achieve its IT and business goals as it moves toward the production of zero-emissions vehicles.

The Transformed Enterprise

Andy Mulholland, Global CTO, Capgemini

Mr. Mulholland began the presentation by discussing what parts of technology comprise today’s enterprise and asking the question, “What needs to be done to integrate these together?” Enterprise technology is changing rapidly and  the consumerization of IT only increasing. Mr. Mulholland presented a statistic from Gartner predicting that up to 35 percent of enterprise IT expenditures will be managed outside of the IT department’s budget by 2015. He then referenced the PC revolution when enterprises were too slow to adapt to employees needs and adoption of technology.

There are three core technology clusters and standards that are emerging today in the form of Cloud, mobility and big data, but there are no business process standards to govern them. In order to not repeat the same mistakes of the PC revolution, organizations need to move from an inside-out model to an outside-in model – looking at the activities and problems within the enterprise then looking outward versus looking at those problems from the outside in. Outside-in, Mulholland argued, will increase productivity and lead to innovative business models, ultimately enabling your enterprise to keep up the current technology trends.

Making Business Drive IT Transformation through Enterprise Architecture

Lauren States, VP & CTO of Cloud Computing and Growth Initiatives, IBM Corp.

Ms. States began her presentation by describing today’s enterprise – flat, transparent and collaborative. In order to empower this emerging type of enterprise, she argued that CEOs need to consider data a strategic initiative.

Giving the example of the CMO within the enterprise to reflect how changing technologies affect their role, she stated, “CMOS are overwhelming underprepared for the data explosion and recognize a need to invest in and integrate technology and analytics.” CIOs and architects need to use business goals and strategy to set the expectation of IT. Ms. States also said that organizations need to focus on enabling growth, productivity and cultural change – factors are all related and lead to enterprise transformation.

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The conference will continue tomorrow with overarching themes that include enterprise transformation, security and SOA. For more information about the conference, please go here: http://www3.opengroup.org/sanfrancisco2012

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Filed under Cloud, Cloud/SOA, Data management, Enterprise Architecture, Enterprise Transformation, Semantic Interoperability, Standards