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

By The Open Group

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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Filed under ArchiMate®, Boundaryless Information Flow™, Business Architecture, Conference, Cybersecurity, EMMMv™, Enterprise Architecture, FACE™, Healthcare, O-TTF, RISK Management, Standards, TOGAF®

One Year Later: A Q&A Interview with Chris Harding and Dave Lounsbury about Open Platform 3.0™

By The Open Group

The Open Group launched its Open Platform 3.0™ Forum nearly one year ago at the 2013 Sydney conference. Open Platform 3.0 refers to the convergence of new and emerging technology trends such as Mobile, Social, Big Data, Cloud and the Internet of Things, as well as the new business models and system designs these trends are pushing organizations toward due to the consumerization of IT and evolving user behaviors. The Forum was created to help organizations address the architectural and structural considerations that businesses must consider to take advantage of and benefit from this evolutionary shift in how technology is used.

We sat down with The Open Group CTO Dave Lounsbury and Open Platform 3.0 Director Dr. Chris Harding at the recent San Francisco conference to catch up on the Forum’s activities and progress since launch and what they’ll be working on during 2014.

The Open Group’s Forum, Open Platform 3.0, was launched almost a year ago in April of 2013. What has the Forum been working on over the past year?

Chris Harding (CH): We launched at the Sydney conference in April of last year. What we’ve done since then first of all was to look at the requirements for the platform, and we did this using the proven TOGAF® technique of the Business Scenario. So over the course of last summer, the summer of 2013, we developed a Business Scenario capturing the requirements for Open Platform 3.0 and that was published just before The Open Group conference in October. Following that conference, the main activity that we’ve been doing is in fact furthering the requirements space. We’ve been developing analysis of use cases, so currently we have 22 different use cases that members of the forum have put together which are illustrating the use of the convergent technologies and most importantly the use of them in combination with each other.

What we’re doing here in this meeting in San Francisco is to obtain from that basis of requirements and use cases an understanding of what the platform fundamentally should be because it is our intention to produce a Snapshot definition of the platform by the end of March. So in the first year of the Forum, we hope that we will finish that year by producing a Snapshot definition of Open Platform 3.0.

Dave Lounsbury (DL): First, the roots of the Open Platform go deeper. Previous to that we had a number of works groups in the areas of Cloud, SOA and some other ones in terms of Semantic Interoperability. All of those were early pieces, and what we saw at the beginning of 2013 was a coalescing of that into this concept that businesses were looking for a new platform for their operations that combined aspects of Social, Mobile, Cloud computing, Big Data and the analytics that go along with it. We saw that emerging in the marketplace, and we formed the Forum to develop that direction. The Open Group always takes an end-to-end view of any problem – we like to look at the whole ecosystem. We want to make sure that the technical standards aren’t just point targets and actually address a business need.

Some of the work groups within The Open Group, such as Quantum Lifecycle Management (QLM) and Semantic Interoperability, have been brought under the umbrella of Open Platform 3.0, most notably the Cloud Work Group. How will the work of these groups continue under Platform 3.0?

CH: Some of the work already going on in The Open Group was directly or indirectly relevant to Open Platform 3.0. And that first and most importantly was the work of the Cloud Work Group, Cloud being one of the convergent technologies, and the Cloud Work Group became a part of Platform 3.0. Two other activities also became a part of Open Platform 3.0, one was of these was the Semantic Interoperability Work Group, and that is because we recognized that Semantic Interoperability has to be an important part of how these technologies work with each other. Though it may not be that we have a full definition of that in the first version of the standard – it’s a notoriously difficult area – but over the course of time, we hope to incorporate a Semantic Interoperability component in the Platform definition and that may well build on the work that we’ve been doing with the Universal Data Element Framework, the UDEF project, which is currently undergoing a major restructuring. The key thing from the Open Platform 3.0 perspective is how the semantic convention relates to the convergence of the technologies in the platform.

In terms of QLM, that became part become of Open Platform 3.0 because one of the key convergent technologies is the Internet of Things, and QLM overlaps significantly with that. QLM is not about the Internet of Things, as such, but it does have a strong component of understanding the way networked sensors and controls work, so that’s become an important contribution to the new Forum.

DL: Like in any platform there’s going to be multiple components. In Open Platform 3.0, one of the big drivers for this change is Big Data. Big Data is very trendy, right? But where does Big Data come from? Well, it comes from increased connectivity, increased use of mobile devices, increased use of sensors –  the ‘Internet of Things.’ All of these things are generating data about usage patterns, where people are, what they’re doing, what that they‘re buying, what they’re interested in and what their likes and dislikes are, creating a massive flood of data. Now the question becomes ‘how do you compute on that data?’ You need to handle that massively scalable stream of data. You need massively scalable computing  underneath it, you need the ability to move large amounts of information from one place to another. When you think about the analysis of data like that, you have algorithms that do a lot of data access and they’ll have big spikes of computation, as they create some model of it. If you’re going to look at 10 zillion records, you don’t want to buy enough computers so you can always look at 10 zillion records, you want to be able to turn that on, do your analysis and turn it back off.  That’s, of course, why Cloud is a critical component of Open Platform 3.0.

Open Platform 3.0 encompasses a lot of different technologies as well as how they are converging. How do you piece apart everything that Platform 3.0 entails to begin to formulate a standard for it?

CH: I mentioned that we developed 22 use cases. The way that we’re addressing this is to look at use cases and the business and technical ecosystems that those use cases exemplify and to abstract from that some fundamental architectural patterns. These we believe will be the basis for the initial definition of the platform.

DL: That gets back to this question about how were starting up. Again it’s The Open Group’s mantra that we look at a business problem as an end-to-end problem. So what you’ll see in Open Platform 3.0, is that we’ve done the Business Scenario to figure out what’s the business motivator, what do business people need to get this done, and we’re fleshing that out with these details in these detailed use cases.

One of the things that we’re very careful about in The Open Group is that we don’t replicate what’s going on in other standards bodies. If you look at what’s going on in Cloud, and what continues to go on in Cloud under the Open Platform 3.0, banner, we really focused in on what do business people really need in the cloud guides – those are how business people really use it.  We’ve stayed away for a long time from the bits and bytes – we’re now doing a Cloud Reference Architecture – but we’ve also created the Cloud Ecosystem Reference Model, which was just published. That Cloud Ecosystem Reference Model, if you read through it, isn’t about how bits flow around, it’s about how partners interact with each other – what to look for in your Cloud partner, who are the players? When you go to use Cloud in your business, what players do you have to engage with? What are the roles that you have to engage with them on? So again it’s really that business level of guidance that The Open Group is really good at, and we do liaison with other organizations in order to get technical stuff if we need it – or if not, we’ll create it ourselves because we’ve got very competent technical people – but again, it’s that balanced business approach that distinguishes The Open Group way.

Many industry pundits have said that Open Platform 3.0 is ultimately about a shift toward user-driven IT. How does that change the standards making process when most standards are ultimately put in place by technologists not necessarily end-users?

CH:  It’s an interesting question. I mentioned the Business Scenario that we developed over the summer – one of the key things that came out of that was that there is this shift towards a more direct use of the technologies by business users.  And that is partly because it’s becoming more possible. Cloud is one of the key factors that has shortened the cycle of procuring and putting IT in place to support business use, and made it more possible to manage IT directly. At the same time [users are] becoming impatient with delay and wanting to gain the benefits of technology directly and not at arms length through the IT department. We’re seeing in connection with these phenomena such as the business technologist, the technical specialist who works with or is employed by the business department rather than within a separate IT department, and one of whose key strengths is an understanding of the business.  So that is certainly an important dimension that we’re seeing and one of the requirements for the Platform is that it should be usable in an environment where business is using IT more directly.

But that wasn’t the question you asked. The question was, ‘isn’t it a problem that the standards are defined by technologists?’ We don’t believe it’s a problem provided that the technologists do have an understanding of the business environment. That was why in the Business Scenario activity that we conducted, one of the key inputs was a roundtable workshop with CIO level people, and that is where a lot of our perspective on why things are changing comes from. Open Platform 3.0 certainly does have dimension of fundamental architecture patterns and part of that is business architecture patterns but it also has a technical dimension, and obviously you do really need the technical people to explore that dimension though they do always need to keep in mind the technology is there to serve the business.

DL: If you actually look at trends in the marketplace about how IT is done, and in fact if you look at the last blog post that Allen [Brown] did about agile, the whole thrust of agile methodologies and its successor DevOps is to really get the implementers right next to the business people and have a very tight arrangement in order to get fast iteration and really have the implementer do what the business person needs. I actually view consumerization not as some outside threat but actually a logical extension of that trend. What’s happening in my opinion is that people who are not technologists, who are not part of the IT department, are getting comfortable using and managing their own technology. And so they’re making decisions that used to be made by the IT department years ago – or what used to be the IT department. First there was the big mainframe, and you handed in your cards at a window and you got your printout in your little cubby hole. Then the IT department bought your PC, and now we bring our own devices. There’s nothing wrong with that, that’s people getting comfortable with technology and making decisions. I think that’s one of the reasons we have need for an Open Platform 3.0 approach – to develop business guidance and eventually technical standards on how we keep up with that trend. Because it’s a very natural trend – people want to control the resources they need to get their job done, and if those resources are technical resources, and they’re comfortable doing that, great!

Convergence and Open Platform 3.0 seem to take us closer and closer to The Open Group’s vision of Boundaryless Information Flow™.  Is Open Platform 3.0 the fulfillment of that vision?

DL: I think I’d be crazy to say that it’s the endpoint of that vision. I think being able to move large amounts of data and make decisions on it is a significant step forward in Boundaryless Information Flow, but this is a two-edged sword. I talked about all that data being generated by mobile devices and sensors and retail networks and social networks and things like that. That data is growing exponentially.  The number of people who can make decisions on that data are growing at best linearly and not very quickly. So if there’s all this data out there and nobody to look at it, we need to ask if we have we lowered the boundary for communications or have we actually raised it by creating a pile of data that no one can climb? That’s why I think a next step is, in fact, more machine-assisted analytics and predictive analytics and machine learning that will help humans digest and understand that data. That will be, I think, yet another step toward Boundaryless Information Flow. Moving bits around does not equate to information flow – its only information when it moves from data to being information in a human’s brain. Until we lower that barrier as well, we’re not there. And even beyond that, there’s still lots of things that can be done, in terms of breaking down human language barriers and things like that or social networks in more intuitive ways. I think there’s a long way to go. I think this is a really important step forward, but fulfillment is too strong a word.

CH:  Not in itself, I don’t believe. It is a major contribution towards the vision of Boundaryless Information Flow but it is not the complete fulfillment of that vision. Since we’ve formulated the problem statement of Boundaryless Information Flow there have been a number of developments that have impacted on it and maybe helped to bring it closer. So you might think of SOA as an important enabling technology for Boundaryless Information Flow, replacing the information silos with interacting services. Now we’re seeing Open Platform 3.0, which is certainly going to have a service-oriented flavor, shall we say, although it probably will not look exactly like traditional SOA. The Boundaryless Information Flow requirement was a very far-reaching problem statement. The Interoperable Business Scenario was where it was first set out and since then we’ve been gradually making process toward it. Open Platform 3.0 will bring it closer, but I’m sure there will be other things still needed to make it happen. 

One of the key things for Boundaryless Information Flow is Enterprise Architecture. So within a particular enterprise, the business and IT needs to be architected to enable Boundaryless Information Flow, and TOGAF is the method that is defined and maintained by The Open Group for how enterprises define enterprise architectures. Open Platform 3.0 will complement that by providing a ‘this is what an architecture looks like that enables the business to take advantage of this new converging technologies.’ But there will still be a need for the Enterprise Architect to put that together with the other particular factors involved in an enterprise to create an architecture for Boundaryless Information Flow within that enterprise.

When can we expect the first standard from Open Platform 3.0?

DL: Well, we published the Cloud Ecosystem Reference Guide, and again the understanding of how business partners relate in the Cloud world is a key component of Open Platform 3.0. The Forum has a roadmap, and will start publishing the case studies still in process.

The message I would say is there’s already early value in the Cloud Ecosystem Reference Model, which is a logical continuation of cloud work that had already gone on in the Work Group, but is now part of the Forum as part of Open Platform 3.0.

CH: That’s always a tricky question however I can tell you what is planned. The intention, as I said, was to produce a Snapshot definition by the end of March and, given we are a quarter of the way through the meeting at this conference, which is the key meeting that will define the basis for that, the progress has been good so far, so I’m optimistic. A Snapshot is not a Standard. A Snapshot is a statement of ‘this is what we are thinking and might be what it will look like,’ but it’s not guaranteed in any way that the Standard will follow the Snapshot. We are intending to produce the first Standard definition of the platform in about a year’s time after the Snapshot.  That will give the opportunity for people not only within The Open Group but outside The Open Group to give us input and further understanding of the way people intend to use the platform as feedback on the snapshot, which should be the basis for the first published standard.

For more on the Open Platform 3.0 Forum, please visit: http://www3.opengroup.org/subjectareas/platform3.0.

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

Chris HardingDr. 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, and the Open Platform 3.0 Forum. He is a member of the BCS, the IEEE and the AEA, and is a certified TOGAF® practitioner.

Dave LounsburyDave is Chief Technical Officer (CTO) and Vice President, Services for The Open Group. As CTO, he ensures that The Open Group’s people and IT resources are effectively used to implement the organization’s strategy and mission.  As VP of Services, Dave leads the delivery of The Open Group’s proven collaboration processes for collaboration and certification both within the organization and in support of third-party consortia. Dave holds a degree in Electrical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and is holder of three U.S. patents.

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Filed under Cloud, Cloud/SOA, Conference, Open Platform 3.0, Standards, TOGAF®

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

By The Open Group

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

The Open Group San Francisco 2014 – Day Two Highlights

By Loren K. Baynes, Director, Global Marketing Communications

Day two, February 4th, of The Open Group San Francisco conference kicked off with a welcome and opening remarks from Steve Nunn, COO of The Open Group and CEO of the Association of Enterprise Architects.

Nunn introduced Allen Brown, President and CEO of The Open Group, who provided highlights from The Open Group’s last quarter.  As of Q4 2013, The Open Group had 45,000 individual members in 134 countries hailing from 449 member companies in 38 countries worldwide. Ten new member companies have already joined The Open Group in 2014, and 24 members joined in the last quarter of 2013, with the first member company joining from Vietnam. In addition, 6,500 individuals attended events sponsored by The Open Group in Q4 2013 worldwide.

Updates on The Open Group’s ongoing work were provided including updates on the FACE™ Consortium, DirectNet® Waveform Standard, Architecture Forum, Archimate® Forum, Open Platform 3.0™ Forum and Security Forum.

Of note was the ongoing development of TOGAF® and introduction of a three-volume work including individual volumes outlining the TOGAF framework, guidance and tools and techniques for the standard, as well as collaborative work that allows the Archimate modeling language to be used for risk management in enterprise architectures.

In addition, Open Platform 3.0 Forum has already put together 22 business use cases outlining ROI and business value for various uses related to technology convergence. The Cloud Work Group’s Cloud Reference Architecture has also been submitted to ISO for international standards certification, and the Security Forum has introduced certification programs for OpenFAIR risk management certification for individuals.

The morning plenary centered on The Open Group’s Dependability through Assuredness™ (O-DA) Framework, which was released last August.

Speaking first about the framework was Dr. Mario Tokoro, Founder and Executive Advisor for Sony Computer Science Laboratories. Dr. Tokoro gave an overview of the Dependable Embedded OS project (DEOS), a large national project in Japan originally intended to strengthen the country’s embedded systems. After considerable research, the project leaders discovered they needed to consider whether large, open systems could be dependable when it came to business continuity, accountability and ensuring consistency throughout the systems’ lifecycle. Because the boundaries of large open systems are ever-changing, the project leaders knew they must put together dependability requirements that could accommodate constant change, allow for continuous service and provide continuous accountability for the systems based on consensus. As a result, they put together a framework to address both the change accommodation cycle and failure response cycles for large systems – this framework was donated to The Open Group’s Real-Time Embedded Systems Forum and released as the O-DA standard.

Dr. Tokoro’s presentation was followed by a panel discussion on the O-DA standard. Moderated by Dave Lounsbury, VP and CTO of The Open Group, the panel included Dr. Tokoro; Jack Fujieda, Founder and CEO ReGIS, Inc.; T.J. Virdi, Senior Enterprise IT Architect at Boeing; and Bill Brierly, Partner and Senior Consultant, Conexiam. The panel discussed the importance of openness for systems, iterating the conference theme of boundaries and the realities of having standards that can ensure openness and dependability at the same time. They also discussed how the O-DA standard provides end-to-end requirements for system architectures that also account for accommodating changes within the system and accountability for it.

Lounsbury concluded the track by iterating that assuring systems’ dependability is not only fundamental to The Open Group mission of Boundaryless Information Flow™ and interoperability but also in preventing large system failures.

Tuesday’s late morning sessions were split into two tracks, with one track continuing the Dependability through Assuredness theme hosted by Joe Bergmann, Forum Chair of The Open Group’s Real-Time and Embedded Systems Forum. In this track, Fujieda and Brierly furthered the discussion of O-DA outlining the philosophy and vision of the standard, as well as providing a roadmap for the standard.

In the morning Business Innovation & Transformation track, Alan Hakimi, Consulting Executive, Microsoft presented “Zen and the Art of Enterprise Architecture: The Dynamics of Transformation in a Complex World.” Hakimi emphasized that transformation needs to focus on a holistic view of an organization’s ecosystem and motivations, economics, culture and existing systems to help foster real change. Based on Buddhist philosophy, he presented an eightfold path to transformation that can allow enterprise architects to approach transformation and discuss it with other architects and business constituents in a way that is meaningful to them and allows for complexity and balance.

This was followed by “Building the Knowledge-Based Enterprise,” a session given by Bob Weisman, Head Management Consultant for Build the Vision.

Tuesday’s afternoon sessions centered on a number of topics including Business Innovation and Transformation, Risk Management, Archimate, TOGAF tutorials and case studies and Professional Development.

In the Archimate track, Vadim Polyakov of Inovalon, Inc., presented “Implementing an EA Practice in an Agile Enterprise” a case study centered on how his company integrated its enterprise architecture with the principles of agile development and how they customized the Archimate framework as part of the process.

The Risk Management track featured William Estrem, President, Metaplexity Associates, and Jim May of Windsor Software discussing how the Open FAIR Standard can be used in conjunction with TOGAF 9.1 to enhance risk management in organizations in their session, “Integrating Open FAIR Risk Analysis into the Enterprise Architecture Capability.” Jack Jones, President of CXOWARE, also discussed the best ways for “Communicating the Value Proposition” for cohesive enterprise architectures to business managers using risk management scenarios.

The plenary sessions and many of the track sessions from today’s tracks can be viewed on The Open Group’s Livestream channel at http://new.livestream.com/opengroup.

The day culminated with dinner and a Lion Dance performance in honor of Chinese New Year performed by Leung’s White Crane Lion & Dragon Dance School of San Francisco.

We would like to express our gratitude for the support by our following sponsors:  BIZZDesign, Corso, Good e-Learning, I-Server and Metaplexity Associates.

IMG_1460 copy

O-DA standard panel discussion with Dave Lounsbury, Bill Brierly, Dr. Mario Tokoro, Jack Fujieda and TJ Virdi

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Filed under Conference, Enterprise Architecture, Enterprise Transformation, Standards, TOGAF®, Uncategorized

The Open Group London – Day Two Highlights

By Loren K. Baynes, Director, Global Marketing Communications

We eagerly jumped into the second day of our Business Transformation conference in London on Tuesday October 22nd!  The setting is the magnificent Central Hall Westminster.

Steve Nunn, COO of The Open Group and CEO of Association of Enterprise Architects (AEA), started off the morning introducing our plenary based on Healthcare Transformation.  Steve noted that the numbers in healthcare spend are huge and bringing Enterprise Architecture (EA) to healthcare will help with efficiencies.

The well-renowned Dr. Peter Sudbury, Healthcare Specialist with HP Enterprise Services, discussed the healthcare crisis (dollars, demand, demographics), the new healthcare paradigm, barriers to change and innovation. Dr. Sudbury also commented on the real drivers of healthcare costs: healthcare inflation is higher intrinsically; innovation increases cost; productivity improvements lag other industries.

IMG_sudburyDr. Peter Sudbury

Dr. Sudbury, Larry Schmidt (Chief Technologist, HP) and Roar Engen (Head of Enterprise Architecture, Helse Sør-Øst RHF, Norway) participated in the Healthcare Transformation Panel, moderated by Steve Nunn.  The group discussed opportunities for improvement by applying EA in healthcare.  They mentioned that physicians, hospitals, drug manufacturers, nutritionists, etc. should all be working together and using Boundaryless Information Flow™ to ensure data is smoothly shared across all entities.  It was also stated that TOGAF® is beneficial for efficiencies.

Following the panel, Dr. Mario Tokoro (Founder & Executive Advisor of Sony Computer Science Laboratories, Inc. Japanese Science & Technology Agency, DEOS Project Leader) reviewed the Dependability through Assuredness™ standard, a standard of The Open Group.

The conference also offered many sessions in Finance/Commerce, Government and Tutorials/Workshops.

Margaret Ford, Consult Hyperion, UK and Henk Jonkers of BIZZdesign, Netherlands discussed “From Enterprise Architecture to Cyber Security Risk Assessment”.  The key takeaways were: complex cyber security risks require systematic, model-based risk assessment; attack navigators can provide this by linking ArchiMate® to the Risk Taxonomy.

“Applying Service-Oriented Architecture within a Business Technology Environment in the Finance Sector” was presented by Gerard Peters, Managing Consultant, Capgemini, The Netherlands. This case study is part of a white paper on Service-Oriented Architecture for Business Technology (SOA4BT).

You can view all of the plenary and many of the track presentations at livestream.com.  And for those who attended, full conference proceedings will be available.

The night culminated with a spectacular experience on the London Eye, the largest Ferris wheel in Europe located on the River Thames.

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Filed under ArchiMate®, Cloud/SOA, Enterprise Architecture, Enterprise Transformation, Healthcare, Professional Development, Service Oriented Architecture, TOGAF®

The Open Group TweetJam on Digital-Disruption – by Tom Graves

On 2 October 2013, the Open Group ran one of its occasional ‘TweetJam’ Twitter-discussions – also known as an #ogChat. This time it was on digital disruption – disruption to existing business-models, typically (but, as we will see, not only) by changes in technology.

I think I captured almost all of the one-hour conversation – all tweets tagged with the #ogChat hashtag – but I may well have missed a few here and there. I’ve also attempted to bring the cross-chat (@soandso references) into correct sense-order, but I’ll admit I’m likely to have made more errors there. Each text-line is essentially as published on Twitter, minus the RT @ prefix and the identifying #ogChat tag.

The legal bit: Copyright of each statement is as per Twitter’s published policy: I make no claim whatsoever to any of the tweets here other than my own (i.e. tetradian). The material is re-published here under ‘fair-use’ rules for copyright, as a public service to the enterprise-architecture community.

The TweetJam was split into seven sections, each guided by a question previously summarised on the Open Group website – see Open Group, ‘Leading Business Disruption Strategy with Enterprise Architecture‘. I’ve also added a few extra comments of my own after each section.

Introductions

(The TweetJam started with a request for each person to introduce themselves, which also serves as a useful cross-reference between name and Twitter-ID. Not every who joined in the TweetJam did this, but most did so – enough to help make sense of the conversation, anyway.)

  • theopengroup: Please introduce yourself and get ready for question 1, identified by “Q1″ …and so on. You may respond with “A1″ and so on using #ogChat // And do tweet your agreement/disagreement with other participants’ views using #ogChat, we’re interested to hear from all sides #EntArch
  • enterprisearchs: Hi all, from Hugh Evans, Enterprise Architects (@enterprisearchs), CEO and Founder
  • tetradian: Tom Graves (tetradian)
  • eatraining: Craig Martin
  • TheWombatWho: Andrew Gallagher – Change Strategy / Business Architect
  • chrisjharding: Hi from Chris Harding, The Open Group Forum Director for Open Platform 3.0
  • dianedanamac: Good day! Social Media Manager, Membership & Events at @theopengroup   I’m your contact if you have questions on The Open Group.
  • InfoRacer: Chris Bradley
  • David_A_OHara: Hi all, Dave O’Hara here, enteprise/biz architect
  • TalmanAJ: Aarne Talman – IT Startegy/EA consultant at Accenture
  • zslayton: Good morning.  Zach Slayton here from Collaborative Consulting @consultcollab
  • efeatherston: Good morning. Ed Featherston, Enterprise Arch from Collaborative Consulting
  • filiphdr: Filip Hendrickx, business architect @AE_NV
  • Frustin_Jetwell: Hello, I’m late, Justin Fretwell here, technical enterprise architecture

Question 1: What is ‘disruption’?

  • theopengroup: Let’s kick things off: Q1 What is #Disruption? #EntArch
  • TheWombatWho: A1 Disruption is normality
  • enterprisearchs: A1 Disruptors offer a new #BizModel that defines a different frontier of value
  • enterprisearchs: A1 Disruptors often introduce new technologies or processes that set them apart
  • chrisjharding: A1 Could be many things. Cloud, mobile, social, and other new technologies are disrupting the relation between business and IT
  • tetradian: A1: anything that changes business-as-usual (scale from trivial to world-shaking)
  • enterprisearchs: A1 Disruptors offer equal or better performance at prices incumbents can’t match
  • TheWombatWho: A1 agree with @tetradian but add that it is normal state of things.
  • David_A_OHara: A1,  not just tech-led disruption, but consumers actively driving innovation by finding new ways to use tech in work & social lives
  • zslayton: A1:  Disruptors are anything that breaks a norm or widely-held paradigm
  • enterprisearchs: A1 #Disruption begins when the entrant catches up to incumbents
  • InfoRacer: A1 Disruption is inevitable & BAU for many organisations these day
  • chrisjharding: @TheWombatWho Yes we live in disruptive (and interesting) times.
  • enterprisearchs: A1 Thanks to disruptive forces business models now have a much shorter shelf-life
  • DadaBeatnik: A1: To disrupt doesn’t mean more of the same. Example – iPhone was a true disrupter – no more Blackberry!
  • TalmanAJ: A1: Business disruptors offer new business model(s).
  • eatraining: A1 Innovation that creates a new value network or reorganized value system
  • TheWombatWho: A1 Disruptors can be global mega trends but can be localised.  Localised can provide ‘canary down the mine’ opportunity
  • TalmanAJ: A1: IT disruptors fundamentally change the way IT supports business models or change the business model
  • tetradian: .@TheWombatWho: A1 “…but add that [disruption] is normal state of things” – problem is that many folks don’t recognise that! :-)
  • chrisjharding: @David_A_OHara and disrupting traditional organization because they want to use it hands on, not through IT department
  • efeatherston: @chrisjharding good point on the bypassing IT, thats the #mobile disruption in full force
  • DadaBeatnik: Re: “disruption” read http://t.co/y0HrM3fcKH
  • eatraining: A1 Digital allows a far more effective entrepreneur and innovator environment, putting disruptive pressures on incumbents

Note an important point that’s perhaps easily missed (as some responders in fact do): that ‘disruption’ may include technology, or may be driven by technology – but that’s not always the case at all. Consider, for example, the huge disruption – on a literally global scale – caused by financial deregulation in the US in the 1980s and beyond: changes in law, not technology.

And, yes, as several people commented above, significant disruptions are becoming more common and more intense – a trend that most of us in EA would probably accept is only accelerating. As some might suggest, “you ain’t seen nothin’ yet…”: certainly the old stable-seeming business-models and seeming-guaranteed ‘sustainable competitive-advantage’ and the like would seem to be like pleasant fantasies from a fast-fading past…

Question 2: What is ‘digital disruption’?

  • theopengroup: Q2 Some interesting views on disruption, but what then, is #DigitalDisruption?
  • efeatherston: A2: disruption that is focused/based on technology issue, changes in technology, how things are done
  • enterprisearchs: A2 Disruptive business models that leverage digital capabilities to create, distribute or market their offerings
  • enterprisearchs: A2 Commonly applies #Cloud, #Mobile, #Social and or #BigData capabilities
  • efeatherston: A2: yes, #SMAC is the latest #digitaldisruption
  • TheWombatWho: A2 key with digital is not the medium it is the shift of power & control to the end user.  Digital enables it but its power shift
  • tetradian: A2: ‘digital’ used to mean technology, also to mean e.g. social/mobile (i.e. not solely technology) or more open business generally
  • enterprisearchs: A2 Many incumbents defend #digitaldisruption by moving to customer centric #BizModel
  • chrisjharding: A2 Disruption caused by digital technology – the main source of enterprise disruption today
  • enterprisearchs: A2 #digitaldisruption is seeing a convergence of business, technology and marketing disciplines
  • eatraining: A1&A2 Disruption not always digital but is it always technological? JEEP disruption on modern warfare
  • zslayton: @TheWombatWho Agreed…excellent point.  Shift towards user is key for #SMAC especially
  • Technodad: @TalmanAJ Agree – but digital disruption also invalidates existing business models.
  • enterprisearchs: A2 #Cloud enables ubiquitous access and effortless scalability
  • enterprisearchs: A2 #Mobile offers access anywhere, anytime and opens up previously untapped socioeconomic segments
  • enterprisearchs: A2 #Social accelerates viral uptake of demand and opinion, creating brand opportunities and threats
  • chrisjharding: @efeatherston They do what works for the business
  • TheWombatWho: A2 @enterprisearchs is it really marketing?  That discipline is going through fundamental change – hardly recognisable old vs new
  • David_A_OHara: @eatraining  real disruption now social rather than purely technical but enabled by seamless integration of tech in daily life
  • zslayton: @enterprisearchs #cloud = effortless scalability…a bit of an over-simplification but I do get your point.
  • efeatherston: @chrisjharding agree completely, just changes the paradigm for IT who are struggling to adapt
  • enterprisearchs: A2 #BigData enables ultra-personalisation of customer experience and powerful market insights
  • InfoRacer: A2 Digital Disruption also means avoiding blind alleys & the “me too” chase after some trends.  Eg #BigData isn’t necessarily…
  • TheWombatWho: @enterprisearchs its where work of Marshall McLuhan is worth a revisit.
  • chrisjharding: @David_A_OHara @eatraining social disruption caused by tech-based social media
  • DadaBeatnik: Some of these answers sound like they come from one of those buzzword phrase generators!
  • InfoRacer: @DadaBeatnik Like Predictive big cloud master data governance ;-) Surely the next big thang!
  • David_A_OHara: @enterprisearchs easier to deploy mobile internet vs fixed in growing economies: demand from developing world is uncharted territory
  • eatraining: A2 Digital reduces barriers to entry and blurs category boundaries
  • efeatherston: @David_A_OHara @eatraining #socialmedia definitely having impact, how people interact with tech in personal now fully into business
  • zslayton: @David_A_OHara @enterprisearchs Business models in developing world also uncharted.  New opportunities and challenges
  • David_A_OHara: @chrisjharding @eatraining yup, we have lived through a rapid (tech-enabled) social revolution almost without realising!
  • TheWombatWho: A2 its not the ‘technology’ it’s what ‘they do with it’ that changes everything.  Old IT paradigms are yet to adapt to this
  • Technodad: @David_A_OHara Agree – Near-ubiquitous global-scale communication channels changes balance between customer and enterprise.
  • chrisjharding: @David_A_OHara @eatraining yes – and it’s not finished yet!
  • InfoRacer: @TheWombatWho Right, it’s not just the technology.  #BigData 3 Vs but without 4th V (value) then big data = little information
  • David_A_OHara: @TheWombatWho Bang on!  so there’s the real challenge for EA, right? Changing the traditional IT mindset…?
  • afigueiredo: A2 Development that transforms lives, businesses, causing impact to global economy

To me there are two quite different things going on, but which are often blurred together:

– ‘digital-disruption proper’ – disruptions within which existing and/or new digital-based technologies are explicitly the core drivers

– ‘disruption-with-digital’: ‘digital’ as a catch-all for sociotechnical changes in which digital-based technologies are, at most, an important yet never the sole enabler – in other words, where the social side of ‘sociotechnical’ is more central than the technology itself

In my experience and understanding, most of so-called ‘digital disruption’ is more correctly in the latter category, not the former. Hence, for example, my comment about the [UK] Government Digital Service: it’s actually far more about changes in the nature of government-services itself – in effect, a much more ‘customer-centric’ view of service – rather than a focus on ‘going digital’ for digital’s sake. This is not to say that the technology doesn’t matter – for example, I do understand and agree with Andrew McAfee’s complaint about critiques of his ‘Enterprise 2.0′ concept, that “it’s not not about the technology” – but again, it’s more sociotechnical, not merely technical as such, and that distinction is often extremely important.

Interestingly, most of the examples cited above as ‘digital-disruptions – the often-overhyped ‘cloud’ and ‘big-data’ and suchlike – are ultimately more sociotechnical issues than technical. By contrast, most of the themes I’d see as ‘digital-disruption proper’ – for example, the rapidly-expanding developments around ‘smart-materials’, ‘smart-cities’ and ‘the internet of things’ – don’t get a mention here at all. Odd…

 Question 3: What are good examples of disruptive business-models?

  • theopengroup: Q3 Bearing these points in mind, what are good examples of disruptive #Bizmodels? #EntArch
  • enterprisearchs: A3 @Airbnb: Disrupting the hotel industry with a #Cloud & #Social based model to open up lodging capacity for people seeking accom
  • enterprisearchs: A3 @Uber: leveraging #Cloud and #Mobile to release existing capacity in the personal transport industry http://t.co/31Xmj7LwQ6
  • enterprisearchs: A3 @99designs: Rethinking how we access good design through #Social, #Cloud and competitive #crowdsourcing
  • enterprisearchs: A3 @Groupon: re-architecting retail to provide #Social buying power, reducing cost per unit and increasing vendor volumes
  • eatraining: @zslayton Reverse innovation in developing countries producing disruption in developed nations
  • chrisjharding: A3: marketing using social media
  • TheWombatWho: @InfoRacer and combined with behavioural sciences & predictive analytics
  • efeatherston: A3: Netflix is a disruptive business model, they threw the whole cable/broadcast/rental industry on its ears
  • enterprisearchs: A3 @iTunesMusic: creating a #Cloud based platform to lock in customers and deliver #Digital content
  • eatraining: Reverse Innovation in Tech Startups: The Story of Capillary Technologies – @HarvardBiz http://t.co/Ud7UN7ZxzQ
  • TheWombatWho: @David_A_OHara not just mindset but also disciplines around portfolio & programme planning, aspects of project mgmt etc
  • enterprisearchs: A3 @facebook: Using #Social #Cloud #Mobile and #BigData to get you & 1 billion other people to generate their product: your updates
  • David_A_OHara: @enterprisearchs @Groupon Here’s retail disruption: why cant I just walk into store, scan stuff on my phone and walk out with it?
  • zslayton: @efeatherston Absolutely.  Discussed this in a recent blog posts:  http://t.co/zWzzAN4Fsn
  • Technodad: @David_A_OHara @TheWombatWho Don’t assume enterprises lead or control change. Many examples imposed externally, e.g. Music industry
  • eatraining: @efeatherston Agree – @netflix: Shifting the #ValueProposition to low-cost on demand video content from the #Cloud
  • tetradian: A3 (also A2): UK Government Digital Service (GDS) – is ‘digital’, but change of business-service/paradigm is even more important
  • mjcavaretta: Value from #BigData primarily from…  RT @TheWombatWho: @InfoRacer behavioural sciences & #predictive #analytics
  • zslayton: @Technodad @David_A_OHara @TheWombatWho Spot on.  External event triggers change.  Org treats as opportunity/threat. IT must adapt
  • InfoRacer: A3 Expedia, Travelocity etc … where are High st travel agents now?
  • enterprisearchs: A3 ING Direct: delivering a simple #ValueProposition of no-frills and trusted high returns for depositors
  • Technodad: @enterprisearchs Disagree. ITunes was the enterprise consolidation -original disruption was peer-to-peer delivery of ripped music.
  • chrisjharding: @David_A_OHara @enterprisearchs @Groupon or plan a mixed bus/train journey on my ‘phone and download tickets to it?
  • eatraining: A3 DELL – game changing cost structures
  • TheWombatWho: @tetradian Great example.  UK Gov digital is fascinating.  Take that approach & apply it to competitive commercial enviro.
  • eatraining: A3 MOOC Platforms disrupting education? Scalability disruption
  • eatraining: A3 Nespresso – getting us to pay 8 times more for a cup of coffee.
  • tetradian: A3: many non-IT-oriented technologies – nanotechnology, micro-satellites, materials-science (water-filtration etc)
  • filiphdr: @chrisjharding @David_A_OHara @enterprisearchs @Groupon bus/train combo: yes – download tickets: no
  • zslayton: @Technodad @enterprisearchs Maybe.  But now with Google, spotify etc, a new model has emerged.

Some good examples, but I’ll admit that I find it disappointing that almost all of them focus primarily on shunting data around in the ‘social/local/mobile’ space – yes, all of them valid, but a very narrow subset of the actual ‘digital-disruption’ that’s going on these days. (Near the end, there is a good example of the broader view: “Nespresso – getting us to pay 8 times more for a cup of coffee”.)

As enterprise-architects and business-architects, we really do need to break out of the seemingly-reflex assumptions of IT-centrism, and learn instead to look at the contexts from a much broader perspective. For example, a common illustration I use is that the key competition for Netflix is not some other streaming-video provider, but booksellers, bars and restaurants – other types of services entirely, but that compete for the same social/time-slots in potential-customers’ lives.

Question 4: What is the role of enterprise-architecture in driving and responding to disruption?

  • enterprisearchs: A4 #EntArch will identify which capabilities will be needed, and when, to enable disruptive strategies
  • efeatherston: A4: #entArch is key to surviving tech disruption, need the high level view/impact on the business
  • chrisjharding: A4: #EntArch must be business-led, not technology-led
  • InfoRacer: A4 #EntArch can play an orchestration, impact analysis and sanity check role
  • efeatherston: Agree 100%, its all about the impact to the business RT @chrisjharding: A4: #EntArch must be business-led, not technology-led
  • enterprisearchs: A4 #EntArch will lead enterprise response to #disruption by plotting the execution path to winning strategies http://t.co/FdgqXOVKug
  • chrisjharding: A4: and #Entarch must be able to focus on business differentiation not common technology
  • enterprisearchs: A4 #EntArch will lead enterprise response to #disruption by plotting the execution path to winning strategies http://t.co/FdgqXOVKug
  • afigueiredo: A4 #entarch should be flexible to accommodate/support #disruption caused by new advances and changes
  • TheWombatWho: A4 help clarify & stick to intent of business.  It is key in choosing the critical capabilities vs non essential capabilities
  • enterprisearchs: A4 #EntArch will provide the strategic insights to identify what business changes are viable
  • chrisjharding: @InfoRacer or enable business users to orchestrate – give them the tools
  • enterprisearchs: A4 #EntArch will provide the strategic infrastructure to bring cohesion to business change
  • TalmanAJ: A4: identify existing and needed business and IT capabilities and ensure agility to respond to disruption #entarch
  • efeatherston: a4: #entarch needs to work with business to determine how to leverage/use/survive  #disruption to help the business processes
  • David_A_OHara: @enterprisearchs so you need very business-savvy and creative EAs (no longer a tech discipline but sustainable biz innovation role?)
  • InfoRacer: RT @enterprisearchs: A4 #EntArch will provide the strategic insights to identify what business changes are viable
  • TheWombatWho: A4 have to travel light so linking intent to critical capability is essential if Biz is to remain flexible & adaptable
  • zslayton: A4 #EntArch must steer the IT ship to adapt in the new world.  steady hand on the tiller!
  • TheWombatWho: A4 have to travel light so linking intent to critical capability is essential if Biz is to remain flexible & adaptable
  • TheWombatWho: @enterprisearchs agree
  • chrisjharding: @David_A_OHara @enterprisearchs Yup!
  • efeatherston: @David_A_OHara @enterprisearchs Agree, EA’S need both business and tech, act as the bridge for the business to help them respond
  • enterprisearchs: A4 #EntArch will assist in managing lifecycles at the #BizModel, market model, product & service and operating model levels
  • zslayton: @chrisjharding Absolutely.  Focus on commoditized tech will lead to lagging IT.  Focus on differentiators is key.
  • eatraining: A4 Business design and architecture will facilitate a more structured approach to business prototyping
  • tetradian: A4: identifying/describing the overall shared-enterprise space (tech + human); also lean-startup style ‘jobs to be done’ etc
  • Technodad: @TheWombatWho yes, but a tough job- how would #entarch have advised Tower Records in face of digital music disruption, loss of ROE?
  • David_A_OHara: @Technodad @TheWombatWho good challenge: same question can be posed re: Game and HMV in the UK…
  • eatraining: A4 Business model prototyping is the conversation we have with our ideas – @tomwujec
  • tetradian: @eatraining re business-prototyping – yes, strong agree
  • tetradian: A4 for ‘digital disruption’, crucial that #entarch covers a much broader space than just IT – pref. out to entire shared-enterprise
  • enterprisearchs: @tetradian agree – the boundaries of the enterprise are defined by the value discipline orientation, not by the balance sheet

In contradiction to what I said just above, that too-common predominance of IT-centrism in current EA is not so much in evidence here. It’s a pleasant contrast, but it doesn’t last…

Question 5: Why is enterprise-architecture well placed to respond to disruption?

  • theopengroup: Q5 And on a similar note, what is the role of #EntArch in driving and responding to #disruption?
  • enterprisearchs: A5 #EntArch has a unique appreciation of existing and required business capabilities to execute strategy
  • enterprisearchs: A5 Speed to change is now a competitive advantage. #EntArch can map the shortest path to deliver business outcomes
  • filiphdr: A5 Keep short term decisions in line w/ long term vision
  • enterprisearchs: A5 #EntArch provides the tools to better manage investment lifecycles, helping to time capability deployment and divestment
  • InfoRacer: A5 Advising, giving informed analysis, recommendations & impact so the Business officers can make decision with their eyes open!
  • enterprisearchs: A5 #EntArch is the only discipline that stitches strategic and business management disciplines together in a coherent manner
  • enterprisearchs: A5 Speed of response requires a clear mandate and execution plan. #EntArch will deliver this
  • zslayton: @enterprisearchs Agreed.  Toss in leadership and we may have something!
  • TheWombatWho: @Technodad key is “why was tower special?”  Advice, passion & knowledge…..still relevant?  Not the music – was the knowledge.
  • efeatherston: @enterprisearchs well said #entarch
  • enterprisearchs: A5 #EntArch provides vital information about which capabilities currently exist and which need to be acquired or built
  • chrisjharding: A5: Set principles and standards to give consistent use of disruptive technologies in enterprise
  • eatraining: @Technodad @TheWombatWho A few cycles of business model prototyping might have revealed a an opportunity to respond better
  • zslayton: @Technodad @TheWombatWho Netflix again a good example.  Cannibalized their soon to be dying biz to innovate in new biz.
  • TalmanAJ: A5: #entarch should be the tool to drive/respond to disruptions in a controlled manner
  • enterprisearchs: A5 #ArchitectureThinking provides a robust approach to optimise change initiatives and accelerate delivery
  • David_A_OHara: @Technodad @TheWombatWho consider future of games consoles i.e. there will be NO consoles: smart TV will access all digital content
  • TheWombatWho: @David_A_OHara @Technodad HMV interesting – wasn’t  retail store a response to original disruption?
  • chrisjharding: A5: and ensure solutions comply with legal constraints and enterprise obligations
  • zslayton: @David_A_OHara @Technodad @TheWombatWho SmartTV is just a big ole, vertical tablet. #mobile
  • TheWombatWho: @zslayton @David_A_OHara @Technodad and value opportunity is how to keep finger prints off the screen!!!!
  • TheWombatWho: @David_A_OHara @Technodad so accessing content is not where value is?  Where is the value in that arena?
  • enterprisearchs: A5 #EntArch offers insight into which technology capabilities can be strategically applied
  • eatraining: A5 #EntArch can offer an extended value proposition not just into capability mixes but product and market mixes as well
  • TheWombatWho: @enterprisearchs @Technodad yes, yes, yes and yes.  I agree
  • Technodad: @zslayton Exactly. Decision to dump physical & go all-in on digital delivery & content was key. Wonder if #entarch led change?
  • David_A_OHara: @TheWombatWho @Technodad not much if U R console manuf!  Content IS the value, right? Smart TV democratises access to content
  • mjcavaretta: Value from #BigData primarily from…  RT @TheWombatWho: @InfoRacer behavioural sciences & #predictive #analytics
  • TheWombatWho: @enterprisearchs @Technodad getting Biz to talk through canvas & over-laying their discussions with IT choices is essential
  • zslayton: @Technodad I’m guessing product but #entarch had to rapidly adapt IT enviro to enable the product e.g. respond to the disruption
  • efeatherston: @zslayton @Technodad  Netflix seems to thrive on disruption, look at their testing model, chaos monkey , hope #entarch is involved

In a sense, the same as for Question 4: the too-usual IT-centrism is not so much in apparent evidence. Yet actually it is: I don’t think there’s a single example that moves more than half a step outside of some form of IT. Where are the references to EA for smart-materials, smart-sensors, nanotechnologies, changes in law, custom, even religion? – they’re conspicuous only by their absence. Again, we need to stop using IT as ‘the centre of everything’, because it really isn’t in the real-world: instead, we need to rethink our entire approach to architecture, shifting towards a more realistic awareness that “everything and nothing is ‘the centre’ of the architecture, all at the same time”.

Question 6: Who are the key stakeholders enterprise-architecture needs to engage when developing a disruption strategy?

  • theopengroup: Q6 So who are the key stakeholders #EntArch needs to engage when developing a #Disruption strategy?
  • filiphdr: A6 Customers
  • enterprisearchs: A6 #Disruption is the concern of the entire executive team and the board of directors – this is where #EntArch should be aiming
  • TalmanAJ: A6: Business leaders first, IT leaders second
  • chrisjharding: A6: CIOs
  • InfoRacer: A6 Customers, Shareholders, Investors, Partners
  • enterprisearchs: A6 Clearly the CEO is the key stakeholder for #EntArch to reach when contemplating new #BizModels
  • eatraining: A6 Welcome the arrival of the CDO. The chief digital officer. Is this the new sponsor for EA?
  • efeatherston: A6: As has been said, the C-level (not just CIO), as the focus must always be the business drivers, and what impact that has
  • zslayton: @Technodad emphasizing partnership and alignment between Tech #entarch and Biz entarch.
  • eatraining: A6 The Customer!!??
  • Technodad: @mjcavaretta Do you think replacement of knowledge workers by machine learning is next big disruption?
  • InfoRacer: @eatraining Hmm Chief Data Officer, because lets be honest the CIO mostly isn’t a Chief INFORMATION Officer anymore
  • TheWombatWho: A6 starts with biz, increasingly should include customers & suppliers & then IT
  • tetradian: A6: _all_ stakeholder-groups – that’s the whole point! (don’t centre it around any single stakeholder – all are ‘equal citizens’)
  • TheWombatWho: @tetradian A6 agree with Tom.  My bent is Biz 1st but you mine intel from all – whenever opportunity arrives.  Continual engagement

I’ll say straight off that I was shocked at most of the above: a sad mixture of IT-centrism and/or organisation-centrism, with only occasional indications – such as can be seen in Craig Martin’s plea of “The Customer!!??” – of much of a wider awareness. What we perhaps need to hammer home to the entire EA/BA ‘trade’ is that whilst we create an architecture for an organisation, it must be about the ‘enterprise’ or ecosystem within which that organisation operates. Crucial to this is the awareness that the enterprise is much larger than the organisation, and hence we’d usually be wise to start ‘outside-in‘ or even ‘outside-out’, rather than the literally self-centric ‘inside-in’ or ‘inside-out’.

Question 7: What current gaps in enterprise-architecture must be filled to effectively lead disruption strategy?

  • theopengroup: Q7, last one guys! What current gaps in #EntArch must be filled to effectively lead #Disruption strategy?
  • enterprisearchs: #EntArch should engage the biz to look at what sustaining & disruptive innovations are viable with the existing enterprise platform
  • zslayton: @efeatherston @Technodad Proactive disruption!  Technical tools to enable and anticipate change.  Great example.
  • enterprisearchs: A7 #EntArch needs to move beyond an IT mandate
  • enterprisearchs: A7 #EntArch needs to be recognised as a key guide in strategic business planning
  • InfoRacer: A7 Engage with biz.  Get away from tech.  Treat Information as real asset, get CDO role
  • eatraining: A7 The #EntArch mandate needs to move out of the IT space
  • chrisjharding: A7: #EntArch needs a new platform to deploy disruptive technologies – Open Platform 3.0
  • zslayton: A7 #entarch involvement during the idea stage of biz, not just the implementation.  True knight at the round table.
  • TheWombatWho: @enterprisearchs @Technodad its one of my best friends.  Evan the discipline of thought process sans formality of canvas
  • enterprisearchs: A7 #EntArchs need to improve their business engagement skills and vocabulary
  • zslayton: @eatraining Agreed!  Balance Biz #entarch with Tech #entarch.
  • efeatherston: A7: #entarch MUST be part of the business planning process, they are the connecting tissue between business drivers and IT
  • David_A_OHara: @theopengroup creative business modelling inc. hypothetical models, not simple IT response to mid term view based on today’s probs
  • TalmanAJ: A7: #entArch needs to move from its IT and technical focus to more business strategy focus
  • eatraining: @efeatherston Agreed
  • efeatherston: A7: #entarch  needs to get business to understand, they are not just the tech guys
  • eatraining: A7 There is room to expand into the products and services space as well as market model space
  • InfoRacer: A7 Common vocabulary eg by exploiting Conceptual model; Information is the lingua franca
  • enterprisearchs: A7 #EntArchs need to be more business-outcome oriented
  • chrisjharding: A7: Open Platform 3.0 #ogP3 will let architects worry about the business, not the technology
  • enterprisearchs: A7 #EntArchs need to be recruited from business domains and taught robust architecture practises
  • Technodad: A7 #EntArch can’t lose role of tracking/anticipating tech change, or business will be blindsided by next disruption.
  • filiphdr: @efeatherston Very true, and that’s a skills & communication challenge
  • eatraining: A7 Architects must focus more on becoming super mixers than on architecture utility development
  • enterprisearchs: A7 #EntArchs need to be experts in the application of #Cloud, #Mobile, #Social, #BigData and #Digital strategy
  • zslayton: @enterprisearchs Agreed.  We tend to have to push process more than models.  That is often the “ah ha”.  #entarch
  • eatraining: A7 Architecture must focus on actual change in helping design solutions that shift and change behavior as well
  • tetradian: A7: kill off the obsession with IT!!! :-) #entarch needs to cover the whole scope, not the trivial subset that is ‘digital’ alone…
  • enterprisearchs: @tetradian Disagree – Digital is a huge accelerant to #Disruption and #EntArchs in the near term need to have a v strong grip
  • tetradian: RT @enterprisearchs: A7 #EntArch needs to move beyond an IT mandate -> yes yes yes!!!
  • TalmanAJ: @tetradian Yes. Technology is just one aspect of the enterprise. Processes, strategies and people etc. are too.
  • scmunk: @tetradian this shows non-IT importance of #EntArch, also a pipeline for changes http://t.co/O4Cm4D5G7q
  • enterprisearchs: A7 #EntArchs need to be able to clearly articulate business context and motivation http://t.co/Sf4Ci8Ob7P
  • eatraining: @TheWombatWho Roadmap and plans implemented don’t show the true value because stakeholders shift back to old behavior habits.
  • TheWombatWho: A7 need to be evangelist for the ‘value’ in the Biz model not the hierarchy or structure or status quo
  • TheWombatWho: @eatraining agree.  Roadmap is point in time.  Need to establish principles, & links across value chain rather than structural links
  • DadaBeatnik: Never did understand the obsession with IT in #Entarch. Why is this? Not all biz IT-centric. Because of tools/language?
  • TheWombatWho: @DadaBeatnik accident of history?
  • TalmanAJ: @DadaBeatnik Could be historical. Origins of EA are in IT, EA function usually is in IT and EA people usually have IT background.

At least here we did see more awareness of the need to break out of the IT-centric box: it’s just that so many of the responses to the previous questions indicated that much of EA is still very much stuck there. Oh well. But, yeah, good signs that some moves are solidly underway now, at least.

One point I do need to pick up on from the tweets above. Yes, I’ll admit I somewhat dropped back to my usual rant – “kill off the obsession with IT!!! :-) ” – but please, please note that I do still very much include all forms of IT within the enterprise-architecture. I’m not objecting to IT at all: all that I’m saying is that we should not reflexively elevate IT above everything else. In other words, we need to start from an awareness – a strictly conventional, mainstream systemic-awareness – that in a viable ‘architecture of the enterprise, everything in that ‘ecosystem-as-system’ is necessary to that system, and hence necessarily an ‘equal citizen’ with everything else. Hence I do understand where Hugh Evans (@enterprisearchs) is coming from, in his riposte of “Disagree – Digital is a huge accelerant to #Disruption and #EntArchs in the near term need to have a v strong grip”: in a sense, he’s absolutely right. But the danger – and I’m sorry, but it is a huge danger – is that there’s still such as strong pull towards IT-centrism in current EA that we do need to be explicit in mitigating against it at just every step of the way. Yes, “digital is a huge accelerant to disruption”, and yes, we do need to be aware of the potential affordances offered by each new technology, yet we must always to start from the overall potential-disruption opportunity/risk first – and not from the technology.

Wrap-up

(This consisted of various people saying ‘thank you’, and ‘goodbye’, which is nice and socially-important and suchlike, yet not particularly central to the content of the TweetJam itself: I’ve dropped them from the record here, but you can chase them up on Twitter if you really need them. However, there were a couple of tweets pointing to further resources that might be helpful to some folks, so I’ll finish here with those.)

  • enterprisearchs: Look out for our upcoming webinar: http://t.co/lWvJ630BVJ ‘Leading Business Disruption Strategy with #EntArch’ Oct 10
  • dianedanamac: Thanks for joining! Continue the conversation at #ogLON, The Open Group London event Oct. 21-24

That’s it. Hope that’s been useful, anyways: over to you?

GravesTom_sq Tom Graves has been an independent consultant for more than three decades, in business transformation, enterprise architecture and knowledge management. His clients in Europe, Australasia and the Americas cover a broad range of industries including banking, utilities, manufacturing, logistics, engineering, media, telecoms, research, defence and government. He has a special interest in architecture for non-IT-centric enterprises, and integration between IT-based and non-IT-based services.

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Filed under Business Architecture, Cloud, Enterprise Architecture, Open Platform 3.0

Gaining Dependability Across All Business Activities Requires Standard of Standards to Tame Dynamic Complexity, Says The Open Group CEO

By Dana Gardner, Interarbor Solutions

Listen to the recorded podcast here

Hello, and welcome to a special BriefingsDirect Thought Leadership

Interview series, coming to you in conjunction with The Open Group Conference on July 15, in Philadelphia.

88104-aaadanaI’m Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, your host and moderator throughout these discussions on enterprise transformation in the finance, government, and healthcare sector.

We’re here now with the President and CEO of The Open Group, Allen Brown, to explore the increasingly essential role of standards, in an undependable, unpredictable world. [Disclosure: The Open Group is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

Welcome back, Allen.

Allen Brown: It’s good to be here, Dana. abrown

Gardner: What are the environmental variables that many companies are facing now as they try to improve their businesses and assess the level of risk and difficulty? It seems like so many moving targets.

 Brown: Absolutely. There are a lot of moving targets. We’re looking at a situation where organizations are having to put in increasingly complex systems. They’re expected to make them highly available, highly safe, highly secure, and to do so faster and cheaper. That’s kind of tough.

Gardner: One of the ways that organizations have been working towards a solution is to have a standardized approach, perhaps some methodologies, because if all the different elements of their business approach this in a different way, we don’t get too far too quickly, and it can actually be more expensive.

Perhaps you could paint for us the vision of an organization like The Open Group in terms of helping organizations standardize and be a little bit more thoughtful and proactive towards these changed elements?

Brown: With the vision of The Open Group, the headline is “Boundaryless Information Flow.” That was established back in 2002, at a time when organizations were breakingdown the stovepipes or the silos within and between organizations and getting people to work together across functioning. They found, having done that, or having made some progress towards that, that the applications and systems were built for those silos. So how can we provide integrated information for all those people?

As we have moved forward, those boundaryless systems have become bigger

and much more complex. Now, boundarylessness and complexity are giving everyone different types of challenges. Many of the forums or consortia that make up The Open Group are all tackling it from their own perspective, and it’s all coming together very well.

We have got something like the Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE) Consortium, which is a managed consortium of The Open Group focused on federal aviation. In the federal aviation world they’re dealing with issues like weapons systems.

New weapons

Over time, building similar weapons is going to be more expensive, inflation happens. But the changing nature of warfare is such that you’ve then got a situation where you’ve got to produce new weapons. You have to produce them quickly and you have to produce them inexpensively.

So how can we have standards that make for more plug and play? How can the avionics within a cockpit of whatever airborne vehicle be more interchangeable, so that they can be adapted more quickly and do things faster and at lower cost.

After all, cost is a major pressure on government departments right now.

We’ve also got the challenges of the supply chain. Because of the pressure on costs, it’s critical that large, complex systems are developed using a global supply chain. It’s impossible to do it all domestically at a cost. Given that, countries around the world, including the US and China, are all concerned about what they’re putting into their complex systems that may have tainted or malicious code or counterfeit products.

The Open Group Trusted Technology Forum (OTTF) provides a standard that ensures that, at each stage along the supply chain, we know that what’s going into the products is clean, the process is clean, and what goes to the next link in the chain is clean. And we’re working on an accreditation program all along the way.

We’re also in a world, which when we mention security, everyone is concerned about being attacked, whether it’s cybersecurity or other areas of security, and we’ve got to concern ourselves with all of those as we go along the way.

Our Security Forum is looking at how we build those things out. The big thing about large, complex systems is that they’re large and complex. If something goes wrong, how can you fix it in a prescribed time scale? How can you establish what went wrong quickly and how can you address it quickly?

If you’ve got large, complex systems that fail, it can mean human life, as it did with the BP oil disaster at Deepwater Horizon or with Space Shuttle Challenger. Or it could be financial. In many organizations, when something goes wrong, you end up giving away service.

An example that we might use is at a railway station where, if the barriers don’t work, the only solution may be to open them up and give free access. That could be expensive. And you can use that analogy for many other industries, but how can we avoid that human or financial cost in any of those things?

A couple of years after the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, a number of criteria were laid down for making sure you had dependable systems, you could assess risk, and you could know that you would mitigate against it.

What The Open Group members are doing is looking at how you can get dependability and assuredness through different systems. Our Security Forum has done a couple of standards that have got a real bearing on this. One is called Dependency Modeling, and you can model out all of the dependencies that you have in any system.

Simple analogy

A very simple analogy is that if you are going on a road trip in a car, you’ve got to have a competent driver, have enough gas in the tank, know where you’re going, have a map, all of those things.

What can go wrong? You can assess the risks. You may run out of gas or you may not know where you’re going, but you can mitigate those risks, and you can also assign accountability. If the gas gauge is going down, it’s the driver’s accountability to check the gauge and make sure that more gas is put in.

We’re trying to get that same sort of thinking through to these large complex systems. What you’re looking at doing, as you develop or evolve large, complex systems, is to build in this accountability and build in understanding of the dependencies, understanding of the assurance cases that you need, and having these ways of identifying anomalies early, preventing anything from failing. If it does fail, you want to minimize the stoppage and, at the same time, minimize the cost and the impact, and more importantly, making sure that that failure never happens again in that system.

The Security Forum has done the Dependency Modeling standard. They have also provided us with the Risk Taxonomy. That’s a separate standard that helps us analyze risk and go through all of the different areas of risk.

Now, the Real-time & Embedded Systems Forum has produced the Dependability through Assuredness, a standard of The Open Group, that brings all of these things together. We’ve had a wonderful international endeavor on this, bringing a lot of work from Japan, working with the folks in the US and other parts of the world. It’s been a unique activity.

Dependability through Assuredness depends upon having two interlocked cycles. The first is a Change Management Cycle that says that, as you look at requirements, you build out the dependencies, you build out the assurance cases for those dependencies, and you update the architecture. Everything has to start with architecture now.

You build in accountability, and accountability, importantly, has to be accepted. You can’t just dictate that someone is accountable. You have to have a negotiation. Then, through ordinary operation, you assess whether there are anomalies that can be detected and fix those anomalies by new requirements that lead to new dependabilities, new assurance cases, new architecture and so on.

The other cycle that’s critical in this, though, is the Failure Response Cycle. If there is a perceived failure or an actual failure, there is understanding of the cause, prevention of it ever happening again, and repair. That goes through the Change Accommodation Cycle as well, to make sure that we update the requirements, the assurance cases, the dependability, the architecture, and the accountability.

So the plan is that with a dependable system through that assuredness, we can manage these large, complex systems much more easily.

Gardner: Allen, many of The Open Group activities have been focused at the enterprise architect or business architect levels. Also with these risk and security issues, you’re focusing at chief information security officers or governance, risk, and compliance (GRC), officials or administrators. It sounds as if the Dependability through Assuredness standard shoots a little higher. Is this something a board-level mentality or leadership should be thinking about, and is this something that reports to them?

Board-level issue

Brown: In an organization, risk is a board-level issue, security has become a board-level issue, and so has organization design and architecture. They’re all up at that level. It’s a matter of the fiscal responsibility of the board to make sure that the organization is sustainable, and to make sure that they’ve taken the right actions to protect their organization in the future, in the event of an attack or a failure in their activities.

The risks to an organization are financial and reputation, and those risks can be very real. So, yes, they should be up there. Interestingly, when we’re looking at areas like business architecture, sometimes that might be part of the IT function, but very often now we’re seeing as reporting through the business lines. Even in governments around the world, the business architects are very often reporting up to business heads.

Gardner: Here in Philadelphia, you’re focused on some industry verticals, finance, government, health. We had a very interesting presentation this morning by Dr. David Nash, who is the Dean of the Jefferson School of Population Health, and he had some very interesting insights about what’s going on in the United States vis-à-vis public policy and healthcare.

One of the things that jumped out at me was, at the end of his presentation, he was saying how important it was to have behavior modification as an element of not only individuals taking better care of themselves, but also how hospitals, providers, and even payers relate across those boundaries of their organization.

That brings me back to this notion that these standards are very powerful and useful, but without getting people to change, they don’t have the impact that they should. So is there an element that you’ve learned and that perhaps we can borrow from Dr. Nash in terms of applying methods that actually provoke change, rather than react to change?

Brown: Yes, change is a challenge for many people. Getting people to change is like taking a horse to water, but will it drink? We’ve got to find methods of doing that.

One of the things about The Open Group standards is that they’re pragmatic and practical standards. We’ve seen’ in many of our standards’ that where they apply to product or service, there is a procurement pull through. So the FACE Consortium, for example, a $30 billion procurement means that this is real and true.

In the case of healthcare, Dr. Nash was talking about the need for boundaryless information sharing across the organizations. This is a major change and it’s a change to the culture of the organizations that are involved. It’s also a change to the consumer, the patient, and the patient advocates.

All of those will change over time. Some of that will be social change, where the change is expected and it’s a social norm. Some of that change will change as people and generations develop. The younger generations are more comfortable with authority that they perceive with the healthcare professionals, and also of modifying the behavior of the professionals.

The great thing about the healthcare service very often is that we have professionals who want to do a number of things. They want to improve the lives of their patients, and they also want to be able to do more with less.

Already a need

There’s already a need. If you want to make any change, you have to create a need, but in healthcare, there is already a pent-up need that people see that they want to change. We can provide them with the tools and the standards that enable it to do that, and standards are critically important, because you are using the same language across everyone.

It’s much easier for people to apply the same standards if they are using the same language, and you get a multiplier effect on the rate of change that you can achieve by using those standards. But I believe that there is this pent-up demand. The need for change is there. If we can provide them with the appropriate usable standards, they will benefit more rapidly.

Gardner: Of course, measuring the progress with the standards approach helps as well. We can determine where we are along the path as either improvements are happening or not happening. It gives you a common way of measuring.

The other thing that was fascinating to me with Dr. Nash’s discussion was that he was almost imploring the IT people in the crowd to come to the rescue. He’s looking for a cavalry and he’d really seemed to feel that IT, the data, the applications, the sharing, the collaboration, and what can happen across various networks, all need to be brought into this.

How do we bring these worlds together? There is this policy, healthcare and population statisticians are doing great academic work, and then there is the whole IT world. Is this something that The Open Group can do — bridge these large, seemingly unrelated worlds?

Brown: At the moment, we have the capability of providing the tools for them to do that and the processes for them to do that. Healthcare is a very complex world with the administrators and the healthcare professionals. You have different grades of those in different places. Each department and each organization has its different culture, and bringing them together is a significant challenge.

In some of that processes, certainly, you start with understanding what it is you’re trying to address. You start with what are the pain points, what are the challenges, what are the blockages, and how can we overcome those blockages? It’s a way of bringing people together in workshops. TOGAF, a standard of The Open Group, has the business scenario method, bringing people together, building business scenarios, and understanding what people’s pain points are.

As long as we can then follow through with the solutions and not disappoint people, there is the opportunity for doing that. The reality is that you have to do that in small areas at a time. We’re not going to take the entire population of the United States and get everyone in the workshop and work altogether.

But you can start in pockets and then generate evangelists, proof points, and successful case studies. The work will then start emanating out to all other areas.

Gardner: It seems too that, with a heightened focus on vertical industries, there are lessons that could be learned in one vertical industry and perhaps applied to another. That also came out in some of the discussions around big data here at the conference.

The financial industry recognized the crucial role that data plays, made investments, and brought the constituencies of domain expertise in finance with the IT domain expertise in data and analysis, and came up with some very impressive results.

Do you see that what has been the case in something like finance is now making its way to healthcare? Is this an enterprise or business architect role that opens up more opportunity for those individuals as business and/or enterprise architects in healthcare? Why don’t we see more enterprise architects in healthcare?

Good folks

Brown: I don’t know. We haven’t run the numbers to see how many there are. There are some very competent enterprise architects within the healthcare industry around the world. We’ve got some good folks there.

The focus of The Open Group for the last couple of decades or so has always been on horizontal standards, standards that are applicable to any industry. Our focus is always about pragmatic standards that can be implemented and touched and felt by end-user consumer organizations.

Now, we’re seeing how we can make those even more pragmatic and relevant by addressing the verticals, but we’re not going to lose the horizontal focus. We’ll be looking at what lessons can be learned and what we can build on. Big data is a great example of the fact that the same kind of approach of gathering the data from different sources, whatever that is, and for mixing it up and being able to analyze it, can be applied anywhere.

The challenge with that, of course, is being able to capture it, store it, analyze it, and make some sense of it. You need the resources, the storage, and the capability of actually doing that. It’s not just a case of, “I’ll go and get some big data today.”

I do believe that there are lessons learned that we can move from one industry to another. I also believe that, since some geographic areas and some countries are ahead of others, there’s also a cascading of knowledge and capability around the world in a given time scale as well.

Gardner: Well great. I’m afraid we’ll have to leave it there. We’ve been talking about the increasingly essential role of standards in a complex world, where risk and dependability become even more essential. We have seen how The Open Group is evolving to meet these challenges through many of its activities and through many of the discussions here at the conference.

Please join me now in thanking our guest, Allen Brown, President and CEO of The Open Group. Thank you.

Brown: Thanks for taking the time to talk to us, Dana.

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