By The Open Group Conference Team
The Open Group Conference in San Francisco has brought together a plenary of speakers from across the globe and disciplines. While their perspective on enterprise architecture is different, most seem to agree that enterprise transformation is gaining momentum within the enterprise architecture community. During Day Two of the Conference in San Francisco, a number of speakers continued the discussion and the role that standards play in the process of fundamentally changing the enterprise.
The New Role of Open Standards
Allen Brown, President and CEO of The Open Group set the tone for the day during his opening address, providing an overview of enterprise transformation and the role that enterprise architecture and open standards have in shaping the future.
“It’s a journey, not an event,” stated Brown. He also reinforced that enterprise transformation in not just about reducing costs – it’s about improving capabilities, functionality and communication.
In addition to highlighting the tremendous accomplishments of its over 400 member organizations, Brown showcased a number of case studies from a wide range of global enterprises who are leveraging enterprise architecture (EA). For example:
- University Health Network in Ontario is utilizing EA as a solution for improving the quality of healthcare without increasing the cost
- Caja Madrid relies on EA to improve the bank’s capabilities while reducing its vulnerabilities and the cost of those vulnerabilities
- SASOL, an integrated energy company in South Africa, is utilizing EA to improve the organization’s function while reducing cost
- Cisco is utilizing EA as it provides a common language for cross functional communication
Brown also mentioned the release of a new open standard from the FACE Consortium, which is transforming the avionics industry. According to Capt. Tracy Barkhimer, program manager for the Air Combat Electronics Program Office (PMA-209), the new standard “is quite possibly the most important innovation in Naval aviation since computers were first incorporated into airplanes. This will truly pave the way for the future.”
An Architecture –based Approach
The next plenary speaker was Bill Rouse, the Executive Director of Tennenbaum Institute at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and a professor in the College of Computing and School of Industrial and Systems Engineering. His research focuses on understanding and managing complex public-private systems such as healthcare, energy and defense, with emphasis on mathematical and computational modeling of these systems for the purpose of policy design and analysis.
Rouse posed the notion: you can be the innovator or the transformer.
Of course all businesses want to be the former. So how is architecture involved? According to Rouse, architectures are transformative by nature by providing evidence-based decision making by looking at an enterprise’s operational systems, technical levels and socio-technical architectures. However, as he pointed out: “You have to being willing to change.”
Building a Roadmap to Solve the Problem
Tim Barnes, Chief Architect at Devon Energy, one of North America’s leading independent producers of oil and natural gas, shared his hands-on experience with enterprise architecture and the keys to the company’s success. After the company experienced a profound growth between 1998 and 2010, the company needed to simplify its system to eliminate berries that were impacting business growth and driving excessive IT costs. Barnes was chartered by Devon to develop an EA discipline for the company and leverage the EA process to reduce unnecessary complexity, help streamline the business and lower IT costs.
The Cyber Threat
Rounding out the lineup of plenary speakers was Joseph Menn, a renowned journalist in the area of cyber security and the author of Fatal System Error: The Hunt for the New Crime Lords Who are Bringing Down the Internet.
When it comes to cybercrime and security, “no one is telling us how bad it really is,” said Menn. After providing a few fear-provoking examples, and instilling that the Stuxnet affair is just a small example of things to come, Menn made it clear that government will only provide a certain level of protection – enterprises must take action to protect themselves and their intellectual property.