By The Open Group
The Open Group hosted the first TOGAF® User Group meeting on January 25, 2016 in San Francisco. With over 50,000 certified users in more than 120 countries, the intent of the TOGAF User Group was to better serve and reach the entire TOGAF user community, allowing them to network with other users, interact with TOGAF subject matter experts, brainstorm solutions for challenging situations and build an active user community.
According to Terry Blevins, Fellow of The Open Group and consultant for Enterprise Wise, LLC, who facilitated the meeting, the goal for the inaugural event was to provide a venue were users could easily Share, get Enlightened and Express (SEE TOGAF) their needs as users. Blevins says those in attendance were engaged throughout the day and that users “found a useful balance between the three dimensions” of SEEing. In addition, the overall response to the event was positive, he says, with many attendees expressing a desire to hold additional events moving forward.
The User Group format consisted primarily of a full day of managed breakout sessions, each focused on trends that are affecting the use of Enterprise Architecture within organizations today. Facilitators led discussions with users on a variety of critical topics including:
- TOGAF for Digital Transformation
- TOGAF Business Scenarios
- Security within TOGAF
- The Role of People within TOGAF
- TOGAF for eGovernment
- TOGAF Hot Topics
During the session, TOGAF users provided significant viewpoints regarding potential enhancements that could be made to the standard throughout the day. Chief among them was the desire to have more concrete, practical use cases for TOGAF—particularly within specific industries. With many industries currently undergoing some radical shifts as they move toward greater digitalization, users are looking for increased guidance around how to use Architecture frameworks within industry verticals. Blevins states there was some expectation of this going into the User Meeting, but to have that validation directly from users was very important.
“The exciting thing was that we really thought that was going to happen—folks are asking for this and ready to use TOGAF across vertical industries,” he says.
Not only are users looking for more vertical industry examples, but they also expressed a need for additional horizontal use cases that can be used cross-functionally within organizations. Users would like to be able to use TOGAF, an Open Group standard, as a framework for making change within different departments and service parts of organizations such as HR, Finance or Operations. Current work in The Open Group IT4IT™ Forum is actually a perfect example of how the framework can be put to use across service functions, with the IT department leading the way in the form of the IT4IT Reference Architecture.
Guidance around how to do business or digital transformation was also mentioned as a potential enhancement. Blevins believes that with all the requests for templates, case studies and practical examples, there is an opportunity for developing a substantial series of “How to” articles and white papers that can be used in conjunction with TOGAF to provide users greater direction for specific use cases and examples.
“A lot of people really want to use TOGAF,” says Blevins. “They just need some help in applying it.”
Users also expressed a need for assistance in how to get buy-in for TOGAF and architecture from C-level executives within their organizations. This has long been a problem within the Architecture community and architects continue to struggle with how to better sell and market both themselves and what they can do.
Blevins says one suggestion that was made during the User Meeting was that Enterprise Architects stop trying to sell Architecture and instead focus on selling the outcomes or solutions they provide. It was suggested that perhaps architects spend too much time trying to sell their methods and frameworks and the “how” behind their work rather than just talking about solving the problem and how architecture will improve the business. Ultimately, the focus should be on that, not on how to apply Enterprise Architecture, he says.
Users in attendance were also struggling with how to integrate their Architecture efforts with Agile development trends and the need to bring increased innovation and speed to their projects. The need to develop more service- and customer-oriented delivery models to help transform businesses was also mentioned, as well as the need to include more guidance around Risk Management and Security within TOGAF.
The User Group meeting was very productive and provided excellent input on the standard. All feedback from the User Group is being delivered to The Open Group Architecture Forum for consideration in helping to enhance the standard and to provide feedback for TOGAF and trainers, as well to continue developing content that supports the standard and best practices for its use.
Please join us in London on April 27, 2016 for our upcoming TOGAF User Group meeting. The entire agenda for The Open Group London 2016 can be found here.