Looking Ahead in 2018

By Steve Nunn, President and CEO, The Open Group

As we begin another year, I’d like to wish everyone in The Open Group community a Happy New Year! I hope that you all had a wonderful holiday season and are beginning this new year feeling renewed and ready for all that 2018 will bring.

Reflecting back on 2017, there were many significant developments and events for The Open Group throughout the year. This month will mark the first anniversary of the launch of The Open Group Open Process Automation Forum, a Forum that spans industries as diverse as oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, pulp and paper, food and beverage, mining and minerals, chemicals and technology. What is it that is bringing together these seemingly disparate groups? A need exists for open standards that can provide interoperability and flexible solutions for manufacturing and process automation systems. In just one year, the Forum has already reached 115 member organizations, demonstrating a great need for standards that can help companies in these industries address the digital transformations they are facing. Already off to a great start, we can look forward to seeing the first Business Guide from the Forum later this month—and we expect the group to continue to grow as more companies look to address interoperability within the process automation world.

This was not the only new Forum introduced by The Open Group in 2017. In October, we also launched The Open Group SOSA™ (Sensor Open Systems Architecture) Consortium to address reconfiguration and reusability within sensor-based systems. An outgrowth of The Open Group FACE™ (Future Airborne Capability Environment) Consortium , SOSA has quickly grown into a consortium in its own right. There has been significant interest and momentum for the group thus far, with more than 80 attendees at its first member meeting held in Oakland, California this past fall. Although the Consortium is working primarily with sensor systems for defense and military systems to begin with, we see great potential for them—with our other members—to reach beyond that into other sensor systems in the future.

Another key development within The Open Group over the past year was the introduction of the Digital Practitioners Work Group, a Work Group of The Open Group, open to all Members, regardless of their existing Forum memberships. With so much change going on in the world of technology and in technology departments, we saw a need to address what it means to be a Digital Practitioner these days. During a session given by Forrester analysts at our San Francisco January 2017 event, the presenters expressed the need to create a body of knowledge that can define the Digital Practitioner. This inspired our Governing Board to recognize that The Open Group is the perfect organization to help determine what kind of experience, knowledge, and skills Digital Practitioners should have, and the standards they should be familiar with as professionals. The Work Group is currently focused on gathering input on what elements should be included in the Digital Practitioners Body of Knowledge. We expect that this work will eventually lead to a new professional certification within The Open Group, and we look forward to realizing the value of the important work that this group is creating.

Speaking of certifications and things related, TOGAF® 9 certifications show no sign of slowing down. By the end of 2017, we had 75,000+ individual certifications worldwide and more than 70 accredited courses provided by trainers across the globe. TOGAF, an Open Group standard, continues to be a truly global phenomenon with some of our newest trainers coming from China and India. In addition, The Open Group Open Badges program is off to a great start. This program allows users to demonstrate their professional certifications through electronic credentials, and now has 20 different Open Badges available covering TOGAF®, ArchiMate®, Open FAIR™, IT4IT™, Open CA, and Open CTS certifications. Look for additional Open Badges to be introduced in 2018.

Also in 2017, The Open Group welcomed 142 new Member organizations from 33 countries that participated in at least one of eight different Forums.

Although there were many high points for The Open Group in 2017, I would be remiss not to mention two significant losses that we experienced last year. The passing of long-time employees of The Open Group, John Spencer and Len Fehskens, within days of each other this past August, shocked and saddened us all. A moment of recognition for them both at our Amsterdam event in October was met with thunderous applause, and the plaudits to their achievements have been continuous. Both are sorely missed, as are their contributions to this organization and to the profession of Enterprise Architecture. John and Len – rest in peace.

We were also saddened to announce at the end of 2017 the retirement of The Open Group Open Platform 3.0™ Forum Director Chris Harding. However, we are also happy to say that we have not seen the last of Dr. Harding. Although he will be dedicating the majority of his time to a new personal project, he will be continuing to work with The Open Group, helping our event staff with some of the duties that John Spencer had. While we are sorry to see Chris step down from his formal duties with our Forums and Work Groups, we will enjoy his continued presence as part of The Open Group family!

As I look toward 2018, there are many exciting developments in the works that we have to look forward to this year. While I don’t want to give too much away, it’s safe to say that you can expect to see progress across all our Forums and Work Groups, as well as developments in new areas. One such area is Enterprise Architecture for Governments. We’ve been speaking with governments across the globe over the past couple of years, and have seen a need for architectural best practices and standards within the government sector. Look for more on this during the first half of the year.

As interest in Reference Architectures continues to gain momentum, there will be new work in this area, not only across our existing standards, but also across industries. Enterprise Architecture practitioners are increasingly looking for real-world examples of how architecture works, so many of our Forums and Work Groups will continue working on this, as well as looking at executable standards. Along these lines, you will see some additional revisions to the TOGAF standard this year as users continue to look to The Open Group for guidance on how to use and adapt the standard across industries.

We can also look forward to The Open Group Awards—our first global awards ceremony in five years—which will be held at the Cutty Sark Museum in London on April 17. Before then, in February, we will hold our second annual Innovation and Excellence in Enterprise Architecture awards at our event in Bangalore. We are excited to recognize our Members for their contributions to The Open Group and standards development. Stay tuned for more information about the nomination process during The Open Group San Diego event at the end of January.

There are sure to be many more opportunities for The Open Group to work on activities and standards that solve business needs throughout 2018 and beyond. While it’s impossible to know what all of those opportunities may be, the one thing we do know is that there will be significant changes within the tech industry next year, as there always are. We may not know with certainty what the “next big thing” will be, but we’ll be tracking whatever it is closely. The Open Group is well-positioned to have an impact on the changes to come. As always, thank you for your contributions to our community and body of work. I wish you all a prosperous and productive 2018!


Steve Nunn is President and CEO of The Open Group – a global consortium that enables the achievement of business objectives through technology standards. He is also President of the Association of Enterprise Architects (AEA).

Steve joined The Open Group in 1993, spending the majority of his time as Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel.   He was also CEO of the AEA from 2010 until 2015.

Steve is a lawyer by training, has an L.L.B. (Hons) in Law with French and retains a current legal practicing certificate.  Having spent most of his life in the UK, Steve has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area since 2007. He enjoys spending time with his family, walking, playing golf, 80s music, and is a lifelong West Ham United fan.