An Above-and-Beyond Organization… Behind the Scenes with The Open Group

By Loren K. Baynes, Director, Global Marketing Communications, The Open Group

So you’ve heard of us (who hasn’t?!), and you might even work with us, but do you really know The Open Group? We are a compact but passionate team who tirelessly works together and with our Members to achieve our goal of developing technology standards and creating Boundaryless Information Flow™.

So, to go back to basics, who are we and what do we do? Well, in short…

The Open Group is a global consortium that enables the achievement of business objectives through technology standards. Our diverse membership of more than 675 organizations includes customers, systems and solutions suppliers, tool vendors, integrators, academics, and consultants across multiple industries.

Our Vision is Boundaryless Information Flow™ achieved through global interoperability in a secure, reliable, and timely manner. Our Mission is to drive the creation of Boundaryless Information Flow™ by:

  • Working with customers to capture, understand, and address current and emerging requirements, establish policies, and share best practices
  • Working with suppliers, consortia, and standards bodies to develop consensus and facilitate interoperability, to evolve and integrate specifications and open source technologies
  • Offering a comprehensive set of services to enhance the operational efficiency of consortia
  • Developing and operating the industry’s premier certification service and encouraging procurement of certified products

We have over 675 Member organizations who cover a broad range of sectors including (but not limited to) energy, utilities, healthcare, technology – the list goes on! We also have several Platinum Members who include, Fujitsu, HCL, Huawei, IBM, MicroFocus, Oracle, and Phillips. The full list of The Open Group Membership can be found here.

All Member organizations of The Open Group are entitled to participate in one or more of The Open Group Forums — vendor-neutral environments where Members share knowledge and resources, and collaborate on developing open technology standards and certifications. Covering a range of technical, business, legal, and regulatory issues, each Forum of The Open Group addresses a specific functional area, and is fully supported by The Open Group resources. A full list of all our Forums can be found here.

You can also find more information here on our Governing Board, Forum and Work Group Officers, and Management Team. Our President and CEO, Steve Nunn, 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 President of the Association of Enterprise Architects (AEA) from 2010 until 2015, and remains its President.

We also like to get out there and preach what we practice! We always have so much going on but it’s easiest to keep tabs on all of our news through the articles and press releases that are published regularly.

So that’s the big picture, but what about the action behind the scenes? Although we are a global organization with some prominent Members and host many global events a year, we operate with a small but mighty (and extremely busy!) workforce of just over 60 people across nine countries. Our people include a range of highly skilled and experienced individuals who cover: Standards, Certifications, Finance, HR, Legal, Marketing/Events, Forum Operations, Business Development, Enterprise Architecture, and IT/Development.

We’d like to take the opportunity to showcase some of our remarkable staff and their part in making The Open Group the successful organization it is today…

Amanda Bonin, Forum Coordinator

My role involves organizing, supporting, and collaborating with internal and external customers to allow everyone to effectively work together. I’ve been with The Open Group for a year now and live in New Hampshire, but am based out of the Boston office. In my time here, it has been my privilege to support and work with some wonderful colleagues and to have seen great accomplishments made by the Forums. One of my favorite things about working for The Open Group has been the ability to work with a large, diverse community, which encompasses many different countries and cultures, who willingly come together and collaborate to solve or improve issues and processes in areas in which they are passionate. I learn new things every day and I am so thankful to be part of The Open Group team! 

Mehrdad Solaymantash (better known as Soly), IT and Audio & Visual Manager 

Based in the Reading office, I’ve been working for The Open Group for almost 30 years now, and when I joined the company, I started as a Systems Manager responsible for all the day-to-day IT issues and Staff Support. For the past few years, I have been able to take on additional responsibilities such as Events Technical and Audio & Video Manager. I am heavily involved in The Open Group events from a plenary and video perspective which requires editing skills.  I also manage The Open Group Youtube channel.

Caroline Smith, Senior Certification Operations Administrator 

I have been with The Open Group for 7 years and am based in the Reading office, sitting in the Certification Operations Team. My role is a varied and busy one, working with Accredited Training Course and Accredited Certification Program Providers and candidates alike. I am responsible for providing the Certification service for Open CA and Open CDS, issuing and maintaining the exam vouchers for Knowledge Based Certifications and a variety of other tasks to assist the team. I am a keen fundraiser in my spare time and, in 2017 & 2018, coordinated a team within The Open Group who has taken part in two half marathon walks (13 miles), raising money for Mind and Sue Ryder Charities. We will be walking again for Sue Ryder in September 2019!

Deborah Schoonover, Director of Certification

My role covers the development of new Certification Programs, development of the supporting documentation and software systems to go alongside these, and ongoing operation of our various People, Product, and Process Certification Programs. Many of my 23 years at The Open Group were in our Boston office, but I’m currently based in York, PA. Our certification portfolio has grown significantly since our early days where we were only certifying products. The growth in people certification, the switch to a new examination provider, and rollout of digital badges and milestone-based certifications have been interesting advances to be involved with and have certainly kept things interesting!

Hetal SompuraBusiness Development Manager & Corporate Marketing Manager

I’m based in The Open Group India office, and have been with the company for almost three years now. I really cherish the values and work culture that The Open Group has, and I have been fortunate enough to work with bosses who are like my mentors and are genuinely interested in my career development. I like that the Management team is approachable, open to receiving ideas from all employees, and are supportive and encouraging in whichever endeavors I choose to work on – I work with some wonderful people who are more like my friends than just colleagues.

Nichola Awbery, Management & Systems Accountant

I work in the Finance team at The Open Group and am based in the UK, working from my home in Camden Town, London. I also work with my colleagues in the Reading office once a week. I joined The Open Group back in 2005 and have been at The Open Group 14 years now. When I first started, my role was purely day-to-day finance administration duties, but now my role has expanded into so many other areas. Today, my day-to-day role is heavily involved in Systems with a focus on the simplification of tasks and automation as well as the organization’s reporting needs and data analysis. One of my favorite memories from being at The Open Group is when a group of us took part in a dongle race on the River Thames – think Hawaii Five-0 in the English countryside!

Tremendous thanks to all who contribute to The Open Group!   @theopengroup

Loren K. Baynes, Director, Global Marketing Communications, joined The Open Group in 2013 and spearheads corporate marketing initiatives, primarily the website, blog, media relations, and social media. Loren has over 25 years experience in brand marketing and public relations and, prior to The Open Group, was with The Walt Disney Company for over 10 years. Loren holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Texas A&M University. She is based in the US.