COVID-19 and the Digital Imperative

By Jim Hietala, VP, Business Development and Security, The Open Group

In a recent interview, John Chambers, former Cisco CEO and now Venture Capitalist, said the pandemic will force many “companies to use this moment to make the transition to digital. Things will get worse before they get better— that is the realistic optimist in me speaking,” said Chambers, who has predicted up to 40% of the Fortune 500 and 70% of startups will no longer be around in a decade if they don’t make the digital transition.

The disruptions brought about by the pandemic can be expected to accelerate the shift to digital that has already been underway. It is not just that organizations the world over have radically altered their work environments to accommodate work from home and technologies such as video conferencing and remote networking on a massive scale. It is also that  the consequences of the pandemic are likely creating digital disruption opportunities and imperatives across the economy, in industries as diverse as food and beverage, hospitality, real estate, travel, and government.

In their book Designed for Digital, authors Jeanne Ross, Cynthia Beath, and Martin Mocker describe the digital imperative for large companies in this way “You need to start developing digital offerings today, not because they will elevate next quarter’s financial results (that’s unlikely), but because if you don’t start learning how digital technologies can fundamentally change the value of your current products and services, someone else will.”

And in renowned analyst and Venture Capitalist Mary Meeker’s recent coronavirus trends report, she describes how the pandemic has dramatically impacted digital adoption in education (rapid growth in digital classes), entertainment (rapid growth in digital entertainment) grocery (shift from shopping in stores to ordering with delivery), Healthcare (rise in Telehealth as in-person medical appointments decline) and dining (growth in services like Doordash as eating out declines). She sums up the impact in this way—“Net, Covid-19 has been a forcing function for a rapid re-think about the nature of work and the training/education necessary to remain agile and relevant in the workforce.”

At The Open Group, we’re helping organizations, individuals, and other ecosystem participants such as trainers and consultants understand how to best capitalize on the Digital Transformation opportunity.

Our Forums and Work Groups have produced forward-looking Digital standards and best practices guidance such as:

  • The Digital Practitioner Body of Knowledge™ Standard, also known as the DPBoK™ Standard, which provides best practice guidance for individuals and organizations creating and managing product offerings with an increasing digital component, or leading their organization through Digital Transformation. It provides guidance for the Digital Practitioner, whether based in a traditional “IT” organization, manufacturing unit, sales, customer support, or embedded in a cutting-edge integrated product team.
  • The Open Group Agile Architecture Framework™ Draft Standard, part of The Open Group Architecture portfolio, which covers both Digital Transformation of the enterprise, together with Agile Transformation of the enterprise. A full standard to replace the current draft is expected to be published later in 2020.
  • The Open Group IT4IT™ Reference Architecture, Version 2.1 which provides a standard reference architecture and value chain-based operating model for managing the business of IT. A new version of the IT4IT standard is under development further addressing Digital and Agile Transformation and expected to be published in late 2020.
  • The TOGAF® Standard Version 9.2, a Standard of The Open Group, is a proven Enterprise Architecture methodology and framework used by the world’s leading organizations to improve business efficiency. It is the most prominent and reliable Enterprise Architecture standard, ensuring consistent standards, methods, and communication among Enterprise Architecture professionals.

Taken together, these standards can greatly accelerate an organization’s transition to Digital, as well as equip individuals to work in the new Digital workforce.

We also have a wealth of additional information in the form of guides,  whitepapers, reference cards, study guides, and recorded webcasts on these topics freely available from The Open Group Library.

For organizations, these standards, best practices, and related guidance, can provide the proven knowledge needed to enable and facilitate your roadmap to Digital Transformation. The Forums and Work Groups of The Open Group can also be a great place to learn from and network with the thought leaders producing these standards and best practices, as well as to contribute directly to the next versions of this guidance.

For individuals, we facilitate training through our Accredited Training Course (ATC) provider ecosystem, and we offer certifications to demonstrate your competence to your current or future employers in these digital standards. These certifications can enhance your attractiveness as a candidate in the Digital job market. Many of the courses offered by our Accredited Training Course providers are available as online or e-learning courses, and the certification exams may be taken online as well. For information about our certifications, visit our certification web page.

For trainers and consultants, the existence of these standards and best practices can provide you with a ready-made business opportunity that builds upon our open, consensus-based standards development process. There is an immediate and significant market opportunity to help organizations and individuals learn and execute upon Digital Transformations. By involving yourself in the standards development activities, you can also establish yourself as one of the thought leaders in this area. For information on our accreditation programs, please see our trainer accreditation web page. If you are a current ATC provider of The Open Group, we have initiated a program that eases your path to training on the DPBoK™ Standard, including additional incentives to train on this standard, as well as ready access to our core training materials and SCORM files to quickly create an online learning course. Please reach out for further details.

For information on becoming a Member of The Open Group, please see our membership web page.

The Open Group is eager to help individuals, organizations, and the Digital training and consulting ecosystem to survive and thrive in this challenging time.

Jim Hietala, Open FAIR™, CISSP, GSEC, is Vice President, Business Development and Security for The Open Group, where he manages the business team, as well as Security and Risk Management programs and standards activities,  He has participated in the development of several industry standards including O-ISM3, O-ESA, O-RT (Risk Taxonomy Standard), O-RA (Risk Analysis Standard), and O-ACEML. He also led the development of compliance and audit guidance for the Cloud Security Alliance v2 publication.

Jim is a frequent speaker at industry conferences. He has participated in the SANS Analyst/Expert program, having written several research white papers and participated in several webcasts for SANS. He has also published numerous articles on information security, risk management, and compliance topics in publications including CSO, The ISSA Journal, Bank Accounting & Finance, Risk Factor, SC Magazine, and others.

An IT security industry veteran, he has held leadership roles at several IT security vendors.

Jim holds a B.S. in Marketing from Southern Illinois University.    @theopengroup