By Loren K. Baynes, Director, Global Marketing Communications, The Open Group
The Open Group hosted its summit in London, April 17 – 20, 2023, bringing together experts and practitioners from many Forums, Work Groups, and Consortia to discuss, debate, and present new ideas over the course of four days.
Continuing on from previous events, including the virtual event which The Open Group hosted at the start of the year, the summit’s headline theme was Enterprise Architecture for Sustainability, looking at how technology and business professionals can create holistic, transformative impacts on the development of technology and business overall.
Alongside this central track, the summit hosted important sessions for The Open Group ArchiMate®, IT4IT™, Open Process Automation™, Open Footprint™, and Architecture Forums, FACE™ (Future Airborne Capabilities Environment) Consortium, Digital Portfolio Work Group, and the TOGAF® User Group.
The summit also incorporated a major meeting of the OSDU™ Forum, as the energy industry reaches a transitional moment for digital transformation, and the OSDU Data Platform emerges as an essential component for industrializing digital data management in a standards-based and technology-agnostic way.
With all of that being housed under one roof at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, in the shadow of the Palace of Westminster, this was a bumper event which truly demonstrated the energy and innovation going into making open standards work today. Here are some of the key points we took away from the incredible sessions at this year’s summit.
After Steve Nunn, President and CEO of The Open Group, took to the stage to open proceedings, we got underway with a talk from Ron Tolido, EVP, CTO, and Master Architect, Insights & Data Global, Capgemini. Exploring a theme of ‘Less with Less’, Ron explored how scarcity and uncertainty are aligned with pressure for sustainability as driving factors for technology-centric businesses. With a highly actionable and inspirational tour of some of the key ideas in sustainable technology, he then showed how Enterprise Architects can start to navigate choosing the right technologies for their businesses.
This was complemented by the following session with Alexander Bardell, Chair of BCS Green Specialist Group, which took us back to the underlying importance of sustainability to Enterprise Architecture. Vitally, he showed how a holistic idea of sustainability goes beyond the headline challenge of climate change, and how the most powerful way of validifying sustainability initiatives is through certification programs, which will require well-architected approaches to sustainability data.
We were then delighted to be joined by Hugues Ferreboeuf, Project Director of Shift Lean ICT Project, who discussed the state of play for sustainable digitalization. He provided an important perspective on the dynamics around reducing technology’s energy intensity while increasing its overall usage, arguing that delivering efficiency does not necessarily deliver genuine sustainability. Calling on organizations to target a systemic, culture-led transformation towards sustainable practices, Hugues made a convincing case for the role that Enterprise Architecture has to play in emissions reduction.
Andrew Josey, VP Standards & Certifications, The Open Group, announced exciting news regarding updated certifications for IT4IT, Open FAIR, and TOGAF Standards, Further excitement followed as Steve Nunn kept Andrew onstage, informing the audience that Andrew has been selected to be a Fellow of The Open Group, and presenting with him with a special Fellowship jacket. This honor is to recognize and show immense appreciation for Andrew and his 30+ years of dedication to The Open Group, spearheading development of our Standards, Certifications, Library, and more.
Following the lunch break, the summit then broke out into separate tracks on sustainability and the new Portfolio of Digital Open Standards, which covers a number of key standards from The Open Group.
The Digital Portfolio session was introduced by Chris Frost, Principal Enterprise Architect, Global Services Business Group, Fujitsu, and Member of The Open Group Governing Board. Chris gave an overview of how it models best practice when working with multiple standards across the domains of both architecture, such as The TOGAF Standard, and digital business, such as The IT4IT Standard, both standards of The Open Group. Following his demonstration of real-world use cases for the Digital Portfolio, we then welcomed Sonia Gonzalez, Digital Portfolio Manager at The Open Group, to give a practical demo of how an organization will get value from it. This is just the beginning for the Digital Portfolio, she explained, with more content and more visualizations being added as a matter of priority to help organizations of all sizes accelerate their digital transformation.
This introduction from Chris and Sonia proved to be useful and highly insightful preparation for two sessions later in the afternoon, which offered a deeper dive into the opportunities that are becoming available to organizations.
First, Satya Misra, Director at HCL Technologies, and Andreas Hartmann, Professor of Distributed Applications & Security at the Leipzig University of Applied Sciences, demonstrated the adaptability of the IT4IT Standard in a presentation covering seven real-world use cases. They were then followed by Dave Lounsbury, Consultant on Digital Business Strategy at TD Consulting, and Dan Warfield, Principal at CC&C Solutions, discussing how standards including the TOGAF Standard, IT4IT Reference Architecture, and O-AA™ Standard can be leveraged to move from a project-based to a product-centric management approach.
Meanwhile, the EA for Sustainability track pushed forward with a range of industry perspectives on how Enterprise Architects are working with emerging digital technologies to establish trustworthy, consequential sustainability uplifts. Daniel Fratte, Lead Software Engineer & Green Tech Lead at Thoughtworks Inc., introduced us to the work of the Green Software Foundation, which is developing, among other things, a standard framework for software carbon intensity which will connect with the Data Model being developed by The Open Group Open Footprint Forum.
Wladmir Frazao, Principal Solutions Architect at AWS, then took the stage to discuss how introducing Enterprise Architecture expertise at the very beginning of a cloud adoption project can have a multiplicative effect on efficiency gains.
Following that, Kadri Umay, Principal Architect at Microsoft, was joined by Ibrahim El-Sayed and Dzmitry Krotau, both Regional Head and Solution Engineer at Softeq, to explain how tools developed by the OSDU Forum and Open Footprint Forum are being integrated into Microsoft Azure to help organizations record, report, and reduce their emissions. Ibrahim vividly highlighted the need for these innovations by pointing out that, since 1985, the most widely used reporting tool has consistently been Microsoft Excel – and sustainability reporting needs more comprehensive, better-tailored options.
The track’s sessions closed with a talk from Andrew Lewthwaite, Software Consultant and Support Engineer at Avolution UK, on how Enterprise Architecture can set organizations up for success when it comes to meeting increasingly stringent compliance and reporting requirements around ESG, particularly with regard to government policy and investor principles.
The evening concluded with a lovely networking reception in the conference center exhibit area featuring presentations and displays by sponsors and exhibitors.
Through the morning of the second day, the summit rounded off its EA for Sustainability track with presentations which expanded the sustainability conversation and provided attendees with a wealth of new perspectives on the challenge and opportunities which organizations face in this area.
To begin, AJ van de Voort, Co-Chair of The Open Group Open Footprint Forum (OFP) and Global Lead Sustainability Assurance at Intertek, took us into a deeper dive on the regulatory disclosure rules which are now coming online in many markets and, comparing them to tax and auditing compliance processes, made a convincing case that the capacity to work well within those rules will amount to a ‘survival of the fittest’ within industries.
AJ’s identification of the model being developed by OFP as an essential component for that work was then echoed by Andreas Nagel of Ventum Consulting. Looking at significant shifts currently happening with carbon-intensive processes and workloads, Andreas argued that the unifying factor is data, and therefore that ‘a good modern database is essential’.
To round off the summit’s EA for Sustainability theme, the stage was taken by Sammy Lakshmanan, Co-Chair of The Open Group OFP and Principal, Environmental Social & Governance at PwC. Now armed with a much deeper understanding of the pressures driving an increased sustainability focus and the technical routes that organizations can take to operationalize recording and reporting of emissions data, attendees welcomed Sammy’s exploration of how such reporting can deliver value to an organization and, ultimately, growth. Starting, of course, with a data focus, he showed how the broader picture of the sustainable foundations that Enterprise Architects can implement stretches to areas like consumer perception and long-term brand performance.
For the afternoon’s sessions, we then shifted focus to Open Industry Standards with a series of talks taking a detailed look at how open standards are enabling significant digitalization in various sectors and the benefits that digitalization is delivering.
This strand began with a presentation from Avleen Malhi, Assistant Professor of Data Science and AI at Bournemouth University, and Ronald Schuldt, Manager of Data-Harmonizing LLC, describing the challenges involved with converting existing buildings into smart buildings and the solutions that can be found in interoperable standards. Pointing out that AI today is poised to have an impact on the same scale as electricity did a century ago, Avleen showed a demo of a smart building project using open AI architecture which is transferable to areas like smart cities, smart manufacturing, and smart supply chains
We then went from buildings to the sky in welcoming Kirk Avery, Maritime and Mission Systems Chief Architect at Lockheed Martin Corporation, and Alicia Taylor, The Open Group FACE™ Consortium Director, to discuss the Future Airborne Capabilities Environment (FACE) Consortium. By creating opportunities to reuse software, Alicia explained, FACE products get ‘more interoperable capabilities to the end user faster’ across a range of defense applications.
Tony Carrato, an independent consultant and member of the Steering Committee of The Open Group Security Forum, then took us to a different kind of defense by talking us through a current snapshot of the Forum’s Security Architecture Principles work. Echoing the maxim in The TOGAF Standard that architecture principles are ‘general rules and guidelines, intended to be enduring’, this work aims to produce a comprehensive framework which eliminates duplication and contradiction in guidance. It’s a vital area of work which, as Tony demonstrated, shows great promise for delivering future value in the sector.
Closely aligned to that work is the creation of the Zero Trust Commandments in the Zero Trust Architecture Working Group, and a snapshot of that initiative was the topic of the day’s
Solutions (ApTSi), and Simon Cross, Head of Security Solutions at Bizzdesign. Recognizing that Zero Trust methodologies have been evolving for many years in disparate areas of the sector, Nikhil shared the exciting news that Zero Trust is ‘currently on track to becoming an open global standard at The Open Group, bringing interoperability and common definitions to a vital area of cybersecurity’.
Amidst the networking event on Tuesday, we had other special announcements for attendees. Event guests gathered to witness the The Open Group President’s Awards, presented by Steve Nunn. Paul Homan, Distinguished Engineer, IBM, received the President’s Award for ‘The Most Outstanding Individual’ for his extensive contributions to Enterprise Architecture and much more at The Open Group. Next up, The President’s Award for ‘Most Outstanding Organization’ was given to Shell for their long-standing membership, integral participation, and being key to the development of many standards, white papers, plus other major content.
Days Three and Four
For the concluding plenary session at this year’s summit, we were delighted to be joined by leading community manager, speaker, author, and podcaster Jono Bacon to present his perspective on how open source communities, like those which The Open Group hosts, can serve their users, structure governance, build relationships, and ultimately deliver maximized impact.
While that signalled the close of the core tracks, however, attendees continued the development of new knowledge, insights, and ideas as members-only sessions for various groups within The Open Group continued from previous days. The day also saw a full slate of sessions on the TOGAF Series Guides hosted by Andrew Josey, Dave Hornford (Conexium), Chris Frost, and Celine Lescop (AXA), introducing the TOGAF User Group to a range of vital approaches to extend the TOGAF standard and certifications to suit specific contexts.
As always, we are very grateful to the many speakers and attendees who graciously joined us from around the world to make the London event such a resounding success. With such a full breadth of presentations at the summit, we are sure nobody left without new ideas to take back to their organizations about creating value – and delivering sustainable outcomes – with open standards.
We must also note that none of this would be possible without the generous support of the business community, which works with the open standards of The Open Group. In particular, the summit’s premium sponsors – Avolution, Boomi, LeanIX, and Thoughtworks – were essential partners. We would also like to thank the exhibitor’s: AspenTech, ATE, CGI, Curtis & Associates, INT, Katalyst, S&P Global, SLB, Versal, and Van Haren Publishing for their support at the summit.
The next major event for The Open Group, where we will carry forward the energetic conversation we saw in London, will take place virtually on July 24-26. Keep an eye out for further details, and we hope you will join us!
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.