Category Archives: digital technologies

Digital Transformation and Disruption – A Conversation with Sriram Sabesan

By The Open Group

The term “disruption” has been the de rigueur description for what’s been going on in the technology industry for a number of years now. But with the pressures of a digital economy facing all industries now, each is being disrupted in numerous ways.

Although disruption is leading to new and better ways of doing things, it can also be devastating for businesses and industries if they choose to ignore the advances that digitalization is bringing. Companies that don’t want to be left behind have to adapt more quickly than ever—or learn to disrupt themselves.

Sriram Sabesan, a partner with Conexiam, believes that a certain amount of disruption, or mitigations to disruptions, can indeed by architected by an enterprise—if they have the foresight to do so. We spoke with him in advance of his session at The Open Group San Francisco 2017 event to learn more about how enterprises can architect their own disruptions.

We’ve been hearing a lot about disruption over the past few years. How do you define disruption and what is the disruption curve?

Disruption normally happens when you don’t anticipate something and the change suddenly occurs on you.  In fact, the changes have been happening, but no one has taken the time to connect the dots. To give an example, let us consider an individual holding a mutual fund, which has significant stakes in property and casualty (P&C) insurance businesses.  The impact of a shared economy (Uber, Lyft, Airbnb) is that the number of ‘owners’ is likely to stay flat or see marginal increase.  This cascades into a smaller number of insured people, hence diminished revenue for the insurance provider.  This impacts the stock valuation of the P&C companies, finally, impacting the individual owning the mutual fund with interest in P&C sector.  And that’s a foresight people might not have. This is not about crying ‘wolf,’ but about mitigating potential risk to an asset—at every step of the chain.

Let us take another example. Most manufacturing businesses hold reasonable stock of spare parts to their machinery.  Even at home, we hold metallic clips, nails, etc.  With 3D printing, one may be able to reuse the raw materials—sheet metal or plastic or whatever they’re trying to manufacture for the main product to create the spare-parts.  At home, we don’t have to stock clips, pins or nails—but raw material.  3D printing impacts the businesses that are producing these products todays.  Some positively (example e-Nable – http://enablingthefuture.org/) and some in unknown ways.

It is about walking the chain.  The company adopting a new technology or approach may not be the one getting impacted.  It may not be about the industry vertical that is adopting a new model.  It’s mostly likely the cascading effect of people taking part in the diluted chain that are impacted. It’s a system of systems game.

The Disruption Curve is based on product maturity ‘S-curve.’  Familiarity breeds contempt and raises expectations.  As people get used to do something in a certain way, some start to notice the little annoyances, and others want to do things differently or better.  For businesses, it is the necessity to create a new revenue model.  The next S-curve is born when the old S-curve approaches its top end.  The best definition is given by Prof. Clayton Christensen from Harvard Business School. However, the simplest interpretation could be ‘an unexpected change to the way one does things or when someone is unseated.’  For this topic, I think everyone is trying to improve their personal productivity, including better disposable income, a dose of vacation or a personal moment for themselves.  Any and all of these will cause a disruption.

In your opinion, what have been the biggest industry disruptions to occur in the past 10 years?

Most of the changes happened in isolation in the past.  There was no significant combinatorial effect that could transcend multiple industry verticals like today.

Google disrupted search; Amazon disrupted in-store purchase models; Netflix  the DVD rental market.  They all leveraged the internet. Google was able to capture and connect contents of websites, scanned copies of books, triggering the birth of  ‘big data’.  And Amazon on the other side, when they started having too many products, they couldn’t have an ecosystem that could support the enterprise across the globe and they came up with the AWS system. What they made internally, they also made a commercial, external facing product. Skype changed telephony; Paypal changed money exchange. 

Growth in metallurgy and medical sciences evolved from the foundations laid in the later half of last century.  Growing human body parts in lab, implantable devices, etc. The last decade made remote, continuous monitoring of human behavior and health possible.

But the biggest change is that all these companies discovered that they actually depend on each other.  Netflix on AWS, AWS on fiber optic cable owners, both of them on the last mile internet service providers, etc.  That realization, and the resultant collaboration via open standards is the biggest of all.

All of them changed some of the fundamentals of human-to-human interaction and human-to-machine interaction.  The new model made any individual able to provide a solution rather than waiting for large enterprises to initiate changes.

Who have been the most influential disruptors—is it just the usual suspects like Uber or Airbnb or are there others disruptors that are having a greater influence on industries that people are less aware of?

It depends on the vertical. As I said before, the past decade has been limited to a single vertical.

If you think about tax filing, Intuit has been the most influential in that area with Turbo Tax. They made a lot of things easier. Now you can take a picture of your W2 and 80% of your filing work is completed. Using another product, Mint.com, they became a personal finance advisor in a non-intrusive way—working with your banks, investment accounts and credit card accounts.  PayPal and Square are disruptors in the ecommerce and money movement sectors.

Each vertical had its own set of disruptors, not everyone came together. But now more and more people are coming together because the services are so interdependent. Apple with its iTunes changed the whole music industry. Amazon Kindle for books.  IBM with its Watson is changing multiple verticals.

Medical devices are also undergoing a lot of change in terms of things that could be planted in human beings and monitored wirelessly so it can give real-time information to doctors. The most common human behavior is to visit doctors when we are not healthy. Doctors don’t have data points on the transition from a healthy state to an unhealthy state, what happened, why it happened. Now they can monitor a person and behavior continuously. I recently read about an emergency room operation that used the data from a FitBit to figure out what happened to a patient and treat the patient very quickly. They saw the transition and the data points stored in the device and were able to diagnose the patient because the patient wasn’t conscious.

So, I guess, there are more unusual suspects and players.  To name a few: Khan Academy and Open Courseware in education, e-Nable for exoskeletal structures, derivatives of military’s ‘ready-to-eat-meals’.  There are also new products like ‘Ok Google,’ ‘Alexa’ and ‘x.ai’ which combines several aspects.

Your talk at The Open Group San Francisco advocates for an “architected approach” to disruption. Can disruption be architected or is there a certain amount of happenstance involved in having that kind of impact on an industry?

There is some element of happenstance.  However, most of the disruptions are architected.

An enterprise invariably architects for disruption or reacts rapidly to mitigate disruptive threats to sustain a business.  There are some good examples that go unnoticed or written off as the natural evolution of an industry.

I believe Qantas airlines was the first to realize that replacing seat mounted inflight entertainment (IFE) units with iPads saved at least 15 pounds per seat.  Even after adding 40% more seats, eliminating these devices reduced the overall weight of a Boeing 777 by 7%.  Simply by observing inflight human behavior and running test flights without IFEs, airlines architected this change.  The moment the savings was realized, almost every airline followed.  This is an example of architected change.  As regulators started accepting use of wifi devices at any altitude, compliance work done at the gate, by the pilot and maintenance crew also switched to hand-held devices.  Less paper and faster turnaround times.  Savings in weight resulted in lower overall operating cost per flight, contributing to either lower prices or more cargo revenue for the airline.

Every enterprise can anticipate changes in human behavior or nudge a new behavior, build a new business model around such behaviors.  Apple’s introduction of touch devices and natural interfaces is another example of well-architected and executed change.

There are parts of a business that need significant effort to change due to cascading impacts, say an ERP system or CRM or SCM system.  Even shifting them from on-premise to cloud would appear daunting.  However, the industry has started to chip away the periphery of these solutions that can be moved to cloud.  The issue is not technical feasibility or availability of new solutions.  It is more about recognizing what to change and when to change.  The economics of the current way of doing things balanced against cost of change and post change operations will simplify decision making.  The architect has to look outside the enterprise for inspiration, identify the points of friction within the enterprise, and simply perform a techno-economic analysis to architect a solution.

Sometimes a group of architects or industries realize a need for a change.  They collectively guide the change.  For example, consider The Open Group’s new Open Process Automation Forum.  What would normally appear to be disconnected verticals – Oil and Gas, Food Processing, Pharmaceuticals, Fabric and Cable manufacturers have come together to solve process management problems.  Current equipment suppliers to such companies are also part of the forum.  The way the forum works will lead to incremental changes. The results will appear to be natural evolution of the industry but the fact that these folks have come together can be called a disruption to an otherwise normal way of operations.  With this, there is the possibility of collaboration and mutual learning between operations technology and information technology.

I know of car companies, insurance companies and highway management companies who started silent collaboration to explore solar panels embedded on the road and live charging of automobiles.  An extended ‘what if’ scenario is the use of GPS to identify the availability of solar panel embedded roads matched with driving behavior of the car owner to make a decision whether the charge on the car’s battery can be used as source of power to reduce the burden on the electric grid.  Last month I read an article that the first solar panel road is a reality.  For metering and charging of power consumption, this may not be much of a disruption.  But other adjoining areas like regulations, parking privileges, toll charges will be impacted.  It is a question of how soon the players are going to react to make the transition gradual or suddenly wake up to call them disruptions.

Is it possible for established enterprises to be the arbiters of disruption or is that really something that has to come out of a start-up environment? Can an architected approach to disruption help established companies keep their edge?

Yes and no. The way most companies have grown is to protect what they’ve already established. A good number of organizations operate under the philosophy that failure is not an option, which implies that taking risks has to be reduced which in turn stifles innovation. They will innovate within the boundaries and allowances for failures. Start-ups have a mindset that failure is an option because they have nothing else to lose. They are looking for the right fit.

To be an arbiter, start-up or established enterprise, take a page from the research on Design Thinking and Service Blueprinting by Stanford University.  It provides a framework for innovation and possibly disruptions by any organization – not just the start-ups.  Progressive’s telemetry device is just the beginning.  Once the customers understand the limits of privacy management, all insurance companies will change the way they rate premiums.  Just learn from the rapid changes the TSA made for full-body scanners.  Scanned images rapidly changed from close to real body shape to a template outline.  Customer outrage forced that change.

Some big enterprises are actually working with start-ups to figure out what changes the start-ups want to do, what kind of pain points they’re offsetting. There are companies who work with an agenda to change the operating model of the whole industry. 

In the U.S., one can look at CaptialOne, Amazon (the retail business, not AWS), MegaBus, and Old Navy for creating new business models, if not a complete disruption.  Expedia created GlassDoor, and Zillow; Expedia was founded on making search, comparison of competitive offers and decision-making simple. The bottom line is whether the philosophy with which an enterprise was created has become its DNA, resulting in new verticals and value creation in the eyes of the investors.

It is possible to have an architected disruption approach moving forward but it comes from a place where the company defines the level of risk and change they’re willing to bring. At the end of the day, public companies are under constant pressure for quarterly results so big changes may not be possible; but they may be doing small incremental things that morph into something else that we cannot easily see.

Is architected disruption a potential new direction that Enterprise Architects can take as either a career path or as a way to show their continued relevance within the enterprise?

Yes. Let me qualify that. As things stand today, there are three kinds of architects.

Architects who guide and oversee implementation—people who have to make sure that what has been planned goes according to plan. These architects are not chartered to create or mitigate disruptions.  It is the task that is given to them that distances them from effecting big changes.

The second kind of architects focus on integrating things across businesses or departments and execute with the strategy leaders of the company.  These architects are probably on the periphery of enabling disruption or mitigating impacts of a disruption using an architected approach. These architects often react to disruptions or changes.

The third set of architects are trying to provide the strategy for the company’s success—creating roadmaps, operating at the edges of corporate charter or philosophy, thinking about every moving part within and outside the enterprise. They are on the watch out for what’s happening in human behavior, what’s happening in machine behavior and what’s happening in automation and trying to modify the portfolio quarter by quarter, if not sooner.  It is tricky for these architects to keep track of everything happening around them, so it is normal to get lost in the noise.

With the right attitude and opportunity, an architect can create a career path to move from the first kind to the third kind.  Having said that, let me be clear, all three kinds of architects are relevant and required for an enterprise to function.

Is there a role for standards in architected disruption?  

Yes.  The standards provide a buffer zone to limit the impact of disruption.  It also provides a transition path to adopt a new way of doing things.

The standards help in a couple ways—The Open Group sets standards for Boundaryless Information Flow™.  At the end of the day, no business is an island. So when a payment or financial e-commerce transaction changes from a bank to a PayPal account to a mobile wallet or a phone number, you need to have certain communications protocols, certain exchange standards to be defined. What kind of failure mitigation one needs to have in place needs to be defined—that’s one.

Second is supporting management decision makers—CEOs, COOs. We have to provide them the information that says ‘if you do this within this confine, the possibilities of failures go down.’ It’s about making it easier for them to decide and take on a change effort.

The standards provide a framework for adopting the change as well as a framework for helping management decisions mitigate risk and for making an ecosystem work well together.

Are there any other ways that disruption can be planned for?

One way is to look at the business patterns, the economic indicators that come along with these patterns.

Would Uber have survived in the mid-to-late 1990s? Probably not, because of the growing and more affluent economy. The economic pressure of the late 2000s diminished total disposal income so people were open to certain changes in their habits. Not only were they open in their thinking about socializing, they were open to penny-pinching as well.

There are parts of businesses that are hard to change, like the logistics management and ERP systems of an airline; clearing house operations of banking systems; cross-border, high-value sales.  There are parts of the business that can change with minimal impact.  Gartner calls this concept Pace-Layering.  We have to look for such layered patterns and make it easier to solve.  And the growth part will be complemented by what’s going on outside the enterprise.

There are a lot of examples of products that were way ahead of their time and for users to imagine / accept the change, and hence failed.  Uber or Ford, despite following different approach to deliver their product to the market, focused on the problem of mobility, the economic and social climate, and were willing to innovate and iterate. Oxo products, for example, though they cannot be technically classified as disruptors, changed the way we look at kitchen tools.  Oxo focused on user research and product fit.

So the winning formula is to focus on market and customer needs.  Start with accepting failure, test like there is no tomorrow. And at the hint of a tipping point, scale.

@theopengroup #ogSFO
by-the-open-groupSriram Sabesan leads the Digital Transformation practice at Conexiam.  He is responsible for developing best practice and standards in the areas of Social, Mobile, Analytics, Cloud and IoT (SMACIT), Customer Experience Management and governance.

Over the past 20 years, Sriram has led teams specializing in system engineering, process engineering and architecture development across federal, technology, manufacturing, telecommunication, and financial services verticals. Managing and leading large geographically distributed teams, Sriram has enabled clients develop and execute strategies in response to shifts technology or economic conditions.

Sriram has been an active member of The Open Group since 2010 and is on The Open Group Governing Board.  He has contributed to the development of Open Group standards, snapshots and white papers. He is an Open Group Certified Distinguished Architect and is certified in TOGAF® v8, Scrum Practice and Project Management.

Sriram holds a Bachelor of Science degree Mechanical Engineering and Master of Science (Tech) in Power and Energy.  Sriram also received his Diplomas in Financial and Operations Management in 1998.

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Customer Experience and Transformation in Financial Services – Part 2

By Stuart Macgregor, CEO, Real IRM and The Open Group South Africa

This is Part 2 of a two part series.  Part 1 can be found here.

The financial services industry is undergoing massive change. For financial services companies to achieve transformation and digitisation, addressing the architectural foundations is the starting point.

Chapter 4 – Customer Engagement Model (Part 2)

So, this is not simply about technological advancement. The harsh reality is that financial companies have fallen out of touch with customer needs. These disruptors have arrived to serve an unmet need.

In the era of the modern-day customer, more demanding and empowered than that of decades ago, should banks still be rolling out vanilla services like cheque accounts, credit cards, and rewards programmes?

Should banks still be classifying customers into vast segments based primarily on monthly income? Should they still be quantifying affordability and risk in the same way? Should they still seek to derive their non-interest income from monthly fees and transaction fees?

The entrance of new disruptors proves that most of these practices, embedded into the anatomy of a bank, often prevent the bank from meeting the modern customers’ expectations.

For another perspective on the needs and expectations of digital customers, we can look at The Open Group ‘ROADS principles’. These can be summarised as follows:

  • Real Time: The customer can commence or progress a journey at any time, with responses and updates tailored in real-time to meet the customer’s evolving needs.
  • On Demand:The service provider has the flexibility to adapt and adjust the services delivered to the customer on demand.
  • All-Online: The customer is able to accomplish all activities and transactions associated with the journey online. An offline channel need only be used if absolutely required to handle a physical product or service.
  • Do-It-Yourself: The customer is provided with the capability, and has the choice, to complete the activities and transactions associated with the journey alone. Interaction with a service provider representative is not required.
  • Social: The journey is tightly integrated with digital social media, so at any stage of the journey the customer is able to access social media for advice, recommendations and feedback.

Financial companies’ general inability to respond  to these demands can often be linked back to fundamental architectures and tools.

These are the outdated architectures that are unable to conduct impact assessments, not able to fully leverage resources and technical capabilities, and not able to find meaning in the masses of customer data and documentation stored inside their four walls.

We can define this as the concept of Big Data: teasing out the learnings from the masses of structured and unstructured customer data streamed from various sources and systems – with the goal of creating customer-specific engagement tactics.

Chapter 5 – Customer Engagement Model (Part 3)

To survive the onslaught from advancing attackers to the financial services industry, we advocate ‘outside-in thinking’ – working backwards from the customer frontline (designing the experiences that customers will love) – and then plotting the internal processes that support the customer experience vision.

This systems-thinking approach uncovers the optimal roles and relationships within the organisation, the metrics on which to evaluate success, and maps the reinforcing loops that will accelerate change and enhance value delivery. Keeping EA at the centre of the reengineering process ensures a sharp focus on the information that’s required to make these new processes successful.

Organisations can now understand where underlying data is housed, how it can be best integrated between systems and across functions, and how information should be delivered to  those team members that are tasked with supporting customers. This is brought to bear in business capability maps, causal loop diagrams, process models, value-chain diagramming, and the like.

The leading financial services firms of tomorrow will use these these insights, to invest in architectures and systems that creates superior customer experiences. Ultimately, this is the only approach that can help financial companies stay relevant in the face of new and disruptive threats.

It goes without saying that customer experience is felt at the various digital and traditional touchpoints with which customers engage. But ‘touchpoints’ in the truest sense of the word incorporate any engagement that the consumer has with the financial services brand, products, services, or staff.

A number of models seek to define these customer touchpoints. The Open Group’s Customer Experience Reference Model, for example, notes that any organisation needs to look beyond itself, and take a wider view of the broader ecosystem when understanding the customer journey.

To measure progress, the Customer Experience Reference Model suggests defining a set of key performance indicators. Depending on the organisation and its strategy, these could take a multitude of forms – including Net Promoter Scores, click-through rates, churn rates, average revenue per customer, cart abandonment rates, valency indexes, conversion rates, and much more.

Scenario: customer journey in the Insurance sector

Insurance policies traditionally involve reams of paper, reliance on customers to enter information accurately, and high back-office administration costs. They are typically updated on an annual basis, and do not reflect an accurate assessment of risk.

As a result of the inefficiencies in the system, insurance tends to be a very expensive item in household budgets.

But in the next few years, insurers will start consolidating feeds from connected devices within cars, geolocation data from smartphones, smart keys, as well as wearables (like smartwatches) and even ‘digestibles’.

Known in technology circles as the Internet of Things, this example shows how an insurer can far more accurately assess and mitigate risk – by tracking everything from driving behaviour, to cardiovascular activity, smoking habits, or whether or not a person has locked their house.

By developing customer insights at this level of detailed granularity, insurers are able to package accurate, personalised insurance premiums (rather than segmenting customers into broad risk groups, as they do today). Of course, customers who want to benefit from preferential, personalised rates, will sacrifice some level of personal privacy.

This leads us to the ethics of tracking intimate customer details for use in designing such personalised and fluid insurance policies – which dynamically adjust based on customer behaviour (for example, a trip overseas to a country with high crime statistics many cause a temporary increase in one’s premium).

Chapter 6 – Development Agenda

When considering the financial services enterprise of the future, it’s not enough to simply aim for excellent customer service. Unless this generates higher levels of profitability, better customer retention or improved customer acquisition, any customer service effort is going to be in vain.

These three questions above – relating to a financial services company’s business goals – should be guiding forces for the architecture team, as they create the optimal design for the future.

In essence, the firm’s architecture needs to enable the flow of information and investment of resources to the markets, segments, demographics and regions that offer the most profitable opportunities at any given time.

As financial companies come under increasing threat from new competitors, narrowing the focus to certain services, or markets, is a way of maintaining profitable leadership positions in certain areas – while exiting over-traded, hyper-competitive or unprofitable markets.

However, this is no longer a static, consistent landscape. To succeed, financial services firms should be “striving for continuous improvement and renewal”, as a recent Backbase/Efma Report describes.

From an EA perspective, this means one’s technology and application architecture must support the rapid and continuous delivery of new services and features to customers.

“The innovation planning cycle is far too slow for today’s high-speed digital banking environment,” notes the report, adding: “Today’s big digital players in other industries test and learn as part of an iterative process. They’re agile and experiment in real-time with their own customer base. The decision-making process is much faster and the rollout is fast … very fast!”

Across the breadth of architecture realms – from business, information, data, applications and technology – one’s EA frameworks should be designed with rapid prototyping and delivery in mind. By doing so, financial companies are able to capture new windows of profitable opportunity, react faster to changing customer demands, and produce new services in a cost-effective manner.

This could come in the form of instant home loan approvals, new services for wearable technology, or a concerted focus on a niche insurance segment. The specific opportunities depend on the company in question and where they are at a given point in time.

In short, having the architecture to unleash digital transformation, opens up new value streams for the bank and increasing satisfaction and loyalty for the customer.

Chapter 7 – Capabilities and Insights

The final McKinsey “timeless tests” looks at how to anchor customer centricity within the organisation, and align governance approaches and staff incentives to fit with the new customer service ethos.

From an Enterprise Architecture perspective, this is reflected in the maturity from ‘EA execution’ to ‘EA leadership’. The concluding article in our series on change management in EA highlights the hallmarks of a mature-state EA practice – the state of EA leadership.

EA helps to create the structures that will thrust customer-centricity to the forefront of all business decision-making. Specifically, it can support the organisation’s customer experience vision in the areas of:

  • Mandate and governance
  • Strategy
  • Performance management
  • Organisational transformation

But the reality is that so few firms ultimately realise the value of EA in their customer experience and digital transformation ambitions. Another of our series – on what catastrophes often cause the EA practice to implode – addresses the common reasons for this.

Because so few organisations fully leverage the power of EA, those financial services firms that do get it right, have a tremendous competitive advantage over their peers – who continue struggle away in disjointed silos, bondaged in unnecessary red tape.

Addressing these final two McKinsey tests requires a relentless focus on customer insights; and then ensuring the voice of the customer be heard when structuring, integrating or re-designing all business processes.

Without EA at the core of these endeavours, the organisation’s leadership cannot take full advantage of these rich sources of insights. More specifically, they wouldn’t have the architectural work products to improve resource allocation, reduce decision-making biases, assess strategic alternatives, manage change and complexity, or chart the innovation journey.

In this way, EA provides deeper insights into the unintended consequences of certain potential decisions – like company restructuring or deciding to enter a new market.

To conclude, the McKinsey tests represent the important questions that financial services organisations need to ask themselves as they seek to put the customer at the heart of their digital transformation initiatives.

And, as we’ve teased out in this series, having the fundamental architecture to support these goals, and prepare for an uncertain and volatile future, is an absolute prerequisite for success.

by-stuart-macgregor-ceo-real-irmStuart Macgregor is the CEO, Real IRM Solutions and  The Open Group South Africa. Through his personal achievements, he has gained the reputation of an Enterprise Architecture and IT Governance specialist, both in South Africa and internationally.

Macgregor participated in the development of the Microsoft Enterprise Computing Roadmap in Seattle. He was then invited by John Zachman to Scottsdale, Arizona to present a paper on using the Zachman framework to implement ERP systems. In addition, Macgregor was selected as a member of both the SAP AG Global Customer Council for Knowledge Management, and of the panel that developed COBIT 3rd Edition Management Guidelines. He has also assisted a global Life Sciences manufacturer to define their IT Governance framework, a major financial institution to define their global, regional and local IT organizational designs and strategy. He was also selected as a core member of the team that developed the South African Breweries (SABMiller) plc global IT strategy.

Stuart, as the lead researcher, assisted the IT Governance Institute map CobiT 4.0 to TOGAF®, an Open Group standard. This mapping document was published by ISACA and The Open Group. He participated in the COBIT 5 development workshop held in London in 2010.

 

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Customer Experience and Transformation In Financial Services – Part 1

By Stuart Macgregor, CEO, Real IRM and The Open Group South Africa

This is Part 1 in a two part series.

Chapter 1 – Introduction

The financial services industry is undergoing massive change.

Around the world, organisations offering banking, lending, insurance, trading, and payments services are realising that customer-centric, design-led approaches can revolutionise the way that financial services are delivered to a new generation of consumers.

But to achieve practical, sustainable transformation, financial services firms must turn their attention to their business architecture. Combined with sage business strategies, having the right architecture unleashes the dynamism and agility to succeed in the new digital era.

In other words, for financial services companies to achieve transformation and digitisation, addressing the architectural foundations is the starting point.

In this series, we’ll apply an Enterprise Architecture lens to McKinsey’s ‘10 timeless tests’ from its ‘Banking on customer centricity’ white paper’ – a litmus test for an organisation’s customer experience qualities.

These ‘tests’ are essentially questions that financial services companies need to ask themselves, areas to address, and activities they need to perform as they steer their way towards transformation and customer-centricity. They are housed within four distinct (but inter-related) groupings:

  • Vision and positioning: shaping the strategic direction, so that customers want to use your products and services, and employees feel highly engaged within your organisation.
  • Customer engagement model: defining the solutions and developing the go-to-market approach that will deliver exceptional customer value.
  • Development agenda: Ensuring your short-term growth and long-term success, with customer-oriented activities rooted in the pursuit of economic goals (and not just customer satisfaction).
  • Organisation, capabilities and insights: Anchoring customer-centricity within your organisation by creating optimal structures, incentives, capabilities and governance frameworks.

In this series, we’ll explore how the right business architecture is essential for your organisation to progress along any of these four dimensions.

Business architecture becomes the common vocabulary to define your organisation – across business units, silos, or geographies. It allows leaders to understand the complex, organic structures of the organisation. It forms the basis for strategy implementation and the context for programmes and projects.

More broadly, we’ll look at how Enterprise Architecture helps to free financial services firms from the tangled mess of legacy infrastructure, entwined over decades and decades, which hold them back from delivering exceptional customer experiences.

We’ll explore the ways in which Business Architecture supports rapid innovation and helps financial services companies to fend off the challenges from leaner start-ups in the FinTech space, from local telcos and retailers, and borderless digital giants like Google, Apple and Facebook.

And we’ll show how business architecture brings a new richness of customer insights – to develop closer customer engagement and tailor-made solutions.

Chapter 2 – Visioning and Positioning

Across nearly all industries, a brand’s value is increasingly dependent on the delivery of exceptional customer experiences.

In fact, services-oriented industries are those with the most burning need to create superb experiences that surround the direct (transactional) engagement.

Whether they’re in wealth management, business asset financing, general retail banking, insurance, or anything in-between, financial services firms will only remain relevant by continually delighting their customers. For this reason, embedding experience design into every facet of their services has become the mantra for any forward-thinking financial services organisation.

But – with often millions of customers to look after – so many financial organisations are struggling to translate these lofty ideals into tangible reality.

As noted by this Open Group paper titled Roads to a digital customer experience new technologies “are rendering obsolete the traditional frameworks and models that companies have been using to capture and design customer journeys and customer experiences”.

The answer? Start with the architectural building blocks

It’s only by developing the right architectures, processes, and systems that the organisation’s customer experience vision can find solid footing. By taking an Enterprise Architecture (EA) approach to experience design, the vision becomes a defined set of behaviours, incentives, and operational processes.

Ultimately, this spawns a new culture of customer-centricity that delivers meaningful enhancements to customers’ experiences. Empowered by new technologies and unshackled from outdated ways-of-working, staff are given the tools to execute on the customer experience vision.

EA enables the organisation to build a clear roadmap to transition from its current state, to its desired target state – by looking through the lenses of Business, Information, Data, Applications, and Technology (BIDAT).

By developing the roadmap in the context of these five domains, the organisation can pinpoint exactly how EA can facilitate the organisation’s goals of delivering exceptional customer experiences.

It unearths the complex inter-relationships within the organisation that impact customer experience, supports those that are responsible for designing and implementing the change.

For instance, EA helps firms understand where their customers’ data is housed, helps to eliminate duplications of this content, or identify overlapping systems that are trying to achieve the same objectives.

Ensure the brand and vision are guiding behaviour

As the financial services organisation moves from a product focus, to a customer experience focus, it becomes imperative to look at the internal company culture –  and eliminate the ways-of-working, cultures and habits that are no longer competitive.

This requires all areas of the organisation to come together and agree on the vision, and the definition of the target state that everyone will work towards.

By taking a transformative, almost ‘entrepreneurial’ approach to one’s operations, it becomes possible to start optimising and digitising processes, and decluttering wherever inefficiencies exist.

At a foundational level, EA enables the organisation to clearly delineate and distinguish between one’s functions, processes and capabilities.

EA enables the organisation’s leadership to link roles to processes, generate useful process guides, and define the training needs analysis for those various roles. Not only does this give individuals clear career paths; it also reduces the costs of producing training material (now that roles and processes are clarified and standardised).

Chapter 3 – Customer Engagement Model (Part 1)

In its paper ‘Disrupting beliefs: a new approach to business-model innovation’ McKinsey’s starting point is that “every industry is built around long-standing, often implicit, beliefs about how to make money”.

In retail banking for example, these beliefs include industry concepts like ‘share of wallet’, ‘cross-sell opportunities’, ‘acquisition costs’, and ‘lifecycle value’, among many others.

“[These beliefs] are often considered inviolable, “ continues the McKinsey paper, “until someone comes along to violate them. Almost always, it’s an attacker from outside the industry.”

Nowhere is this more apt than in financial services. Attackers from other industries are certainly threatening to invade the hallowed turf once reserved exclusively for banks, insurers, investment and trading providers, and others.

In retail banking, for example, these disruptive forces include the likes of:

  • Mobile wallets (such as M-Pesa)
  • New payments solutions (like Apple Pay or Square)
  • Cryptocurrencies (such a bitcoin)
  • Social lending (eg The Lending Club or Prosper)
  • Personal financial management tools (like Moven)
  • Crowdfunding (eg KickStarter)
  • Non-banks offering financial services (like Virgin or Discovery)

Other areas of financial services are certainly not immune to change as well. In the insurance realm, for example, disruptions like:

  • Usage-based vehicle insurance using GPS and accelerometers in smartphones or sensors
  • Online insurance aggregators and marketplaces
  • Other industries encroaching (eg insurance bundled offers from cellular providers or retailers)
  • Peer-to-peer insurance networks
  • Autonomous, self-driving vehicles in the not-too-distant future.

For incumbents, this presents a worrying reality: newer and more agile attackers won’t have the internal cost structural issues, the legacy infrastructure and higher head-counts – meaning these cost-efficiencies can be passed down to the consumer.

Part 2 to be published on The Open Group blog on November 29, 2016.

by-stuart-macgregor-ceo-real-irmStuart Macgregor is the CEO, Real IRM Solutions and  The Open Group South Africa. Through his personal achievements, he has gained the reputation of an Enterprise Architecture and IT Governance specialist, both in South Africa and internationally.

Macgregor participated in the development of the Microsoft Enterprise Computing Roadmap in Seattle. He was then invited by John Zachman to Scottsdale, Arizona to present a paper on using the Zachman framework to implement ERP systems. In addition, Macgregor was selected as a member of both the SAP AG Global Customer Council for Knowledge Management, and of the panel that developed COBIT 3rd Edition Management Guidelines. He has also assisted a global Life Sciences manufacturer to define their IT Governance framework, a major financial institution to define their global, regional and local IT organizational designs and strategy. He was also selected as a core member of the team that developed the South African Breweries (SABMiller) plc global IT strategy.

Stuart, as the lead researcher, assisted the IT Governance Institute map CobiT 4.0 to TOGAF®, an Open Group standard. This mapping document was published by ISACA and The Open Group. He participated in the COBIT 5 development workshop held in London in 2010.

 

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The Open Group Austin 2016 Event Highlights

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

During the week of July 18th, The Open Group hosted over 200  attendees from 12 countries at the Four Seasons hotel on the beautiful banks of Lady Bird Lake in Austin, Texas, USA.

On Monday, July 18, Steve Nunn, President and CEO of The Open Group, welcomed the audience and set the stage for all the great upcoming speakers and content.

Steve’s remarks included the recent release of the Open Business Architecture (O-BA) Preliminary Standard Part I to Support Business Transformation.  This is the first in a series of installments that will help Business Architects get to grips with transformation initiatives and manage the demands of key stakeholders within the organization. Steve also referenced William Ulrich, President, Business Architecture Guild, who consulted on the development of the standard.

The plenary began with Jeff Scott, President, Business Innovation Partners, with his presentation “The Future of Business Architecture, Challenges and Opportunities”.  Jeff stated some interesting facts, which included noting that Architects are among the best and brightest members of our organizations.  He also stated that Business Architects need support from a wide group of senior managers, not just the CEO. The ultimate goal of Business Architecture is not to model the organization but to unlock organizational capacity and move forward.

By Loren K. Baynes

Jeff Scott

The Business Architecture (BA) theme continued with Aaron Rorstrom, Principal Enterprise Architect, Capgemini.  Aaron further elaborated on The Open Business Architecture (O-BA) Standard.  The O-BA Standard provides guidance to companies for establishing BA practice and addresses three transformation challenges: consistent communication, alignment and governance, systemic nature.

The sessions were followed by Q&A moderated by Steve Nunn.

Up next was “ArchiMate® 3.0 – A New Standard for Architecture” with Marc Lankhorst, Managing Consultant and Service Line Manager, Enterprise Architect, BiZZdesign and Iver Band, Enterprise Architect, Cambia Health Solutions.

Marc and Iver discussed practical experiences and a Healthcare case study, which included a discussion on personal health and wellness websites.

ArchiMate®, an Open Group standard, provides a language with concepts to describe architectures; a framework to organize these concepts; a graphical notation for these concepts; a vision on visualizations for different stakeholders. ArchiMate 3.0 has recently been released due to: the increasing demand for relating Enterprise Architecture (EA) to business strategy; technology innovations that mix IT and physical world; usage in new domains (i.e. manufacturing, healthcare, retail); improved consistency and comprehensibility; improved alignment between Open Group standards, notably TOGAF®.

The final session of Monday’s plenary featured a panel on “Architecture Standards Development” with Marc Lankhorst, Iver Band, Mike Lambert (Fellow of The Open Group) and Harry Hendrickx (Business Architect, Hewlett Packard Enterprise).  Moderated by Chris Forde, GM, Asia Pacific and VP, Enterprise Architecture, The Open Group, the panel represented a diverse group of the population contributing to the development of open standards.

In the afternoon, sessions were divided into tracks – Security, ArchiMate, Open Business Architecture.

Don Bartusiak, Chief Engineer, Process Control, ExxonMobil Research & Engineering presented “Security in Industrial Controls – Bringing Open Standards to Process Control Systems”.  Don went into detail on the Breakthrough R&D project which is designed to make step-change improvement to reduce cost to replace and to increase value generation via control system.  ExxonMobil is working with The Open Group and others to start-up a consortium of end user companies, system integrators, suppliers, and standards organizations for sustained success of the architecture.

Also featured was “Applying Open FAIR in Industrial Control System Risk Scenarios” by Jim Hietala, VP, Business Development and Security, The Open Group.  The focus of ICS systems is reliability and safety.  Jim also shared some scenarios of recent real life cyberattacks.

The evening concluded with guests enjoying a lively networking reception at the Four Seasons.

Day two on Tuesday, July 19 kicked off the Open Source/Open Standards day with a discussion between Steve Nunn and Andras Szakal, VP & CTO, IBM U.S. Federal. Steve and Andras shared their views on Executable Standards: convergence of creation of open source and innovation standards; the difference between Executable Standards and traditional standards (i.e. paper standards); emergence of open source; ensuring interoperability and standardization becomes more effective of time. They further explored open technology as driving the software defined enterprise with SOA, social, Open Cloud architecture, e-Business, mobile, big data & analytics, and dynamic cloud.

A panel session continued the conversation on Open Standards and Open Source.  The panel was moderated by Dave Lounsbury, CTO and VP, Services for The Open Group.  Panelists were Phil Beauvoir, Archi Product Manager, Consultant; John Stough, Senior Software Architect, JHNA, Inc.; Karl Schopmeyer, Independent Consultant and representing Executable Standards activity in The Open Group.  Topics included describing Archi, Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE™, a consortium of The Open Group) and OpenPegasus™, an open-source implementation of the DMTF, CIM and WBEM standards.

The Open Group solves business problems with the development and use of open standards.  Interoperability is key.  Generally, no big barriers exist, but there are some limitations and those must be realized and understood.

Steve presented Karl with a plaque in recognition of his outstanding leadership for over 20 years of The Open Group Enterprise Management Forum and OpenPegasus Project.

Rick Solis, IT Business Architect, ExxonMobil Global Services Co. presented “Driving IT Strategic Planning at IT4IT™ with ExxonMobil”.  Business is looking for IT to be more efficient and add value. ExxonMobil has been successfully leveraging IT4IT concepts and value chain. The IT4IT™ vision is a vendor-neutral Reference Architecture for managing the business of IT.  Rich emphasized people need to think about the value streams in the organization that add up to the business value.  Furthermore, it is key to think seamlessly across the organization.

Joanne Woytek, Program Manager for the NASA SEWP Program, NASA spoke about “Enabling Trust in the Supply Chain”.  SEWP (Solutions for Enterprise-Wide Procurement) is the second biggest IT contract in the US government.  Joanne gave a brief history of their use of standards, experience with identifying risks and goal to improve acquisition process for government and industry.

Andras Szakal again took the stage to discuss mitigating maliciously tainted and counterfeit products with standards and accreditation programs.  The Open Trusted Technology Provider™ Standard (O-TTPS) is an open standard to enhance the security of the global supply chain and the integrity of Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) Information and Communication Technology (ICT). It has been approved as an ISO/IEC international standard.

Afternoon tracks consisted of Healthcare, IT4IT™, Open Platform 3.0™ and Professional Development.  Speakers came from organizations such as IBM, Salesforce, Huawei, HPE and Conexiam.

The evening culminated with an authentic Texas BBQ and live band at Laguna Gloria, a historic lakefront landmark with strong ties to Texas culture.

By Loren K. Baynes

The Open Group Austin 2016 at Laguna Gloria

Wednesday, July 20 was another very full day.  Tracks featured Academia Partnering, Enterprise Architecture, Open Platform 3.0 (Internet of Things, Cloud, Big Data, Smart Cities), ArchiMate®.  Other companies represented include San Jose State University, Quest Diagnostics, Boeing, Nationwide and Asurion.

The presentations are freely available only to members of The Open Group and event attendees.  For the full agenda, please click here.

In parallel with the Wednesday tracks, The Open Group hosted the third TOGAF® User Group Meeting.  The meeting is a lively, interactive, engaging discussion about TOGAF, an Open Group standard.  Steve Nunn welcomed the group and announced there are almost 58,000 people certified in TOGAF.  It is a very large community with global demand and interest.  The key motivation for offering the meeting is to hear from people who aren’t necessarily ‘living and breathing’ TOGAF. The goal is to share what has worked, hasn’t worked and meet other folks who have learned a lot from TOGAF.

Terry Blevins, Fellow of The Open Group, was the emcee.  The format was an “Oxford Style” debate with Paul Homan, Enterprise Architect, IBM and Chris Armstrong, President, Armstrong Processing Group (APG).  The Proposition Declaration: Business Architecture and Business Architects should be within the business side of an organization. Chris took the ‘pro’ position and Paul was ‘con’.

Chris believes there is no misalignment with Business and IT; business got exactly what they wanted.  Paul queried where do the Business Architectures live within the organization? BA is a business-wide asset.  There is a need to do all that in one place.

Following the debate, there was an open floor with audience questions and challenges. Questions and answers covered strategy in Architecture and role of the Architect.

The meeting also featured an ‘Ask the Experts’ panel with Chris Forde; Jason Uppal, Chief Architect, QRS; Bill Estrem, TOGAF Trainer, Metaplexity Associates; Len Fehskens, Chief Editor, Journal of Enterprise Architecture, along with Chris Armstrong and Paul.

Organizations in attendance included BMC Software, City of Austin, Texas Dept. of Transportation, General Motors, Texas Mutual Insurance, HPE, IBM.

A more detailed blog of the TOGAF User Group meeting will be forthcoming.

A special ‘thank you’ to all of our sponsors and exhibitors:  avolution, BiZZdesign, Good e-Learning, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, AEA, Orbus Software, Van Haren Publishing

@the opengroup #ogAUS

Hope to see you at The Open Group Paris 2016! #ogPARIS

By Loren K. BaynesLoren 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 20 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.

 

 

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Filed under Accreditations, ArchiMate, ArchiMate®, Association of Enterprise Architects (AEA), Business Architecture, Business Transformation, Certifications, Cloud, COTS, Cybersecurity, digital technologies, Digital Transformation, enterprise architecture, Enterprise Architecture (EA), Internet of Things, Interoperability, Jeff Kyle, O-TTPS, Open FAIR, Open Platform 3.0, Professional Development, Security, Standards, Steve Nunn, The Open Group Austin 2016, TOGAF®, TOGAF®

Digital Disruption for Enterprise Architecture

By Myles F. Suer, Chief Platform Evangelist, Informatica

Recently, I got to sit at the font of wisdom which is Jeanne Ross, and get her view into digital disruption and the role of Enterprise Architecture in enabling firms to respond. I am going to summarize her main points here which I hope will be as useful to you as it was for me.

Jeanne, Research Director and Principal Research Scientist, MIT Sloan School of Management, started her talk by saying that she has a passion for Enterprise Architecture. And she said for me and for you, as the digital economy has arrived, I have felt this was our moment. We were going to have integrated channels, seamless end-to-end transactions, real understanding of customer data, and real tight security. “And this of course means architecture”. And she in jest says that she was hoping that the whole world had come to this very same conclusion. Clearly, she said, it hasn’t happened yet but Jeanne importantly believes with the march to becoming digital, it will happen soon.

Success in the digital economy is not guaranteed

Jeanne says one thing is becoming increasingly clear–enterprises will not be successful if they are not architected to execute their firm’s business strategies. At the very same time, she has found with the companies (existing successful enterprises) that she talks to believe their success is not guaranteed in the digital economy. Given this, Jeanne decided to research what incumbent enterprises actually look like that have taken concrete steps to respond to the digital economy’s mandates. The 27 companies :

  • The challenges they are facing
  • The disruptions that they had identified
  • The strategies they were moving forward with
  • The changes that they had already put in place

She found that digital strategies were inspired by the capabilities of powerful readily available technologies including things like social, mobile, analytics, cloud, and internet of things. Digital strategies were forcing companies around a rallying point but surprisingly there was not much distinction behind the rallying point more than, “I want to be the Amazon or Uber of my industry”. But Jeanne claims this is okay because competitive advantage is not going to be about strategy but instead about execution. And being the best at execution is going to eventually take you in a different direction than other market participants.

Competitive advantage today requires executing on integrated capabilities

At this point, Jeanne stressed that there is no competitive advantage in a single capability. This is why Uber has so much competition. But for established companies, advantage will come from an integrated established set of capabilities. “Competitive advantage will come from taking capabilities that others may or may not have and integrating them in ways that make something extraordinarily powerful”. This in Jeanne’s mind is how established companies can best startups because as we know, startups “can only do one thing well”. Integrating business capabilities provides a whole value proposition that is hard for others to copy.

Jeanne says that there is one more thing that existing companies need to get good at. They need to become responsive. Startups are constantly monitoring and learning what to do next. Think about Christopher Columbus and what an established company and a startup would do. The startup would pivot and learn how to do something different. Established companies need to learn how to do this too.

Now as we move into the digital economy, there are two strategies possible. And established companies must choose one to lead with. They are customer engagement or digitized solutions. Customer engagement means that every day, you wake up trying to figure out what you can do next to make customers love you. The great example that Jeanne gave is Nordstrom. She said that Nordstrom a few years ago was clearly being disrupted. And Nordstrom responded by creating a personalized shopping experience. This was enabled by combining capabilities around a transparent shopping experience and transparent supply chain. This of course is layered on top with predictive analytics. This allows them to predict what a customer needs and to know how to get it to them regardless of channel.

The second strategy is digitized solutions. Here you figure out what customers need that they don’t know they need. GE is doing this today as an industrial company. They are moving the value from the physical asset to asset performance management.

Her parting remarks

If your company has not embraced either of these then it doesn’t get the digital economy. You need to pick one to execute now. Enterprise Architects have a major role to play here. In the past, architecture was largely a divide-and-conquer approach. Today it is about integration. Today architecture is about empowering and partnering. We need to architect for agility. This means flatter organizations. Today, we need to be able to use data for decisions. The jobs of architects are incredibly important. You see the change that is necessary and you are in a unique position to help get your company there.

By Myles F. Suer, Chief Platform Evangelist, Informatica

Myles Suer acts as a Chief Platform Evangelist at Informatica Corporation. In this role, Mr. Suer is focused upon solutions for key audiences including CIOs and Chief Enterprise Architects and the application of Informatica’s Platform to verticals like manufacturing. Much of Mr. Suer’s experience is as a BI practitioner. At HP and Peregrine, Mr. Suer led the product management team applying analytics and big data technology to the company’s IT management.

Mr. Suer has also been a thought leader for numerous industry standards including ITIL and COBIT. As part of this, Mr. Suer was a reviewer for the ITIL Version 3 standard. For COBIT, Mr. Suer has written extensive. Most recently, he published in COBIT Focus, “Using COBIT 5 to Deliver Information and Data Governance”. Prior to HP, Mr. Suer led new product initiatives at start-ups and large companies. This included doing a restart of a Complex Event Processing Company. Mr. Suer has also been a software industry analyst. Mr. Suer holds a Master of Science degree from UC Irvine and a 2nd Masters in Business Administration in Strategic Planning from the University of Southern California.

Twitter: @MylesSuer

Further Reading

Jeanne Ross of MIT/CISR talks on Digital Disruption

Should the CDO drive corporate Digital Disruption?

The Importance of data in Digital Disruption Via @ComputerWorld

What is the role of government in Digital Disruption?

Are you acting like a software company? Your business may depend upon it

Using data and IT to gain Competitive Advantage

Leadership in an age of  digital disruption

Business model change: how does digital disruption drive the need for it?

@theopengroup

 

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Enterprise Architects “Know Nothing”: A Conversation with Ron Tolido

By The Open Group

It has been well documented that the digital economy is sending many companies—not to mention industries— into a tailspin. Customer expectations, demands for innovation and a rapid change are creating an IT landscape that is not only difficult to manage but nearly impossible to predict. And according to Capgemini’s Ron Tolido, Enterprise Architects need to prepare to function in a world where they have no idea what type of solutions and innovations their clients may need, even in the near future—a world where Enterprise Architects “know nothing.”

Tolido, who spoke at The Open Group London 2016 in April, believes organizations must begin to look to “I don’t know” architectures if they are to survive in the digital economy. Traditional IT methods and architectural practices that were established during the 1980s and 1990s are no longer relevant in the digital age.

Because customer and business needs are constantly changing there really is no way to know what IT landscapes will look like in the future or what type of solutions organizations will need, Tolido says. Therefore, rather than asking clients what they need, IT must instead provide users an architected platform of services that can be mixed and matched to meet a variety needs, enabling business customers to go in any direction they want.

As such, Tolido says Enterprise Architects in this emerging digital era are comparable to the character Jon Snow from HBO’s Game of Thronesa character who is often told “You know nothing.” Like Jon Snow, today Enterprise Architects effectively know nothing because businesses have no idea what the future will hold, whether two days or ten years from now. With new business scenarios developing in real-time, architectures can no longer be painstakingly planned for or designed.

So where does that leave Enterprise Architects? What can they offer in a world where they know nothing and are heading blindly into an environment that is constantly in flux?

Tolido says it’s time for enterprise architectures to stop trying to make predictions as to what architectures should look like and instead provide the business a digital platform that will allow for a new style of architecting, one that drives continuous transformation rather than requirements-driven, step-by-step change.

To do this, Tolido says Enterprise Architects must enable “the art of the possible” within organizations, providing their clients with a catalog of possibilities—a listing of potential things they could be doing to help companies continually transform themselves.

This is a huge shift for most IT departments, Tolido says, which are still stuck in the mindset that the business is different from IT and that business requirements must drive IT initiatives, with architecture sitting somewhere between the two. No longer can architects be content to place architectures somewhere in the middle between the business and IT, Tolido says, because in the next generation of IT—the era of the platform—there is no distinction between business and IT. They are one and the same. With the “third platform”—or Open Platform 3.0™—the platform must allow the business to continually adapt to the needs of customers and market forces.

This brave new world will also require Enterprise Architects to become more adaptable themselves and give up control of their architectures, Tolido says. The role of architects is evolving with them becoming business enablers, or platform “maesters.”

Currently, many established enterprises are having a difficult time adjusting to this new reality; thus all the digital disruption we are seeing across industries, Tolido says. Start-ups and newer technology players have some advantage here because they are already in a state of change and their systems have been designed to deal with that.

One way, Tolido suggests, that enterprises can make transformation easier on themselves would be to create a “parallel IT universe” alongside their existing systems that explores a more service-oriented model and allows for them to transition. Although such a system might cannibalize existing services or products, it may also be the only way to keep up with disruptive market forces. “Better to eat yourself and be your own disruptor than have someone else do it to you,” Tolido says.

As “platform maesters,” Enterprise Architects will also need to become much more proactive in helping company stakeholders understand the necessity of a platform play for continuous business transformation. That means proving that the EA role is much more about designing a continuously enabling platform than actually designing solutions, which is a shift in role for EAs. Tolido believes EAs must also become better at telling the digital story and outlining the business possibilities that services can enable. “They need to become real change agents. This will require more imagination from architects as well.”

Enabling unhindered, continuous transformation may actually allow businesses to move closer to The Open Group vision of Boundaryless Information Flow™, Tolido says. Standards will have a significant role to play here because companies designing platforms that allow for constant change will need the help of standards. The work being done in The Open Group Open Platform 3.0 Forum can help organizations better understand what open platforms designed for micro services and ad hoc application composition will look like. For example, Tolido says, the concept of the Open Business Data Lake—an environment that combines services, data retrieval and storage in a fluid way to provides dynamic outlets and uses for the data, is an indicator of how the landscape will look differently. “Standards are crucial for helping people understand how that landscape should look and giving guidance as to how organizations can work with microservices and agility,” Tolido says.

Despite all the upheaval going on at companies and in IT today, Tolido believes these are exciting times for IT because the discipline is going through a revolution that will effect everything that businesses do. Although it may take some adjustments for Enterprise Architects, Tolido says the new landscape will provide a lot of compelling challenges for architects who accept that they know “nothing”, go with the flow and who can adapt to uncertainty.

“It’s a new world. There’s more change than you can absorb right now. Better enjoy the ride.”

@theopengroup

By The Open Group

Ron Tolido is Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Application Services Continental Europe, Capgemini. He is also a Director on The Open Group Governing Board and blogger for Capgemini’s multiple award-winning CTO blog, as well as the lead author of Capgemini’s TechnoVision and the global Application Landscape Reports. As a noted Digital Transformation ambassador, Tolido speaks and writes about IT strategy, innovation, applications and architecture. Based in the Netherlands, Mr. Tolido currently takes interest in apps rationalization, Cloud, enterprise mobility, the power of open, Slow Tech, process technologies, the Internet of Things, Design Thinking and – above all – radical simplification.

 

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Choose UNIX® Inside

By The Open Group

In 1991, Intel Corporation started their “Intel Inside” marketing and branding campaign that turned Intel into a household name.[1] The power of “Intel Inside” was that it allowed consumers to quickly understand the value of what was “in-the-box” and make an informed buying decision.

UNIX® is another great example of a strong brand platform “inside” a bigger solution and, in some opinions, the UNIX platform has showcased a broader impact on technology than Intel.[2] An operating system (OS) that becomes UNIX certified has gone through the rigorous testing process to verify compliance with the Single UNIX Specification – The UNIX Standard.[3]  This certification provides an assurance to customers, independent software vendors, developers, integrators, and system vendors that a UNIX OS will work in a deterministic and well-defined way. “UNIX inside” allows IT decision-makers to quickly understand what is in the solution, even though the operating system is one component of the broader solution including hardware, applications, etc.

Another apt comparison to The UNIX Standard and  “Intel Inside” is UL certification mark often seen on devices using electricity. Underwriters Laboratories (UL) dates back to 1894 providing “safety-related certification, validation, testing inspection, auditing, advising and training services” around electrical devices and components.[4] From the early days of commercialized electronics a UL listed product gave confidence to consumers that what they buy would meet a rigorous set of standards from components, to wiring, to the product itself.

In the case of UNIX, The Open Group serves as the lab providing assurance to the end customers that every UNIX OS will deliver a set of rich feature sets, stability, scalability, and portability.  The UNIX® registered trademark is used in conjunction with a certified UNIX OS such as HPE HP-UX, Oracle® Solaris, IBM AIX, and many other brands to showcase its conformance.[5]

The UNIX OS has been a foundation of innovation for more than 45 years and the Single UNIX Specification (the UNIX Standard) has been in place for 20 years. “UNIX continues to be at the heart of the IT industry as it is an important enabler of other technologies such as Cloud.  Oracle Solaris 11, a UNIX OS, is a complete, integrated, and open platform engineered for large-scale enterprise Cloud which is why Oracle customers continue to prefer Solaris under the hood,” said Chris Armes, Vice President, Oracle Solaris Engineering. Global 100 and Fortune 100 customers choose “UNIX inside” for always-on mission critical computing.  Apple chose “UNIX inside” as the basis of their flagship operating system – MAC OS X / El Capitan.[6]

By The Open Group

Learn more about UNIX innovation with the resources listed below and why so many companies have chosen “UNIX inside”.

© The Open Group 2016.

UNIX is a registered trademark of The Open Group.  HP-UX is a registered trademark of HPE.  AIX is a registered trademark of IBM.  Oracle Solaris is a registered trademark of Oracle Corporation. El Capitan and Mac OS X are trademarks of Apple Inc.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel#Intel_Inside

[2] The UNIX Evolution: An Innovative History Blog:  https://blog.opengroup.org/2016/02/23/the-unix-evolution-an-innovative-history/

[3] The Single UNIX Specification: http://www.unix.org/version4/overview.html

[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UL_%28safety_organization%29

[5] http://www.opengroup.org/openbrand/register/

[6] https://blog.opengroup.org/2015/10/02/mac-os-x-el-capitan-achieves-unix-certification/

 

 

 

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