Category Archives: Enterprise Architecture (EA)

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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TOGAF® User Group Meetings

By The Open Group

Since its inception more than two decades ago, TOGAF®, an Open Group standard, has grown to become the de facto global framework for creating Enterprise Architectures.

Thousands of companies worldwide have adopted and adapted TOGAF to transform their businesses. Facts about TOGAF include:

  • 80% of the Fortune Top 50 companies use TOGAF
  • Over 60,000 individuals hold certifications in TOGAF 9
  • TOGAF users are based in 120 countries
  • Greater than 60 accredited training courses available globally

The Open Group wants to ensure that TOGAF maintains its momentum worldwide and realizes that doing so cannot be done without capturing the voices beyond the The Open Group members.  Additionally, there is an increase in the number of licensed TOGAF professionals who want to follow up their training with a forum for discussion and sharing. Thus, there is an opportunity to provide TOGAF Users to easily Share, get Enlightenment, and Express their needs (’SEE’ TOGAF).

The starting off point for The Open Group was to begin hosting TOGAF User Group Meetings, which move in a direction where users get more involved in their structure. With these meetings, The Open Group gets an opportunity to Harvest ideas on use, Educate users, have Access to larger user base and broader set of Requirements (‘HEAR’ about TOGAF use).

The User Group Meetings are open to all interested people and are free to attend.

So there is a win-win for TOGAF Users to meet. This part of the story is yet to be written!

For the upcoming TOGAF® User Group Meeting in San Francisco, CA on January 30, 2017, please visit here.

by-the-open-group

 

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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 Paris 2016 Event Highlights

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

In the City of Lights, The Open Group hosted the last quarterly event of 2016, October 24-27.  With the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe as backdrops, 200 attendees experienced a very full agenda featuring presentations and case studies on e-Government, Boundaryless Information Flow™, Enterprise Architecture (EA), Interoperability and much more.  The event was held at the Hyatt Regency Paris Étoile.

On Monday, October 24, Steve Nunn, CEO & President of The Open Group, welcomed all in fluent French, expressing his appreciation for the attendees from 26 countries who made the journey to the event.

It was an honor to have Emmanuel Gregoire, Deputy Mayor of Paris, begin the sessions.  His keynote was titled “Modernize, Innovate and Transform:  Paris Administration Case Study on e-Government.”  He provided great insight on how to successfully manage and architect such a tremendous endeavor with the objective of digital transformation.

Roland Genson, Director, General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union then spoke about “Standardized Boundaryless Information Flow”.  He stated without standards and interoperability, a transformation is impossible.  Boundaryless Information Flow is the key enabler for efficiency, cost-effectiveness and agility.  Roland also discussed the balance of openness, confidentiality and security.

The plenary continued with a presentation by Robert ‘Bob’ Weisman, CEO/COO, Build the Vision, Inc.  Bob, based in Ottawa, Canada, shared his key learnings on EA and e-Government.  Enterprise Architecture acts as the cohesive glue between the many management frameworks. Bob said that government has the reliability mindset and e-Government has the validity mindset, and an organization needs to ensure EA is used properly to manage the gaps.

The morning culminated with a European Interoperability Reference Architecture (EIRA) “State of Play” by Dr. Raul Mario Abril Jiminez, Program Manager, EU Policies, European Commission.  The EIRA v1.1.0 is based on TOGAF®, an Open Group standard, expressed in ArchiMate®, also an Open Group standard.  EIRA defines for cross-sector and cross-border interoperability.

by-loren-k-baynes-director-global-marketing-communicationsDr. Raul Mario Abril Jimenez, EU Policies, European Commission

Each session concluded with a Q&A, moderated by Steve Nunn, with many questions posed by attendees.

Two lunchtime presentations featured Phillippe Desfray, Director General & Product Manager, Modeliosoft and Dominique Marie, Lead Solution Consultant, Hewlett Packard Enterprise.  Phillipe discussed the need to combine standards to cover entire EA modeling scope.  Dominque shared how HPE uses the IT4IT™ standard with customers.

The afternoon offered tracks in Open Business Architecture (O-BA) and IT4IT programs, as well as continuing the theme of EA and Government.  A panel discussion was held on the preliminary O-BA standard, an Open Group standard. Subject matter experts were from Huawei Technologies, Philips and Capgemini. They stated the five key elements to BA are common language, holistic view, horizontal and vertical traceability, and integrated practice.

In the evening at the hotel, the attendees enjoyed a networking reception and sponsor exhibits.

Day two of The Open Group Paris, October 25, began with a conversation about business transformation with Steve Nunn and Eric Boulay, CEO and Founder, Arismore and Memority, and partner of The Open Group Paris. Eric stated that business transformation is continuous and never ends. It is a long journey with quick wins along the way.

by-loren-k-baynes-director-global-marketing-communications

Packed house in the Plenary on October 25

The theme of digital transformation continued with a joint presentation by Olivier Flous, Vice President, Engineering and Eric Cohen, Chief Enterprise Architect, both with the Thales Group.  According to Olivier and Eric, the three streams of the digital transformation framework are customer, operations, people.  Furthermore, EA helps manage the complexity associated with digital transformation.  Digital driven EA capability is based on an ecosystem collaboration and also applies lean thinking.

Ron Schuldt, Manager, Data-Harmonizing, LLC provided a brief overview of The Open Group O-DEF (Open Data Element Framework) standard. O-DEF is a prime example of The Open Group vision of ‘Making Standards Work™’.

The plenary further featured ‘Continuous Architecture – Reconciling EA and Agility’ by Renaud Phelizon, Senior Consultant, Arismore.  He explained continuous architecture is architecture based on shorter and richer feedback loops (build, measure, learn).

Tuesday’s plenary concluded with Bill Wimsatt, Oracle Business Architect, sharing his vision of architecting the digital business – a merger of customer experience and EA.  Bill said there is no more stratification as it is now becoming ecosystems.  “The advent of full digital business is to become the biggest business/ IT disruptor since the internet.” Digital Lifecycle Methodology consists of ideation, prototype and impact.

Partner lunchtime presentations on EA were offered by Lars Lundgren, Manager and Founder, Biner and Konstantin Govedarski, CTO, Smart360.

The afternoon agenda was full with tracks on Open Platform 3.0™, Digital Architecture, IT4IT, Automation and Standards in ICS Sytems, ArchiMate and Professional Development.  Presenters were from companies including Huawei Technologies, ExxonMobil, FEAPO, Capgemini, HPE and The Open Group.

The group then ventured to the evening off-site function at the quaint Le Chalet des Iles in the Bois de Boulogne. It was a fantastic night networking over an exceptional French meal.

Wednesday, October 26, consisted of many tracks / workshops on the subjects of Bridging Strategy and Implementation, Open Platform 3.0™, Architecting for IoT, Architecting Smart Cities and Agile EA. The speakers came from a wide range organizations such as the University of Stuttgart, IBM, Salesforce, Hitachi and BMW AG.

Members only meetings were held every day, including Thursday, October 27.

A special ‘thank you’ goes to our sponsors and exhibitors:  BiZZdesign, Good e-Learning, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Modeliosoft, Association of Enterprise Architects (AEA), Arismore, Biner, Mega, Orbus Software, Smart360

@theopengroup #ogPARIS

Looking forward to seeing you at The Open Group San Francisco, January 30 – February 2, 2017! #ogSFO

By Loren K. Baynes, Director, Global Marketing CommunicationsLoren 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 ArchiMate®, Boundaryless Information Flow™, Digital Transformation, e-Government, Enterprise Architecture, Enterprise Architecture (EA), EU, European Commission, European Union, Interoperability, IoT, Open Platform 3.0, Smart Cities, Standards, Steve Nunn, The Open Group, The Open Group Paris 2016, Uncategorized

How Architects Can Survive and Thrive in the Digital Era: A Conversation with Peter Beijer

By The Open Group

Peter Beijer believes your job as an Enterprise Architect may be in jeopardy.

According to Beijer, Chief Technologist for the Office of the CTO for HP Enterprise and leader of the company’s architecture capabilities in EMEA, architects are being forced to change and evolve their role due to the digital revolution that all industries are currently facing.

Beijer believes that for Enterprise Architects to survive, they must do three things. First, they must learn to adapt and engage with the changes being brought by the digital shift and new development environments. Second, they must reach out and engage with today’s new business leaders to better understand the problems and opportunities that businesses and customers are facing. Finally, they must better develop their own personal brands in order to showcase their experience and credentials and show their worth to their organizations.

We spoke with Beijer in advance of The Open Group Paris 2016 event (October 24 – 27) to learn more about how he sees the state of the Enterprise Architecture profession today and what Enterprise Architects can to do remain relevant in the midst of a rapidly changing IT and business climate.

How are the current changes in IT affecting Enterprise Architects?

There is a digital shift going on—the whole world is going digital, and digital means a  business transformation for a lot of companies because they may get involved with human-centric customer engagement models that have very different dynamics than what they’re used to, so the skills of the Architecture profession are changing a lot. You have to be much more empathetic to be able to understand what the customers’ customer is doing and there is a whole new range of possibilities and platforms with technologies—it’s becoming very, very diverse.

That asks for more insight from architects to be able to do things. IT as such is changing—there are many forces driving that change. Everything is getting smaller, we are living on top of a mountain of data (which is self-propelling) and there’s also the societal impact of IT and the amount of information available to people. This whole change from the industrial way of doing computing, which was meant to help us do things, has transformed into an information society driven not by scarcity but by abundance. There’s an abundance of information, technology and platforms, and they have become very easily accessible to all of us. For example, where once we needed highly skilled specialists we can now do things now ourselves on a smartphone everywhere.

Within an enterprise, there has been a classic division between the business and IT, and we have always preached the paradigm, ‘We should align IT with the business.” But in fact business has become IT. However, the business people now have easy access to these new digital platforms so the IT department is lagging behind fixing legacy systems. Traditionally the role of the architect was always meant to collaborate with the business people to see how technology can advance the business.

But since IT has become so readily available—you can install mobile platforms, Cloud, or a business app by the press of a finger on an iPhone—what happens is business people are doing these things themselves more and more. Of course that is the very extreme end of the spectrum, but the net effect to the IT department is that business users want solutions more rapidly, more easily—they are not waiting for cumbersome projects.

For the architect, it’s ‘Welcome to the new world of IT.’ And you can question whether the architect is still needed when the click of a button allows you to engage with Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure or any other platform. So as the Architect, you’ve always done your projects, you’ve always carefully facilitated the discussions and guided decisions when defining solutions, and now you find yourself in a rapidly changing world where business people are building solutions themselves. You find yourself increasingly useless and no longer relevant.

On the other hand, if you pick up a role that articulates the value of these new technologies in the new business contexts that are emerging, you really have to change your job a lot to become meaningful. The fundamental value of architecting has not changed, but the spectrum of choices, the moving parts, the building blocks have greatly increased and it is against a background where everybody wants things very quick and very cheap. We are now living in a world where everybody says ‘Let’s fail fast and try many ideas.’ The architect by nature is more ‘Slow down. Are we making the right decision? Are we making the right choices?’ This is a bit counter or averse to the natural DNA of an architect. And that’s why the profession needs a wake up call.

How then can Architects remain relevant and meaningful within organizations? Why has it been so difficult for Enterprise Architects to show their value in companies?

That has always been a problem to show your business value as an Enterprise Architect. It has to do with making yourself relevant and being recognized by the organization. The question is, how do you do that?

First of all, the architect should actually be the first person to call on the business leader. Over the years, the discipline has been degraded a bit. Traditionally, we were the people that were engaging with the business, but the IT world has become very technical and in many organizations the architect has been degraded into a technical role while the original role of the architect was a liaison between business stakeholders and technical stakeholders. What the architect must do is to engage again with the business and build trust and confidence that they can make a difference in solving a problem, that they understand business language and that they can become empathetic.

That is one of the key skills that an architect must learn—to become empathetic and to understand what others do. They also need to understand the risks in building a system because things are going faster. They’re less cumbersome than in the early days but would a business really bet its success on not using an architect and run into risk on a project? You really need an architect to understand this whole playing field and the forces within the projects, the business opportunity, the key stakeholders, the customers’ customers and what technology can mean for them. Architects must understand the business language and build a level of trust where the business can have a dialogue where together they can explore the possibilities and see how they can make things happen. These are a couple of skills that architects need to develop.

How can Architects work on developing empathy as a skill?

That’s not an easy thing. That is because they must be much more business focused, learn much more business acumen, see how major trends in the industry effect the strategic intent of the company they’re working for. What is the whole value chain, or better, what is the value network? With the connectedness of today’s businesses we  think in terms of networks rather than of chains. Diving in and understanding these concepts and problems from a business perspective is one of the key skills they have to learn.

How do you then develop empathy? You have to work with these [business] people, you have to facilitate and guide dialogues so you can learn about those things and interact with the business. You have to actually think beyond the technology. It’s much more about understanding the usage of technology—the human/technology meta-narrative, so to speak. In the early days, people adapted to technologies. Nowadays, the technology must adapt to people and as an architect you have to understand that. The dialogues of that are on a much higher level of abstraction, so it is essential for architects to facilitate that dialogue but you also have to rapidly tie that down to technology possibilities. For example, how does a choice for a certain technology affect the value network that your organization is relying and expending on? Will it create a business blockage for the future?

What can Architects do to better showcase their skills and show their value to their organizations?

How can you step forward and say, ‘I have these skills’? This is where The Open Group Certified Architect program steps in because we provide a certification where we really evaluate the architect’s experience in doing these types of things.

As an architect, if you want to become relevant, you must adopt a skillset, and with that skillset you can qualify as an Open Certified Architect (Open CA). It’s about the skillset, the portfolio of experience you have built up as a professional can you prove that you have done that? Using those skills and experiences is a guide for an organization where they can have a resource pool of architects. In my organization, we are pretty serious about certification—we use it as a tool for career progression.

A profession framework gives organizations a consistent approach to industry recognized standards, the roles, the way people work, the methods they use, but also to develop training and education to get people there. It’s a quality assurance for professionals because that evaluation is done in a peer-based way where the certification of architects is evaluated by other architects. With certification, we have clearly defined standards—what is the industry consensus on a good approach for how people should work, the level of interaction needed with the business. The evaluation is probing whether you’re doing that, whether you’re capable of defining projects, delivering projects with a large degree of success. One of the key components is the conformance requirements for the Open Certified Architect—it basically tells you what skills and experience are necessary to seriously call yourself an “Architect.” 

If an organization wants to develop the career progression of architects and the standards for the way they work, a profession framework is a necessary instrument to develop and maintain the profession within an organization. Using a framework based on industry consensus, as with The Open Group, provides a good reference.  It is a very prestigious certification!

Within the Open CA program in The Open Group, we have 37 architecture methods that are recognized by the Specification Authority based on industry consensus. The methods help you establish architectural decisions, validate architectures to manage stakeholder requirements, basically define the transition from old to new or how to architect a solution for a business problem. Working according to an architecture method gives you a large degree of predictability for success instead of shooting from the hip and praying for the best. If organizations adopt a profession framework, they create an environment that enables people to practice and mature their profession. You create much more consistency with role definitions. A lot of organizations struggle with defining roles for their job families, so adopting a profession framework where the skills are clearly articulated and defined and can be evaluated by the means of a certification program can really increase the effectiveness of your workforce. And in developing standards, you can provide employees a roadmap for their career progression.

What steps can Enterprise Architects take to grow their careers over the next 5-10 years and continue to show value as the industry is changing?

The obvious answer for me is of course to get your Open Certified Architect certification. Once you have it, there is a three-year recertification that is not as cumbersome as the original certification. The initial certification a significant step for an architect. If you are an Open Certified Architect, you are a “Real Architect.” But it does require you to re-certify every three years, and that is a very short document that proves you are still architecting and maintaining your profession. Compare it to peer-reviewed professions such as lawyers and medical doctors.

One of the things we evaluate in that recertification is: Do you follow the industry? Are you following industry conferences? Are you following webinars? Are you maintaining your skills as an architect? Are you following the state of the art of the new disciplines related to architecture? The other thing we really encourage, because it’s a peer-driven evaluation, is that we encourage people to sit on boards to evaluate other architects going through the certification process.

So you keep your profession up to date, you understand what’s going on, you have to engage with your clients and give some evidence that you are still doing Architecture related work. You have to maintain your knowledge and experiences. As the industry is evolving toward a digital shift, of course everyone has to take webinars and keep up on industry trends, but to keep the Open Certified Architect certification, we ask you to do that otherwise you are no longer conforming to the conformance requirements.

@theopengroup #ogPARIS

by-the-open-groupDr. Peter Beijer is Chief Technologist in Hewlett Packard Enterprise, leading the Architecture Capability for Enterprise Services in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). Recognized pioneer in HPE’s Solution Architecture Blueprinting methodology and core contributor to the development of the architecture profession. He is Chair of the Open CA Specification Authority.  Dr. Beijer received a doctorate (Ph.D) from the University of Amsterdam.

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Filed under Certifications, Enterprise Architecture, Enterprise Architecture (EA), Open CA, Standards, The Open Group, The Open Group Paris 2016, Uncategorized

Tackling Transformation in Government: A Conversation with Roland Genson

By The Open Group

It’s not just industry and corporations that are undergoing massive change due to digital transformation—governments worldwide are being equally affected by the need to create more efficient processes and to provide online services to citizens.

With 28 member states and three branches of government, the European Union (EU) is a prime example of just how complex transformation can be. We spoke with Roland Genson, Director in the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union—one of the EU’s three branches—in advance of The Open Group Paris 2016 event (October 24 – 27) about the challenges the Council is facing and how they are working with the two other branches of government to achieve interoperability and Boundaryless Information Flow™.

What is the role of the General Secretariat of the Council (GSC) of the European Union? What sort of services does the Council provide?

In a nutshell, in the legislative process level at the European Union you have three institutions. The most known to the public is the European Commission, which has a role to make proposals and draft new legislation and submit it to the two co-legislators. On one side there’s the European Parliament where you have directly elected parliamentarians and on the other side, the Council of the European Union—that’s us. In the Council of the European Union you have the 28 member states represented, much like, for example, if you look at the U.S. Congress, you have the House and the Senate. As the General Secretariat, we are supporting those 28 member states in the negotiation process, meaning providing conferences, logistics and policy advice but also managing and circulating all the information they need to work in 24 European Union languages.

Why has the GSC undertaken a digital transformation? What led to that and made it necessary?

If we look back at the past, until 2014 all the institutions had their own IT strategy, their own development and so on. But today with digital transformation it’s more and more obvious that we need a fit and interoperability framework. In most of the 28 member states you have e-Government initiatives and digital transformation processes ongoing, and we are in the middle of those. We cannot just look around us and find solutions that are competitive with everyone. We believe that we have to work together on common standards and interoperability frameworks to make sure that we are able to connect to all 28 members, to connect to the other institutions, the Commission and the Parliament, otherwise it will be impossible for us—and for them—to work efficiently.

What are some of the challenges that the GSC is facing as part of the transformation?

I see at least three challenges. The first challenge is an internal one. Within our organization we need seamless information flow between all services. That’s the first place where boundaryless needs to kick in to get rid of existing silos, to eliminate disruptions  between services.

The second challenge is “Brussels-based,” which means the need to have Boundaryless Information Flow between EU institutions. When a proposal comes from the Commission, it should enter into the Council and the European Parliament without any new disruption or without any data or format conversion. Our target should be an end-to-end legislative drafting and negotiation process between the Commission, Council and the Parliament.

The third challenge is to become boundaryless with regard to the GSC’s main stakeholders, which are our member states, so that we are able to serve all 28 member states (MS) with standardized content that can immediately be used and linked within each MS subject to national needs, specifications or legal requirements.

Furthermore, as an additional challenge, we also have responsibility with regard to the European citizens, so public information that our organization deals with can easily be made available and understood for further analyses and exploitation by the interested citizen. It’s our challenge to get EU knowledge out to the civil society.

How are those challenges being addressed as part of the project? How long has your transformation project been going on?

I took over the responsibility for this newly created directorate in 2014 with a clear shift from IT to business outcome or value. A lot of organizations had gone on the same path where, until a certain point, the digital environment was mainly designed by IT departments. We really have now a situation where the business needs and expectations come first. Internal clients and our stakeholders outside are our first priority and on the basis of their perspectives we should see what standards and subsequent IT solutions allow us to get there. We started this business driven process in 2014. Moreover my concern was to have it immediately started together with the other institutions, because it doesn’t make sense for the Council alone to try to find a way for “its” future when the European Commission and the European Parliament have the same challenges. I believe progress made on interoperability solutions for European public administrations (ISA) is equally a valid framework for all institutions to set the necessary standards. And with the European Interoperability Framework, the EIF, we would also have another basis for the GSC’s digital developments. Though we started late in 2014, there are quite a number of approaches, standards and tools that we can take on board and consider as viable options for the future.

Are standards being used to address the challenges of the project?

Absolutely. For example, today we write all of our structured documents on a MS Word-based tool, specifically designed for all our services. Today, this doesn’t make sense anymore. We understand that all the content drafting shall be XML-based, and when discussing with the Commission and the European Parliament, we understand that for legislative process marking, AKOMA NTOSO is the right standard, which leads us to explore the  market, where common standards have already been shared and explored by other communities or organizations.

What role is Enterprise Architecture playing in your transformation?

Our task today is to get all key business processes designed and  documented—getting a clear view on this and assessing them according to corporate’s strategy, priorities and challenges. As mentioned before, it’s rather complicated in the sense that we have to get it aligned in-house, but also with the Commission and the European Parliament and eventually with the member states. Somehow we have to find the best and easiest standard and operating model to get there. What I would like to avoid is to set up a new set of processes which would be too rigid and would not allow us to meet the necessary flexibility some services might need.

What advice do you have for those undertaking digital transformation within government? What do people need to think about when they’re working with government entities as opposed to corporations or businesses?

The General Secretariat of the Council is probably one of the smallest organizations in Brussels but when we look at the “Council” and the “European Council,” the two institutions we serve, the challenge ahead is quite impressive. We have to serve hundreds of ministers plus a community of national officials, front line delegates and back office support, which easily covers more than 200,000 people. Obviously we cannot enter into negotiations with 28 member states to see what would be the best standard or framework but we cannot ignore that things are going on. What we try to do is to identify digital champions and undertake a number of exchange of views  to see what to move on.

As an example, we had a visit to Austria, as the Austrian government is already far advanced in digital transformation. We will have next year the Estonian presidency for the European Union. Estonia is also a digital champion, so we will try to learn from their experience and take advantage of their presidency in order to launch new services and test to see if things meet the needs of most member states. If not, we will swiftly adapt and explore something else. It will be a different, an experimental approach. We need to engage with Member States and vice versa, to trigger a greater awareness of what delegations would like to achieve in terms of content and knowledge delivery.

What role can standards play in helping government with transformation efforts?

For me it’s rather obvious, that if we agree on the same standards in our organizations, all stakeholders would know what the criteria would be, for example when launching a public procurement. It would make multilateral interactions a lot easier. We would not just look at one specific tool or software and see what is compatible, we’d just refer to the standards as a basis. Everyone would know about that standard and subsequently be ensured that products based on that standard are interoperable, are compatible with the institutions or with my neighbor states. Standards also offer semantics. We work in 24 languages. If we want to be sure that one terminology is always used in the same way in different languages, we also need to invest a lot in semantic interoperability.

What standards are you looking at or currently using?

We plan to use TOGAF®, an Open Group standard, in close collaboration with our colleagues on the IT-side for business process management. We want to have a well-documented process map of the organization to allow this smart integration, interoperability and processing of the information. It’s the business architecture part of TOGAF.

Are there other things that governments need to consider when doing transformation projects?

In my view, what is crucial is to have a genuine engagement of all stakeholders at the highest level.. The three Secretary-Generals from the European Parliament, the Commission and the Council expressed their commitment in this respect. To make the expected progress, we equally need a full commitment by all Council members, e.g. national delegations. So we will learn from them and they will learn from us and we will be able to achieve results together to transform our organization. For me, this is crucial. It’s a change in the mindset, but we need to adapt to be able to quickly exchange best practices, lessons and failures, as a way to make progress.

@theopengroup #ogPARIS

by-the-open-groupRoland Genson is director at the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union, in charge of the Council’s document processing, recording, archiving, transparency and of the GSC’s libraries. He drives the redesign of the GSC’s knowledge and information management in order to align the organisation with digital innovation and with Member States expectations in this respect.

Until 2014, he was a GSC director covering Schengen, judicial cooperation and internal security cooperation under the Justice and Home Affairs policy framework.

From 1987 to 2007, he served in the Luxembourg law enforcement sector and than at the Ministry of Justice.

He is also a lecturer at the Universities of Luxemburg and of Liège.

Mr. Genson will be a keynote speaker at The Open Group Paris 2016 event on October 24.

 

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Filed under Boundaryless Information Flow™, Business Transformation, Digital Transformation, e-Government, Enterprise Architecture, Enterprise Architecture (EA), EU, European Commission, European Union, Interoperability, IT, standards, The Open Group, The Open Group Paris 2016, TOGAF®, Uncategorized

The Role of Enterprise Architecture in Platform 3.0 Transformation

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

Our transition to the highly-connected realm of Platform 3.0 will radically disrupt the way that we approach Enterprise Architecture (EA).

The current architectures and methodologies will simply not hold up in the era of Platform 3.0 – characterised by the forces of big data, mobility, the Internet of Things, and social media colliding.

In the Platform 3.0 era, power shifts to the customer – as we choose from a range of services offered conveniently via digital channels. By embracing Platform 3.0, organisations can respond to newly-empowered customers. New entrants can scale at unprecedented rates, and incumbents can pivot business models rapidly, while entering and exiting new markets as opportunities emerge.

EA plays an essential role in making these possibilities a reality. EA infuses IT into the DNA of the business. No longer is it about ‘IT’ and ‘business’. Technology is absolutely integral to the entire business, and business leaders are quickly realising the fundamental truth that ‘if you can’t change the system, you can’t change the business’.

A new and exciting Platform 3.0 architectural reality is emerging. It’s composed of microservices and platforms that are combined in radical new ways to serve point-in-time needs – powering new-found business opportunities and revenue streams, dramatically transforming your organisation.

Platform 3.0 refers to radically different ways for the organisation to securely engage with partners, suppliers, and others in your value chain or ecosystem.”

Managing volatile change

But, while driven by an urgent need to transform, to become faster and more agile, large organisations are often constrained by legacy infrastructure.

With an EA-focused approach, organisations can take a step back, and design a set of architectures to manage the volatile change that’s inherent in today’s quickly-digitising industries. EA allows business systems in different departments to be united, creating what The Open Group (the vendor-neutral global IT standards and certifications consortium) aptly describes as a “boundaryless” flow of information throughout the organisation.

Platform 3.0 refers to radically different ways for the organisation to securely engage with partners, suppliers, and others in your value chain or ecosystem. For a retailer, stock suppliers could access real-time views of your inventory levels and automatically prepare new orders. Or a factory, for example, could allow downstream distributors a view of the production facility, to know when the latest batch run will be ready for collection.

In almost every industry, there are a number of new disruptors offering complementary service offerings to incumbent players (such as Fintech players in the Banking industry). To embrace partnerships, venture-capital opportunities, and acquisitions, organisations need extensible architectural platforms.

More and more transactions are moving between organisations via connected, instantaneous, automated platforms. We’re seeing the fulfilment of The Open Group vision of Boundaryless Information Flow™ between organisations and fuels greater efficiencies.

Architecting for an uncertain future

We need to architect for an uncertain future, resigning ourselves to not always knowing what will come next, but being prepared with an architectural approach that enables the discovery of next-generation digital business opportunities.

By exploring open standards, this transformation can be accelerated. The concept of ‘openness’ is at the very heart of Platform 3.0-based business transformation. As different business systems fall into and out of favour, you’ll want to benefit from new innovations by quickly unplugging one piece of the infrastructure, and plugging in a new piece.

Open standards allow us to evolve from our tired and traditional applications, to dynamic catalogues of microservices and APIs that spark continuous business evolution and renewal. Open standards help up to reach a state of radical simplicity with our architecture.

The old-world view of an application is transformed into new applications – volatile and continually morphing – combining sets of APIs that run microservices, and serve a particular business need at a particular point-in-time. These APIs and microservices will form the basis for whatever application we’d like to build on top of it.

Architects need to prepare themselves and their organisations for an uncertain future, where technology’s evolution and businesses’ changing demands are not clearly known. By starting with a clear understanding of the essential building blocks, and the frameworks to re-assemble these in new ways in the future, one can architect for the uncertain future lying in wait.

Platform 3.0 requires a shift towards “human-centered architectures”: where we start acknowledging that there’s no single version of the truth. Depending on one’s role and skill-set, and the level of detail they require, everyone will perceive the organisation’s structure and processes differently.

But ultimately, it’s not about the user, or the technology, or the architecture itself. The true value resides in the content, and not the applications that house, transmit or present that content. Human-centered architectural principles place the emphasis on the content, and the way in which different individuals (from inside or outside the organisation) need to use that content in their respective roles.

As the EA practice formalises intellectual capital in the form of business models and rules, we create an environment for machine learning and artificial intelligence to play an essential role in the future of the organisation. Many describe this as the future of Platform 3.0, perhaps even the beginning of Platform 4.0?

Where this will eventually lead us is both exciting and terrifying.

@theopengroup

by-stuart-macgregor-ceo-real-irm

Stuart 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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Filed under architecture, Boundaryless Information Flow™, digital business, Enterprise Architecture, Enterprise Architecture (EA), Future Technologies, Internet of Things, Open Platform 3.0, Platform 3.0, Standards, The Open Group, Uncategorized