Category Archives: Internet of Things

The Enviable Pedigree of UNIX® and POSIX®

By Andrew Josey, VP, Standards and Certification, The Open Group

Technology can be a fickle thing. Spurred by perpetual innovation, the one constant in the tech industry is change. As such, we can expect that whatever is the hottest thing in the industry today—Cloud, Big Data, Mobile, Social, what have you—will be yesterday’s news within a few years’ time. That is how the industry moves and sustains itself, with constant development and creativity—all of which is only getting faster and faster.

But today’s breakthroughs would be nowhere and would not have been possible without what came before them—a fact we sometimes forget. Mainframes led to personal computers, which gave way to laptops, then tablets and smartphones, and now the Internet of Things. Today much of the interoperability we enjoy between our devices and systems—whether at home, the office or across the globe—owes itself to efforts in the 1980s and 1990s to make an interoperable operating system (OS) that could be used across diverse computing environments—the UNIX operating system.

Created at AT&T Bell Laboratories in the early 1970s, the UNIX operating system was developed as a self-contained system that could be easily adapted and run on commodity hardware. By the 1980s, UNIX workstations were widely used in academia and commercially, with a large number of system suppliers, such as HP, IBM, and Sun Microsystems (now Oracle), developing their own flavors of the OS.

At the same time, a number of organizations began standardization efforts around the system. By the late 1980s, three separate organizations were publishing different standards for the UNIX operating system, including IEEE, ISO/IEC JTC1 and X/Open (which eventually became The Open Group).

As part of the standardization efforts undertaken by IEEE, it developed a small set of application programming interfaces (APIs). This effort was known as POSIX, or Portable Operation System Interface. Published in 1988, the POSIX.1 standard was the first attempt outside the work at AT&T and BSD (the UNIX derivative developed at the University of California at Berkeley) to create common APIs for UNIX systems. In parallel, X/Open (an industry consortium consisting at that time of over twenty UNIX suppliers) began developing a set of standards aligned with POSIX that consisted of a superset of the POSIX APIs.  The X/Open standard was known as the X/Open Portability Guide and had an emphasis on usability. ISO also got involved in the efforts, by taking the POSIX standard and internationalizing it.

In 1995, the Single UNIX Specification was created to represent the core of the UNIX brand. Born of a superset of POSIX APIs, the specification provided a richer set of requirements than POSIX for functionality, scalability, reliability and portability for multiuser computing systems. At the same time, the UNIX trademark was transferred to X/Open (now The Open Group). Today, The Open Group holds the trademark in trust for the industry, and suppliers that develop UNIX systems undergo certification, which includes over 40,000 tests, to assure their compatibility and conformance to the standard.

These tri-furcated efforts by separate standards organizations continued through most of the 1990s, with the people involved in developing the standards constantly bouncing between organizations and separate meetings. In late 1997, a number of vendors became tired of having three separate parallel efforts to keep track of and they suggested all three organizations come together to work on one standard.

In 1998, The Open Group, which had formed through the merger of X/Open and the Open Software Foundation, met with the ISO/IEC JTC 1 and IEEE technical experts for an inaugural meeting at IBM’s offices in Austin, Texas. At this meeting, it was agreed that they would work together on a single set of standards that each organization could approve and publish. Since then the approach to specification development has been “write once, adopt everywhere,” with the deliverables being a set of specifications that carry the IEEE POSIX designation, The Open Group Technical Standard designation, and the ISO/IEC designation. Known as the Austin Group, the three bodies still work together today to progress both the joint standard. The new standard not only streamlined the documentation needed to work with the APIs but simplified what was available to the market under one common standard.

A constant evolution

As an operating system that forms the foundational underpinnings of many prominent computing systems, the UNIX OS has always had a number of advantages over other operating systems. One of the advantages is that those APIs have made it possible to write code that conforms to the standard that can run on multiple systems made by different vendors. If you write your code to the UNIX standard, it will run on systems made by IBM, HP, Oracle and Apple, since they all follow the UNIX standard and have submitted their operating systems for formal certification. Free OSs such as Linux and BSD also support the majority of the UNIX and POSIX APIs, so those systems are also compatible with all the others. That level of portability is key for the industry and users, enabling application portability across a wide range of systems.

In addition, UNIX is known for its stability and reliability—even at great scale. Apple claims over 80 million Mac OS X systems in use today – all of them UNIX certified. In addition, the UNIX OS forms the basis for many “big iron” systems. The operating systems’ high through-put and processing power have made it an ideal OS for everything from supercomputing to systems used by the government and financial sectors—all of which require high reliability, scale and fast data processing.

The standard has also been developed such that it allows users to “slice and dice” portions of it for use even when they don’t require the full functionality of the system, since one size does not fit all. Known as “profiles,” these subsets of the standard API sets can be used for any number of applications or devices. So although not full UNIX systems, we see a lot of devices out there with the standard APIs inside them, notably set top boxes, home routers, in-flight entertainment systems and many smart phones.

Although the UNIX and POSIX standards tend to be hidden, deeply embedded in the technologies and devices they enable today, they have been responsible for a great many advances across industries from science to entertainment. Consider the following:

  • Apple’s Mac OS X, the second widely most used desktop system today is a certified UNIX system
  • The first Internet server for the World Wide Web developed by Tim Berners Lee was developed on a UNIX system
  • The establishment of the World Wide Web was driven by the availability of connected UNIX systems
  • IBM’s Deep Blue supercomputer, a UNIX system, was the first computer to beat World Chess Champion Gary Kasparov in 1997
  • Both DNA and RNA were sequenced using a UNIX system
  • For eight consecutive years (1995-2002), each film nominated for an Academy Award for Distinguished Achievement in Visual Effects was created on Silicon Graphics computers running the UNIX OS.

Despite what one might think, both the UNIX and POSIX standards are continually under development still even today.  The community for each is very active—meeting more than 40 times a year to continue developing the specifications.

Things are always changing, so there are new areas of functionality to standardize. The standard is also large so there is a lot of maintenance and ways to improve clarity and portability across systems.

Although it might seem that once a technology becomes standardized it becomes static, standardization usually has the opposite effect—once there is a standard, the market tends to grow even more because organizations know that the technology is trusted and stable enough to build upon. Once the platform is there, you can add things to it and run things above it. We have about 2,000 application interfaces in UNIX today.

And as Internet-worked devices continue to proliferate in today’s connected world, chances are many of these systems that need big processing power, high reliability and huge scale are going to have a piece of the UNIX standard behind them—even if it’s deep beneath the covers.

By Andrew JoseyAndrew Josey is VP, Standards and Certification at The Open Group overseeing all certification and testing programs. He also manages the standards process for The Open Group.

Since joining the company in 1996, Andrew has been closely involved with the standards development, certification and testing activities of The Open Group. He has led many standards development projects including specification and certification development for the ArchiMate®, TOGAF®, POSIX® and UNIX® programs.

He is a member of the IEEE, USENIX, UKUUG, and the Association of Enterprise Architects (AEA).  He holds an MSc in Computer Science from University College London.

@theopengroup

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Filed under Association of Enterprise Architects, Certifications, digital business, EA, enterprise architecture, Internet of Things, IoT, IT, operating system, Oracle, Single UNIX Specification, standards, Uncategorized, UNIX

Using Apprenticeships to Develop Your IT Workforce: A Conversation with Andy Ruth

By The Open Group

It’s no secret that the IT workforce is suffering from a skills gap. Not only are there not enough workers available to fill tech positions at many companies, but even the workers available may not possess the skills that companies need today to deal with the rapid changes being brought about by digital transformation.

Andy Ruth, Managing Director of Sustainable Evolution, spoke at The Open Group Austin 2016 in July about one way companies can tackle the skills gap—apprenticeship programs. We spoke with Andy about the state of the IT workforce, why apprenticeship works and how it can help bring a new and more diverse population of workers into the IT workforce.

What are some of the things currently stymieing the IT work force?

There are a couple different things that are really a challenge. We have an older workforce that is being replaced in large part by a younger workforce. That younger workforce is smaller and many don’t have fundamental knowledge of what’s going on under the covers because they grew up learning in a world with higher levels of abstraction. For instance, if someone learns Python or Rails, they may not have the deeper understanding and stronger foundations that they might if they were to start with C or C+. I was coaching a kid that’s going to MIT, and he asked ‘What do I need to do while I’m there?’ I suggested he build an operating system for one of the new IoT processors and learn the C language. He countered with ‘Well, C’s not in use anymore and nobody builds operating systems,’ to which I said, ‘Perhaps, but that builds deep understanding and good fundamentals. You’ll know how things work and you can think deeply about it. That’s what you need is that foundation, just like you need to be able to do simple math before algebra, trig and physics.’ So, I think part of it is the shift in what and how the workforce learns.

We also are in a time of such tremendous change in IT. IT is about people, process and technology. In the past we have had big shifts in technology, then we change process and people to match. Right now we have change in all three, each having an impact on the other two. Technology change is the easiest to adopt since we are geeks and naturally track it. Process change is a bit more challenging and not as interesting, so a bit harder. People are the hardest to change because they like working the way they like to work. They don’t like to be told what to do or how to do it, and really don’t feel they need someone to tell them they need to change. Having change in people, process and technology at the same time is disruptive to people.

The change is especially hard for architects since we typically have a number of years in the industry and everything is completely different from what we grew up with. We are responsible for planning the changes needed to people, process and technology, and if we haven’t experienced it we don’t know how to get started. Also, a lot of us want to stick with the old ways or haven’t needed to change yet. We used to ask ourselves if we should still code as an architect, now if we are not coding we are not relevant.

We’ve also changed the way we develop software and the way that IT works altogether. We shifted from waterfall to agile approaches, and now DevOps is the latest approach. With architecture, we no longer have the luxury of doing heavy design and evaluation. Rather, we get started and learn as we go. If we take the wrong path, we start over. I think that it’s a challenge across the board. Worst of all, many of us haven’t worked in modern IT environments so we’re not able to teach the younger folks how to be successful in the new paradigm. Unless people have been in a start-up environment, they probably haven’t worked in the modern IT workspace.

Why is there a disconnect between the skills IT people are learning and what the workforce requires?

Two groups of people need education or reeducation. Let me address the new workforce or kids going to college first. It takes about three years to get a curriculum change into the college system, so there is a natural lag. Some colleges work closely with start-up companies or big comm and those colleges can make the change fairly quickly. For the colleges working with some of the older echelon companies that have been playing it safe, they don’t have the awareness of what’s going on in the industry, so they’re slower to change their curriculum—those are the two key pieces.

In terms of the workforce at large and their reeducation, IT has been run the same way for a long time and business has run so close to the bone. There are a lot of companies that are not operating in SOA environments and are not ready for the digital transformation going on right now. People have not been able to apply modern IT techniques at work, and hands-on is the best way to learn. Since they haven’t changed, a lot of existing staff haven’t learned the new technologies and approaches.

In the early 2000s we shifted from a structured and composed N-tier environment to decomposed integration (SOA) environments. Some companies have adopted that and some haven’t. Now we’re moving from SOA on-premise to leveraging the Cloud. People and organizations who haven’t adopted SOA yet have to take two major leaps with their people, process and technology. A majority of companies are in that boat, where they have to shift to service orientation and then have to figure out how to design for the cloud. That is two gigantic leaps, and people can take one leap at a time—often unwillingly, but they can take it. When they have to jump two levels, it kills them and they’re paralyzed.

Is that part of the reason we’re now seeing companies doing bi-modal IT?

Bi-modal or multi-model are needed to successfully adopt modern concepts and complete digital transformation. In some conversations I’ve had, there’s a difference of opinion in what bi-modal means. One is, you have an IT department that runs at two different speeds. The first speed is for the systems of record, and the second is for systems of integration. Another way to put that is that you have a consistent core and you have agility at the edge. When you move from a large system and start decomposing it, you pick off integration pieces and develop using more agile approaches. For the big back-end chunks, you take more time planning and longer timeline efforts.

Another, much more controversial definition of bi-modal is that you gracefully retire the old guard by bringing in fresh talent while modernizing your IT environment. You have the old guard maintain the current environment and the new people work on the transition to the new environment. Once you have enough talent and technology operating in the new environment you deprecate the old. If you can’t get the experienced people to shift to the new ways, they are part of that deprecation process.

What can companies do to better train and maintain employees? That seems to be a continual problem at most companies.

Invest in people and spotlight the ones that are making the shift to modern IT. That’s my passion area. As I have worked with IT groups I’ve seen the retraining budget go from about $14,000 per year per person down to a few thousand dollars down to almost zero. At the same time, there have been massive layoffs occurring all over the place so there’s no loyalty or reason to learn. Experienced people have little or no loyalty to the companies they work for and new entrants only work for a company for about 18 months, then move. If you’re a millennial in any job for more than three years then other millennials start looking at you funny like you can’t get another job. In that type of environment there’s not a lot of emphasis on the company investing in the employee or in the employee having company loyalty.

The way that I’ve been approaching it, and it’s been very successful, is by setting up apprenticeship programs very much like journeymen do in construction, or in hospitals where doctors go through residency programs for on-the-job training. I break the skills acquisition into two pieces—one is the very specific skills for the organization that can’t be taught but need to be experienced through on-the-job training. For instance, I am talking to one organization that needs 250 people on staff that can do integration. They either can’t find the talent or the talent is out of price range or unwilling to move. So I gave them an approach where they take the concept of apprenticeship and bring in people that have the key entry level skills and the right work ethic, and then pair them with someone that’s experienced with integration in that environment. The person being mentored shadows the mentor to see how it’s done, and then the mentor shadows the person being mentored and provides coaching to accelerate the apprentice’s competence. You can do that for the skills associated with business capability.  

The other thing you do is help the apprentice with the foundational skills that are not specific to the job or to a business capability. The interpersonal skills, time management or whatever general skills they need to survive and maintain decent work/life balance. For these type of skills you provide external training and discussion rather than job shadowing. You make the mentor responsible for the care and growth of that individual, and you tie the mentor’s yearly review goals to their success at growing the new talent.

Have you been able to implement that at some specific companies and has it be successful?

I can’t name the companies but yes, I have been able to do it. I have also been operating my company this way to create and improve the process and build out the tools and training to support apprenticeship. I’ve been successful accelerating new workforce entrants into productive employees, and with moving existing staff into more advanced or different roles. I’ve been able to move people from traditional IT shops to agile and DevOps type environments, from dev leads to architects, and from traditional architects to modern IT architects.

The most recent and most exciting is to take kids that are not going to be able to finish college. They have the skill to get a degree but don’t have the money or interest in completing it. I’ve been taking them from doing minimum wage jobs to shifting them over and getting them into the workforce and making them productive. I’ve been able to move people into IT-related jobs as well as other business-related positions.

I apprentice them by using customer journey mapping. I teach them how it works and then have the apprentices transcribe the interviews I record and when I do a whiteboard workshop, I have them transcribe those notes into an Excel spreadsheet. I could do that electronically or with automation, but by having them do it, they learn the overall rhythm and language of business and they start to understand it. Then by talking with them about the customer journey from discovery through support or separation, they understand what the customer journey looks like. They also understand the underpinning interface with the company and how the business works and how they interact with the customer. That has been wildly successful.

With that basic knowledge they learn new skills very quickly, allowing me to focus more on helping them grow a strong work ethic and better time management. I drive through objectives rather than hours worked. I let them manage themselves so they gain a lot of confidence and they drive forward and push themselves. The other thing I do is, for the life skills they may not have, I teach those. For instance, a lot of them don’t know how to budget. I tell them not to budget using money—budget using hours. Think about a cup of Starbucks coffee as 70 minutes of your time in order to pay for it, think of your apartment rent as two weeks work, think of your car as a week’s pay. I get them thinking that way and money becomes tangible, and they get better at budgeting. 

With these entry level people who are transitioning from minimum wage jobs, are they also being hired by a company or are you teaching them the skills and then they go out and get a job?

It works both ways. I’ve helped companies get apprenticeship programs going and also apprenticed people, then they go get jobs or take jobs with the companies I consult with. Before we start, the customer and I agree I’ll be using some unskilled people to help them grow, and in return the company has the opportunity to hire the person when they are ready. I pay my apprentices a living wage as I grow them and expose them to my customers. I’m very transparent about how much they cost me and how much they have to earn to break even, and I tell them that in every business, that’s what they’re looking at. I teach them that, and then as they are introduced to my customers, my customers are welcome to hire them. Gigantic win for my employees and my customers.

This seems like it could be another avenue to help solve some of the diversity problems that the tech community is facing right now. Have you also been looking at apprenticeships in that manner?

Absolutely I have. This is another thing that is near and dear to my heart. The reason that I’m in IT is because my sister went into IT in the mid-1970s. I watched her live through that horrible time for women in IT. I’ve tried to do my part to help create a more diversified workforce in IT. Now my daughter is in IT and her journey was 10 times better than my sister’s. Not perfect, but better. Since then I have worked to identify what is broken and fix it.

I’ve also worked with a lot of kids who are disadvantaged, and I’ve been able to help them move up and into IT. Once they see a way out of their current environment and have hope, and that all it takes is some effort on their part, they are in. They’ve got somebody that believes in them and willing to invest time in them, and they’re all over it, working harder and better than most of the privileged kids that I’ve worked with, or the ones that feel like they’re entitled.

What can employers do to make their employees more loyal these days?

That’s a tough one because when you look at it, millennials are different. The big five leadership indicators manifest different and they are not driven by the same incentives. There’s a big shift with millennials and there will be for future generations but there are a lot of things you can do culturally to address that. A lot have to do with the policies that you have. For instance, companies that allow you to bring a dog in or work remotely or wear jeans and a t-shirt, or bow ties, those little things help.

But what I’ve found is the number one thing that has helped is to have millennials form relationships with the people that have a lot of experience and giving them time to grow relationships and skills. Every millennial I’ve reached out to and worked with has been hungry for the relationship and growth. They don’t want platitudes, they want people who really want to interact with them and have a genuine interest in helping them. Once you show that, big win.  

The other thing you have to do is let them experiment and not put them in a box. You have to put a group of them together and let them figure out their own boundaries and just make it an objective base. I think doing that helps an awful lot. So building those relationships, which you can do through an apprenticeship program and then providing some freedom so they can operate in a different way, those are two of the things you can do. The heavy handed review cycles and trying to either intimidate or incent millennials with money is not going to work. A lot of them have a high-minded idea of the way they world should work, and they’re going to be more loyal if the company they work for represents that or if the manager they work for represents that.

What are some of those ideals that they’re looking for?

Most of them are worried about the world and want it to be a better place. They see the disparity between the highest paid and lowest paid, and they want fairness and to work as a group, and for the group being successful. A lot of their idealism is centered on those concepts, and allowing them volunteer time to work with charities and have outreach programs.

What role can certification programs such as The Open Group’s play in helping to close the skills gap?

It can play a gigantic role by providing frameworks and methodologies that reflect today’s IT environment. I think we also have to shift the way that we do certification and training and a lot of that is starting to happen. We’re starting to move the bar and have a lot more practical and hands-on certifications and training.

I think we need to shift from taking an online course and then going to a place and taking a test to working with and interacting with another person. An example of that is the top certifications for architects that The Open Group has, those are based on defending your experience and going through an interview process with peer members of that group, and them saying yes, this person is what they say. Using a test you can’t do that.

This type of approach makes it a lot more personal. What you will see over time is that people say ‘I had so and so on my board’ or ‘I had this person mentor me,’ and they start talking about their lineage based on the people they’ve worked with in the industry. If we shift more toward that type of validation as opposed to using multiple choice tests, we’ll be a lot better off.

I also think you’ll see hybrid industry/customer certifications just like you see industry/customer training. Someone will join a company and get trained and certified, but that certification will be able to follow the person rather than go away when they leave the company. What you’ll see is when an employee decides to leave, they can take part of the external facing portion of a credential with them, and only lose the internal portion. For the piece they lose, they will rely on their resume.

The other big area where you’ll see a shift in certification is, rather than being tied to technology and platforms, certification will be tied to business capabilities and business outcomes. You’ll certify that someone can build a solution toward a specific business outcome or capability that’s trying to be enabled.

@theopengroup #ogAUS

By The Open GroupAndy started his career in IT as a technical expert in consulting roles and well as staff roles. In the mid-1990s, he shifted from delivering IT capability to delivering training, speaking at conferences and writing books and training covering the IT space. The end of the 1990s Andy joined Microsoft as a subject matter expert working on their public training and certification programs.

He grew to own curriculum development, then certification development, and then creating and delivering new training and certification programs. Additionally, Andy spent time as a role owner, defining job roles, levels, career ladders and compensation models to field-based architects and consultants. Over the last several years, Andy employs his talents as a consultant helping with business and IT strategy, and has a passion for workforce development.

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Filed under Certifications, devops, EA, Enterprise Architecture, enterprise architecture, Internet of Things, IT, operating system, Professional Development, skills gap, Standards, The Open Group, The Open Group Austin 2016, Uncategorized

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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The Open Group Austin Event to Take Place July 18-21, 2016

The Open Group, the vendor-neutral IT consortium, is hosting its latest event in Austin, TX, USA July 18—21, 2016. The event, taking place at Austin’s Four Seasons Hotel, will focus on open standards, open source and how to enable Boundaryless Information Flow™.

Industry experts will explain how organizations can use openness as an advantage and how the use of both open standards and open source can help enterprises support their digital business strategies. Sessions will look at the opportunities, advantages, risks and challenges of openness within organizations.

The event features key industry speakers including:

  • Steve Nunn,  President & CEO, The Open Group
  • Dr. Ben Calloni, Fellow, Cybersecurity, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics
  • Rick Solis, IT Business Architect, ExxonMobil Global Services Co
  • Zahid Hossain, Director, IT Architecture, Nationwide
  • William Wimsatt, Oracle Business Architect, Oracle

Full details on the agenda and speakers can be found here.

The Open Business Architecture Standard (O-BA) and ArchiMate® 3.0, a new standard for Architecture, will be the focus of Monday’s keynote sessions. There will also be a significant emphasis on IT4IT™, with the Tuesday plenary and tracks looking at using and implementing the IT4IT™ Reference Architecture Version 2.0 standard.

Further topics to be covered at the event include:

  • Open Platform 3.0™ – driving Lean Digital Architecture and large scale enterprise managed cloud integration
  • ArchiMate® – New features and practical use cases

Member meetings will take place throughout the course of the three-day event as well as the next TOGAF® User Group meeting taking place on July 20.

Registration for The Open Group Austin event is open now, is available to members and non-members, and can be found here.

By The Open Group

@theopengroup #ogAUS

For media queries, please contact:

Holly Hunter
Hotwire PR
+44 207 608 4638
UKOpengroup@hotwirepr.com

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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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The Open Group London 2016 to Take Place April 25-28

By The Open Group

The Open Group, the vendor-neutral IT consortium, is hosting an event in London, April 25-28. Following on from the San Francisco event earlier this year, The Open Group London 2016 will focus on how Enterprise Architecture is enabling organizations to build better systems through architecting for digital business strategies.

The event will be held at Central Hall Westminster and key speakers include:

  • Steve Nunn,  President & CEO, The Open Group
  • Gunnar Menzel, VP, Chief Architect Officer, Capgemini Infrastructure
  • Shawn Mullen, Cloud Security Architect, IBM
  • Nemanja Kostic, Head of Application Architecture, Zurich Insurance
  • Gururaj Anjan, Enterprise Architect, Tata Consultancy Services

Full details on the range of speakers can be found here.

Monday’s keynote session, including presentations from both vendors and end-user organizations, will look at IT4IT™ and managing the business of IT. It will address how CIOs can go beyond current process-based approaches and equip their teams with the right information and tools to support new ecosystem collaborations, completely automate end-to-end workflows, and provide the business with the controls to govern IT.

The first UK/European TOGAF® User Group meeting will also take place on April 27. Attendees will have the opportunity to network with industry peers, expand their knowledge and collaborate to bring a strong user community.  The inaugural TOGAF User Group meeting in San Francisco earlier this year was very productive and engaging.

The London event will cover key themes relating to The Open Group industry forums including Healthcare, IT4IT, Open Platform 3.0™, and Risk, Dependability & Trusted Technology. Additional topics of discussion at the three-day event will include:

  • EA & Government – the increasing awareness of EA and the growing adoption of TOGAF® in India. Plenary presentations include a focus on the e-Pragati initiative of the state of Andhra Pradesh
  • ArchiMate® – New features and practical use cases
  • The Open Business Data Lake a reference architecture that demonstrates how to leverage more internal and external data, how to be more agile in creating insights for business value and how to improve the productivity of actually delivering it

Registration for The Open Group London event is open now, available to members and non-members, and can be found here.

Get event updates via Twitter – @theopengroup #ogLON

Sponsors and exhibitors include: avolution, BiZZdesign, Good e-Learning, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), Troux by Planview, Association of Enterprise Architects (AEA), Orbus, Van Haren Publishing, itSMF UK

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The Open Group San Francisco 2016 Day One Highlights

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

On Monday, January 25, The Open Group kicked off its first event of 2016, focused on Enabling Boundaryless Information Flow™, at the Marriott Union Square in the city by the bay, San Francisco, California.

President and CEO Steve Nunn gave a warm welcome to over 250 attendees from 18 countries, including Botswana, China and The Netherlands. He introduced the morning’s plenary, which centered on Digital Business and the Customer Experience. This year also marks a major milestone for The Open Group, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2016.

The Open Group Director of Interoperability Dr. Chris Harding kicked off the morning’s event speaking on “Doing Digital Business.”

Digital technology is transforming business today. As such, how Enterprise Architects can architect for and deliver better customer experience is a more critical factor for businesses today than ever before. For thousands of years, most business transactions happened face-to-face with human interaction at the heart of them. The Internet has changed that, largely taking humans out of the equation in favor of “intelligent” programs that provide customer service. As Enterprise Architects, the challenge now is to create corporate systems and personas that mimic human interaction to provide better service levels. To achieve that, Harding says, currently companies are looking at a number of improved models including providing microservices, Cloud architectures and data lakes.

To better enable the transformation toward digital customer experiences, The Open Group Open Platform 3.0™ Forum is currently working on an interoperability standard to support a variety of services that run on digital platforms. In addition, the Digital Business and Customer Experience Work Group—a joint work group of Open Platform 3.0 and the Architecture Forums—is currently working on customer-based architectures, as well as a whitepaper geared toward enabling better customer experiences for digital business.

In the second session of the morning, Mark Skilton of PA Consulting addressed the issue of “The Battle for Owning the Digital Spaces”. Skilton says that in this era of unprecedented digital information, we need to better understand all of that information in order to create business opportunities—however, much of that information is contained in the “gray” spaces in between interactions. Accessing that kind of data provides opportunities for businesses to get a better handle on how to provide digital experiences that will draw customers. It also requires “ecosystem” thinking where what is happening on both the micro and macro levels should be considered.

As such, companies must reconsider what it means to be an enterprise, platform or even a service. This requires a new way of looking at architectures that combines both physical and virtual environments to take advantage of those “gray” spaces in people’s lives. By interconnecting or “flattening” out people’s experiences, such as their work, living, commercial or social spaces, they will be allowed to take their digital experiences with them throughout their lives. To enable these things moving forward, architects will need to change their mindsets to think differently and consider experience more rather than just architectures. Behavior, interactivity, psychology, usability—the human factors—of advanced customer experience will need to be considered in the architecture development process more to create more connected spaces to meet people’s needs.

Trevor Cheung, Vice President Strategy & Architecture Practice for Huawei Global Services, spoke next on “Architecting for Customer Experience.” Cheung introduced the concept of the ROADS Experience, a principle for designing customer-driven architectures. According to Cheung, ROADS (Real-time, On-demand, All-online, DIY and Social) is critical for companies that want to become digital service providers. As organizations digitalize, they should think more holistically about customer experiences—including both internal (employees) and external audiences (customers, partners, etc.)—moving from an inside-out IT perspective to one that also considers outside-in constituencies.

For example, to provide omni-channel experiences, business architectures must focus on the values of stakeholders across the ecosystem—from buyers and their interests, to partners and suppliers or operations. By applying the ROADS principle, each stakeholder, or persona, can be considered along the way to develop an architecture blue print that covers all channels and experiences, mapping the needs back to the technologies needed to provide specific capabilities. Currently two whitepapers are being developed in the Digital Business and Customer Experience Work Group that explore these issues, including a new reference model for customer architectures.

In the last morning session Jeff Matthews, Director of Venture Strategy and Research, Space Frontier Foundation, presented “The Journey to Mars is Powered by Data: Enabling Boundaryless Information Flow™ within NASA.” Currently, NASA’s programs, particularly its endeavors to send people to Mars, are being enabled by complex Enterprise Architectures that govern each of the agency’s projects.

According to Matthews, nothing goes through NASA’s planning without touching Enterprise Architecture. Although the agency has a relatively mature architecture, they are continually working to breakdown silos within the agency to make their architectures more boundaryless.

Ideally, NASA believes, removing boundaries will give them better access to the data they need, allowing the agency to evolve to a more modular architecture. In addition, they are looking at a new decision-making operating model that will help them grapple with the need to buy technologies and setting up architectures now for programs that are being planned for 10-30 years in the future. To help them do this, Matthews encouraged audience members and vendors to reach out to him to talk about architectural strategies.

In addition to the event proceedings, The Open Group also hosted the inaugural meeting of the TOGAF® User Group on Monday. Aimed at bringing together TOGAF users and stakeholders in order to share information, best practices and learning, the day-long meeting featured topics relative to how to better use TOGAF in practicality. Attendees participated in a number of breakout sessions regarding the standard, intended to provide opportunities to share experiences and enlighten others on how to best use TOGAF as well as provide suggestions as to how the standard can be improved upon in the future.

Allen Brown, current interim CEO of the Association of Enterprise Architects (AEA), and former CEO of The Open Group, also introduced the AEA Open Badges Program for Professional Development. Much like badge programs for the Boy or Girl Scouts, the Open Badge program lets people demonstrate their professional achievements via digital badges that provide credentials for skills or achievements learned. Moving forward, the AEA will be providing digital badges, each of which will include embedded information showing the information learned to earn the badge. Attendees can earn badges for attending this conference. For more information, email OpenBadges@GlobalAEA.org.

Monday’s afternoon tracks were split into two tracks centered on Open Platform 3.0™ and Risk, Dependability and Trusted Technology. The Open Platform 3.0 track continued in the same vein as the morning’s sessions looking at how Enterprise Architectures must adapt to the changes due to digitalization and growing customer expectations. Accenture Enterprise Architect Syed Husain gave an insightful presentation on enabling contextual architectures and increased personalization using artificial intelligence. As both consumers and technology become increasingly sophisticated, demands for individualized preferences tailored to individuals are growing. Companies that want to keep up will need to take these demands into account as they evolve their infrastructures. In the Security track, sessions centered on privacy governance, best practices for adopting the Open FAIR Risk Management standard and dealing with cyber security risks as well as how to navigate the matrix of data classification to maximize data protection practices.

Concluding the day was an evening reception where event and TOGAF User Group attendees mixed, mingled and networked. The reception featured The Open Group Partner Pavilion, as well as short presentations from The Open Group Architecture, IT4IT™ and Open Platform 3.0 Forums.

@theopengroup #ogSFO

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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