Category Archives: IT4IT

The Open Group San Francisco Day One Highlights

By The Open Group

The Open Group kicked off its first event of 2017 on a sunny Monday morning, January 30, in the City by the Bay, with over 200 attendees from 20 countries including Australia, Finland, Germany and Singapore.

The Open Group CEO and President Steve Nunn began the day’s proceedings with a warm welcome and the announcement of the latest version of the Open Trusted Technology Provider™ Standard (O-TTPS), a standard that specifies best practices for providers to help them mitigate the risk of tainted or counterfeit products or parts getting into the IT supply chain. A new certification program for the standard was also announced, as well as the news that the standard has recently been ratified by ISO. Nunn also announced the availability of the next version of The Open Group IT4IT™ standard, version 2.1.

Monday’s plenary focused on IT4IT and Managing the Business of IT. Bernard Golden, CEO of Navica, spoke on the topic,“Cloud Computing and Business Expectations: How the Cloud Changes Everything.” Golden, who was named as one of the 10 most influential people in cloud computing by Wired magazine, began with a brief overview of the state of the computing industry today, which is largely characterized by the enormous growth of cloud computing. Golden believes that the public cloud will be the future of IT moving forward. With the speed that the cloud enables today, IT and app development have become both the bottleneck and differentiator for IT departments. To address these bottlenecks, IT must take a multi-pronged, continuous approach that uses a combination of cloud, Agile and DevOps to address business drivers. The challenge for IT shops today, Golden says, is also to decide where to focus and what cloud services they need to build applications. To help determine what works, IT must ask whether services are above or below what he calls “the value line,” which delineates whether the services available, which are often open-source, will ultimately advance the company’s goals or not, despite being low cost. IT must also be aware of the fact that the value line can present a lock-in challenge, creating tension between the availability of affordable—but potentially buggy—open-source tools and services and the ongoing value the business needs. Ultimately, Golden says, the cloud has changed everything—and IT must be willing to change with it and weigh the trade-offs between openness and potential lock-in.

Forrester Research analysts David Wheable, Vice President and Principal Consultant, and David Cannon, Vice President and Group Director, took the stage following Golden’s session to discuss “The Changing Role of IT: Strategy in the Age of the Customer.” Wheable spoke first, noting that technology has enabled a new “age of the customer,” an era where customers now have the majority of the power in the business/customer relationship.  As such, companies must now adapt to how their customers want to interact with their businesses and how customers use a company’s business applications (particularly via mobile devices) in order to survive and prevent customers from constantly changing their loyalties. Because IT strategists will not be able to predict how customers will use their applications, they must be able to put themselves in a position where they can quickly adapt to what is happening.

Cannon discussed what IT departments need to consider when it comes to strategy. To develop a viable IT strategy today, companies must consider what is valuable to the customer and how they will choose the technologies and applications that provide customers what they need. In the current IT landscape, features and quality no longer matter—instead, IT must take into account customers’ emotions, desires and immediate needs. Continuous exploitation of digital assets to deliver customer outcomes will be critical for both digital and business strategies—which Cannon argues are now essentially the same thing—moving forward. To survive in this new era, IT departments must also be able to enable customer outcomes, measure the customer experience, manage a portfolio of services, showcase business—not just technical—expertise and continue to enable service architectures that will deliver what customers need and want.

After the morning coffee break, Author and Researcher Gene Kim followed to discuss his recent book, The DevOps Handbook. His session, entitled, “The Rise of Architecture: Top Lessons Learned while Researching and Writing The DevOps Handbook,” explored the example of high performers in the tech sector and how the emergence of DevOps has influenced them. According to Kim, most IT departments are subject to a downward spiral over time due to the exponential growth of technical assets and debt during that time, which ultimately weigh them down and affect performance. In contrast, according to Kim’s research, high-performing organizations have been able to avoid this spiral by using DevOps. Organizations utilizing DevOps are nearly three times more agile than their peers, are more reliable and two times more likely to exceed profitability, market share and productivity goals in the marketplace. The ability to deploy small changes more frequently has been a game changer for these high-performing organizations not only allowing them to move faster but to create more humane working conditions and happier, more productive workers. Kim also found that fear of doing deployments is the most accurate predictor of success in organizations—those that fear deployments have less success than those that don’t.

by-the-open-group

Gene Kim

The final session of the morning plenary was presented by Charles Betz, IT Strategist, Advisor and Author from Armstrong Process Group. Betz provided an overview of how the IT4IT framework can be used within organizations to streamline IT processes, particularly by automating systems that no longer need to be done by hand. Standardizing IT processes also provides a way to deliver more consistent results across the entire IT value chain for better business results. Taking an iterative and team-oriented approach are also essential elements for managing the body of knowledge necessary for changing IT processes and creating digital transformation.

During the lunch hour conference partners Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Simplilearn each gave  separate presentations for attendees discussing the use of IT4IT for digital transformation and skills acquisition in the digital economy, respectively

Monday afternoon, The Open Group hosted its fourth TOGAF®, an Open Group standard, User Group meeting in addition to the afternoon speaking tracks. The User Group meeting consisted of an Oxford style debate on the pros and cons of “Create versus Reuse Architecture,” featuring Jason Uppal, Open CA Level 3 Certified Architect, QRS, and Peter Haviland, Managing Director, Head of Engineering & Architecture, Moody’s Corporation. In addition to the debate, User Group attendees had the opportunity to share use cases and stories with each other and discuss improvements for TOGAF that would be beneficial to them in their work.

The afternoon sessions consisted of five separate tracks:

  • IT4IT in Practice – Rob Akershoek from Logicalis/Shell Information Technology International moderated a panel of experts from the morning plenary as well as sessions related to presenting IT4IT to executives, the role of EA in the IT value chain and using IT4IT with TOGAF®.
  • Digital Business & the Customer Experience – Featuring sessions on architecting digital businesses and staying ahead of disruption hosted by Ron Schuldt of Femto-data.
  • Open Platform 3.0™/Cloud – Including talks on big data analytics in hybrid cloud environments and using standards and open source for cloud customer reference architectures hosted by Heather Kreger, Distinguished Engineer and CTO International Standards, IBM.
  • Open Trusted Technology – Trusted Technology Forum Director Sally Long introduced sessions on the new O-TTPS self-assessed certification and addressing product integrity and supply chain risk.
  • Open Business ArchitectureFeaturing an introduction to the new preliminary Business Architecture (O-BA) standard presented by Patrice Duboe, Innovation VP, Global Architects Leader from the CTO Office at Capgemini, and Venkat Nambiyur, Director – Business Transformation, Enterprise & Cloud Architecture, SMBs at Oracle.

Monday’s proceedings concluded with an evening networking reception featuring the day’s speakers, IT professionals, industry experts and exhibitors. Thanks for the San Francisco event also go to the event sponsors, which include Premium Sponsors Good eLearning, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Orbus Software and Simplilearn, as well as sponsors Van Haren Publishing, the Association of Enterprise Architects and San Jose State University.

@theopengroup #ogSFO

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Filed under Enterprise Architecture (EA), Forrester, Gene Kim, IT4IT, Open Platform 3.0, OTTF, Steve Nunn, The Open Group, The Open Group San Francisco 2017, TOGAF®, Uncategorized

Understanding the Customer Experience: A Conversation with Forrester Analysts David Cannon and David Wheable

By The Open Group

With more technology in the hands of consumers than ever before, customers have become increasingly demanding in terms of not only the service they receive from companies but also the experience they have with your company or brand. Today, companies must be aware of and respond to what customers are looking for in terms of what they get from a company and how they interact—or they risk losing those customers.

This is leaving many companies in a very vulnerable position, particularly when it comes to digital customer experiences. In advance of The Open Group San Francisco 2017, we spoke with David Cannon, Vice President and Group Director, and David Wheable, Vice President and Principle Consultant, both of Forrester Research, about what customer expectations look like today and what companies need to be aware of so that they can survive in an ever-changing digital landscape. Both will be keynote speakers at The Open Group event on January 30.

The customer experience is something that’s been talked about for many years. What’s different now about customers that make their experiences with companies an even more urgent matter than in the past?

David Cannon (DC): The single most important thing that’s changed is that customers have more choice and the ability to change suppliers within literally seconds. And this is not limited to individual consumers.  Enterprises can switch key systems with minimal disruption.  The key to retaining customers today is to make sure their experience with you is good—if not there’s no reason to stay.

David Wheable (DW): Building on that is the way we talk about digital business; many of those interactions occur digitally now. The role of technology in that experience now is key. If you don’t deliver a good digital customer experience, as Dave Cannon said, the next one in the line will get the business. I actually did that the other day—one site would not let me log in, so they lost my business and the next one got my business instantly.

DC: David’s right, with digitization, we’re not actually dealing with individuals and human beings, we’re dealing with simple, digital interfaces. This reduces any potential sense of loyalty—we just want what we want, when we want it and that’s it.

That takes away a huge part of how businesses have traditionally run—it’s that relationship they have with the customer that has often set businesses apart. Are there ways that companies can better personalize experience and counteract that loss of human interaction or do they need to also make sure they are continuing to work person-to-person?

DW: That’s an interesting question because particularly when I talk to technical people, they really don’t actually understand what the customer experience is. Forrester defines it in terms of three Es—ease, effectiveness and emotion. Technical people have generally dealt with the ease and effectiveness for many years, so that’s no problem, but what they’re really bad at thinking about is designing for emotion. So if you are trying to have a digital customer experience, digital touch points, and you still have to include the emotion side in it, that’s where the loyalty comes from. Where we see that driven is when organizations look at how the positive, painless, frictionless kinds of experiences drive that kind of loyalty. What we see now is that those companies that are thinking about this are moving away from thinking about products and services and moving toward thinking about the customer in terms of experiences, desires and outcomes, and they might only be a small part of an ecosystem that generates that experience or outcome.

DC: I’ll add to that. One of the secrets to understanding how you’re impacting that emotion is to be able to gather more information about what the customer is doing, how they’re doing it, when they’re doing it and why they’re doing it.  We have tools that can do this better than we’ve ever done it before—without even interviewing or surveying our customers.  We have to be able to infer from whatever they’re doing digitally whether that equates to a good emotion or a negative emotion. The whole area of analytics becomes more important than ever—but it’s also different than before.

To give an example, sites like Yelp or TripAdvisor, give you a history of people’s experiences with a restaurant or service provider.  But they don’t provide real time information if the thing that upset a customer two years ago is still there.  Unless the customer provides constructive feedback that’s visible to all, they don’t help the service provider understand what they can do to make the customer’s experience better. Customer satisfaction ratings are also limited, because they are just a snapshot of a customer at a moment.  They don’t always tell us why the customer was (dis)satisfied, or whether they would have the same rating with that service today.

We’re getting better at looking at real-time analytics that tell us, in real-time, what is the context, where are customers using this, why are they using this and how does that impact their experience at that time? Is there a way that we can detect a negative experience and determine exactly what’s causing it and how to change it immediately?

One technique we use is Touchpoint Analysis, which breaks down what a customer does in individual interactions and individual contexts and then figures out how to measure their experience with each touchpoint.  To identify each touchpoint and then instrument it for real time experience was a huge ask, but technology is making it possible.

Personalization and customization have been talked about for at least 20 years now. At this point are there still concerns about privacy and knowing too much about customers? And on the flip side, if companies are relying on data to determine customer interactions rather than personal contact or relationships—and granted large companies can’t rely on personal interactions with thousands of people—does that reliance on data continue the problem of taking away from the human interaction?

DC: It’s kind of a paradox. On the one hand, you’re inventing technology and you’re putting that technology in the hands of users and that distances them from you. At the same time, you’re making them more capable of engaging with you. The very technology that allows you to be more remote (work from home, etc.) is being used to create online communities, friends, go shopping, run a political campaign, etc.  So technology is not only changing patterns of customer behavior, it’s changing how society works.  This is neither good news nor bad (or perhaps it’s a bit of both)—it’s just what’s happening.

On the other hand, by participating in this online society, you are sacrificing privacy. Many people demand better customer experience, fully understanding that that means that companies know more about them.  We’re starting to see some awareness of how ‘creepy’ this can be (being stalked by advertisers in one app because you searched for something in a different app).  But at this stage the search for better customer experience is still more powerful than the need for privacy. Will the pendulum swing the other way?  Definitely, but it will take some time and a more serious revelation of how privacy has been abused than those that have already emerged.

DW:  I also thing that one of the drivers of loyalty that customers are looking for from a brand is that trust in that brand to look after their data appropriately and use it appropriately. What we see again is that is a business imperative to respect privacy, to use data appropriately and obscure data appropriately and if the customers of that organization feel that is happening, they will be more loyal to that organization or company than one that they don’t trust their approach to data.

DC: I totally agree with that. I’d say though that in some cases, the realization that a company has not dealt with my data appropriately comes too late. We’re starting to see a shift to companies being more proactive in communicating how they’re safeguarding your privacy so it becomes more of a selling point for the services they provide. Not only are they going to give you a better experience, they’re going to give you a safer experience as well. Up until now that need for customers to know that up front has not really been as urgent. I think based on what David just said, that’s changing.

With all the high profile security breaches over the past few years, that’s important. On the other hand, if companies have poor service and do things that anger people, it’s as simple as if you’re waiting too long at the airport for your flight and you start tweeting about it, then you’re helping to damage the reputation of the airline.

DC: And what we’ve seen is that some of these companies are monitoring that kind of traffic and recording who those users are that make those statements. Using social media to communicate your experience with a company can also act against your relationship with that company. Some customers have reported negative experiences after they tweet bad things and positive experiences after they tweet good things

I think the only thing that we can deduce from this is that every type of human interaction that existed before all this technology is now happening using the technology. Just as you were careful in the real world, you have to be careful in the online world. You have to be careful about what you say, about whom and to whom—and that goes for whether you’re a consumer or a company.

Technical people still have to catch up with this a bit. Some think as long as there’s anti-virus or intrusion control on our major systems, we’re OK. What they’re not looking at is the business risk associated with, for example, a privacy breach — we’re not talking about a technical threat here, we’re talking about your business being able to survive or not.

We’re really exploring very new ethical and legislative ground here and the whole customer experience is really going to test that in the coming years. Just how much information is too much? Just what constitutes private information? Different countries have different views of what constitutes private information and my ability as a company to place my base of operation in one of those countries that is less responsible is that I can do more, but it makes me less responsible to my customers—how is that going to impact my business? These questions are still being tested.

When David and I will be talking in San Francisco, we’re not just talking about how do you get more friendly with your customers and get better service, what we’re really talking about is how do you survive as business in a changing world where the rules are changing every day? That’s a much bigger conversation than how technical people give better customer service—which is what the discussion was before.

You mention that there’s been gap among companies between those that “look” digital and those that are actually “being” digital. What does that gap look like and how can companies bridge that gap?

DW: Effectively, the way that I try to describe it to people is that a lot of the work on digital up to now has been really about automation. It’s been taking the same approach to business and just using technology to make that more efficient. Whether that’s faster or cheaper, that’s the fundamental role that technology has driven in those organizations. But now the technology has hit the point where it’s fundamentally changing the business, so those organizations that are looking digital are the ones that are putting this thin veneer over their existing business structure. Quite often if you dig beneath the scenes, what you’ll find is there are still bits of paper going on, there are still people looking at a form that was entered on a website and doing something with it.

Those companies that are truly digital are actually using those digital capabilities to change the way that they do the business. If you look at some of the examples that we use—like John Deere or Burberry—all of them have really gone back to their roots, looked at what their business actually is and then figured out how they can use digital technology to change their interactions with customers, change their outcome and restructure their business completely. You see that with companies like GE standing up and saying ‘we may have been a manufacturing company but now we’re a software and analytics company.’ That whole understanding of what the change means is significant. Those that are looking digital are the ones that are saying ‘we have an e-commerce site, therefore we’re digital.’ That’s not the story.

Why has it traditionally been so difficult for IT departments to execute on technology strategies?

DW: Dave and I spend a lot of time talking to these organizations. The majority of organizations feel stuck in a very operational frame of mind. Very few of them really have a strong ability to understand the context of technology strategy within the business. They tend to think of technology as this abstract and separate item rather than something that’s used to deliver most business results.

That sounds like a case for Enterprise Architecture and for architects to be that bridge between IT and the business.

DW: The challenge is it shouldn’t be a bridge, the idea is that it should be a fundamental part of the business strategy not a joining up, not something that you have to interpret. How does that technology deliver the business? It’s not how to back up the business. That’s where we see the real challenge of being digital—those business people who actually understand the digital part and can execute and come up with a digital strategy not necessarily having Enterprise Architects (EA) who try to interpret that and come up with technology.

DC: This is correct only when architects were ‘enterprise’ architects rather than solution or technology architects. We find that many organizations limit their architects to simply translating from the enterprise strategy to the technical solutions.  As long as this remains the case, architects will continue to be focused on operational issues, by reacting to business demands instead of working with business to jointly architect the strategy. Enterprise architecture has started to change into something being called “Business Architecture” where an EA looks at both sides of the fence at the same time (and in fact doesn’t see it as two sides) and asks what we have to all do together to make the organization successful—whether it’s operational or strategic.

To put it slightly more bluntly, the traditional IT model is when the business says ‘we need this,’ and IT builds and delivers it. That mindset has to change. IT is part of the business, and it has to be embedded in those frontline customer-facing parts of the business, not just be a technical service provider that just does whatever it’s told. To be honest, we’re in a situation now where the new technology that’s emerging is not really understood. If IT is buried in the basement somewhere, it’s going to be more difficult to make that technology work for the company. They really need to be on the frontline. What that means is that IT people have to become more business-like and more strategic.

How can technologists, customers and business work together to help solve their mutual problems?

DW: This is an interesting question, and it’s something we get asked all the time. We deal a lot with those companies being challenged with that. A lot of it comes down to culture—it comes down to understanding the difference between how a business will look at prod ops and how IT still looks at projects for example. This is why Dave says that DevOps is a start but it needs to go further. We’re constantly talking about how to start applying the similar techniques that people use for product development into the IT, technology and digital solutions as well. Design thinking, doing ethnographic work up front, doing actual feedback with customers, AB testing—you create those strong testing and feedback mechanisms, what works, what doesn’t work, and not just assume that everything’s understood and you can just write a system that does everything it can. What we see now is those techniques—DevOps, Agile, customer mapping experience, personas—all started coming together and really are creating that overall structure of how you understand the customer, how you understand employees and how you start delivering those solutions that actually give the right outcome and right experience to achieve what they want.

Is there a role for standards in all of this and what would that be?

DW: Very much so. One of the points we want to make is that now when you have effectively a digitally connected ecosystem and businesses form parts of that ecosystem, all the services that consumed are not under your control. In the old days of IT, you’d buy the hardware, you’d buy the software licenses, you’d build it and put it in a building and that would be your interaction, even in the old web days, with your customers. Now your customers link together with services or other businesses electronically. So in terms of the levels of connection, trust and understanding, that has now become very important in terms of the technical communications standards but equally the skills and how you approach that from a business standpoint. Looking at what IT4IT does, for example, is important because you need ways to talk about how the organizations should be constructed, what competencies you need and how they’re put together. Without some form of structure, you just get chaos. The idea of standards from my point of view is to try to find that chaos and give some sense of order to what’s going on.

DC: I agree with David. I would say also that we’re still going to see the importance of best practices as well as standards. To put it bluntly:  Standards are established and agreed ways of doing something.  But much of the technology emerging today is testing the relevance of standards.  Best practices (not the best name, they should be called Tested Practices or Good Practices) are those emerging practices that have been shown to work somewhere in the industry. What may be an appropriate standard for what you did five years ago may not be appropriate for what’s going to emerge next year. There’s always going to be this tension between the established standard, what we know to be true, and the emerging standard or best practice—the things that are working that aren’t necessarily in the standard or are beyond where it is today.

I think the industry has to become a little better at understanding the differences between standards and best practices and using them appropriately. I think what we’ve also seen is a lack of investment in best practices. We’re seeing a lot of people in the industry coming up with suggested best practices and frameworks. But it’s been awhile since we’ve seen a truly independent best practice. IT4IT, is a really good ramping point for some new best practices to emerge.  But just like any proposed practice, it will have its limitations.  Instead of following it blindly, we should keep monitoring it to figure out what those limitations are and how to overcome them.

Standards will continue to be really important to keep the Wild West at bay, but at the same time you’ve got to be pushing things forward and best practices (sponsored by independent organizations) are a good way to do that.

@theopengroup #ogSFO

by-the-open-groupDavid WheableVice President and Principal Consultant, Forrester Research Inc.
David provides research-based consulting services to BT Professionals, helping them leverage Forrester’s proprietary research and expertise to meet the ever-changing needs and expectations of their stakeholders.

David specializes in helping clients create effective and efficient strategies for their IT Service Management challenges including integrating cloud services, bring your own device (BYOD), and mobility.

Prior to joining Forrester, David worked at HP, where he served as the professional services innovation lead for the software and professional services organization, as worldwide solution lead, and as a consulting manager.

by-the-open-groupDavid CannonVice President and Group Director, Forrester Research Inc.
David serves Infrastructure & Operations Professionals. He is a leader in the fields of IT and service strategy and has led consulting practices for BMC Software and Hewlett-Packard. He is the coauthor of the ITIL 2007 service operation book and author of the ITIL 2011 service strategy book. He is also a founder and past chairman of both itSMF South Africa and itSMF International and a past president of itSMF USA.

Prior to joining Forrester, David led the IT service management (ITSM) practice of BMC Software Global Services and led the ITSM consulting practice at Hewlett-Packard. He has educated and consulted within a broad range of organizations in the private and public sectors over the past 20 years. He has consulted in virtually every area of IT management, but he specializes in the integration of business and technology management.

David has degrees in industrial sociology and psychology from the University of South Africa and holds the ITIL Expert certificate. He is also a fellow of service management and double recipient of the itSMF Lifetime Achievement Award.

 

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Filed under Digital Customer Experience, digital technologies, Digital Transformation, Enterprise Architecture (EA), Forrester, IT4IT, Standards, The Open Group, The Open Group San Francisco 2017, Uncategorized

Gaining Executive Buy-In for IT4IT™: A Conversation with Mark Bodman

By The Open Group

With many organizations undergoing digital transformation, IT departments everywhere are taking serious hits. And although technology is at the heart of many business transformations, IT has traditionally had a reputation as a cost center rather than an innovation center.

As such, executives are often skeptical when presented with yet another new IT plan or architecture for their organizations that will be better than the last. Due to the role Enterprise Architects play in bridging the gap between the business and IT, it’s often incumbent on them to make the case for big changes when needed.

Mark Bodman, Senior Product Manager at ServiceNow and formerly at HPE, has been working with and presenting the IT4IT standard, an Open Group standard, to executives for a number of years. At The Open Group San Francisco 2017 event on January 30, Bodman will offer advice on how to present IT4IT in order to gain executive buy-in. We spoke with him in advance of the conference to get a sneak peek before his session.

What are Enterprise Architects up against these days when dealing with executives and trying to promote IT-related initiatives?

The one big change that I’ve seen is the commoditization of IT. With the cloud-based economy and the ability to rent cheap compute, storage and networking, being able to effectively leveraging commodity IT is a key differentiator that will make or break an organization. At the end of the day, the people who can exploit cheaper technology to do unique things faster are those companies who will come out ahead long-term. Companies based on legacy technologies that don’t evolve will stall out and die.

Uber and Netflix are great case studies for this trend. It’s happening everyday around us—and it’s reaching a tipping point. Enterprise Architects are faced with communicating these scenarios within their own organizations—use cases like going digital, streamlining for costs, sourcing more in the cloud—all strategies required to move the needle. Enterprise Architects are the senior most technical people within IT. They bridge the gap between business and technology at the highest level—and have to figure out ‘How do I communicate and plan for these disruptions here so that we can, survive in the digital era?’

It’s a Herculean task, not an easy thing to do. I’ve found there’s varying degrees of success for Enterprise Architects. Sometimes by no fault of their own, because they are dealing with politics, they can’t move the right agenda forward.  Or the EA may be dealing with a Board that just wants to see financial results the next quarter, and doesn’t care about the long-term transformations. These are the massive challenges that Enterprise Architects deal with every day.

Why is it important to properly present a framework like IT4IT to executives right now?

It’s as important as the changes in accounting rules have impacted organizations.  How those new rules and regulations changed in response to Enron and the other big financial failures within recent memory was quite impactful. When an IT shop is implementing services and running the IT organization as a whole, what is the operating model they use? Why is one IT shop so much different from another when we’re all facing similar challenges, using similar resources? I think it’s critically important to have a vetted industry standard to answer these questions.

Throughout my career, I’ve seen many different models for running IT from many different sources. From technology companies like HPE and IBM, to consulting companies like Deloitte, Accenture and Bain; each has their own way of doing things.  I refer this to the ‘IT flavor of the month.’  One framework is chosen over another depending on what leadership decides for their playbook—they get tired of one model, or a new leader imposes the model they are familiar with, so they adopt a new model and change the entire IT operating model, quite disruptive.                                                                                                                        

The IT4IT standard takes that whole answer to ‘how to run IT as a business’ out of the hands of any one source. That’s why a diverse set of contributors is important, like PWC and Accenture–they both have consulting practices for running IT shops. Seeing them contribute to an open standard that aggregates this know-how allows IT to evolve faster. When large IT vendors like ServiceNow, IBM, Microsoft and HPE are all participating and agreeing upon the model, we can start creating solutions that are compatible with one another. The reason we have Wi-Fi in every single corner of the planet or cellular service that you can use from any phone is because we standardized. We need to take a similar approach to running IT shops—renting commoditized services, plugging them in, and managing them with standard software. You can’t do that unless you agree on the fundamentals, the IT4IT standard provides much of this guidance.

When Enterprise Architects are thinking about presenting a framework like IT4IT, what considerations should they make as they’re preparing to present it to executives?

I like to use the word ‘contextualize,’ and the way I view the challenge is that if I contextualize our current operating model against IT4IT, how are we the same or different? What you’ll mostly find is that IT shops are somewhat aligned. A lot of the work that I’ve done with the standard over the past three years is to create material that shows IT4IT in multiple contexts. The one that I prefer to start with for an executive audience is showing how the de-facto plan-build-run IT organizational model, which is how most IT shops are structured, maps to the IT4IT structure. Once you make that correlation, it’s a lot easier to understand how IT4IT then fits across your particular organization filling some glaring gaps in plan-build-run.

Recently I’ve created a video blog series on YouTube called IT4IT Insights to share these contextual views. I’ve posted two videos so far, and plan to post a new video per month. I have posted one video on how Gartner’s Bi-Modal concept maps to IT4IT concepts, and another on the disruptive value that the Request to Fulfill value stream provides IT shops.

Why have executives been dismissive of frameworks like this in the past and how can that be combatted with a new approach such as IT4IT?

IT4IT is different than anything I have seen before.  I think it’s the first time we have seen a comprehensive business-oriented framework created for IT as an open standard. There are some IT frameworks specific to vertical industries out there, but IT4IT is really generic and addresses everything that any CIO would worry about on a daily basis. Of course they don’t teach CIOs IT4IT in school yet—it’s brand new. Many IT execs come from consulting firms where they have grown very familiar with a particular IT operating model, or they were promoted through the years establishing their own unique playbook along the way.  When a new standard framework like IT4IT comes along and an Enterprise Architect shows them how different it might be from what the executive currently knows, it’s very disruptive. IT executives got to that position through growth and experience using what works, it’s a tough pill to swallow to adopting something new like IT4IT.

To overcome this problem it’s import to contextualize the IT4IT concepts.  I’m finding many of the large consulting organizations are just now starting to learn IT4IT—some are ahead of others. The danger is that IT4IT takes some that unique IP away, and that’s a little risky to them, but I think it’s an advantage if they get on the bandwagon first and can contextually map what they do now against IT4IT. One other thing that’s important is that since IT4IT is an open standard, organizations may contribute intellectual property to the standard and be recognized as the key contributor for that content. You see some of this already with Accenture’s and PWC’s contributions.  At the same time, each consulting organization will hold some of their IP back in to differentiate themselves where applicable. That’s why I think it’s important for people presenting IT4IT to contextualize to their particular organization and practice.  If they don’t, it’s just going to be a much harder discussion.

Like with any new concept—eventually you find the first few who will get it, then latch on to it to become the ‘IT4IT champion.’ It’s very important to have at least one IT4IT champion to really evangelize the IT4IT standard and drive adoption.  That champion might not be in an executive position able to change things in their organization, but it’s an important job to educate and evangelize a better way of managing IT.

What lessons have you learned in presenting IT4IT to executives? Can you offer some tips and tricks for gaining mindshare?

I have many that I’ll talk about in January, but one thing that seems to work well is that I take a few IT4IT books into an executive briefing, the printed standard and pocket guide usually.  I’ll pass them around the room while I present the IT4IT standard. (I’m usually presenting the IT4IT standard as part of a broader executive briefing agenda.) I usually find that the books get stuck with someone in the room who has cracked open the book and recognized something of value.  They will usually want to keep the book after that, and at that point I know who my champion is.  I then gauge how passionate they are by making them twist my arm to keep the book.  This usually works well to generate discussion of what they found valuable, in the context of their own IT organization and in front of the other executives in the room. I recently presented to the CIO of a major insurance company performing this trick.  I passed the books around during my presentation and found them back in front of me.  I was thinking that was it, no takers. But the CIO decided to ask for them back once I concluded the IT4IT presentation.  The CIO was my new champion and everyone in the room knew it.

What about measurement and results? Is there enough evidence out there yet on the standard and the difference it’s making in IT departments to bring measurement into your argument to get buy in from executives?

I will present some use cases that have some very crystal clear results, though I can’t communicate financials. The more tangible measurements are around the use cases where we leveraged the IT4IT standard to rationalize the current IT organization and tools to identify any redundancies. One of the things I learned 10 years ago, well before the IT4IT standard was around, was how to rationalize applications for an entire organization that have gotten out of hand from a rash of M&A activity. Think about the redundancies created when two businesses merge. You’re usually merging because of a product or market that you are after, there’s some business need driving that acquisition. But all the common functions, like HR and finance are redundant.  This includes IT technologies and applications to manage IT, too. You don’t need two HR systems, or two IT helpdesk systems; you’ve got to consolidate this to a reasonable number of applications to do the work. I have tackled the IT rationalization by using the IT4IT standard, going through an evaluation process to identify redundancies per functional component.  In some cases we have found more 300 tools that perform the same IT function, like monitoring. You shouldn’t need to have 300 different monitoring tools—that’s ridiculous. This is just one clear use case where we’ve applied IT4IT to identify similar tools and processes that exist within IT specifically, a very compelling business case to eliminate massive redundancy.

Does the role of standards also help in being able to make a case for IT4IT with executives? Does that lend credence to what you’re proposing and do standards matter to them?

They do in a way because like accounting rules, if you have non-standard accounting rules today, it might land your executives in jail. It won’t land you in jail if you have a non-standard IT shop however, but being non-standard will increase the cost of everything you do and increase risks because you’re going against the grain for something that should be a commodity. At the executive level, you need to contextualize the problem of being non-standard and show them how adopting the IT4IT standard may be similar to the accounting rule standardization.

Another benefit of standards I use is to show how the standard is open, and the result of vetting good ideas from many different organizations vs. trying to make it up as you go.  The man-years of experience that went into the standard, and elegance of the result becomes a compelling argument for adoption that shouldn’t be overlooked.

What else should EAs take into consideration when presenting something like IT4IT to executives?

I think the primary thing to remember is to contextualize your conversation to your executives and organization. Some executives in IT may have zero technology background, some may have come up through the ranks and still know how to program, so you’ve got to tell the story based on the audience and tailor it. I presented recently to 50 CIOs in Washington D.C., so I had to contextualize the standard to show how IT4IT relates to the major changes happening in the federal market, such as the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA), and how it supports the Federal Enterprise Architecture framework. These unique requirement changes had to be contextualized against the IT4IT standard so the audience understood exactly how IT4IT relates to the big challenges they are dealing with unique to the market.

Any last comments?

The next phase of the IT4IT standard is just taking off.  The initial group of people who were certified are now using IT4IT for training and to certify the next wave of adopters. We’re at a point now where the growth is going to take off exponentially. It takes a little time to get comfortable with something new and I’m seeing this happen more quickly in every new engagement. Enterprise Architects need to know that there’s a wealth of material out there, and folks who have been working with the IT4IT standard for a long time. There’s something new being published almost every day now.

It can take a while sometimes from first contact to reaching critical mass adoption, but it’s happening.  In my short three weeks at ServiceNow so far I have already had two customer conversations on IT4IT, it’s clearly relevant here too—and I have been able to show relevance to every other IT shop and vendor in the last three years.  This new IT4IT paradigm does need to soak in a bit, so don’t get frustrated about the pace of adoption and understanding.  One day you might come across a need and pull out the IT4IT standard to help in some way that’s not apparent right now.  It’s exciting to see people who worked with initial phases of the standard development now working on their next gig.  It’s encouraging to see folks in their second and even their third job leveraging the IT4IT standard.  This is a great indicator that the IT4IT standard is being accepted and starting to become mainstream.

@theopengroup #ogSFO

by-the-open-groupMark Bodman is an experienced, results-oriented IT4IT™ strategist with an Enterprise Architecture background, executive adviser, thought leader and mentor. He previously worked on cross-portfolio strategies to shape HPE’s products and services within HPE to include service multi-source service brokering, and IT4IT adoption. Mark has recently joined ServiceNow as the outbound Application Portfolio Management Product Manager.

Hands-on experience from years of interaction with multiple organizations has given Mark a unique foundation of experience and IT domain knowledge. Mark is well versed in industry standards such as TOGAF®, an Open Group standard, COBIT, and ITIL, has implemented portfolio management and EA practices, chaired governance boards within Dell, managed products at Troux, and helped HPE customers adopt strategic transformation planning practices using reference architectures and rationalization techniques.

 

 

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Looking Forward to a New Year

By Steve Nunn, President & CEO, The Open Group

As another new year begins, I would like to wish our members and The Open Group community a happy, healthy and prosperous 2017! It’s been nearly 15 months since I transitioned into my new role as the CEO of The Open Group, and I can’t believe how quickly that time has gone.

As I look back, it was at The Open Group Edinburgh event in October 2015 that we launched the IT4IT™ Reference Architecture, Version 2.0. In just the short time since then, I’m pleased to report that IT4IT has garnered attention worldwide. The IT4IT Certification for People program that we launched last January—one of the first things I had the pleasure of doing as CEO—has also gained momentum quickly. Wherever I have traveled over the past year, IT4IT has been a topic of great interest, particularly in countries like India and Brazil. There is a lot of potential for the standard globally, and we can look forward to various new IT4IT guides and whitepapers as well as an update to the technical standard in the first few months of this year.

Looking back more at 2016, there were a number of events that stood out throughout the course of the year. We were excited to welcome back Fujitsu as a Platinum member in April. The Open Group global reach and continued work creating standards relevant to how technology is impacting the worldwide business climate were key factors in Fujitsu’s decision to rejoin, and it’s great to have them back.

In addition to Fujitsu, we welcomed 86 new members in 2016. Our membership has been increasingly steadily over the past several years—we now have more than 511 members in 42 countries. Our own footprint continues to expand, with staff and local partners now in 12 countries. We have now reached a point where not a month goes by without The Open Group hosting an event somewhere in the world. In fact, more than 66,000 people attended an Open Group event either online or in-person last year. That’s a big number, and it is a reflection on the interest in the work that is going on inside The Open Group.

I believe this tremendous growth in membership and participation in our activities is due to a number of factors, including our focus on Enterprise Architecture and the continued take up of TOGAF® and ArchiMate® – Open Group standards – and the ecosystems around them.  In 2016, we successfully held the first TOGAF User Group meetings worldwide, and we also released the first part of the Open Business Architecture standard. Members can look forward to additions to that standard this year, as well as updates to the ArchiMate certifications, to reflect the latest version of the standard – ArchiMate® 3.0.

In addition, our work with The Open Group FACE™ Consortium has had a significant impact on growth—the consortium added 13 members last year, and it is literally setting the standard for how government customers buy from suppliers in the avionics market. Indeed, such has the success of The Open Group FACE Consortium been that it will be spinning out its own new consortium later this year, SOSA, or the Sensor Open Systems Architecture. The FACE Consortium was also nominated for the 2017 Aviation Week Awards in Innovation for assuming that software conforming to the FACE technical standard is open, portable and reusable. Watch this space for more information on that in the coming months.

2017 will bring new work from our Security and Open Platform 3.0™ Forums as well. The Security and Architecture Forums are working together to integrate security architectures into TOGAF, and we can expect updates to the O-ISM3 security, and OpenFair Risk Analysis and Taxonomy standards later in the year. The Open Platform 3.0 Forum has been hard at work developing materials that they can contribute to the vast topic of convergence, including the areas of Cloud Governance, Data Lakes, and Digital Business Strategy and Customer Experience. Look for new developments in those areas throughout the course of this year.

As the ever-growing need for businesses to transform for the digital world continues to disrupt industries and governments worldwide, we expect The Open Group influence to reach far and wide. Standards can help enterprises navigate these rapid changes. I believe The Open Group vision of Boundaryless Information Flow™ is coming to fruition through the work our Forums and Working Groups are doing. Look for us to take Boundaryless Information Flow one step further in January when we announce our latest Forum, the Open Process Automation™ Forum, at our upcoming San Francisco event. This promises to be a real cross-industry activity, bringing together industries as disparate as oil and gas, mining and metals, food and beverage, pulp and paper, pharmaceutical, petrochemical, utilities, and others. Stay tuned at the end of January to learn more about what some prominent companies in these industries have in common, in addition to being members of The Open Group!

With all of these activities to look forward to in 2017—and undoubtedly many more we have yet to see—all signs point to an active, productive and fulfilling year. I look forward to working with all of you throughout the next 12 months.

Happy New Year!

by-steve-nunn-president-and-ceo

by-steve-nunn-president-and-ceoSteve Nunn is President and CEO of The Open Group – a global consortium that enables the achievement of business objectives through IT standards. He is also President of the Association of Enterprise Architects (AEA).

Steve joined The Open Group in 1993, spending the majority of his time as Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel.   He was also CEO of the AEA from 2010 until 2015.

Steve is a lawyer by training, has an L.L.B. (Hons) in Law with French and retains a current legal practicing certificate.  Having spent most of his life in the UK, Steve has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area since 2007. He enjoys spending time with his family, walking, playing golf, 80s music, and is a lifelong West Ham United fan.

@theopengroup @stevenunn

 

 

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What Really Happens When You Run IT Like a Business?

By Sven Vollbehr, SAP Certified LEAD Business & Enterprise Architect, SKF; Speaker at The Open Group Paris 2016

Recently, The Open Group released a new open standard IT operating model and reference architecture called IT4IT™. They billed it as the answer to “How to run IT like a business.” At the same time, our Enterprise Architecture team at SKF was supporting the rollout of a major SAP initiative. To be successful in this initiative we became convinced that we must also simultaneously transform the way IT worked with the business to provide value.

Through this transformation, we aligned business strategy and IT operational governing activities through a pragmatic way to capture business demand and deliver services to the business that maintained traceability and alignment with the original demand. This article provides some valuable lessons that we learned on our transformation journey that we believe will help you re-orient IT to focus on business value, to structure its operating model, and to look into ways to gain additional growth.

Step 1: Agree upon the IT Business Model

 It is a broadly recognised – if not necessarily discussed – fact that IT organisations are experienced in developing and using IT operating models without necessarily knowing what value that the business within which they operate require from them. There is far too often the scenario that IT teams, within their well-planned out, best practice, quality assured activities, inherently hope that what is delivered is what the business themselves hoped for.

Many IT departments comprise of people predominantly from a technical background and are not necessarily schooled in business competencies which would allow them to reorient their activities to align with a business perspective. This is not a criticism, but simply a fact of how IT teams have traditionally been positioned in most organisations with respect to their purpose, structure and most importantly their behaviour and stakeholder relationships.

The viewpoint makes all the difference. While we believe the IT4IT Value Chain has a genuine place within the strategy of an IT organisation, we have identified that it is only a useful tenet for SKF if our IT Value Proposition is determined first; in this way the Value Chain supports the type of IT organisation we want to be, the roles we perform and the services we deliver, all undertaken within the fullest business context of the organisation. As it stands today, the IT4IT Value Chain puts more focus on IT operations than strategy. This is not necessarily incorrect, but does only represent one viewpoint.

Looking at how to run IT like a business from the customer viewpoint should start with different questions. We were required to fundamentally address these blind spots, to align IT in such a way that it reflected the broader (essentially non-IT) organisation and their transformation ambition. For our transformation, our chosen approach was aimed at ensuring the end-to-end structure and execution of our IT operational delivery would be fully aligned with business strategy and outcomes. We had a very specific IT Value Proposition in mind which determined the capabilities and structures we required.

With IT4IT, the IT Value Proposition is an implicit one which dictates many of the other aspects within the framework including the organisational setup. With our Value Proposition determined with respect to the type of IT organisation we were – and more importantly wanted to become – we concluded that a different organisational setup was required for our specific requirements, thereby driving the creation of a variation to the prescribed IT4IT Value Chain.
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CIOs’ mandates and priorities are changing (Source: Moving from the back office to the front lines. CIO insights from the Global C-suite Study. IBM Institute for Business Value, November 2013.)

Building on these fundamentals, we can then define – with the business – targets for our transformation to deliver on the stated business outcomes. This would require the necessary organizational structure to be established both in classic hierarchical and associative terms but also in terms of shared and inter-related functions and accountabilities, all of which are aligned to shared business outcomes (not siloed technological outputs).

Step 2: Take Structured Approach to support the IT Operating Model

As an Enterprise Architect working in the IT Management, you have the heavy task of aligning between different organisational silos as well as architectural framework, and industry standards and best practises. Whilst each existing framework and standard has its own intended points of focus, they all share the same restrictive principle i.e. they take a “toolbox” approach where the more content you have in your framework, the more value you provide to the architecture practitioners – but only in and of the particular framework and do not take into account the need to provide insight into how they connect to the broader environment. It is therefore difficult for practitioners to implement the frameworks, understand how to integrate between multiple frameworks or what to prioritize for the benefit of the organisation. Such frustrations do not lend themselves to focusing on delivering business value.

The core value of IT4IT is in the fact that it forces you to think in terms of the value the IT Operating Model is set to deliver. Combined with an explicit IT Value Proposition, this becomes a very efficient tool to better understand and communicate what value the IT organization is set to deliver. However, to drive the creation of an effective IT Operating Model, we required additional, coordinated effort to combine the best aspects of various business and IT architecture disciplines, framework or standard and ensure we can be prescriptive in our undertakings. There is no single framework that is all-encompassing in its design and point of approach so as to be applicable to all business scenarios, and in the massive variety of toolboxes, relevance becomes of essence.

The architecture framework design must therefore begin with the customer (internal or external) request in mind, and limit the details strictly to a level that is sufficient to delivering the answers quickly back to the customer on that particular business use case. Losing the visibility to what originally was the business use case (and therefore why we, for example, modelled certain artefacts to a particular level or way) creates waste. Our efforts have shown that any framework with the primary objective of delivering business value should be an organic entity based on real-life products delivered with standard artefacts and entities in the meta model. Furthermore, such a framework should be context sensitive and at all levels aligned to specific business use cases.

by-sven-vollbehr-skf

Structured approach to building solution roadmaps and solutions

We created a structured approach to our transformation effort to help us comprehensively and holistically translate and structure business ambition to the nuts and bolts to ensure consistent and effective IT service delivery. We aim therefore to build up the complexity in our architecture framework through the services provided. We break down these services into deliverables and connect them into the architecture framework to ensure a consistent delivery and reusability of the information in further service delivery.

Step 3: Devise a Growth Strategy

Once you have established the IT Business Model, IT Operating Model, and related behaviour for the IT organisation, you should be looking for some growth of your IT Business. We must continue to be relevant to the business moving forwards and therefore our offering, competencies and job roles need to evolve over time in lock step with the business. Depending on how significant a gap there is between the IT Value Proposition and the Current Mode of Operations, an explicit growth strategy may be required to support organic growth, and in business terms, gain more market share.

IT has been traditionally viewed as a cost centre with fixed budgets provided on an annual basis. When value is not seen to be delivered, these budgets are reduced, forcing IT to deliver differently but at the risk of reducing further the value that they can realise for the business. What is required, say, to see the IT organisation recognized as a partner, not a service provider, and help it evolve to gain the trust of the business? What can we deliver for the same (or less) but that provides inherently more value if repeatedly adopted quickly by the organisation? What can we do to break out of our traditional domains, and seize the opportunities to take on a bigger role on the front lines of the business? I believe a growth strategy can be achieved through a number of different means.

We can improve organic growth by incorporating much of what we have seen to be successful in earlier undertakings such as delivering services based upon assured standards and frameworks such that repeatable delivery can be achieved. Delivering services outcomes which can be reused by more and more parts of the business reinforces the best practices we execute upon and reinforces the right operating model. This enhances how we are perceived by the business and therefore brings us closer together with each incremental delivery.

We can further enhance our perception with the business by identifying the appropriate business initiatives where we can pilot innovations, and ensure these can be delivered and thereby build trust with the key stakeholders. This is where we have found transformation programmes are an excellent way create and prove new operating models which continue to support the evolving business environment and requirements.

We can also work closer with Local / Business / Shadow IT teams and operate in such a way so as to be inherently advantageous to the business – after all, ultimately we all should have the aim of IT being the sole go-to organisation for the business to provide assured operational efficiency. We know we need to develop new competencies to achieve these outcomes and many times this is where you find those the easiest. Exposing services to these team gives visibility, opportunity to establish certain degree of governance and over time alignment with your central teams to a level it is easy to rationalize the team structures.

Anything which is delivered with these considerations in mind must be easily consumable by our customers so that they do not feel the need to go elsewhere.

@theopengroup #ogPARIS

http://www.opengroup.org    www.opengroup.org/paris2016

by-sven-vollbehr-skfSven is a true professional in architecture, software development and service management. He has 18 years of experience across business process management, business architecture, enterprise and solution architecture, enterprise integrations and integration architecture, front-end application design, server-side enterprise application development and maintenance, and, due to his entrepreneurial background, everything between business administration, sales, outsourcing, and server and network management.

SKF is the leader in bearing business, offering not only the
bearing and related products but also rotating equipment performance
through industry and application knowledge on technologies around the rotating shaft.

 

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Having the Right Conversations: A Q&A with Craig Alexander

By The Open Group

For many years now, IT departments have been accused of being out of alignment with the needs of the business. According to Craig Alexander, a strategic consultant for Hewlett Packard Enterprise in EMEA, IT4IT™ Reference Architecture has a chance to finally change all that.

Alexander, who has a background in large business transformations, says that Enterprise Architects (EAs) and IT departments alike should be looking at the successes and failures of past projects to help them better plan for what they need to do today.

We spoke to Alexander in advance of The Open Group Paris 2016 (October 24-27), where he will be speaking, about how the past can inform IT projects today, why ITIL is still relevant despite the new approach the IT4IT standard offers and how to have the right conversations that will move projects forward and better guarantee successful outcomes for everyone.

The title of your session is “To Plan for the Future, Look to the Past.” Why should EAs be looking backwards to look forward?

I’m not an architect. My background is in traditional service management practice moving into transition management and large-scale transformations, all of which have a business outcome.

If we look back through the eyes of IT4IT programs—whether it be large scale programs or transformations—we can pick up points and things we’ve done in the distant past and see where we’ve learned our lessons that helped to arrive at IT4IT standard. But moreover, we can project that forward in terms of ‘let’s not forget what we learned in the past and use that knowledge and that information as we move forward with IT4IT programs, so we’ll be better informed and better able to succeed.’

The thing that got me thinking about that was, I reached a certain age recently and started getting interested in history, where I’d never really been interested in it when I was younger. One of the things that comes out all the time when you study history, whether you’re talking about conflicts, financial crashes or similar significant events, is that if you look into the past you can find out what might happen again in the future. History tells us what could happen in the future. That was the somewhat tenuous link I made in my mind in terms of my role and ‘Wouldn’t it have been great if we’d had the IT4IT vision when we did this?’

One of the things I asked my very first customers on a project nearly 20 years ago was ‘Why are we here?’ At the time this drew strange looks and some incredulity with responses of ‘We’re here to do this, we’re here to do that.’ I remarked ‘That’s what we’re here to do—but why are we doing it?’ At this point the team looked puzzled and said ‘Well actually we hadn’t thought of that.’ The customer CIO then said, ‘That’s a good point—we should all understand why we’re doing what we’re doing,’ and proceeded to provide the context of the project. Then we all knew why we were there!

I’ve always used that approach, but it’s only been since the IT4IT Reference Architecture has come to the fore that common sense has started to prevail in the industry. It’s still very much the minority view, especially within IT teams. It’s not so much within architecture groups, especially those that are adopting IT4IT programs, but it’s very easy to get entrenched in technology and the benefits that can be most immediately realized with technology as opposed to how it reaches into why and how business plans succeed or fail.

Certainly in my time in the industry both at organizations within IT and at end-user organizations, one of the common things I’ve seen is that it’s very easy for clever, focused or driven people to be a little blinkered when it comes to the point of doing technology. I’ve never been one to advocate that approach. IT is not there for the sake of IT—IT is there for a business purpose. At some point prior to a project starting or a migration or change in supplier, someone made a business decision that led to that occurring. They didn’t make an IT decision. And that’s the realm in which I operate. I try to make sure anyone with an IT focus I work with has that perspective.

In what ways do you see the past of IT now informing the future?

We can look back at the origins of business decisions and what has arisen as a result of them—the standards that could have been used at the time, how they have supported progress and how they helped or restricted any transformation in an organization.

For example, a transformation may be primarily driven from an ITIL or architectural perspective over and above the supplier governance or integration—by aligning these factors differently the transformation results (i.e. business outcomes) could have been manifestly better for no additional cost.

That’s the sort of example of how we can use the IT4IT vision moving forward—think back to how it might have worked elsewhere, what you might have learned and project that forward and don’t be afraid to shout about it. For large transformation projects, the more experience and more wealth of knowledge you have can increase the chances of that transformation succeeding.

Has ITIL then proved to be inadequate for what customers need today?

ITIL is great and has proven to be for as long as I can remember. It was the first thing I did in my post-graduate role. It’s been very powerful for customers and continues to be. I see a similar route for IT4IT 15 years hence in terms of its adoption and development, regardless of industry. With respect to IT4IT, ITIL is much more focused on the delivery end of things as opposed to the strategic end of things and the reference architecture. That’s not to say it can’t touch on it, but it was never really designed to be that.

The observation we see retrospectively when we work within the realms of IT4IT is that ITIL was descriptive in its nature not prescriptive, which is one of the key differences in its nature. That prescriptive approach was very positive up to a point because it allowed organizations to adopt principles and work in a way where things are applied best. I’ve worked with organizations that have been very knowledgeable, astute and mature in that regard where things are very specific to the company. But one of the challenges that has arisen in the past has stemmed from the ability to apply interpretation to the standard.  For example in a multi-supplier environment where various organizations can all be applying ITIL but in ways which require complex integrations and create unnecessary difficulty when technology, legislative or supplier changes are required.

I will never criticize ITIL for what it was if for no other reason than it was the heart of what I did for a number of years and it helped to mature the IT Industry. Now the IT4IT standard has been launched and is being consumed, there is probably more than a fair share of—pun intended—revisionist history being applied to ITIL, which played a role for its time and will continue to play an important role moving forward. IT4IT, however, goes a bit further to make the connection toward business outcomes.

How does IT4IT better address the needs of organizations today?

The approach that I have been taking for the last 18 months within the HPE group I work in is rather than having an initial conversation with customers about a technology solution, something going out of support or more functionality, we’re having a conversation that starts with: ‘What are you trying to achieve? What are the business outcomes you’re trying to realize? We think technology might play a part in that.’ This is usually conducted in conjunction with an IT sponsor (a senior decision-maker or stakeholder) along with someone from the IT department. We’re being told by our customers that we’re having the ‘right’ conversations now. It’s a different conversation, but it’s the right conversation to have because it’s allowing IT to have discussions with leaders in terms that the business understands much more effectively.

An extreme example: One of our customers found themselves justifying funding for IT projects, something they had not really done in the past. Why? The business simply could not understand the value they would get from the projects. Despite all the use of acronyms and IT technology ‘speak,’ the customers’ needs were simple. Deliver value. Tell us what this will be and when we will get it. IT could not articulate this so consequently funding was being withheld.

Because IT4IT is structured around IT as a value chain supported by value streams, when using it logically it drives the conversation to value. Customers love this and realize immediately that the technology conversations they have been having with IT are the wrong ones. They want the value conversations and IT4IT has a major role to play here. Other customers have also told us ‘we’ve been having the wrong conversation’ even before we tell them how IT4IT can specifically address their own particular challenges; it’s like a light has suddenly been switched on. These are game-changing situations.

That’s been the most positive outcome—there’s so many things that historically IT departments never did. They’re starting to think in much more business terms. If we think back about the rhetoric in our industry three years ago there was a lot of ‘What is the position of the CIO? Should they be on the Board?’ There was all this conjecture about what that role should be. Increasingly, the IT department is being looked upon as just another business unit, so if the CIO is able to have the same conversation at a board level as finance or sales or marketing, that puts them at a better advantage;. IT4IT only serves to support that agenda.

In looking toward the past, how large a scope should IT organizations consider? Should they just look at what’s worked for them in the past or do they need to consider the industry as a whole?

For me, it starts at home. What has worked for us in the past? What are the things we know best? What are the parts of the company that are more challenging than others? Are there geographies where projects work? At the same time, in most organizations there will be individuals who have come from different industries, so exploiting all of their experience should always be taken into account. But the primary focus is what is being projected forward and taking that learning and the best knowledge and using it.

The people aspect is the hardest. You can take statistics from a number of years and derive any number of conclusions from that, but the behavior and the culture of the organizations are probably the strongest indicators of what a transformation’s impact will be It’s relatively easy to swap out IT, it’s not easy to change organizational behavior. It’s a lot harder to change the way people think or to motivate them toward certain outcomes. That’s where I would be trying to derive the most information from. It’s easy to prescribe a technology transformation, but if the organization as an entity don’t go along with that, no amount of technology change is going to make difference.

As a standard, how can IT4IT continue to evolve so that it remains relevant into the future?

There is no doubt that the timing for IT4IT is perfect. The industry is crying out for a prescriptive approach to running the business of IT. Value delivery and value realization will the lifeblood of IT in the future. So will IT4IT evolve? Almost certainly. As more organizations adopt IT4IT there will definitely be amendments and improvements. After all the current reference architecture is only version 2. Where I think the biggest impact could be is if organizations start to mandate IT4IT and vendors have to become IT4IT compliant. That’s when we will see even larger scale adoption and greater evolution of IT4IT.

At the end of the day, everything is geared toward digitalization, the digital transformation of organizations. That is the one common thing we see—irrespective of industry, geography, scale, or political environment—the digital agenda is governing everything. It is certainly our view at HPE that IT4IT is a very important means to achieving that. And when we start talking about IT4IT in the context of digital transformation, the resonance of the relevance of the IT4IT architecture and the approach to how an organization aligns with that resonates much more. At the same time, it also helps with the legacy side of things. It’s not just about IT4IT being relevant from a future technology perspective but it also allows organizations to manage the legacy with a forward looking aspect. So we see a lot of enthusiasm around that as well.

Organizations want a common way of running their IT, a common set of standards irrespective of the supplier, irrespective of the maturity of the technology, and IT4IT is giving them that option. We urge our customers to think big and start small. Start with the specifics, start with the most important areas of the business. Where are the needs to be addressed, pains and challenges first, and then progress from there and bring other parts of the organization into that way of thinking.

I use the analogy with my customers that if they’re using an airline’s app on their smartphone to change their flight, change their seat or purchase baggage, that’s not a new system that they’re using on their phone. That’s just the portal through which they view the old system that’s been around for 25-30 years and they want to be able to use that trusted system. So there’s a need to marry the user experience and the technology.

Is there anything that you can point to that accounts for the rapid adoption of IT4IT since its release?

I think for many organizations, IT4IT is bringing things into focus. Customers are usually reluctant to say ‘We’re really struggling to find something that’s working for us.’ Admitting to struggling with something is not something that many organizations like to share. I think for many organizations in the position where the digital agenda and the need to think like customers’ customers is very prominent, they’re making the connection between this standard and the prescriptive approach. IT4IT is industry, supplier and technology agnostic, and customers can take it on and adopt it in whatever appropriate way they see for their own organization; they can make it work regardless of how little or much knowledge they have in their organization because there’s also a community of organizations out there, like ourselves, who will help them with their transformation. I think there is a light bulb moment going on where they say ‘Yes, this could work,’ where instead of marrying two or three standards together to make it work for them, it’s a common way to move forward—that’s the recognition with which the uptake has manifested itself.

We have never had a prescriptive reference architecture for running the business of IT so it’s hardly a surprise that now we have one organizations are interested to find out more and work out how to use IT4IT. As also mentioned earlier, other approaches such as ITIL took a slightly different approach and IT4IT addresses a gap that has yet to be addressed by any other approach. So it really is the right thing at the right time!

For the press release of the launch of the IT4IT standard, click here.

For more information on The Open Group IT4IT™ Forum, please visit here.

The Open Group IT4IT™ Reference Architecture, Version 2.0 is available here.

@theopengroup #ogPARIS

by-the-open-groupCraig Alexander joined HP in December 2011 as a Strategic Transformation Consultant to deliver transformation initiatives linked to the adoption of software solutions with much of this focus was around SIAM-based initiatives for major clients. Since the end of 2014, he has focused on creating and initiating IT4IT-based initiatives for EMEA-based customers. His role consists of consulting with customers to promote the benefits of adopting an IT4IT approach to delivery and transformation whilst leveraging the expertise and capabilities of the wider Hewlett Packard Enterprise organization to deliver true business value.

 

 

 

 

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The Open Group Paris Event to Take Place in October 2016

The Open Group, the vendor-neutral IT consortium, is hosting its next global event in Paris, France, between October 24-27, 2016. The event, taking place at the Hyatt Regency Paris Étoile, will focus on e-Government, as well as how to address the dimensions of e-Society, e-Technology and e-Management.

Industry experts will look at issues surrounding business transformation, business analysis, information sharing, e-Health, privacy and cybersecurity. Sessions will examine the strategic execution and the application of emerging technologies and management techniques to e-Government. Presentations will also include the latest on the European Interoperability Reference Architecture (EIRA) and the Regulatory Impact of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on Personal Data Architecture.

The event features key industry speakers including:

  • Rob Akershoek, ‎Solution Architect (IT4IT), Shell
  • Robert Weisman, University of Ottawa
  • Roland Genson, Director, General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union
  • Olivier Flous, Vice President of Engineering, Thales Group

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

The focus of Monday’s keynote sessions will be Standardized Boundaryless Information Flow™ and how Enterprise Architecture can be used in e-Government. There will also be a significant emphasis on business transformation, with the Tuesday plenary and tracks looking at successful case studies, standards as enablers, and architecting the digital business.

Further topics to be covered at the event include:

  • IT4IT™ – managing the businesses of IT, vendor adoption of IT4IT™ and a CIO-level view of the standard
  • Open Platform 3.0™ – the customer experience and digital business, architecting Smart Cities and how to use IoT technologies
  • ArchiMate® – new features of ArchiMate® 3.0 and a look at open standards in practice
  • Open Business Architecture – examining the new Open Business Architecture standard and how to address enterprise transformation

Member meetings will take place throughout the course of the three-day event for ArchiMate®, Architecture, Healthcare, IT4IT™, Open Platform 3.0™, Open Trusted Technology and Security Forum members.

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

@theopengroup #ogPARIS

 

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Filed under ArchiMate®, Boundaryless Information Flow™, digital strategy, Digital Transformation, e-Government, Enterprise Architecture, Healthcare, Interoperability, IoT, IT4IT, Open Platform 3.0, Security, Standards, The Open Group, The Open Group Paris 2016, Uncategorized