Category Archives: Standards

The Open Group Open Process Automation™ Forum

Recently, a new Forum commenced operation in The Open Group, the Open Process Automation™ Forum. This new Forum is focused on developing a standards-based, open, secure, interoperable process control architecture.

The first Members Meeting of the Forum was held in San Francisco, CA, November 16-17, 2016. The industry turnout for this initial meeting was impressive with 57 individuals from 30 different organizations attending.

Forum membership (as of December 7, 2016) includes the following companies:

ABB Fujitsu nxtControl
Accenture
Aramco Services Georgia-Pacific Praxair
ARC Advisory Group Process Systems Enterprise
Aspen Technology Hewlett-Packard Enterprise
ATE Enterprises Honeywell International, Inc. Radix
Huawei RealIRM
BASF Relcom
IBM RTI
Cirrus Link Solutions Inductive Automation
Cisco Intel Schneider Electric
Conexiam Invista Shell
Curtiss-Wright Siemens
Koch Industries
Dow Chemical TATA
Lockheed Martin
Emerson Process Yokogawa Electric Corporation
Ernst & Young Merck & Co.
ExxonMobil MITRE
Mocana

 

A bit of history about this initiative:

ExxonMobil has been describing the need for a new standards effort in the process control automation area for several years. In early 2016, having seen how a similar Open Group standards effort transformed the avionics industry, ExxonMobil approached The Open Group to potentially initiate a new open standards activity. From March to September 2016, ExxonMobil and staff of The Open Group worked to build a “coalition of the willing” comprising end-users in the process control-using industries, and their key suppliers. During this time, several public outreach meetings were held including face-to-face meetings and webcasts to build interest and identify early participants. As the incubation work proceeded, it became clear that there was interest from at least seven different industry sectors who use similar systems from the same community of suppliers in their process manufacturing environments:

  • Food and Beverage
  • Mining and Metals
  • Oil and Gas
  • Petrochemical
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Pulp and Paper
  • Utilities

During the first Members Meeting, a few things quickly became very clear:

  • There are common pain points spanning multiple sectors, such as aging control systems and the need for more rapid technology insertion, which the proposed standards effort can address to the benefit of customers,
  • There are common pain points shared by suppliers in current business models,
  • The supplier community is eager to work collaboratively on an open standard for process control, and,
  • The participants had a common understanding that a “win-win” outcome providing benefits to end users and suppliers is essential, and the members of the Forum are keen to deliver on this.

During the meeting, the scope of the standards effort was discussed, the Forum organization was created, and interim leadership roles were identified for the Forum and for specific work groups. Interim co-chairs for the Forum will be Don Bartusiak of ExxonMobil and Trevor Cusworth of Schneider Electric. The Business work group described a number of specific sub-groups in the areas of outreach, business guide development and certification. An Enterprise Architecture work group was formed, as was a Technical workgroup. The Technical workgroup conducted a pain points brainstorming exercise that will be useful in shaping and defining the technical standard. In addition, the Forum is working on a standards landscape document, which will survey other standards for possible incorporation into the “standard of standards” that we expect to create. Outreach and engagement with other standards organizations is currently being discussed and planned.

A great deal of progress was made in a short period of time, and the members are eager to move forward quickly with development of the technical standard, marketing and outreach activities, and consideration of a certification program. During the meeting, it was also clear that the proposed standard could be transformational in a way that is positive for all industry participants. The word “renaissance” was used (and embraced by the participants) to describe the potential impact of this standards effort on the industry at large.

Launch events are being planned to coincide with The Open Group San Francisco 2017, January 30 – February 2 and the ARC Industry Forum meeting in Orlando, February 6-9, 2017.

Last but not least, we encourage customer organizations, suppliers, academics, systems integrators, and others who want to help influence the direction of the standards development to become members and get directly involved. Details on how to join may be found here.

For those who want to track the progress of this initiative, we have established an open LinkedIn group for the Forum, and will use this to communicate upcoming events and ongoing progress. To follow, join and/or invite others who may be interested, please click here.

The website for the Open Process Automation Forum is accessible here.

http://www.opengroup.org

 

 

 

 

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Digital Transformation and Business Architecture (Part 1 of 3) – Presented by Dr. Giovanni Traverso, Huawei

At The Open Group Shanghai 2016 summit, we invited Dr. Giovanni Traverso, Chief Business Architect of HUAWEI Service Strategy and Architecture Practice, to give a keynote speech “New Open Business Architecture (O-BA) to Support the Construction of Digital Business and Smart Government”.

This is part one in a three-part series.

Part 1 – The Digital Transformation Challenges

Huawei was a Diamond Sponsor of this summit, is a Platinum Member of The Open Group and is participating in the creation of the O-BA standard, whose first part was launched in July 2016 as a Preliminary Standard.

Giovanni, who is leading this effort within Huawei, presented Huawei’s perspectives on Business Architecture coming from best practices.

The O-BA standard focuses on transformation as a discipline to support business decision-making and bridge business and ICT. It does so on one hand, by aligning all aspects and actors of a transformation with business vision and goals while, on the other hand, answering the business questions regarding structural investments, especially in ICT.

Giovanni’s speech introduced the O-BA standard and illustrated how it can serve governments and businesses striving to become “digital”.

First, we should characterize what is digital transformation is about. According to Huawei practice, digital business entails three constituents driving (left to right) and enabling (right to left) each other: experience, operations and (ICT) infrastructure. Each one of these involves its own challenges that have to be addressed holistically.

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Experience is the ultimate front-end between a digital business and its users, customers, partners, employees. Digital businesses deliver experience to them through products, services and their combination, individually or as part of an ecosystem. In order to help focus, Huawei has encoded the key principles of experience as “ROADS” (Real-time, On-demand, All-online, DIY, Social).

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For example, customers of digital service providers typically will learn about new services through their social network, will want to be empowered to subscribe and consume their services in real-time when they need it, typically through app or portal.

Operation had been revolutionized by digital disruptors in terms of agility, personalization, innovation speed. Thanks to digital technologies, operations are going to be automated, simplified, precisely informed, promptly reactive and even predictive. The new mode of operations is open and collaborative, goes by fast cycles delivering incremental functionality, which allows for adaptive “fail-fast” approach with limited risk.

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For example, Amazon makes a production change every 11 seconds, Google deploys over 2 billion containers each week, Netflix launched simultaneously in 131 countries (source: state of DevOps report 2015).

ICT Infrastructure is consistently pushed to become open, resilient, self-healing, scalable.

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Business Architecture coordinates all these evolutions, ensuring that investments will actually deliver the desired business outcome. Beyond decision-making, Business Architecture can also facilitate the actual execution of the new agile service delivery model. We will discuss this in the next post.

Members of The Open Group can download this presentation at http://www.opengroup.org/public/member/proceedings/Shanghai-2016-08/Presentations/Giovanni%20Traverso-Keynote4.pdf

The Open Group Shanghai 2016 event proceedings are available for members here.

@theopengroup

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Giovanni Traverso
• 28 years in telecom business, Product Management, R&D Management, Business Unit GM and Transformation Management
• Now leading the Enterprise Architecture team at Huawei Global Services, Standard and Industry Development Dept.
• Certified Business Architect (CBA)
• Contributor to The Open Group Open Business Architecture (O-BA) Standard and the Business Architecture Body of Knowledge (BizBOK)

 

 

 

 

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Customer Experience and Transformation in Financial Services – Part 2

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

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

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

Chapter 4 – Customer Engagement Model (Part 2)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter 5 – Customer Engagement Model (Part 3)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scenario: customer journey in the Insurance sector

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter 6 – Development Agenda

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter 7 – Capabilities and Insights

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Customer Experience and Transformation In Financial Services – Part 1

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

This is Part 1 in a two part series.

Chapter 1 – Introduction

The financial services industry is undergoing massive change.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter 2 – Visioning and Positioning

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

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

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

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

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

The answer? Start with the architectural building blocks

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ensure the brand and vision are guiding behaviour

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter 3 – Customer Engagement Model (Part 1)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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The Open Group Paris 2016 Event Highlights

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Packed house in the Plenary on October 25

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

@theopengroup #ogPARIS

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

By Loren K. Baynes, Director, Global Marketing CommunicationsLoren K. Baynes, Director, Global Marketing Communications, joined The Open Group in 2013 and spearheads corporate marketing initiatives, primarily the website, blog, media relations and social media. Loren has over 20 years experience in brand marketing and public relations and, prior to The Open Group, was with The Walt Disney Company for over 10 years. Loren holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Texas A&M University. She is based in the US.

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Filed under ArchiMate®, Boundaryless Information Flow™, Digital Transformation, e-Government, EA, Enterprise Architecture, EU, European Commission, European Union, Interoperability, IoT, Open Platform 3.0, smart cities, Standards, Steve Nunn, The Open Group, The Open Group Paris 2016, Uncategorized

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.
by-sven-vollbehr-skf

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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Filed under IT4IT, Standards, The Open Group, The Open Group Paris 2016, Uncategorized

A Reference Architecture for Interoperability in the European Union: A Conversation with Raul Abril

By The Open Group

Moving to a digital infrastructure requires far more interoperability and Boundaryless Information Flow™ than in the past. This is particularly true for digital transformation efforts within governments, many of which are known for being extremely siloed, where information exchange between government branches or agencies can be problematic.

The European Union is currently deploying an Interoperability Reference Architecture as part of its e-Government initiatives. We spoke with Raul Abril, Programme Manager, EU Policies for the European Commission, about how his team is going about building that architecture, which is known as the European Interoperability Reference Architecture. Raul will be a keynote speaker at The Open Group Paris 2016 on October 24.

Tell us a bit about the European Interoperability Reference Architecture. How was it designed and how is it currently being used?

First of all, the European Interoperability Reference Architecture (EIRA) came from a vision. This vision was that it had to fulfill a need, and the need was expressed in the existence of digital barriers across European borders, which is against one of the major political priorities in the European Union: The creation of a real and effective single market. It had to be a reference to build up solutions that are interoperable. This is important at all levels (local, regional, national, European) of public administration because many of the e-Government solutions were created in a silo mode. There was a need to provide a common framework for solutions architects to design their solutions in a way that would allow their solutions to be interoperable. There was a business need obviously, and then the way of implementing the EIRA came from my personal professional experiences. The European Commission in general and the Interoperability Solutions for public Administrations unit, ISA in short, in particular, through the ISA2 Programme, have brought state of the art approaches and talent on board in order to address such needs.     

How does the EIRA help provide a structure for interoperable e-Government solutions?

EIRA helps in different ways. One obvious way is that the EIRA is a controlled vocabulary. There are definitions, there are building blocks and there are relationships and the set for those things is in a controlled vocabulary. Why is that important? Because we need to understand each other, so one way of achieving interoperability is by achieving and expressing our designs in the same way.

I’ll give you an example of it in practicality. When you are a public vendor, when you are a government or a member state and you ask for offers and want to express your terms of reference, if we are all using the same controlled vocabulary, there is no doubt that the conformance will be better. But there are other ways. How is EIRA supporting interoperability? The answer also comes from another important concept—the interoperability specifications. Those interoperability specs should be based in open standards. What makes a building block interoperable should be described using interoperability specifications. This becomes a critical success factor for achieving interoperability between solution A and solution B. Why? Because by doing that then solution A and solution B will be using the same interoperability specs. Does it mean that both will be interoperable? Not necessarily, but if they don’t have that it will be almost impossible for them to be interoperable. That’s where the EIRA supports interoperability.

We have started identifying what interoperability specs, based on standards, should be referred in each of the building blocks in the EIRA. 

How is TOGAF® helping to inform the EIRA?

TOGAF, an Open Group standard, is one well known approach for enterprise architecture frameworks (EAF). Of course, there are other EAFs. The reason for using TOGAF was because we consider it appropriate in terms of openness, which is what we’re looking for. This does not mean that European public administrations will have to use TOGAF.

EIRA is a reference architecture. A reference architecture is basically a reference model married to an architectural style. The architectural style we selected for EIRA was SOA, service oriented architecture. That was a critical decision, which means that we wanted to conceptualize any type of solution as being service based, which means that we also care about the code components. But we are also putting attention on the behavioral part. That’s why we selected SOA.

The reference model explains the ontological properties of the components that you’re going to have. How do you designate names? What are the properties of the relationships between them?, etc. We selected ArchiMate®, an Open Group standard,  as the ontology for our reference model. So, the EIRA is based on ArchiMate as the reference model and in a service oriented architecture as the architecture style.

After explaining the “RA” in the EIRA acronym, we should explain now the “I” for interoperability. In general, reference architectures like the EIRA do not have the same ambition as enterprise architecture frameworks. EAFs like TOGAF have the ambition to provide support for the end-to-end design, implementation and lifecycle of a solution. Reference architectures focus on a specific aspect—in the EIRA case, interoperability—and they need to provide the most salient—not all—architectural building blocks that should be considered to address such specific aspects. The EIRA provides guidance on the most salient architectural building blocks to be considered when designing an interoperable solution.

For example, if you are going to design whatever solution for a business or government, one of the things you’ll consider is back-up services. You’ll consider security measures, and one of those will be backing up your data, files, etc. The EIRA doesn’t care at all about back-up services—it doesn’t mean we don’t care about security, but we don’t care about back-up services because it’s not an essential service for interoperability.

At the beginning we identified the key architectural building blocks that were the most salient for supporting interoperability. Today, the EIRA is the result of a collaborative effort. So far a community of representatives of central public administrations of six European Member States have participated in the design and releases of EIRA  with their feedback and  they’ve been validating  the building blocks that EIRA has as the most salient for interoperability.

Are there challenges that are specific to building Reference Architectures for e-Government? What are they?

The biggest challenges are related to what I said before—getting a consensus in the community on what the interoperability specs should be and the standards for each of them.

Another challenge, I think, is adoption. There is a well-known issue with technology adoption in general and with solutions/frameworks/models in particular. One thing is to have the solution and it’s another to get it adopted. We are not talking about, let’s say, solutions for consumers like smartphones. We’re talking about communities of users that are very special. Generally speaking, solutions architects, portfolio managers, policy makers and also CIOs. Those are the potential users of reference architectures.

There is a lot of effort in communicating and disseminating information, and I don’t underestimate the effort it involves. Our challenge is in demonstrating to users and member states how they can use EIRA to solve national interoperability problems—for example, between their central, regional and local administrations, which in many places are huge. When users realize that the EIRA provides value addressing domestic problems, then they are better equipped to address their interoperability issues in cross-border public services.

What benefits do you expect to be able to receive from using the EIRA?

I expect first of all reusability. With interoperable solutions, you are able to reuse the information that has been produced in another place. So, we support the only once principle. The second one is the elimination of digital barriers. By interoperability of solutions we mean something as complex as to have a solution A in one place that is able to send information to another solution B, and that solution B is able to understand the information that has been communicated without noise and to process it respecting ex ante organizational and legal agreed terms. So, this is a more complex level of interoperability than just a message exchange because, for example, it should support administrative processes across borders. In fact, there has been significant progress understanding what is exchanged (i.e. message, data, documents) not mentioning that the technological aspects are well standardized. The issue remains on what happens in both ends from a legal and organizational perspective.

Coming back to the ultimate benefit, the EIRA will support the digital single market. By having interoperability you eliminate digital barriers. This is a huge expected benefit.

This translates into direct benefits for the citizens and businesses. In Europe there is, by comparison with the U.S., less mobility than in the U.S. If you move from the U.S. East Coast to the West Coast, there may be a three-hour time difference, but you will have less problems with many things. You may need to get a driver’s license in a new state but they recognize each other’s driver’s licenses. Here there are a lot of things to be achieved with the mobility of citizens and their needs in terms of public services. In some cases, if you want to move from one country to another, it is possible to access the public services of our home country via a portal. If we would be able to replicate this approach in all Member States and, very importantly, in a coherent way, then we would provide a huge benefit to citizens and businesses. The EIRA allows implementing holistically interoperability, not just from machine to machine. 

@theopengroup #ogPARIS

by-the-open-groupRaul Mario Abril Jimenez works in the ISA unit as Programme Manager, EU Policies, European Commission. He recently relocated to Brussels from Barcelona. He has had permanent residences in San Diego (USA) where he worked for 6 years and before he was based in Copenhagen (DK) for 7 years. He has +35 years of IT professional services experience on international professional engagements in Financial & Telco industries. His knowledge domains are Research Methods (Quantitative & Qualitative Analysis), Marketing (Research, IS), IT R&D (Portfolio Mgmt, Product Mgmt), Project Mgmt, and IS & Technology (Knowledge Management, DSS, BI, Data Warehousing, DBMS, IS Design). Raul has been professor in several universities and been active publishing his research.

Raul holds a doctoral degree (Henley Management College, UK), a European PhD Certification (European Doctoral School on Knowledge Management, DK), an Ing. Sup. Informatics (UAB, E), and a Master in Project Mgmt (The George Washington University, USA). He is a PMP certified professional.

 

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Filed under ArchiMate®, Boundaryless Information Flow™, Enterprise Architecture, EU, European Commission, Interoperability, Standards, The Open Group, The Open Group Paris 2016, TOGAF®, Uncategorized