Category Archives: Standards

UNIX®, an Open Group Standard, Makes ISV Engineering’s Job Easier

By Caryl Takvorian, Staff Engineer, Oracle

We deal with hundreds of applications on a daily basis at Oracle® ISV Engineering. Most of them need to support multiple operating systems (OS) environments including Oracle Solaris. These applications are from all types of diverse industries – banking, communications, healthcare, gaming, and more. Each application varies in size from dozens to hundreds of millions of lines of code.

We understand the real value of standards, as we help Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) support Oracle Solaris. Oracle Solaris is UNIX certified and conforms to UNIX, an Open Group standard, providing assurance of stable interfaces and APIs. (NOTE: The UNIX standard is also inclusive of POSIX interface/API standard).  ISVs and application developers leverage these stable interfaces/APIs to make it easier to port, maintain and support their applications. The stable interfaces and APIs also reduce the overhead costs for ISVs as well as for Oracle’s support of the ISVs – a win-win for all involved. ISVs can be confident that the UNIX operating system, the robust foundation below their application, won’t change from release to release.

Oracle Solaris is unique in which it goes the extra mile by providing a binary application guarantee since its 2.6 release. The Oracle Solaris Binary Application Guarantee reflects the confidence in the compatibility of applications from one release of Oracle Solaris to the next and is designed to make re-qualification a thing of the past. If a binary application runs on a release of Oracle Solaris 2.6 or later, including their initial release and all updates, it will run on the later releases of Oracle Solaris, including their initial releases, and all updates, even if the application has not been recompiled for those latest releases. Binary compatibility between releases of Oracle Solaris helps protect your long-term investment in the development, training and maintenance of your applications.

It is important to note that the UNIX standard does not restrict the underlying implementation. This is key particularly because it allows Oracle Solaris engineers to innovate “under the hood”. Keeping the semantics and behavior of system calls intact, Oracle Solaris software engineers deliver the benefits of improved features, security performance, scalability, stability, etc. while not having a negative impact on application developers using Oracle Solaris. A sample list of applications supporting Oracle Solaris 11 can be found here.

By Caryl Takvorian, Staff Engineer, Oracle

Caryl Takvorian is a Principal Engineer in the Oracle ISV Engineering organization where he is the Solaris, Security and Telco lead. He has more than 20 years of experience with Solaris at Sun Microsystems, and now Oracle, helping ISVs adopt new technologies and develop software on Solaris. He joined SunSoft’s Developer Support organization in the UK in 1998 and from there moved to Market Development Engineering and now ISV Engineering at Oracle.

Caryl holds a French computer science engineering degree as well as an MSc in computer science from a US university. He lives near Southampton with his wife and his 4-year-old son.

Learn more about UNIX:

UNIX® is a registered trademark owned and managed by The Open Group. POSIX® is a registered Trademark of The IEEE.  Oracle Copyright 2016. All rights reserved.

 

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Filed under operating system, Oracle, Standards, UNIX

From Solution to Enterprise Architecture with the ArchiMate® Language:  An Interview with Ryan Kennedy

By Iver Band, Enterprise Architect at Cambia Health Solutions and Vice Chair, The Open Group ArchiMate Forum

I recently sat down with my Cambia Health Solutions colleague Ryan Kennedy.  Ryan is an architect with whom I have worked over the last year and a half on a variety of projects that benefit Cambia’s Healthcare consumer and group customers.  After noticing how Ryan has used the ArchiMate® language to expand his personal contribution to the company, I decided to get his perspective on the language, including the new ArchiMate 3.0 standard.


Iver
: What is your professional background?

Ryan
: Prior to becoming an architect, I was a software development engineer for over a decade, designing and implementing solutions across a broad range of organizations, from stable enterprise to volatile startup.

Iver
: How did you encounter the ArchiMate language?

Ryan
: Part of the onboarding process for new architects at my company is a bootcamp-style introduction to the ArchiMate language and its practical application.

Iver
: What were your first impressions?

Ryan
:  My first impression of ArchiMate was that it is very easy to learn if you know Unified Modeling Language (UML).  My second thought was, “Wow, now I can design all the things!”  It is a quantum leap from a grammar that can describe software, to a palate capable of representing the remainder of the enterprise.

Iver
: How have you used the language since then?

Ryan
: I use ArchiMate almost daily, and I treasure the power it gives me to quickly and effectively communicate my solutions to all manner of stakeholders, from business owners to software developers.

Iver
: For what would you recommend the language?

Ryan
: For any aspect of the enterprise that needs design, description or analysis for a broad range of stakeholders.  This includes motivation, strategy, business process, applications, technology, implementation, and migration.

Iver
: What are you doing with the language now?

Ryan:
My current duties mostly revolve around design and estimation of new feature work for sizing, budgeting, and ultimately making implementation choices.  For a new capability, I usually start with the business concerns.  For more technical solutions, I may start at the application or technology layer.  Either way, the traceability of cost and value across layers is what I’m usually trying to communicate at this phase, along with risk analysis.Iver: What are your impressions of the ArchiMate 3.0 language?

Ryan
: Capabilities!  Making capabilities first-class citizens should help us improve our portfolio planning and valuation.  Also, groupings really mean something now which is cool.  If your organization is anything like mine, tagging is important for your data.  Groupings are a great way to tag your ArchiMate concepts.  Also, you may have the same actual concept represented as different ArchiMate concepts in different viewpoints.  Groupings can keep these things together as an abstract, layer-agnostic concept.  Further, you can then describe relationships between aspects of disparate concepts, which should allow a lot more freedom and nuance in your design.Iver: What additional uses of the language do you see based on the 3.0 version?

Ryan
: With the addition of the strategy and physical capabilities, the language is capable of modeling almost any aspect of business or technology.

Iver
: What are your tips for getting started with the language?

Ryan
: Flashcards!  There are a lot of concepts to memorize!  Other than that, my UML background was enough to become fluent in ArchiMate in a few weeks, and I’m fortunate to have expert peer reviews for continuous improvement. If you have no visual modeling background, a formal course is probably in order.
By Iver Band, EA, Cambia SolutionsRyan Kennedy (left) giving his impressions of the ArchiMate language to Iver Band at Cambia Health Solutions in
Portland, Oregon

Iver Band
 is an Enterprise Architect at Cambia Health Solutions, where he uses the ArchiMate language continuously to develop strategic architectures, guide solution development, and train other architects. Iver is also Vice Chair of The Open Group ArchiMate Forum, co-author of the ArchiMate certification exams, and a frequent writer and speaker on Enterprise and Solution Architecture.  Iver is TOGAF and ArchiMate Certified, a CISSP, and a Certified Information Professional.

@theopengroup  @ArchiMate_r  #ArchiMate

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Filed under ArchiMate®, Enterprise Architecture, Enterprise Transformation, Standards, standards, The Open Group

UNIX®: Lowering the Total Cost of Ownership

By The Open Group

The value of UNIX, as a technology and as a standard, has clearly been significant over its 45-year history as a technology and its 20-years as an open standard leading to tremendous innovation across numerous industries.  Developers, integrators and customers have benefited from its origins as open development platform to becoming an open standard. Recent blog articles have showcased how UNIX makes software development easier[1], is highly available[2], more secure[3] and scalable.  Total cost of ownership (TCO) is another area that has benefited from the UNIX standard and the operating systems that are UNIX certified.  For this article, TCO is primarily defined as the cost of acquisition, maintenance, and updating of a solution.

UNIX, an Open Group standard, enables customers’ choices in the building blocks for their desired solution. The choices come from the numerous UNIX certified operating systems on the market today – IBM AIX, HPE HP-UX, Inspur K-UX and Oracle Solaris to name a few.  The acquisition cost, as a part of the total cost of ownership, is also lower because of the compatibility and interoperability benefits of the UNIX standard.  IT organizations do not have to spend time fighting integration interoperability and incompatibility issues often found in non-certified operating systems.  Bottom line is that there is greater choice with less integration overhead leading to lower cost of acquisition.

The UNIX standard benefits the maintenance component of TCO ensuring there is compatibility and interoperability at the level of the operating system (OS) and the software dependencies on that OS. A UNIX certified OS also provides assurance of a level of quality with more than 45,000 functional tests having been passed to achieve certification. Of course, the other benefit of the UNIX standard is that it provides consistent system commands regardless of what UNIX OS is running in your data center so you don’t need train administrators on multiple operating systems or even have different administrators for different operating systems. An estimated 49% of system downtime is caused by human error, which should be mitigated by having custom ways to manage systems. UNIX provides greater determinism, which helps reduce maintenance component of TCO.[4]

The UNIX standard improves cost for system updates. While most OS vendors have their own method of doing system updates, there is greater confidence with UNIX compliant OS that regardless of how the update occurs the software and overall solution can rely on the continued assurance of consistent APIs, behavior, etc.  This turns out to be important as solutions get bigger and more complex the need to ensure continuity becomes particularly critical. Having standards in place help ensure that continuity in an ever changing solution.

TCO is greatly reduced because a UNIX certified operating system lowers the acquisition, maintenance and updating costs. The benefits of UNIX mentioned above also hint at reduced administrative, training and operational costs which also reduces the total cost of ownership which also should be consider in evaluating solution cost. IT decision makers should consider how choosing an operating system that is UNIX certified will benefit the TCO profile of their solution(s). This is especially true because making standards a requirement, during acquisition, costs so little yet can have such substantial benefits to TCO, enabling accelerated innovation and demonstrating good IT governance.

Cost of Ownership Price Tag Good Value Investment ROI

Get more information on UNIX with new tools and resources available at www.opengroup.org/UNIX or review some selected resources below:

[1] https://blog.opengroup.org/2016/03/11/unix-allowing-engineers-to-engineer

[2] https://blog.opengroup.org/2016/04/18/unix-the-always-on-os/

[3] https://blog.opengroup.org/2016/03/24/o-armor-unix-armor/

[4] https://blog.opengroup.org/2016/04/18/unix-the-always-on-os/

@theopengroup

 

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Filed under Standards, The Open Group, Uncategorized, UNIX

What’s New in ArchiMate® 3.0

By The Open Group

This summer The Open Group ArchiMate® Forum will make available the latest version of the ArchiMate Specification®, version 3.0, with a series of announcements and events to take place throughout the months of June and July. The official announcement was featured at the IRM Enterprise Architecture Europe Conference in London on June 14.  Additionally, a live webinar is scheduled for June 15 to promote the new standard. The webinar will include practical applications for the new standard, as well as its relevance for business modeling and business transformation support. A white paper will also be published and available here. In July, the Monday plenary and tracks at The Open Group Austin 2016 event will be dedicated to speakers, panels and use cases for the new standard.

The ArchiMate Specification is a modeling language that enables Enterprise Architects to describe, analyze and visualize relationships among architecture domains using easy to understand visuals representations. It provides a common language for describing how various parts of the enterprise are constructed and how they operate, including business processes, organizational structures, information flows, IT systems, and technical and physical infrastructures. In a time when many enterprises are undergoing rapid change, ArchiMate models help stakeholders design, assess and communicate those changes within and between architecture domains, as well as examine the potential consequences and impact of decisions throughout an organization.

The latest evolution of the standard continues to improve collaboration across multiple functions including strategists and business executives, enterprise and business architects, portfolio and project managers, information and applications architects, technology stakeholders and solutions architects. New features in the specification include:

  • Elements for modeling enterprises at a strategic level, including mapping capabilities, resources and outcomes
  • Modeling support for physical materials and equipment
  • Improved consistency and structure within the language
  • Improved usability and alignment with other standards, such as TOGAF®, BPMN, UML and BMM

This version of the specification will also include refinements such as:

  • Improvements and new elements to represent how architectures evolve over time through implementation and migration
  • Improved grouping capabilities for connecting different elements to see how they’re related
  • Cross-layer dependencies, alignments and relationships (to correlate business applications and technology, for example)
  • Mechanisms for customizing the language for specialized or domain-specific purposes and address specific real case situations.

The ArchiMate Specification is unique in that it provides a graphical language for representing enterprise architectures over time, including strategy, transformation and migration planning, as well as the motivation and rationale for the architecture. The standard has been designed to be as compact as possible, yet still usable for most enterprise architecture modeling needs.

ArchiMate 3.0 also furthers the relationship between the ArchiMate language and the TOGAF ADM.

By The Open Group

 

Certification programs for version 3.0 of the specification will follow this fall. In the meantime, current certification programs will remain active. Once available, a bridge certification will be also available for those choosing to transition from the current version of the specification to 3.0.

For more on ArchiMate, please visit: http://www.opengroup.org/subjectareas/enterprise/archimate.

@theopengroup @ArchiMate_r  #ArchiMate #ogAUS

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Filed under ArchiMate, ArchiMate®, Certifications, EA, Enterprise Architecture, Enterprise Transformation, IT, Standards, TOGAF®

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

By The Open Group

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

@theopengroup

By The Open Group

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

 

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Filed under Boundaryless Information Flow™, Business Transformation, Data Lake, digital technologies, Enterprise Architecture, enterprise architecture, Enterprise Transformation, Internet of Things, IoT, Open Platform 3.0, Ron Tolido, Standards, The Open Group

Keys to Enterprise Architecture Success

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

Avoiding the perils on the way to successful Enterprise Architecture

Enterprise architecture (EA) is more relevant today than ever before – considering the accelerating pace of technology adoption, many new and disruptive market forces, hyper-competitive environments, and rapidly changing business models.

Together, these present a burning requirement for many organisations to ‘digitise the enterprise’.

EA supports the organisation develop an holistic representation of the business, its information and technology. This provides a business tool for managing complexity and change.

The myriad benefits from successful EA practices include:

  • Competitive advantage – with so few organisations “getting it right”, having a business appropriate and sustainable EA function allows the organisation to respond to change with greater speed, and derive huge competitive advantage.
  • Market reputation – EA is essential for the organisation to promote a reputation of being well-governed (for example, EA allows the organisation to comply with King III and other governance/compliance requirements). EA acts as the crucial linchpin between corporate governance and IT governance.
  • Business transformation – EA supports major business transformations, by clearly understanding the current state, and clearly articulating the desired end-state. In this way, EA provides a clear roadmap for transformation
  • Portfolio rationalization – a structured approach to EA helps with reducing the size and complexity of the organisation’s technology estate, and removing any duplications within the application and technology portfolio.
  • Strategic support function – professional EA consulting services support the efforts of many critical areas within the enterprise – such as strategic planning, governance, risk and compliance, and solution architecture

In essence, EA facilitates the fusion between business and technology based on the fact that if the organisation cannot change its systems, it cannot change its business. New entrants are often more ‘digitally agile’: they have the ability – for example – to embrace new cloud platforms without being tied to millstone of legacy systems and processes.

The strategic theme that underpins the EA practice, and helps guard against failure, is that of ‘running the EA practice like a business, with a clearly-defined solution offering’.

Keeping this philosophy top-of-mind – across the entire ambit of people, tools, process, content, and products/services – is fundamental to ensuring that one’s EA practice is business-appropriate, sustainable, and ultimately successful. By running EA as if it is a business in its own right, in support of the enterprise’s strategic goals, the EA capability is positioned to evolve in scope and importance, and add increasing value to the enterprise over time.

However, so many EA programmes fail to achieve meaningful results. More often than not, they either end up on the scrapheap of failed IT programmes and wasted investments, or limp along with limited and isolated impact within the broader organisation.

So, why do EA programmes so often fail?

The role of the Chief Architect in ensuring EA success

Analysts confirm that the single biggest reason for failed EA programmes is lack of leadership skills within the core elements of the guiding coalition and the EA team. At the nucleus, the Chief Architect is required to lead by example and inspire others, while remaining acutely tuned into business’ needs.

Acting as the keystone in the EA structures that are being built, the Chief Architect must be flexible enough to continually adapt the business case for EA, but remain unwavering in the eventual vision – that of modernising and optimising the way the organisation functions.

The resilience of the EA function ultimately depends on the strengths of the Chief Architect.

As EA inevitably takes some time to generate sustainable returns, the Chief Architect must maintain the enthusiasm of executive stakeholders and business partners, while dealing with the ever-present threat that some individuals may revert back to old habits, divert funds to other projects, or focus on short-term wins.

This is a delicate balance, and the skills that qualify someone as a great architect don’t necessarily make them a strong leader. The most essential attributes include business acumen, the ability to translate technology into simple business outcomes, the ability to listen, communicate, present to groups, articulate the vision of the EA function, and inject enthusiasm for the EA practice.

Of course, it goes without saying that the Chief Architect must also possess the right technical skills which allow her to guide and govern the EA portfolio. In staffing the EA function, organisations should consider candidates in the context of defined career ladders and skills assessments. It is only with the right skills background that the Chief Architect will be in a position the strategic importance of the EA function within the first year of their tenure, or the practice is at risk of dissipating.

Leadership also includes aligning the differing EA visions held by the various business units and stakeholders. Everyone has a slightly different spin on what EA should achieve, and how the organisation will achieve it. While keeping stakeholders involved in the project, the Chief Architect must influence, guide, and delicately meld these visions into a single cohesive EA strategy.

Finally, the EA practice is at risk if the Chief Architect and her team are not skilled in communicating with key stakeholders across both business and technology domains and at multiple levels within the organisation. Results need to be clearly measured and demonstrated to the business. The EA vision must be constantly reinforced throughout the programme as the practice develops in maturity.

Setting up the EA team for success; the core EA team

As important as her role may be, the Chief Architect cannot ‘go it alone’. Ensuring that the right core Enterprise Architecture (EA) team is in place is the next important step in avoiding potential EA failure. Led by a strong guiding coalition and steering committee, the team needs to consider how to manage the work, how to control delivery against the plan, how any blind spots will be identified, and how they will engage with the rest of the organisation.

None of this can happen just by accident. The starting point is to conduct a critical analysis of the skills requirements, and match this with the right people in the right roles. Any silos, or ‘stovepipes’ should be dismantled, in favour of greater collaboration and knowledge-sharing – giving the Chief Architect better visibility of everything happening within the team.

So, with a strong EA team at the nucleus, and skilled individuals in the various areas of the organisation, the Chief Architect is able to allocate resources efficiently and generate the best returns in the least possible time. Excellence in the execution of the EA tasks, from beginning to end, is only ever possible with quality staff involved.

There is an ever-present risk that the core team gets pulled into detailed operational work like solution delivery – while the strategic architectural role gets deprioritised. Another common risk is that the EA practice becomes something of a ‘dumping ground’ for disparate IT team members. For this reason, when a new Chief Architect is appointed, one of her first tasks is to assess the team capabilities, restructure, replace and recruit where necessary.

The goal is to ensure the right portfolio of skills is spread across the entire EA discipline – people with the right qualifications, tool proficiencies and psychometric profiles are working together in the optimal structure.

Organisational positioning

To have legitimacy among executive stakeholders, and to avoid knee-jerk, short-term approaches that merely address symptoms (rather than dealing with root causes), the appropriate placement of the EA function is fundamental to its success.

For example, if EA is housed within the area of the Chief Technology Officer then we can expect the focus to be all about technical architectures and solutions support. If it’s positioned under the Chief Information Officer, the focus is often more on supporting solution architectures.

Reporting into business strategy and governance structures reduces technology-centric thinking. Whichever is the case, we find that organisational structure shapes the behaviour and the strategies of the teams.

Appropriate structure and alignment within the organisation is critical for ‘expectation management’. We’ve seen many cases of senior stakeholders (within whose portfolio the EA function resides) making promises to executives, shareholders, or markets – creating unrealistic expectations of what EA is capable of doing at a particular level of maturity.

The organisational design must be fit-for-purpose, depending on the firm’s specific requirements and the state of maturity. The EA function will be hindered if its scope is not clearly defined, and does not span all of the horizontal EA domains (business architecture, information architecture, data architecture, application architecture and technology architecture) and vertical domains (integration, security and solution architecture).

If these areas are fragmented, it becomes tougher to answer questions around how they will integrate, who will be responsible for what, and how the organisation will build an integrated view of the target architecture. In highly federated, decentralised or geographically-dispersed organisations, the positioning becomes even more complex –  often being required to morph according to changing business priorities. This requires a clear understanding of what EA capabilities are performed globally, regionally and locally.

The EA team needs to simultaneously build the EA capability (and start delivering results), while selling this positive story to executives – in order to achieve their further buy-in. This may place greater pressure on the teams in the short-term, as milestones and commitments are thrust into the spotlight and must be met. We recall the principle of ‘publish or perish’, which is crucial to maintaining the involvement and support of executive stakeholders.

Executive sponsorship

The business executive must empower the EA function with a defined and widely communicated mandate. Failure to do so often results in ‘turf wars’ between the EA practice and related areas of the organisation, such as the Programme Management Office or Service Management.

To build on early momentum, EA education and communication should filter down from above as one of the organisation’s highest priorities. This helps to foster business stakeholder engagement and ensure that EA content is used in the right ways “on the ground”.

Executives are also able to remove many of the obstacles that could otherwise bring on the demise of EA in the organisation. Executive sponsors may be called on to influence budgets and vendor selection, or make the necessary structural changes to the teams, or ensure that architecture governance remains firmly on the agenda.

So, in summary, it is critical to have the right people, under the right leadership (the Chief Architect and her guiding coalition), working in the right structure within the organisation. Without all three of these things in place, the EA practice is at great risk of failure.

Ivory Tower syndrome

A common reason for the collapse of EA initiatives, is architects who become overly-enamoured with the conceptual aspects of their work. They return from their retreats away from the business, with elaborate frameworks, and little practical guidance on how to implement them.

These concepts will be presented to key influencers within the organisation, most of whom will not understand the content, so their complex reference architectures will be ignored. In this way, the EA team is perceived as living in an Ivory Tower – disconnected from the business and alienating stakeholders – often leading to the withdrawal of support and sponsorship from key people.

These complex frameworks are built in isolation from the business stakeholders on the ground.

Investing too much time in detailed documentation of the “as-is states”, and creating vast arrays of diagrams, gives the impression that progress is being made, when in reality, this flurry of visible ‘activity’ is being mistaken for progress.

This academic approach to EA leads to inertia in decision-making, a state of ‘deferred commitment’ where the fear of failure leads to an inability to act. The EA practice lives by the principle of “publish or perish” (describing how critical it is to deliver tangible outputs).

This leads to distorted perspectives, where the architect’s views of the business architecture and other architecture domains are not necessarily shared by their key stakeholders.

Architects who dogmatically force their models on stakeholders – without fully appreciating the changing business’ requirements or tailoring their services to meet the business’ demands – are bound to fail.

By focusing on tangible outputs, and running the EA practice like a business, architects can effectively maintain a stakeholder-centric approach to delivering business value.

Architects need to ‘get their hands dirty’ – such as getting involved in the actual modelling, investing time in mentoring people in architecture skills, closely following the business’ needs, and evolving the EA artefacts.

This should be combined with strong marketing and communications efforts – where architects constantly communicate and evangelise the value of the EA practice to business stakeholders.

If not, the team risks the ‘Ivory Tower syndrome’ setting in, and will lose the backing of the C-suite. Even if budgets are still provided for, the bigger work surrounding EA – like maturing the EA capability, business transformation and change management – will not be possible without active executive support.

@theopengroup

By Stuart Macgregor, CEO, Real IRM

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

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

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

 

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Filed under Business Transformation, EA, Enterprise Architecture, Enterprise Transformation, Standards, The Open Group

Choose UNIX® Inside

By The Open Group

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

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

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

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

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

By The Open Group

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

© The Open Group 2016.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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Filed under Cloud, digital business, digital technologies, Enterprise Architecture, Single UNIX Specification, Standards, UNIX