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The Role of Enterprise Architecture in Platform 3.0 Transformation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Managing volatile change

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

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

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

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

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

Architecting for an uncertain future

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

@theopengroup

by-stuart-macgregor-ceo-real-irm

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

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

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

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

The Open Group Paris Event to Take Place in October 2016

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

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

The event features key industry speakers including:

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

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

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

Further topics to be covered at the event include:

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

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

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

@theopengroup #ogPARIS

 

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

IT4IT™ and TOGAF® – How Do They Fit Together?

By Michael Fulton, President, Americas Division of CC and C Solutions

In my role leading work in both the Enterprise Architecture space as well as the IT Transformation space, I am frequently asked how IT4IT™ and TOGAF®, an Open Group standard, fit together, and how the Enterprise Architecture profession fits into the IT4IT context.

My experience working with clients in this space has led me to look this question from two key perspectives.

The first perspective is from the vantage point of the CIO using IT4IT to look at his or her organization for improvement opportunities. At this level of enquiry there are two primary views: the IT Value Chain and the Level 1 Reference Architecture.

By Mike Fulton, President, C C and C SolutionsBy Michael Fulton, President, CC and C Solutions

By Mike Fulton, President, C C and C SolutionsFrom this perspective, Enterprise Architecture is a small piece of the overall big picture.

There are 29 functional components in the Level 1 reference architecture of which EA is simply one of many.  Within the EA functional component it is appropriate to use whatever architecture framework we see fit, to guide process or best practices for Enterprise Architecture.

TOGAF, along with counterparts like DODAF, FEAF, Zachman and others, simply fits into this box and needs to be integrated with other parts of the IT organization through the development of the Service Architecture.

For a CIO, IT4IT gives me a way to look across my organization, and to assess all its functional components for quality or maturity (or whatever other factor is important) and to decide where my biggest pain points are.

IT4IT also gives the CIO a very clear way to understand the data needed to manage an IT organization and provides a framework for evaluating how well that data is flowing across the different organizational silos.

A second perspective for which IT4IT is useful is that of an Enterprise Architect.  As an Enterprise Architect, it would be my job to look across the entire enterprise.  We use the Porter Value Chain here as one simple representation of a way to segment your Enterprise Architecture according to TOGAF.

 

By Michael Fulton, President, CC and C SolutionsAs you can see from the highlight on the diagram, IT is one of several areas in the business.  Each of these areas might have an industry reference model appropriate for use for one or several of the areas.

Examples include ARTS, BIAN, SCOR, VCG, APQC or many others.  IT4IT in this context is simply a reference architecture for managing the Technology Development (or IT) support function.  IT4IT provides us with the details we need to truly understand how IT needs to work.

 

By Michael Fulton, President, CC and C Solutions

Neither perspective on how to use IT4IT is more or less important.

The CIO can get significant value from using IT4IT in a top-down manner as a strategic assessment tool to drive improvement across the IT function and help transform the IT Operating Model.

The Enterprise Architect can get significant value from using IT4IT in more of a bottom-up manner as a reference model to speed up architecture work and to drive vendor integration and standardization in the IT Management tool space.

Regardless of whether you use IT4IT in a top down or bottom up manner, it helps to understand how the pieces fit together for you and your organization.

 

By Michael Fulton, President, CC and C SolutionsMichael Fulton is currently President, Americas Division of CC and C Solutions, a global Enterprise Architecture and IT Transformation Consulting and Training company.  Michael is an experienced architect with almost 10 years of experience in Enterprise Architecture and over 20 years of IT experience. He is TOGAF Certified, IT4IT Certified and a Cloud Certified Architect and has led IT4IT Architecture, Cloud Architecture, IT Strategic Planning, Disruptive Cost Innovation, IT Leadership Development, and EA Capability & Training Development at Fortune 50 Company. Michael also spent time working across the entire IT Lifecycle, including time in Service Management, Program Management, Project Management, Application Development, and IT Operations. Mike is an experienced speaker and trainer, a practiced leadership and strategy coach and mentor and is well known across the industry. He brings a strategic viewpoint and the ability to communicate with all levels of the organization.

@theopengroup

 

 

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The Enviable Pedigree of UNIX® and POSIX®

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A constant evolution

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

@theopengroup

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

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

By The Open Group

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

@theopengroup #ogAUS

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

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

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The ArchiMate Language as a Foundation for Enterprise Assessment and Transformation

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

An Interview with Jan van Gijsen of VIVAT

By Iver Band, Enterprise ArchitectJan is a Senior IT Architect at VIVAT NV, a Netherlands-based insurer and asset manager.  VIVAT has six brands:  Zwitserleven for pension capital management, Zelf for online insurance, Route Mobiel for roadside assistance, travel, and auto insurance;  Reaal for life, property & casualty, and disability insurance; Proteq Dier & Zorg for pet insurance, and ACTIAM for institutional asset management.  In July 2015, VIVAT was acquired by Anbang Insurance Group of China. In its 2015 annual report, VIVAT NV reported over €60 billion in total assets, €4.375 billion in total income, and €109 million in profit. Right now, VIVAT has approximately 3,600 employees, including 630 in IT.

 

Iver: Please briefly describe your professional background and current role at VIVAT.
Jan: I have worked in IT for more than 35 years, the last 15 years as an IT Architect. At the moment I am responsible for the overall use and standardization of ArchiMate® models within the Architecture Department and the analysis and reporting on a consolidated VIVAT level based on these models. Particular concerns are roadmaps, cost management and portfolio management.

Iver: What challenges does the Architecture Department face now that VIVAT is part of the Anbang Insurance Group?
Jan: VIVAT is embarking upon a new phase, which will allow it to place full focus on its policyholders and existing and new customers based upon a new strategy for the future. During the second half of 2015, a thorough and extensive Strategic Review was carried out under the supervision of the new Executive Board. Going forward, VIVAT will focus more on innovation and digitalization, along with plans to further simplify its business processes. VIVAT will also make its organization less complex. Simplifying the operations and the business processes will create a lean, customer-oriented organization. Ultimately, customers will be better served by the company.

VIVAT will implement these change over the course of three years, during which it will create one centralized structure. The company will continue its ongoing digitalization effort and adapt to technological developments, drawing on the innovative capability and experience of its new owner.

Iver: How is the architecture function organized at VIVAT?
Jan: The architecture function is centralized in one department. Within the department the work is organized around the business domains such as Life, Corporate, Individual Life, Property & Casualty, Asset Management and VIVAT.

Iver: Tell me more about the VIVAT domain.
Jan: Our new strategy is driven by the theme “One VIVAT”, which transcends our historic domain silos.  The VIVAT domain provides consolidated views of the entire company and the base for common functionality and strategy across the business domains. We use architectural views of the VIVAT domain as overviews of what is going on in the business domains.

“ArchiMate has been in use since 2006.”

Iver: What is VIVAT’s experience with the ArchiMate language?
Jan: ArchiMate has been in use since 2006. It is mainly used by twelve architects to create, analyze and calculate models.  It is also used by four software engineers for integration designs.

“All the architects are ArchiMate certified.”

Iver: How does VIVAT support architects and engineers in using the language effectively?
Jan: We had a formal training at BiZZdesign and all the architects are ArchiMate certified. For standardization, coaching and review we have an ArchiMate Competence Center with three architects. I am the chairman of this competence center. Most importantly, modelers learn by doing and discover what is working and what is not. For this purpose, we had additional training on stakeholder management and selling skills.

Iver: How is ArchiMate used to support VIVAT’s businesses and corporate functions?  Does usage vary across different areas of the business?
Jan: For every business domain we create and maintain blueprints, which contain the baseline, transition and target models for the three architecture layers: Business, Application and Technology. The details and content depend on the planned changes within the domains. Each blueprint also contains a roadmap with the cost forecast for the next four years. These forecasts are calculated using ArchiMate models.

Iver: Did ArchiMate models play any role in the decision-making and planning for the acquisition by Anbang?
Jan: ArchiMate models were used to show the IT baseline, future plans and cost forecast.  In addition, our ArchiMate models enabled us to respond very quickly to additional questions regarding our IT landscape.

“This opened the door to our decision makers.”

Iver: What have been VIVAT’s greatest successes with the ArchiMate language?
Jan: Developing the roadmaps and cost calculations, and embedding the models in the portfolio and cost management processes. This opened the door to our decision makers.

“You have chosen ArchiMate as a standard.  From now on, you are going to use it as a standard.”

Iver: What have been VIVAT’s greatest challenges with the ArchiMate language?
Jan: Forcing every architect to use ArchiMate exclusively for modeling, and to get rid of all the Visio and PowerPoint models. The breakthrough occurred when my manager told the architects “You have chosen ArchiMate as a standard.  From now on you are going to use it as a standard.”

Iver: What software tools does VIVAT use for ArchiMate modeling?
Jan: BiZZdesign Enterprise Studio.

Iver: Does VIVAT maintain a repository of ArchiMate models?
Jan: We use the BiZZdesign repository. Within the repository we maintain separate models for each business domain. Shared objects are synchronized with a catalog which contains all the standard objects and relations, along with the costing and roadmap information.  This is not an out-of-the-box configuration; it was designed by us.

Iver: Where does the information in the catalog come from?
Jan: The catalog is synchronized with the CMDB for infrastructure and several application portfolio lists. These lists are consolidated in the ArchiMate catalog.  For applications, the catalog is also the base for other functions like cost and incident management. The other parts like processes, organization and relations are extracted from previous models to be reused in new models.

Iver: Let’s return to your personal perspective.  How do you use the ArchiMate language?
Jan: I use ArchiMate more and more as a metamodel to do analysis and reporting, based on a solid repository with all the objects within VIVAT. I use the ArchiMate structures to combine information from several sources for analysis.  I use, for instance, data from contract administration, configuration management (CMDB), planning and administration and the general ledger. The reports contain the results of the analysis as simple graphs or tables with, sometimes, simple ArchiMate models appended. The results of these analyses are stored in the repository and can be used by the other architects to color or label their models.

“Don’t show any models to the decision makers; only show them the results of the analysis of your models.”

Iver: For what business and IT situations would you recommend ArchiMate modeling?
Jan: That depends on the stakeholder with whom you are working. Don’t show any models to the decision makers; only show them the results of the analysis of your models.  For us, ArchiMate is very useful for portfolio and cost management but that depends very much on the maturity of the architecture function and the portfolio and cost management processes. ArchiMate is also very useful for guiding strategic change and application rationalization.

Iver: What do you think of ArchiMate 3.0?
Jan: I have taken a quick look and am very enthusiastic about the extensions around capabilities. For us, that fills in some missing pieces.

“Start small, think big.”

Iver: Do you have any advice for architects who are just starting to use the language?
Jan: Start small, think big. Start with a few architects using an ArchiMate modeling tool. Don’t flatten creativity by defining modelling standards before you have given yourself a chance to discover the strength of the tool and the ArchiMate standard. Once you have experienced how you want to use the tool, then define your standards. Be pragmatic with your standards. Modeling is about the message to your stakeholders and not about following a standard. Force yourself to create all your models in ArchiMate–even small sketches.

Iver: How should organizations select ArchiMate modeling tools?
Jan: First decide how you want to use the tool: for just modeling or also analysis. It also depends on have many people are going to use the tool and if they will have shared or separate models. This will give you the requirements on functionality and cooperation. A simple tool is suitable for just modeling with a few people on separate models. For analysis and a lot of users you need richer functionality, including scripting facilities. For cooperation among a lot of people you need a repository with the ability to control access to models.

Iver: Thank you very much for sharing your deep experience and expertise.  Any final thoughts on how the ArchiMate language can help enterprise and solution architects?
Jan: Formal modelling languages force architects to think more carefully about what they are specifying, so they perform at a higher level. Also, formal models are suitable for analysis and calculations for presentation to senior management, which opens the door to the boardroom and increases the influence of the architecture function.

By Iver Band, Enterprise ArchitectIver 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.

 

ArchiMate® is an Open Group standard.

http://www.opengroup.org  @theopengroup  @ArchiMate_r   #ArchiMate

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The Open Group and SJSU Department of Economics to Develop the Open FAIR Process Guide

By The Open Group

Over the past few years, employers have become increasingly concerned about how prepared graduating college students are to enter the workforce and whether they possess the skills that companies need. A new partnership between The Open Group and San Jose State University (SJSU) in San Jose, Calif. is trying to address this problem using the Security Forum’s Open FAIR program as basis for helping students to not only understand and analyze risk but to gain valuable skills that they can take into the workplace.

The Open Group member Mike Jerbic, principal consultant for Trusted Systems Consulting Group, has actually been teaching Open FAIR to students in the Economics department at SJSU for a number of years. Jerbic originally got involved with the university after deciding to return to school to study economics, receiving a Master’s degree in 2009. He enjoyed the department and the program so much that he wanted to teach in the department afterwards. Since 2010, he’s been teaching a course in writing for economics and critical thinking.

According to professor and former Economics department chair Lydia Ortega, the economics department at SJSU is very entrepreneurial. They like to hire lecturers who work in Silicon Valley to help give their students a taste of what the real world will be like outside of academia.

“When we find these treasures, we offer them a teaching job part-time teaching classes that are supported by their experience,” she says.

Ortega says one of the challenges the department has faced is that many of the students coming into colleges and universities today have learned how to be really good at memorization and answering questions geared toward passing tests but they are lacking the critical thinking skills they need to analyze and solve problems, a skill they’ll need after graduation. As such, both undergraduates and graduate students in the Economics department are required to take a writing course that teaches them critical analysis and critical thinking.

“Mike’s class is one of the most demanding writing classes around,” says Ortega.

In his classes, Jerbic uses the Open FAIR body of knowledge, comprising the Risk Taxonomy Standard and Risk Analysis Standard as a “mini economic discipline,” he says. Because Open FAIR contains both a risk taxonomy and guidance for doing risk analysis, the students learn how to understand both the terminology associated with risk as well as how to assess risk.

Ortega says Open FAIR is ideal for use with students of economics because the program provides students exactly the kind of cost/benefit analysis and thinking the department wants its students to lead with and learn. Since the standards are used for cybersecurity projects, it also gives students a taste of how companies assess their security risks in the real world, says Jerbic.

“It’s the only way I’ve seen people attempt to perform a cost/benefit analysis for security projects,” Jerbic says. “It’s the only quantitatively, economically reasoned approach I’ve seen to defending and arguing whether the benefits exceed the costs for risk programs. I’ve also used it for contexts in public safety and public policy.”

Jerbic’s class has been so successful in getting students interested in risk analysis that he has also started to offer a certification course to students where they can become certified through The Open Group Open FAIR™Certification Program. He’s had seven students become certified thus far, and one student has already gotten a job as an economist doing risk analysis at one of The Open Group member companies. Another student has recently received an internship offer for a risk analyst role at a local start up in Silicon Valley.

“I’m trying to get more economists involved in cyber risk management fields,” Jerbic says. “I want to get that thinking better represented. I want to see our graduates have different or expanded career opportunities. And I want them to see themselves as contributors to the private business sector world in fields that they would not otherwise have thought about. That was a lot of my motivation for the academic program with The Open Group.”

In addition to teaching Open FAIR in his writing classes, the Security Forum is piloting a program this summer with the university having SJSU graduate student John Linford help to write the Open FAIR Process Guide under Jerbic’s mentorship. Because SJSU is an Open Group member, students and faculty are eligible to attend meetings and work on current projects with the various forums of The Open Group. As such, Linford is working directly with members of the Security Forum on the Process Guide.

Linford, who has served as a teaching assistant in Jerbic’s writing class, says he has used the Open FAIR analysis method himself for a number of the papers he’s written for the economics department. An avid cyclist, he says in one paper he used Open FAIR to do an analysis of the severity of bicycle collisions with motor vehicles. “I definitely use the Open FAIR way of thinking to go about what information I needed to get, how I’m going to get that information and how I’m going to decide if it’s worth doing anything about it,” he says.

Linford says one of the things he appreciates about Open FAIR is that it provides a foundation for people to have conversations about risk without “spending 45 minutes trying to figure out what the heck someone means when they say ‘risk’ in the first place.” Working on the Process Guide has been beneficial because he’s been able to further that work, he says.

“It’s been really cool being able to work on a project that’s keeping that going, especially with the Process Guide where it is actually working through how you go about doing one of these analyses,” Linford says.

Ortega and Jerbic hope to extend this pilot program with The Open Group to get even more students involved in helping with real-world standards projects. Jerbic calls the program a “triple win,” because it helps provide work experience for students, The Open Group gets to accelerate its projects and it frees the members from spending cycles on tactical tasks so that they can concentrate more on ideas and strategy in the Forums and Work Groups. Although the pilot is currently being done only with the Security Forum and Open FAIR, Jerbic believes the model could easily extend to other Forums and Work Groups and to other colleges and universities.

“I think this model would easily transfer to the Architecture Forum, for example, maybe using different areas of expertise or disciplines,” Jerbic says. “I think economists are vital for understanding Architecture. EA could benefit from engagement with the social sciences.”

Ortega says she believes preparing their students to think and providing them communications and human capital skills is vital for preparing students for the workforce. “Having this kind of work under their belt will make them more confident, more marketable. We’re already getting feedback from alumni who use the skills we give them in the interviewing process,” she says.

These skills are important for all students, but they are particularly helpful for students at SJSU, many of whom are first generation college students. Giving them opportunities and providing experiences that help them believe that they can have a seat at the table helps both the students and potential employers, Jerbic says. And it can have an impact on the diversity problems in the tech sector.

“I’ve seen how transformational it can be in a student’s mind if you can give them that experience,” Jerbic says.

Providing recognition for the students is also important, says Jerbic. For example, he says that it was extremely meaningful for students in the department that The Open Group President and CEO Steve Nunn came to their commencement ceremony this spring and formally recognized the students in the program. “Recognition is vital to the success of this type of program,” Jerbic says.

Ortega believes that the kind of dialogue between industry and academia that SJSU and The Open Group are engaging in is extremely beneficial for everyone involved.

“I think it’s important for the computer world and organizations like The Open Group to cultivate this kind of thinking and demand it from the academy. Business has a say in what academics do.”

Jerbic agrees. He believes there is a lot of opportunity in such partnerships.

“I think The Open Group could be a leader in how to work with this vast, untapped resource,” he says.

Mike Jerbic, Lydia Ortega and John Linford will be speaking more about the SJSU program at The Open Group Austin event on Wednesday, July 20.

@theopengroup #ogAUS

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