Tag Archives: Enterprise architect

How Architects Can Survive and Thrive in the Digital Era: A Conversation with Peter Beijer

By The Open Group

Peter Beijer believes your job as an Enterprise Architect may be in jeopardy.

According to Beijer, Chief Technologist for the Office of the CTO for HP Enterprise and leader of the company’s architecture capabilities in EMEA, architects are being forced to change and evolve their role due to the digital revolution that all industries are currently facing.

Beijer believes that for Enterprise Architects to survive, they must do three things. First, they must learn to adapt and engage with the changes being brought by the digital shift and new development environments. Second, they must reach out and engage with today’s new business leaders to better understand the problems and opportunities that businesses and customers are facing. Finally, they must better develop their own personal brands in order to showcase their experience and credentials and show their worth to their organizations.

We spoke with Beijer in advance of The Open Group Paris 2016 event (October 24 – 27) to learn more about how he sees the state of the Enterprise Architecture profession today and what Enterprise Architects can to do remain relevant in the midst of a rapidly changing IT and business climate.

How are the current changes in IT affecting Enterprise Architects?

There is a digital shift going on—the whole world is going digital, and digital means a  business transformation for a lot of companies because they may get involved with human-centric customer engagement models that have very different dynamics than what they’re used to, so the skills of the Architecture profession are changing a lot. You have to be much more empathetic to be able to understand what the customers’ customer is doing and there is a whole new range of possibilities and platforms with technologies—it’s becoming very, very diverse.

That asks for more insight from architects to be able to do things. IT as such is changing—there are many forces driving that change. Everything is getting smaller, we are living on top of a mountain of data (which is self-propelling) and there’s also the societal impact of IT and the amount of information available to people. This whole change from the industrial way of doing computing, which was meant to help us do things, has transformed into an information society driven not by scarcity but by abundance. There’s an abundance of information, technology and platforms, and they have become very easily accessible to all of us. For example, where once we needed highly skilled specialists we can now do things now ourselves on a smartphone everywhere.

Within an enterprise, there has been a classic division between the business and IT, and we have always preached the paradigm, ‘We should align IT with the business.” But in fact business has become IT. However, the business people now have easy access to these new digital platforms so the IT department is lagging behind fixing legacy systems. Traditionally the role of the architect was always meant to collaborate with the business people to see how technology can advance the business.

But since IT has become so readily available—you can install mobile platforms, Cloud, or a business app by the press of a finger on an iPhone—what happens is business people are doing these things themselves more and more. Of course that is the very extreme end of the spectrum, but the net effect to the IT department is that business users want solutions more rapidly, more easily—they are not waiting for cumbersome projects.

For the architect, it’s ‘Welcome to the new world of IT.’ And you can question whether the architect is still needed when the click of a button allows you to engage with Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure or any other platform. So as the Architect, you’ve always done your projects, you’ve always carefully facilitated the discussions and guided decisions when defining solutions, and now you find yourself in a rapidly changing world where business people are building solutions themselves. You find yourself increasingly useless and no longer relevant.

On the other hand, if you pick up a role that articulates the value of these new technologies in the new business contexts that are emerging, you really have to change your job a lot to become meaningful. The fundamental value of architecting has not changed, but the spectrum of choices, the moving parts, the building blocks have greatly increased and it is against a background where everybody wants things very quick and very cheap. We are now living in a world where everybody says ‘Let’s fail fast and try many ideas.’ The architect by nature is more ‘Slow down. Are we making the right decision? Are we making the right choices?’ This is a bit counter or averse to the natural DNA of an architect. And that’s why the profession needs a wake up call.

How then can Architects remain relevant and meaningful within organizations? Why has it been so difficult for Enterprise Architects to show their value in companies?

That has always been a problem to show your business value as an Enterprise Architect. It has to do with making yourself relevant and being recognized by the organization. The question is, how do you do that?

First of all, the architect should actually be the first person to call on the business leader. Over the years, the discipline has been degraded a bit. Traditionally, we were the people that were engaging with the business, but the IT world has become very technical and in many organizations the architect has been degraded into a technical role while the original role of the architect was a liaison between business stakeholders and technical stakeholders. What the architect must do is to engage again with the business and build trust and confidence that they can make a difference in solving a problem, that they understand business language and that they can become empathetic.

That is one of the key skills that an architect must learn—to become empathetic and to understand what others do. They also need to understand the risks in building a system because things are going faster. They’re less cumbersome than in the early days but would a business really bet its success on not using an architect and run into risk on a project? You really need an architect to understand this whole playing field and the forces within the projects, the business opportunity, the key stakeholders, the customers’ customers and what technology can mean for them. Architects must understand the business language and build a level of trust where the business can have a dialogue where together they can explore the possibilities and see how they can make things happen. These are a couple of skills that architects need to develop.

How can Architects work on developing empathy as a skill?

That’s not an easy thing. That is because they must be much more business focused, learn much more business acumen, see how major trends in the industry effect the strategic intent of the company they’re working for. What is the whole value chain, or better, what is the value network? With the connectedness of today’s businesses we  think in terms of networks rather than of chains. Diving in and understanding these concepts and problems from a business perspective is one of the key skills they have to learn.

How do you then develop empathy? You have to work with these [business] people, you have to facilitate and guide dialogues so you can learn about those things and interact with the business. You have to actually think beyond the technology. It’s much more about understanding the usage of technology—the human/technology meta-narrative, so to speak. In the early days, people adapted to technologies. Nowadays, the technology must adapt to people and as an architect you have to understand that. The dialogues of that are on a much higher level of abstraction, so it is essential for architects to facilitate that dialogue but you also have to rapidly tie that down to technology possibilities. For example, how does a choice for a certain technology affect the value network that your organization is relying and expending on? Will it create a business blockage for the future?

What can Architects do to better showcase their skills and show their value to their organizations?

How can you step forward and say, ‘I have these skills’? This is where The Open Group Certified Architect program steps in because we provide a certification where we really evaluate the architect’s experience in doing these types of things.

As an architect, if you want to become relevant, you must adopt a skillset, and with that skillset you can qualify as an Open Certified Architect (Open CA). It’s about the skillset, the portfolio of experience you have built up as a professional can you prove that you have done that? Using those skills and experiences is a guide for an organization where they can have a resource pool of architects. In my organization, we are pretty serious about certification—we use it as a tool for career progression.

A profession framework gives organizations a consistent approach to industry recognized standards, the roles, the way people work, the methods they use, but also to develop training and education to get people there. It’s a quality assurance for professionals because that evaluation is done in a peer-based way where the certification of architects is evaluated by other architects. With certification, we have clearly defined standards—what is the industry consensus on a good approach for how people should work, the level of interaction needed with the business. The evaluation is probing whether you’re doing that, whether you’re capable of defining projects, delivering projects with a large degree of success. One of the key components is the conformance requirements for the Open Certified Architect—it basically tells you what skills and experience are necessary to seriously call yourself an “Architect.” 

If an organization wants to develop the career progression of architects and the standards for the way they work, a profession framework is a necessary instrument to develop and maintain the profession within an organization. Using a framework based on industry consensus, as with The Open Group, provides a good reference.  It is a very prestigious certification!

Within the Open CA program in The Open Group, we have 37 architecture methods that are recognized by the Specification Authority based on industry consensus. The methods help you establish architectural decisions, validate architectures to manage stakeholder requirements, basically define the transition from old to new or how to architect a solution for a business problem. Working according to an architecture method gives you a large degree of predictability for success instead of shooting from the hip and praying for the best. If organizations adopt a profession framework, they create an environment that enables people to practice and mature their profession. You create much more consistency with role definitions. A lot of organizations struggle with defining roles for their job families, so adopting a profession framework where the skills are clearly articulated and defined and can be evaluated by the means of a certification program can really increase the effectiveness of your workforce. And in developing standards, you can provide employees a roadmap for their career progression.

What steps can Enterprise Architects take to grow their careers over the next 5-10 years and continue to show value as the industry is changing?

The obvious answer for me is of course to get your Open Certified Architect certification. Once you have it, there is a three-year recertification that is not as cumbersome as the original certification. The initial certification a significant step for an architect. If you are an Open Certified Architect, you are a “Real Architect.” But it does require you to re-certify every three years, and that is a very short document that proves you are still architecting and maintaining your profession. Compare it to peer-reviewed professions such as lawyers and medical doctors.

One of the things we evaluate in that recertification is: Do you follow the industry? Are you following industry conferences? Are you following webinars? Are you maintaining your skills as an architect? Are you following the state of the art of the new disciplines related to architecture? The other thing we really encourage, because it’s a peer-driven evaluation, is that we encourage people to sit on boards to evaluate other architects going through the certification process.

So you keep your profession up to date, you understand what’s going on, you have to engage with your clients and give some evidence that you are still doing Architecture related work. You have to maintain your knowledge and experiences. As the industry is evolving toward a digital shift, of course everyone has to take webinars and keep up on industry trends, but to keep the Open Certified Architect certification, we ask you to do that otherwise you are no longer conforming to the conformance requirements.

@theopengroup #ogPARIS

by-the-open-groupDr. Peter Beijer is Chief Technologist in Hewlett Packard Enterprise, leading the Architecture Capability for Enterprise Services in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). Recognized pioneer in HPE’s Solution Architecture Blueprinting methodology and core contributor to the development of the architecture profession. He is Chair of the Open CA Specification Authority.  Dr. Beijer received a doctorate (Ph.D) from the University of Amsterdam.

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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.



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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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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Digital Disruption for Enterprise Architecture

By Myles F. Suer, Chief Platform Evangelist, Informatica

Recently, I got to sit at the font of wisdom which is Jeanne Ross, and get her view into digital disruption and the role of Enterprise Architecture in enabling firms to respond. I am going to summarize her main points here which I hope will be as useful to you as it was for me.

Jeanne, Research Director and Principal Research Scientist, MIT Sloan School of Management, started her talk by saying that she has a passion for Enterprise Architecture. And she said for me and for you, as the digital economy has arrived, I have felt this was our moment. We were going to have integrated channels, seamless end-to-end transactions, real understanding of customer data, and real tight security. “And this of course means architecture”. And she in jest says that she was hoping that the whole world had come to this very same conclusion. Clearly, she said, it hasn’t happened yet but Jeanne importantly believes with the march to becoming digital, it will happen soon.

Success in the digital economy is not guaranteed

Jeanne says one thing is becoming increasingly clear–enterprises will not be successful if they are not architected to execute their firm’s business strategies. At the very same time, she has found with the companies (existing successful enterprises) that she talks to believe their success is not guaranteed in the digital economy. Given this, Jeanne decided to research what incumbent enterprises actually look like that have taken concrete steps to respond to the digital economy’s mandates. The 27 companies :

  • The challenges they are facing
  • The disruptions that they had identified
  • The strategies they were moving forward with
  • The changes that they had already put in place

She found that digital strategies were inspired by the capabilities of powerful readily available technologies including things like social, mobile, analytics, cloud, and internet of things. Digital strategies were forcing companies around a rallying point but surprisingly there was not much distinction behind the rallying point more than, “I want to be the Amazon or Uber of my industry”. But Jeanne claims this is okay because competitive advantage is not going to be about strategy but instead about execution. And being the best at execution is going to eventually take you in a different direction than other market participants.

Competitive advantage today requires executing on integrated capabilities

At this point, Jeanne stressed that there is no competitive advantage in a single capability. This is why Uber has so much competition. But for established companies, advantage will come from an integrated established set of capabilities. “Competitive advantage will come from taking capabilities that others may or may not have and integrating them in ways that make something extraordinarily powerful”. This in Jeanne’s mind is how established companies can best startups because as we know, startups “can only do one thing well”. Integrating business capabilities provides a whole value proposition that is hard for others to copy.

Jeanne says that there is one more thing that existing companies need to get good at. They need to become responsive. Startups are constantly monitoring and learning what to do next. Think about Christopher Columbus and what an established company and a startup would do. The startup would pivot and learn how to do something different. Established companies need to learn how to do this too.

Now as we move into the digital economy, there are two strategies possible. And established companies must choose one to lead with. They are customer engagement or digitized solutions. Customer engagement means that every day, you wake up trying to figure out what you can do next to make customers love you. The great example that Jeanne gave is Nordstrom. She said that Nordstrom a few years ago was clearly being disrupted. And Nordstrom responded by creating a personalized shopping experience. This was enabled by combining capabilities around a transparent shopping experience and transparent supply chain. This of course is layered on top with predictive analytics. This allows them to predict what a customer needs and to know how to get it to them regardless of channel.

The second strategy is digitized solutions. Here you figure out what customers need that they don’t know they need. GE is doing this today as an industrial company. They are moving the value from the physical asset to asset performance management.

Her parting remarks

If your company has not embraced either of these then it doesn’t get the digital economy. You need to pick one to execute now. Enterprise Architects have a major role to play here. In the past, architecture was largely a divide-and-conquer approach. Today it is about integration. Today architecture is about empowering and partnering. We need to architect for agility. This means flatter organizations. Today, we need to be able to use data for decisions. The jobs of architects are incredibly important. You see the change that is necessary and you are in a unique position to help get your company there.

By Myles F. Suer, Chief Platform Evangelist, Informatica

Myles Suer acts as a Chief Platform Evangelist at Informatica Corporation. In this role, Mr. Suer is focused upon solutions for key audiences including CIOs and Chief Enterprise Architects and the application of Informatica’s Platform to verticals like manufacturing. Much of Mr. Suer’s experience is as a BI practitioner. At HP and Peregrine, Mr. Suer led the product management team applying analytics and big data technology to the company’s IT management.

Mr. Suer has also been a thought leader for numerous industry standards including ITIL and COBIT. As part of this, Mr. Suer was a reviewer for the ITIL Version 3 standard. For COBIT, Mr. Suer has written extensive. Most recently, he published in COBIT Focus, “Using COBIT 5 to Deliver Information and Data Governance”. Prior to HP, Mr. Suer led new product initiatives at start-ups and large companies. This included doing a restart of a Complex Event Processing Company. Mr. Suer has also been a software industry analyst. Mr. Suer holds a Master of Science degree from UC Irvine and a 2nd Masters in Business Administration in Strategic Planning from the University of Southern California.

Twitter: @MylesSuer

Further Reading

Jeanne Ross of MIT/CISR talks on Digital Disruption

Should the CDO drive corporate Digital Disruption?

The Importance of data in Digital Disruption Via @ComputerWorld

What is the role of government in Digital Disruption?

Are you acting like a software company? Your business may depend upon it

Using data and IT to gain Competitive Advantage

Leadership in an age of  digital disruption

Business model change: how does digital disruption drive the need for it?



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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.

: What is your professional background?

: 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.

: How did you encounter the ArchiMate language?

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

: What were your first impressions?

:  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.

: How have you used the language since then?

: 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.

: For what would you recommend the language?

: 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.

: What are you doing with the language now?

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?

: 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?

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

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

: 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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Ensuring Successful Enterprise Architecture by Following Kotter’s Eight Stage Journey

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

These industry insights look at John Kotter’s eight stages of change management, and explore his timeless blueprint for effective change leadership. These change management principles can gel with an enterprise architecture (EA) roadmap to achieve business transformation.

The company’s EA practice is viewed as the engine room that powers the move towards transformation, and not the end-goal in itself. However, Kotter’s eight stages have a huge role to play in the development of an EA practice.

Stage 1 – Establishing urgency

The journey begins with breaking new ground, jolting people out of their comfort zones, and forcing them to deal with often uncomfortable realities. Change, in general, is something people tend to resist – and one of the first tasks for change agents is to overcome the powerful forces of tradition.

This stage requires executives to arrive at a brutally honest assessment of the company as it currently stands. It means exposing issues that may hinder growth and adaption in the future. It involves assessing the market realities, confronting macro, global forces – and identifying all the possible crises, barriers, sources of resistance, as well as potential opportunities.

Most importantly, it requires leaders and change agents to start removing the sources of complacency within the company. In other words, they must refute the reasons that some use to believe change isn’t necessary, or that the cost of change will be too great.

Establishing (or reinvigorating) the company’s EA practice is vital in making a successful start on the change journey.

EA rises to the fore as the primary toolset that will enable lasting positive change. It guides the company from a state of fragmented applications, organisational structures and processes – and builds an integrated and optimised environment.

In short, EA fuses the business model imperatives and the IT portfolio.

Establishing a sense of urgency among key stakeholders (a process that is triggered by the company CEO) makes the formation of change leadership structures possible. From an architectural perspective, these are bodies like business architecture governance committees, architecture review boards, and IT steering committees.

Without adequate governance, enterprise architecture will remain a theoretical concept that will fail to deliver any transformational business benefits. This, in fact, moves the process neatly on to stage two…

Stage 2 – Creating the guiding coalition

Kotter shows that a strong, core team (the “guiding coalition”) lies at the heart of any good change strategy. From there, the message of change radiates outwards to stakeholders throughout the broader company and its extended ecosystem.

Importantly, this coalition must possess people with one or more of the following characteristics:

  • Position of power… from executives, to line managers, to others with an influential stature in the enterprise, it is essential to enlist the support of decision-makers at an early stage.
  • Expertise… team members with diverse skill sets and points of view, and experience in many of the key areas of the enterprise.
  • Credibility… those involved in the coalition need to have strong reputations and the ability to sway the mindsets of others that are hesitant to buy in to the change strategy.
  • Leadership… it is essential for the team to include proven leaders who are capable of the kind of visionary, strategic thinking that the coalition will demand.

The team is pulled together by mutual trust, a shared vision for the future, and a passion to achieve these common goals. While at this stage the end-state of business transformation may not be in view, there is a shared recognition that the company needs to change the way it operates.

From an EA perspective, this guiding coalition sets the tone where EA starts to be viewed as a business entity of sorts. In a fully functioning EA practice, the company manages its ‘stock in trade’ (the corporate intellectual capital), and assembles the various components into EA products and services that address specific stakeholder requirements.

By starting to run the EA practice as if it was like a business in itself, even at these early stages, the coalition sets out on the right path – one that will eventually see the company formalising and packaging intellectual capital, and turning it into a corporate asset.

The business model will work if the various stakeholders within the company receive more value than their perceived cost of contribution. For example, HR may benefit from having a clear map of everyone’s role profile; internal audit may value the accurate view of weaknesses in the company’s internal processes. Something of a virtuous feedback loop develops.

Stage 3 – Developing a vision and strategy

In Kotter’s third stage – “developing a vision and strategy” – the guiding coalition sets to work on crafting the vision of change and transformation.

This typically runs as an iterative, sometimes even messy, process. Many different perspectives from the various stakeholders are considered, as different role-players provide a number of alternative ways to approach problems and reach goals.

As Kotter reiterates, this is a stage that encompasses both the head and the heart. It is a dynamic process that sees the value of strong teamwork rising to the fore – as the guiding coalition eventually settles on a unified approach..

A shared vision

Because of this complexity, the coalition can take weeks, even many months, to achieve a coordinated strategy for the future. Once established, a key contribution of the enterprise architecture (EA) practice is reducing the time taken to produce deliverables – such as the business capability map, for example.

Developing the vision requires the coalition spearhead a number of initial EA work-streams.

To begin with, a set of initial readiness assessments need to be conducted. These provide a clear barometer of where the organisation currently stands, in terms of the maturity and health of its existing EA practice, or its ability to easily embed a new EA framework. The assessments play a vital role in informing the vision for the future state.

Creating a library of definitions is an important early stage activity that ensures all the key stakeholders start from a common understanding of what EA, and a number of other important concepts and terminologies, really means.

Each of these needs to be considered across three dimensions: EA domains, the EA continuum and the EA architecture practice:

  • EA domains consist of business architecture, information architecture, data architecture, applications architecture, and technology architecture.
  • The EA continuum considers reference models at a group/enterprise level, an individual business or divisional level, as well as at product application and product focus level.
  • The EA architecture practice spans the areas of EA products and services, EA people, EA content (models, principles, standards, inventory, etc), as well as processes and tools.

Guiding principles are formulated across these three dimensions and serve as input to EA vision and strategy.

So, what exactly does the vision need to look like? While there is no singular approach to this, Kotter outlines a number of important characteristics inherent in any good vision that a guiding coalition composes.

He says it must be imaginable, desirable, feasible, focused, and flexible. Finally, it must be simple to communicate (something I will look at more closely in my next Industry Insight).

A guiding coalition

As the vision starts to crystallise, the coalition segments it into different work-streams – and assigns champions to each of these. Having individuals accountable for every aspect of the vision creates a strong sense of ownership, and ensures essential aspects are never overlooked.

It is only by following this thorough approach to developing the vision that the company can address its core system challenges at a root cause level, and overcome the well-worn situation of endless ‘quick fixes’.

It must be imaginable, desirable, feasible, focused, and flexible.

Too often, budget and time constraints force companies to address only the surface symptoms – by implementing disjointed, piecemeal improvements that fail to address the underlying issues, and serve to undermine the company’s EA practice.

These kinds of vicious cycles start circling throughout the organisation. As its structures become increasingly dependent on ad hoc quick fixes, they are continually weakened. In today’s competitive market environments, this is something that businesses can ill afford to let happen.

But, by following the vigorous approach to strategy and vision creation, the guiding coalition ultimately arrives at a strategic plan that describes how the business will transition, what the end-state will look like, and where investments, energy and focus need to be directed.

As everyone buys into the vision, change agents foster a better understanding of the ‘customer’ (internal stakeholders within the enterprise), the ‘products’ (the capabilities made possible by the EA practice), and how these products will be structured and packaged to address particular business needs.

Stage 4 – Communicating the vision

From the outset, the guiding coalition is responsible for communicating the EA vision to a nucleus group of stakeholders. As the EA practice develops momentum, the communication emanates outwards, to an increasingly broad group of stakeholders within the business.

Clearly, in this phase, timing is everything.

Over time, the EA practice evolves from its fledgling state, to greater levels of maturity. As this happens, the nature of the messages will change.

John Kotter (who advises on the eight stages of change management) says the communication needs to contain the following characteristics:

  • Simplicity (eliminating jargon and verbosity)
  • Metaphor-rich (pictures are worth a thousand words)
  • Multiple forums (leadership sessions, team meetings, newsletters, Intranets, etc)
  • Repetition (to reinforce the key messages and ensure they ‘sink in’)
  • Leadership by example (conduct from leadership that aligns with the communications and messaging)
  • Explaining apparent inconsistencies (address everything that seems counterintuitive or illogical, to avoid the communication being undermined)
  • Two-way communication (involving a feedback loop wherever possible greatly increases engagement and empowerment levels)

Put simply, the goal of this phase is to ensure the right staff are provided with the right information, at the right time – and empowered to work constructively within the new EA framework.

The advantages of formalising corporate intellectual property and establishing an EA practice need to be clearly articulated – at both an individual level and a company-wide level. If the EA vision is not clearly understood, people will very quickly disengage. They will revert to old habits and frameworks of working, and the timelines for the EA practice to start delivering business value will increase.

Too often, the coalition becomes overly enamoured with EA as a discipline – too ‘inwardly-focused’ – and forgets about the importance of communicating regularly with key stakeholders, business owners, and decision-makers across the organisation.

In fact, there is a continuum, ranging on the one end from the purist that “sits in an Ivory Tower” and becomes too academic and removed from the business, to the other end of the spectrum, with an EA practice experienced in the realities of the company, knows its challenges (eg, political, technical, legacy-related), and takes a pragmatic approach to EA.

The latter is the approach most likely to succeed in generating a sustainable and value-adding EA practice.

Over time, the EA practice evolves from its fledgling state to greater levels of maturity.

Here I use the analogy of running the EA practice like a business in itself: through delivering value to stakeholders one builds a relationship where people willingly engage with the EA practice. In this ideal scenario, positive word of mouth is created – which becomes one of the most valuable forms of internal communication.

Another very impactful form of communicating the vision is when the coalition exemplifies the behaviour it is seeking to establish in others, and ‘leads by example’. By becoming a role model, the coalition is more likely to succeed in its quest to develop new ways of working within the broader company.

Stage 5 – Empowering action

But communication alone is not enough. Ensuring the broad-based empowerment of people involves doing the following:

  • Teams need to understand the vision for business transformation and the EA value proposition that will enable it. Individuals must internalise this, consider what it means to them, and truly buy into the vision. They, in turn, will become ‘marketers’ of the company’s EA practice – articulating the vision to other stakeholders.
  • Teams need to receive quality, comprehensive training on the EA disciplines and activities as they relate to the individual’s particular function within the company. They must be empowered with the architecture content that allows them to start harvesting information.
  • From there, teams need to populate all of this existing content (such as business strategies, IT strategies, existing applications portfolios, etc) into an integrated EA repository, fully embedded in the organisation.
  • An EA methodology – such as TOGAF – is customised and tailored to the company. This means aligning the EA process with the systems development life cycle, strategic planning, corporate governance, and business process improvement, for example.
  • Any barriers, at any stage, need to be swiftly removed, so individuals are unleashed to work and to add value within the new framework.

Stage 6 – Generating short-term wins

Quick wins, even on a small scale, become the catalyst to building momentum in enterprise architecture.

By this point in the process of business transformation, the company has established and communicated the vision for change, and then begun the process of empowering the right teams to start executing on that vision.

Now, as it starts to package some of the early-phase model content, it becomes crucial for the fledgling enterprise architecture (EA) practice to generate some quick wins. Demonstrating tangible business value, even on a small scale, helps to maintain the interest of key stakeholders, and ensures the momentum doesn’t start to wane.

In fact, a virtuous cycle should begin to emerge: as the EA practice develops the operational capability to satisfy some business needs, stakeholders begin to recognise the business value. This leads to positive word-of-mouth being spread throughout the company, which in turn stimulates increased levels of demand from various quarters.

Ultimately, this demand translates into increased willingness to invest in the EA journey. With greater levels of buy-in, the EA practice’s operational capabilities continue to expand, and the cycle continues.

Stage 7 – Success breeds success

Short-term wins become the catalyst to building momentum in EA. John Kotter says these early successes are vital for a number of reasons, including the following:

  • Providing evidence that sacrifices are worth it: many staff within the coalition and other areas of the business have invested great time and energy in getting to this point.
  • Reward change agents with a pat on the back: adding business value is the biggest recognition of success.
  • Help fine-tune vision and strategies: insights learned from practically applying EA can be fed back into the strategic thinking.
  • Undermine cynics and self-serving resisters: tangible EA successes start to erode the credibility of naysayers.
  • Keep bosses on board: maintaining the support of line managers, executives, and other senior stakeholders happens naturally
  • Build momentum: more and more people are drawn into the developing EA practice, as people want to associate with a ‘success story’.

It goes without saying that these short-term wins need to be built on a sustainable and professional EA practice. The foundations must be strong – so the content can be easily accessed, and re-used for further process improvement in other areas of the business.

As the demand for business transformation increases, the EA practice needs to manage expectations and delivery. The EA team cannot take on ‘too much’ in the early stages, and be seen as the team that slows things down, or hampers innovation and change.

Essentially, the value that stakeholders derive from EA needs to continually exceed their perceived cost of contribution.

As the practice reaches out into the broader company, new opportunities emerge for specialists to contribute their unique insights. To keep the right people on the team, the company also needs to attend to human capital issues, like:

  • Ensuring key EA staff members have professional development paths and the opportunities to further their formal qualifications.
  • Providing mentoring (from within the organisation, or by pulling in outside mentors).
  • Performance management processes that ensure staff are accurately rewarded for their performance.

With the right team in place, the lead architect’s focus can shift from the everyday EA operations to higher-value activities. These include continually engaging with executives from across the business – to extend the scope of the EA practice and ensure it remains relevant and value-adding.

The value that stakeholders derive from EA needs to continually exceed their perceived cost of contribution.

The lead architect and the team can concentrate on understanding the potentially disruptive “nexus of forces” (cloud, mobility, big data and social), conducting impact assessments, scenario planning, and implementing new strategies.

The architecture team is then operating on all three levels – strategic, tactical and operational; and facilitating learning across the enterprise.

In this way, the chief architect and his EA team start to position themselves as trusted advisors and business partners to the company – becoming a crucial leadership support function. Ultimately, the true measure of the EA team’s worth is the extent to which the company engages with it, and the extent to which business transformation has been realised.

Stage 8 – Making it stick

Shifting from a state of architecture execution to architecture leadership is the next step in the EA journey.

Kotter’s final stage guides an organisation on the optimum ways that change can be embedded, anchored and matured. From an Enterprise Architecture (EA) perspective, these phases relate to the ‘professionalising’ of the EA practice.

Earlier, we looked at generating tangible “early wins” in the EA practice, and how they can echo throughout the organisation, as positive word-of-mouth spreads. The next step is to build on this momentum and to establish EA across every layer of processes, people, content, and tools, and products/services.

So, what are the hallmarks of a mature-state EA practice?

  • Entrenching the ethos of “running the EA practice like a business”… The foundation of the ‘business model’ includes five process areas: managing the business, enhancing market reputation, winning better business, delivering valued solutions, and growing the EA capability. In this way, resource allocation remains tightly synced with business need.
  • Innovation… EA essentially manages intellectual capital as an asset, translating tacit individual knowledge into organisational assets, in the form of models – which fuels constant innovation. Ideas are crowd-sourced from employees and partner ecosystems, and then analysed and prioritised according to business impact.
  • Strategic planning is dynamic and living… As intellectual capital becomes formalised as a corporate asset, the company can perform strategic planning at a higher level. This enables it to respond with agility to any changes in the external environment, as well as evolving business models within the company walls.
  • Business processes and capabilities become optimised… integrated business processes are naturally (willingly) enforced across the business. Process owners and system custodians focus on the right business capabilities and continually optimise processes.
  • Investment… The organisation targets its technology investment on IT assets that support identified and measurable business objectives, all within the framework of EA.

These fundamentals represent a shift from a state of “EA execution” to what can be referred to as “architecture leadership”.

In this state of advanced EA maturity, EA should also be repositioned and de-coupled from the IT department. Ideally, EA practice leaders should be moved to the office of the CEO, reporting to a function such as transformation management.

One of the most important facets of successfully transitioning from isolated early wins to EA leadership, which is embedded throughout the company, is ensuring key people are retained. The departure of important individuals can have catastrophic consequences at this stage – meaning EA never becomes entrenched.

For this reason, successful business leaders place a high emphasis on training, mentoring and further developing the EA teams. As ambitions soar, and people develop a passion for EA, industry bodies like The Open Group provide a useful outlet for this energy.

By contributing to the industry standards that are developed by The Open Group, individuals enjoy a greater sense of purpose – a tangible feeling that they are working on ‘something bigger’. Added to this, new opportunities open up, to develop their careers and networks.

For the company, this represents something of a win-win situation. By retaining these key specialists, it ensures the EA programme does not suffer interruptions or collapses.

As the success of the EA practice continues and the solution base expands, a virtuous cycle develops momentum: more and more ‘customers’ within the company start benefiting from EA, and more and more people are willing to invest in it.

The change process speeds up and becomes smoother; the ambit of EA broadens, and starts to influence every aspect of the business – including things like strategy planning, risk management, business transformation, and even mergers and acquisitions.

The essence of EA – that of managing complexity and change – is never forgotten. This new world requires new ways of thinking to address challenges and grab opportunities. Simply put, firms that continue to perpetuate old practices, will be left in the dust.

I’ll leave you with one of the pioneers of EA, John Zachman, who succinctly describes this essential fact:

“Increasing flexibility and reducing time to market… will only happen with responsible and intellectual investment, in developing and maintaining Enterprise Architecture, to deliver quality information, to produce a quality enterprise.”

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


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

Stuart, as the lead researcher, assisted the IT Governance Institute map CobiT 4.0 to TOGAF®. 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, Business Transformation, EA, Enterprise Architecture, Enterprise Transformation, Standards, The Open Group, TOGAF®, Uncategorized

Inaugural User Group Meeting Draws Out New Ways of Seeing TOGAF®

By The Open Group

The Open Group hosted the first TOGAF® User Group meeting on January 25, 2016 in San Francisco. With over 50,000 certified users in more than 120 countries, the intent of the TOGAF User Group was to better serve and reach the entire TOGAF user community, allowing them to network with other users, interact with TOGAF subject matter experts, brainstorm solutions for challenging situations and build an active user community.

According to Terry Blevins, Fellow of The Open Group and consultant for Enterprise Wise, LLC, who facilitated the meeting, the goal for the inaugural event was to provide a venue were users could easily Share, get Enlightened and Express (SEE TOGAF) their needs as users. Blevins says those in attendance were engaged throughout the day and that users “found a useful balance between the three dimensions” of SEEing. In addition, the overall response to the event was positive, he says, with many attendees expressing a desire to hold additional events moving forward.

The User Group format consisted primarily of a full day of managed breakout sessions, each focused on trends that are affecting the use of Enterprise Architecture within organizations today. Facilitators led discussions with users on a variety of critical topics including:

  • TOGAF for Digital Transformation
  • TOGAF Business Scenarios
  • Security within TOGAF
  • The Role of People within TOGAF
  • TOGAF for eGovernment
  • TOGAF Hot Topics

During the session, TOGAF users provided significant viewpoints regarding potential enhancements that could be made to the standard throughout the day. Chief among them was the desire to have more concrete, practical use cases for TOGAF—particularly within specific industries. With many industries currently undergoing some radical shifts as they move toward greater digitalization, users are looking for increased guidance around how to use Architecture frameworks within industry verticals. Blevins states there was some expectation of this going into the User Meeting, but to have that validation directly from users was very important.

“The exciting thing was that we really thought that was going to happen—folks are asking for this and ready to use TOGAF across vertical industries,” he says.

Not only are users looking for more vertical industry examples, but they also expressed a need for additional horizontal use cases that can be used cross-functionally within organizations. Users would like to be able to use TOGAF, an Open Group standard, as a framework for making change within different departments and service parts of organizations such as HR, Finance or Operations. Current work in The Open Group IT4IT™ Forum is actually a perfect example of how the framework can be put to use across service functions, with the IT department leading the way in the form of the IT4IT Reference Architecture.

Guidance around how to do business or digital transformation was also mentioned as a potential enhancement. Blevins believes that with all the requests for templates, case studies and practical examples, there is an opportunity for developing a substantial series of “How to” articles and white papers that can be used in conjunction with TOGAF to provide users greater direction for specific use cases and examples.

“A lot of people really want to use TOGAF,” says Blevins. “They just need some help in applying it.”

Users also expressed a need for assistance in how to get buy-in for TOGAF and architecture from C-level executives within their organizations. This has long been a problem within the Architecture community and architects continue to struggle with how to better sell and market both themselves and what they can do.

Blevins says one suggestion that was made during the User Meeting was that Enterprise Architects stop trying to sell Architecture and instead focus on selling the outcomes or solutions they provide. It was suggested that perhaps architects spend too much time trying to sell their methods and frameworks and the “how” behind their work rather than just talking about solving the problem and how architecture will improve the business. Ultimately, the focus should be on that, not on how to apply Enterprise Architecture, he says.

Users in attendance were also struggling with how to integrate their Architecture efforts with Agile development trends and the need to bring increased innovation and speed to their projects. The need to develop more service- and customer-oriented delivery models to help transform businesses was also mentioned, as well as the need to include more guidance around Risk Management and Security within TOGAF.

The User Group meeting was very productive and provided excellent input on the standard. All feedback from the User Group is being delivered to The Open Group Architecture Forum for consideration in helping to enhance the standard and to provide feedback for TOGAF and trainers, as well to continue developing content that supports the standard and best practices for its use.

Please join us in London on April 27, 2016 for our upcoming TOGAF User Group meeting. The entire agenda for The Open Group London 2016 can be found here.




Filed under Digital Transformation, EA, Enterprise Architecture, IT4IT, Standards, The Open Group, The Open Group London 2016, TOGAF®, Uncategorized