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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 Cloud: What’s UNIX® Got to Do With It?

By The Open Group

Cloud computing has come of age and is the solution of choice for CIOs looking to maximize use of resources while minimizing capital spend.[1] Cloud solutions, whether it is infrastructure, platform or service, have the appeal of business agility[2], without having to understand what is “under the hood”. However, what’s under the hood becomes even more important in a Cloud environment because there can be multiple services running with potential impact on numerous customers and the services provided to them.  For software as a service (SaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS) the hosting operating system is a critical component included in with Cloud environment as it directly impacts the performance of the Cloud solution. For infrastructure as a service (IaaS) the operating system is a critical choice made by the customer.

The CIO View

The CIO loves the idea of having the ability to rapidly provide on-demand ubiquitous computing resources to their company without the management overhead and integration challenges. The hardware infrastructure, network infrastructure, storage, hypervisor and OS must have high availability, scalability, and performance to meet the “5-nines” reliability expected (SCIT Report) with the operating system being especially critical component in that stack.[3]

UNIX, A Robust Platform for Cloud:

The Cloud needs to be highly available, scalable, secure, and robust for high-demand computing.  A certified UNIX® OS can provide this and enables companies to innovate in the Cloud.  A CIO would be looking at each element of the stack with a high degree of assurance that the Cloud solution has been well tested and has proven system and application interoperability, which also simplifies solution integration. The UNIX OS amplifies this simplicity delivering peace of mind for IT directors and above.

Who Is Choosing a UNIX Cloud?

Cloud Solution/Hosting Providers look to a UNIX Cloud infrastructure to service financial institutions looking to support high transactional environments like online and mobile banking marketplace.[4] Moreover, UNIX Cloud infrastructure provides a cost-effective, secure, and redundant environment.[5]

“Verizon serves both customers and employees with a UNIX Cloud infrastructure that implements enhanced agility, superior performance, easy maintainability, and effective cost control,” said Chris Riggin, Enterprise Architect at Verizon.[6]

HPE, IBM, and Oracle have expanded their services offerings to deliver UNIX mission-critical cloud and enterprise infrastructure, including their branded systems.  These UNIX Cloud solutions help their customers continue to scale while delivering business continuity and a low total cost of ownership.[7]

By The Open Group

Get more tools and resources on UNIX innovation on www.opengroup.org/UNIX or review these other resources today:

@theopengroup

© 2016 The Open Group

UNIX® is a Registered Trademark of The Open Group. Oracle® Solaris is a registered trademark of Oracle Corporation. IBM AIX is a trademark of IBM Corporation. HP-UX is a registered trademark of HPE.

 

[1] Harvard Business Review, Cloud Computing Comes of Age, Page 3, 2015, https://www.oracle.com/webfolder/s/delivery_production/docs/FY15h1/doc16/HBR-Oracle-Report-webview.pdf

[2] Harvard Business Review, Cloud Computing Comes of Age, Page 3, 5, 6; 2015, https://www.oracle.com/webfolder/s/delivery_production/docs/FY15h1/doc16/HBR-Oracle-Report-webview.pdf

[3] UNIX: The “Always On” OS, 2016, https://blog.opengroup.org/2016/04/18/unix-the-always-on-os/

[4] Connectria / Sybase Customer Success Story:  http://www.connectria.com/content/case_studies/connectria_flyer_sybase_case_study.pdf

[5] Connectria AIX Hosting: http://www.connectria.com/technologies/aix_hosting.php

[6] UNIX Based Cloud, Harry Foxwell, Principal Consultant, Oracle, February 2016, https://blog.opengroup.org/2016/02/03/the-unix-based-cloud/

[7] a. http://www8.hp.com/us/en/business-solutions/solution.html?compURI=1167850#.VyfQzD9EmPB

  1. https://www.openstack.org/marketplace/distros/distribution/oracle/oracle-openstack-for-oracle-solaris
  2. http://www-03.ibm.com/systems/power/solutions/cloud/

 

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Filed under Cloud, cloud computing, The Open Group, Uncategorized, UNIX

What’s New in ArchiMate® 3.0

By The Open Group

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By The Open Group

 

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

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

@theopengroup @ArchiMate_r  #ArchiMate #ogAUS

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The New Generation IT Operating Model

By Yan Zhao, Ph.D, President, Chief Architect, ArchiTech Group LLC

  1. Introduction

The New Generation IT Operating Model is mostly associated with the current trend of service orientation. A service-oriented IT operating model should be based on service-oriented IT architecture. More precisely, a service-oriented IT operating model should be part of service-oriented IT architecture, also as a part of enterprise architecture. We know that models are what architecture creates, which include static models for the descriptions of components, structures and relationships; and dynamic models for the descriptions of operations and processes, where the dynamic models are built and operated on top of the static models. This new generation IT operating model is part of the “new paradigm” or “paradigm shift” in modern enterprise and IT, which should be part of enterprise architecture as well.

  1. Architecture and Service Oriented Architecture

First, I’d like to clarify the concept of Architecture and the Service Oriented Architecture in this context. The original definition of Architecture by Sir Henry Watton in The Elements of Architecture stated “In architecture as in all other operative arts, the end must direct the operation. The end is to build well. Well building has three conditions: Commodity, Firmness and Delight”. This definition is applicable to our context as well, where the position of architecture for IT is similar to the position of architecture for a building construction. The purpose of IT architecture is for the effective and efficient operations of IT. IT architecture should serve all its relevant audience and stakeholders, should be understandable by them via various views (commodity). The architectural products has to be solid and practicable for implementation (firmness), and it has to be well accepted and appreciated (delight) to be adopted and be effective in guiding IT operation.

The core of architecture is its vision, insight, concepts presented, and implementation guidance. It is a practical art, a result of creation, which is not a result of engineering or process in a mechanical manner, but it guides engineering process for implementation. IT is evolving to be a line of business by itself. Therefore, IT architecture is in a complex domain of people, systems, and culture; and in a constantly changing environment. It has the similar composition of enterprise architecture in this sense, with IT being one segment in an enterprise. For such architecture development, it is important to balance discipline and control with flexibility and freedom for organic growth, due to the limitation of human capability in predicting the changes and in handling complex matters.

The shared service domain is actually a sub-domain inside IT. We cannot expect all functions in IT should be shared. Similar, the Service Oriented IT Architecture is in a sub-domain of IT architecture. The necessity of making a function to be a service only when it has potential to be shared and reused by multiple service consumers. The following figures illustrate the shared service domain inside IT domain and the service oriented IT architecture inside IT architecture domain.

By Yan Zhao, Ph.D, ArchiTech Group LLC

 

Figure 1. The shared service sub-domain in IT and the service oriented IT architecture sub-domain in IT architecture

  1. IT Operating Model with Service Orientation

The “Plan/Build/Run” is a typical and simple IT operating model, which is still valid if we apply lifecycle with it, and have service orientation content being embedded into all its operating stages. The lifecycle presented in ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) can be considered as its extension from IT service management prospective. ITIL has five stages instead of three: Service Strategy (plan), Service Design (build), Service Transition, Service Operation (run), Continual Service Improvement. We are going to discuss later here on ITIL as an integral part that fit into the Plan/Build/Run model, which focus on IT service portfolio management and IT service management lifecycle. The Broker/Integrate/Orchestrate model is one of the possibilities inside the content of Plan/Build/Run model, while there are other possibilities as well. A plan is still necessary, no matter the plan is to build something new or to act as a broker, to build something in-sourcing or out-sourcing, by brokerage or by integration. Usually, there are diversified elements based on circumstances. It usually needs more than just orchestration to run it. All these could be part of the “IT Operating Model”. It is dangerous to just assemble what services/products available in market without a future vision and a plan for long-term evolution. For a business to survive in a longer term, it has to know its own needs instead of being framed by what is available in market. It needs to create its unique product/service roadmap and pipeline, and not to be controlled by others.

In order to provide effective and efficient IT support and reduce complexity and cost, IT is evolving to provide commodity services that enable the separation of business functions from common shareable IT services. To operate IT as a service, it opens a new line of business, as identified in Federal Infrastructure Optimization Initiative. The IT Operation Reference Model illustrated in Figure 2 is based on such considerations. It provides a holistic view on what involved in operating IT as a line of business. IT is becoming one business segment inside an enterprise with its own mission and goals to achieve instead of being only in a supporting role as before. This Reference Model can help to organize and consolidate organizational core capabilities and to provide a simple and cohesive view.

By Yan Zhao, Ph.D, ArchiTech Group LLCFigure 2. IT Operation Reference Model

  1. IT Operation Reference Model

The IT Operation Reference Model, illustrated in Figure 2, consists of four pillars: Plan, Build, Run, and Stakeholders. It is an extension to the Plan/Build/Run model, and is constructed with considerations in service orientation, modularity, simplicity, and communicability. It operates in a lifecycle as illustrated in Figure 3. Security, as illustrated in Figure 2, is not only a technical solution, but also an integral part across the board. A security life cycle and process should be designed and associated with each stage in an IT operation lifecycle, with starting from the planning stage. Also, governance should be applied across the complete IT operation lifecycle as well.

The Service Portfolio Management is part of IT Service Management (in Run pillar of Figure 2), which is addressed in ITIL V3. ITIL provides a best practice reference for IT service management and operation, with current enhancement (in V3) in service portfolio management. Applying ITIL within an IT Operating Model enhances IT Operation with a service lifecycle management discipline. However, the specific architectures, models, service design, and ITIL adoption for each IT operation have to be based on each individual case, and an operating model should be built accordingly.

Plan: IT still needs strategy and plan to run even in service oriented IT operation paradigm, where the business model, service model, cost/funding model, implementation model, and operating model suitable for service orientation should be incorporated accordingly. In another words, the difference is in the content. The plan for new generation IT operation should be driven by business domain requirements, e.g. the external and internal drivers, so that to support business improvement goals and objectives. Architectures should be created accordingly. Also, a performance measurement model should be created to provide measurement guidance. The plan should well consider adaptability to changes in both business requirements and technology advancement, and be maintained as a live document with continuous improvement along IT operation Lifecycle.

Build: Business requirements drive technology decisions; and at the meantime, the new technologies will inspire business envisions and provide various possibilities for business being operated in a more effective and efficient way. It’s true that the IT product ownership implies slow change due to the cost associated with. The resource sharing and operated by some specialized service providers enable faster change due to cost sharing in nature. Also, the performance from such service providers can be enhanced by competition. The implementation mechanisms should be flexible enough for new services and devices to plug-in or to update. However, not everything can be handed out to others to operate. Enterprise data are likely still being managed inside enterprise for security reasons, with enterprise internal stewardship and ownership, though it can participate in shared services internally and externally. In this reference model, services and systems to be built are described in layers: business services, application and data services, infrastructure services, and physical services.

Run: This includes IT system and service management and operation during continuous performance and change. The system operation management includes the management of IT service systems, system hardware and software, as well as networks and data centers, either in-sourcing or out-sourcing. It also includes the management of applications and data that are resided and running on these systems. For IT service management, ITIL is a handy best practice reference to start with.

Stakeholders: The stakeholders should be identified across the three pillars or the three operating stages in a lifecycle. Clearly roles and responsibilities should be identified, and be aligned with the operation structure. The operation model, structure, and architecture should be defined independent of individual stakeholder, so that people changes will not affect organization structure, process, and operation. Typically, the stakeholders can include business decision makers, resource owners, service providers, service consumers, governance and regulatory bodies, industry associations and standards groups, etc.

  1. The Relationship of the IT Operation Reference Model with ITIL

As a best practice reference, ITIL provides guidance on how to manage IT operation with service lifecycle. The relationship of ITIL Lifecycle with IT Operation Reference Model is illustrated in Figure 3. The IT service management lifecycle and its associated best practice reference based on ITIL v3 is the core for running an IT operation, as illustrated in the IT Operation Reference Model in Figure 2. The different focuses of the two can be summarized as:

  • Objective: The IT Operation Reference Model intends to provide a simple and cohesive view on IT operation domain structure, components and relationships; while ITIL focuses on providing guidance and reference details for IT service management and operation.
  • Components: The IT Operation Reference Model focuses on IT functional components; while ITIL focuses on IT operational components.
  • Structure: The IT Operation Reference Model is structured into categorized and layered components in each stage of IT operation; while ITIL is structured around IT service management and operation lifecycle to provide its associated best practice references.

In Figure 3, the middle section illustrates the relationships among the four pillars in the IT Operation Reference Model. The stakeholders play the central operating roles. They should be the driving force and active players in IT operation lifecycle. The stages of ITIL service lifecycle can be linked to the stages in Plan/Build/Run IT operation lifecycle. The lifecycles of both reflect iterative processes during IT operation. A well architected service lifecycle and management processes can maximize operational efficiency and productivity, as well as reduce the costs.

 

By Yan Zhao, Ph.D, ArchiTech Group LLCFigure 3. Apply ITIL to the IT Operating Model based on the IT Operation Reference Framework

In conclusion: A Service Oriented IT Operating Model should be rooted on a Service Oriented IT Architecture, which has to be custom built for each individual IT organization based on its service requirements, responsibilities, and operating environment, though best practice reference can be helpful. Each IT operation is forming an ecosystem of its own, which needs insight, creativity, and systematic discipline to figure out the best operating model and to clear the way for its execution.

By Yan Zhao, Ph.D, ArchiTech Group LLCDr. Yan Zhao, President, ArchiTech Group LLC, is an enterprise level chief architect, strategist, thought leader, and innovator; was also an executive for Fortune 500 companies and a professor. She has over 20 years work experience across academia, corporate research, software industry, and consulting service, where she demonstrated strength in insight, vision, creativity, and discipline. She is a positive thinker and a motivational leader with experience in leading R&D, capability and intellectual property development, and consulting practice. She received a Ph.D in computer science and a master in mathematics from Arizona State University, has 6 patents granted, 4 patents pending, a number of invention disclosures and publications.

yan.zhao@architechllc.com

@theopengroup

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The UNIX® Based Cloud

By Harry Foxwell, PhD, Principal Consultant, Oracle®

Oracle® Solaris continues to evolve as the foundation for critical private cloud implementations.  As the premier UNIX®  operating system in the IT industry, certified against The Open Group exacting standards for enterprise-level operating systems, Solaris 11 enables Oracle customers and partners to provide the elasticity, security, scalability, and stability required for today’s demanding Cloud Computing requirements.

As Chris Riggin, Enterprise Architect at Verizon, said at last fall’s Oracle OpenWorld, the cloud services enabled by Solaris provide the massive scaling for Verizon’s 135 million customers and 180,000 employees needed to speed service delivery and to maintain Verizon’s competitive edge.  Using Solaris’ and SPARC’s innovative virtualization technologies and Oracle-supported OpenStack, Verizon serves both customers and employees with a UNIX-based cloud infrastructure that implements enhanced agility, superior performance, easy maintainability, and effective cost control.

Solaris has continually led the evolution of UNIX as the primary choice for enterprise computing.  Oracle’s leadership in The Open Group Governing Board ensures that UNIX will maintain and extend its prominent role in cloud computing.

UNIX® is a Registered Trademark of The Open Group.
Oracle® Solaris is a Registered Trademark of Oracle Corporation.

By Harry Foxwell, Oracle

Harry Foxwell is a principal consultant at Oracle’s Public Sector division in the Washington, DC area, where he is responsible for solutions consulting and customer education on cloud computing, operating systems, and virtualization technologies. Harry has worked for Sun Microsystems, now part of Oracle, since 1995. Prior to that, he worked as a UNIX and Internet specialist for Digital Equipment Corporation; he has worked with UNIX systems since 1979 and with Linux systems since 1995.

Harry is coauthor of two Sun BluePrints: “Slicing and Dicing Servers: A Guide to Virtualization and Containment Technologies” (Sun BluePrints Online, October 2005), and “The Sun BluePrints Guide to Solaris Containers: Virtualization in the Solaris Operating System” (Sun BluePrints Online, October 2006). He coauthored the book Pro OpenSolaris (Apress, 2009), and blogs about cloud computing at http://http://blogs.oracle.com/drcloud/.

He earned his doctorate in information technology in 2003 from George Mason University (Fairfax, VA), and has since taught graduate courses there in operating systems, computer architecture and security, and electronic commerce.

Harry is a Vietnam veteran; he served as a platoon sergeant in the US Army’s 1st Infantry Division in 1968-1969. He was awarded an Air Medal and a Bronze Star. He is also an amateur astronomer and contributing member of the Northern Virginia Astronomy Club. In addition, Harry is a USA Table Tennis (USATT) member and competitive table tennis player. He is also a US Soccer Federation (USSF) soccer referee.

For additional information about Harry, please visit his home page: http://cs.gmu.edu/~hfoxwell.

 

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Filed under Cloud, cloud computing, Enterprise Architecture, IT, standards, The Open Group, UNIX

The Open Group Launches the IT4IT™ Management Guide

The Open Group, the vendor-neutral IT consortium, has announced the release of a new book to support its IT4IT Reference Architecture Standard at The Open Group San Francisco 2016. IT4IT™ for Managing the Business of IT – A Management Guide, developed by The Open Group IT4IT Forum, provides guidance on how the IT4IT Reference Architecture can be used within IT organizations to improve the performance and efficiency of the IT function.

The Management Guide provides best practice advice and focuses on the data and automated workflows needed to manage IT services from a business perspective, which is in a lean and agile manner.

“While the IT industry has changed significantly in the last ten years, the management capabilities of the IT function required to leverage these advances, have not. The C-level has recognized that legacy IT management frameworks, processes and tools are actually hindering the IT organization as it strives to enable business innovation and enhance customer experiences, amongst other key business priorities. The approach outlined in the IT4IT Management Guide will facilitate that transformation,” says Steve Nunn, President and CEO, The Open Group

The IT4IT Management Guide focuses on a number of areas, including:

  • The challenges of how IT is currently managed
  • What is the IT4IT Reference Architecture Standard?
  • The benefits of adopting IT4IT
  • A high-level approach for the implementation of IT4IT
  • Case studies on the adoption of the IT4IT Standard at Shell and Rabobank

To support the IT4IT Standard and complementing the Management Guide, The Open Group will soon be making available a foundation level training course and exam, with higher-level training and certification programs for IT4IT also becoming available later in the year.

IT4IT for Managing the Business of IT – A Management Guide is available to buy through The Open Group website and Van Haren Publishing here.

To join The Open Group IT4IT™ Forum, please visit here.

@theopengroup #ogSFO

 

 

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Transitioning to Customer-Driven Architectures: A Conversation with Trevor Cheung

By The Open Group

Digitalization is driving massive changes across the IT landscape. To adapt to the changes brought about by new technologies, organizations are beginning to move away from traditional IT-centric architectures to new customer-driven ones. By aligning business needs with a more “outside-in” perspective, companies can evolve their Enterprise Architectures to adapt to customer, employee and partner needs across the entire business ecosystem.

In advance of the The Open Group San Francisco 2016, we spoke with plenary speaker Trevor Cheung, Vice President of Strategy and Architecture Practice from Huawei Global Technical Services, about the importance of taking a more customer-driven approach to architectures and how organizations can transition their technical infrastructures to adapt more rapidly to business changes. That conversation follows here.

Why is a customer-driven approach so important for getting the transformation to digitalization correct?

One thing I’ve realized is that many architects take a very inside-out approach to IT. We are now facing a very competitive environment and things are changing very fast so architects must be able to support the business. Many people say IT must change at the speed of business change, but change in terms of what? One thing we need to understand is that the stakeholder experience is very important—we need to understand the consumer, enterprise workforce, management and the public. What do they need? When do they need it? How would they like their demands met? That’s why we believe architecture can’t just be inside out. It must consider both the outside-in and inside-out perspectives.

How would you describe a customer-driven architecture? How does that differ from traditional architectures?

Traditional architectures focus a lot on business process and work flow. With a customer-driven architecture, the key terms would be personas and the customer journey. Those should drive or influence the revenue stream and business processes—that may be the best way to understand it. Outside-in is about designing and delivering customer journeys and experiences, tailored for each persona. Whereas with the inside-out, traditional approach, revenue streams are value propositions that you map back to the supporting business processes.

How can companies ensure that their architectures are more customer-driven?

First of all, adopting this architectural approach is very important. To apply this business architecture approach, you employ the value stream technique to map to external customer journeys. This is the technique I think people should apply. With customer experience, in the market there are very well written architectures for IT staff. Huawei and PA Consulting are part of The Open Group Digital Business and Customer Experience Work Group. What we’ve tried to do is get the architects and IT people to understand the customer experience better and speak the same language.

At Huawei, we believe in an experience principle called ROADS—this experience principle will be adopted whenever we try to design a service or application for consumers, the internal workforce and even for partners. It stands for Real-time, On-demand, All-Online, DIY and Social. This is what we believe; this is our fundamental driving tenet.

How is ROADS different from what most customers experience today and what can companies do to position themselves to offer the ROADS experience?

The business motivation and technologies should be matched in a way that enables digital transformation. For example, in The Open Group, there is the Open Platform 3.0Forum that talks about the Cloud, analytics and also integration middleware. In order to be successful, we need to deploy new technologies so we can understand what people want and then perform the application development for integration, using the data we store in the Cloud. In traditional IT, data was spread across different data servers so that analytics, and the resulting insights, were not possible to achieve.

However, having the core technology on the IT side is not sufficient. We must also consider the network side because now people would like to use applications on different devices, like notebooks and smartphones, so connectivity issues are very important. Now we are talking about mobile 2K and 4K videos coming, especially in Korea, where video is getting very popular. Connectivity and the quality of services to the home, office or hotels must be assured as well.

So not just on the architecture side, but also the technology side, we need to not only be looking at the Cloud, data analytics, and the way to have integration middleware, but also connectivity as well.

Will customer-driven architectures affect every industry moving forward? Which are being most affected now?

I had a conversation with a Forrester principal analyst. We find in China, Ali Baba has been acting on this experience-driven architecture very successfully. Because they’ve applied this customer experience architecture approach, they know what kind of capabilities they need, and how different applications connect with each other so they can react to business changes in a very orderly and timely manner. Another company we talked about was Merchant Bank—they are widely considered to deliver the best experience in the Chinese market. Of course, Huawei, is acting on this in our design as well.

What are companies like that doing well in terms of the customer driven experience?

If you use the applications that we call over-the-top, when you try to use them and something is not working well, we see that these OTT companies are very quick to act. Working with ecosystem partners and using techniques such as AB testing, they can quickly test the markets or user preferences. How can they do that? Primarily, they are customer-driven, they know what customers want and what they are looking for, and they use the power of data analytics to do this.

Let’s look at Amazon – Amazon has AWS. They do a very good job of offering Cloud computing services, both PaaS and IaaS. They can offer people services to build applications or buy storage, you can do it any time you like, online and on-demand, whatever you want, no matter the development, testing or integration environment. They also have a good social forum so users can learn from each other, and they have virtual machines for real-time installations. Whereas the old, traditional IT approach is slow, we’re now applying application middleware so people can do these things very fast and with a good experience. Huawei now has its own public cloud—Huawei Enterprise Cloud Service—which we’ve built in a similar fashion, and we’ve really focused on the customer experience.

How can standards help in driving a more customer-driven architecture and experience?

First of all, standards can help to get people speaking the same language. When one person calls something an ‘apple’ and another calls it by a different name, this becomes a serious roadblock or obstacle to getting things adopted. Second, once communication is there, discipline experts can work together to try to deliver what the business or customer would like in terms of the outcomes. We should also define corresponding metrics—what are the correct and important metrics that will impact business performance and need to be defined and benchmarked. Huawei has been leading this aspect in the communications industry, performing business outcome calculations for the past four years and leading the way to understand and adopt personal experience management.

Digital transformation is now—the technologies are ready. There are lots of technologies that are becoming mature enough to be deployed, but the important thing is how can we bring business and technology together to deliver the business outcomes? The Digital and Customer Experience Work Group will be publishing two whitepapers that will provide guidance for Enterprise and Business Architects, Business Operations Managers, Customer Experience and Marketing professionals that will help them move toward a more customer-based digital transformation.

By The Open Group

Trevor Cheung is Vice President of Strategy and Architecture Practice within Huawei Global Services. In this role, Trevor has a broad focus, including digital transformation,  customer experience management, Cloud, Enterprise Architecture, platform strategy, IT4IT™, Internet of Things and Design Thinking. Trevor is also founder of Huawei’s Customer Experience Transformation Center (CETC), which now has centers in Shenzhen and London.

Trevor has 20-years experience in technology and business leadership, specializing in providing thought leadership, creation of best practices and ecosystem development.

Prior to joining Huawei, Trevor served at Motorola between 1996 and 2011, successfully leading strategy, product management and engineering functions, culminating in his role as the Global Head of Services Strategy Alliance and Product Management.

Trevor has a B.Eng. from University College London, and M.B.A. from China Europe International Business School. He has attended Executive Education courses and seminars from Harvard Business School, Boston University and MIT Sloan. Trevor is a Certified Net Promoter Associate.

 

@theopengroup #ogSFO

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Filed under digital business, digital strategy, enterprise architecture, Huawei, Open Platform 3.0, Standards, Trevor Cheung, Uncategorized