Tag Archives: IT

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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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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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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Driving Digital Transformation Using Enterprise Architecture

By Sunil Kr. Singh, Senior Architecture and Digital Consultant at TATA Consultancy Services

Driving Digital Transformation Using Enterprise Architecture as a Problem Solving Tool Set

If I start talking to an audience and start with, “Enterprise Architecture is required for driving Digital Transformation of an organization”, I guess, I would be talking to an empty hall in 30 seconds. However, I believe it is worth the effort; too many transformations are on. You might be starting to wonder what I have here to say.

Changes are happening rapidly

Business Transformation is becoming the normalized playing ground for everyone! It is happening more frequently and far rapidly. It does not end here; it further makes it more challenging by reducing the time to play catch up. As this Digital Tsunami is hitting us, adopting and developing a standardized approach to implement or execute digital transformation initiatives is important to be successful. The key is to develop the competency to be agile or incremental in a very dynamic environment.

Consumerization and Commoditisation of Product and Services, driven by innovation, knowledge sharing, collaboration and crowd-driven mechanics, is driving rapid evolution of business landscape. The desire to use information in better ways was always there. However, the cost and the scale with which it is possible now was only in books and labs even a decade back. If I still have you here and everything sounds familiar, you might be starting to wonder what is so special about the Digital Transformation. This is the right question and I would encourage you to ask this question many times, as you take up the Digital Transformation journey!

I strongly believe that transformation is definitely an old subject for you. Business has been engaged in transformation for a long time; driving transformation by formulating new business strategies. The same is true for Information Technology (IT) departments; they had moved from mainframe to distributed systems, from independent web applications to Portals to mobile applications. We are all seasoned soldiers of Transformation! Still…

One of the biggest causes of starting to feel the butterflies are the uncertainties around how big of a force is the Tsunami. As we see business domains collapse, we wonder what we should do now. Shall we act or watch and catch the next wave? Which waves to catch, there’s no abating of waves!

Too often disruption in business model

The driver for Google Compare is unprecedented! Who can become the car manufacturer? Alternatively, who wants to play in the card payment market? All establishment looks like pack of cards; they are to be blown away and rebuilt by the Digital Tsunami.

The speciality here is, change in pattern for “Transformation” when the prefix “Digital” gets associated. It is no longer IT for Business. It is technology-enabled business, literally! The basics of market place of how one get their 4Ps together to generate values is changing and thus newer Business Model. That is where the critical differentiation comes in. This drives in a couple of thoughts: A) Business Gurus need to understand information and technology B) Technical Gurus need to understand business. It is no longer a question of business and IT alignment, it is a question of merger and how the mix looks like!

Everyone understands this and understands that change is unavoidable. However, they are also apprehensive of repeating “past failures to transform”. Though enough transformation experience exists, it has also taught the Knights that it was never easy and this time the target itself is fuzzy.

Nevertheless, with tons of questions in their mind, everyone is queuing up for getting a makeover done! Key question for the image makeover gurus, what image makeover tools are at their disposal?

EA is the short answer. Nevertheless, not everyone is doing EA – how can someone explain the success stories that are out there? I am sure there are plenty of individual charismatic leaders who do these in Godly ways. However, the challenge starts when they start to convey their ideas to others. Our expressions are always, “She or he doesn’t get all the Challenges!” Alternatively, “The Devil is in the detail!” Neither do we get what they are trying to drive us to. The friction is huge and more than often companies are stuck here, missing their agility! Is there anything that can break the stalemate?

In this situation the toolset that will be of help are tools around Enterprise Architecture (EA). I can see jaws drop – “What?” “We’ll never be able to transform if we let the Enterprise Architecture drive the show!” Let us take away the people aspects. The tool tries to present a merged image of business and IT. This is the need of the hour. I agree with the challenges that the industry has been experiencing with EA, however, there is a lot of potential to this practice. On the other hand, EA needs to mature as well. This is the symbiotic opportunity! I would like to hear about options available other than EA to drive Digital Transformation.

The point that I am going to make here is simple. The challenge in front of Business Leaders and IT leaders is to drive things quickly and deliver continuous business value through incremental adoption of change. The opportunity for the transformation team is to use a set of tools around EA to let the leaders achieve their goals.

Below I have picked up three different focus areas where EA Practice and its tool set can be valuable for enabling the Digital Transformation.

  1. Unified View:

As we are all experiencing, at any given point in time there are multiple different strategies in execution in different areas of the organization. For example, what is commonly being observed these days, as some team is creating a 360 degree view of their partner, other team may be engaged in various phases of IT system reengineering. I need not get into the details of how they influence each other!

The above phenomenon is almost like solving the Rubik’s cube. When we try to align one side, arrangement on the other side is broken. The different sides of the Rubik’s cube are like different areas of the organization or initiatives. Enterprise Architecture explicitly handles these through Views. Case in point, during an eGovernance initiative to reorganize the IT Systems and Processes, the organization had to start a parallel initiative to modernize the Data Center. It did not end here, the Government was planning to enable unprecedented amount of self-service to the public. Different business departments were driving these; the IT teams were in silos. Result was a no brainer! Multiple starts and stop resulting in overshooting of budget and timeline!

Let us see the Digital Transformation situation. For most contemporary situations, an organization will have cyber security initiatives, digital initiatives, core system modernizations and a few innovation initiatives, all running in parallel.

Therefore, how the situation on the ground does look like? A typical meeting room situation! In a meeting room of a particular program the lead architect or a shared developer points out – “Oh, I know there is a security initiative going on in the data center and that may impact our time line”. The project manager makes a note of it to check this out. The subsequent situations would be familiar too. When the project manager communicates to her counterpart, no one really understands the language of each other (though they are speaking the same language, English, German or Hindi). They decide to keep each one of them separate so that each one can go live! What is the Result? The organization now has two different security gateways!

The above paragraph is an imaginary situation. However, we can all recollect many similar situations. When these different teams or their representatives get into conversations, they may not have all the structures in front of them to understand the possible impacts. It may sound obvious, however, the devils are in the details; and the details are in different jargon or lingo of each initiative.

The EA exactly tries to solve this problem and drive organization forward. There are many different tools, for example, Vision, Business Motivation Models, Business Capability Models, Business Services Models, Business Processes Models, IT Services Models, and Technology Models, which helps in sustained dialogue. The stakeholders within the enterprise will understand the impact of an initiative when they understand the behaviour of the target state; it is possible to explain the behaviour when there is a good structure to depict and define the behaviour.

There is a classical problem here, whether to focus on the forest and ignore the trees or to look at an individual tree and ignore the forest. In reality one need to do both! The tools mentioned above helps to orchestrate between these different perspectives. It provides a mechanism to do it in a relatively easy way. I have mentioned relatively because nothing is easy if one does not put in effort to build the competency around it.

Let us consider the area under Digital Transformation, Digital Experience, which is most widely in vocabulary today. It touches almost every part of the Enterprise. This initiative may directly affect some process simplification and improvement initiatives that may be underway to drive Operational Excellence. The organization typically gets into a chicken and egg scenario and this result into losing momentum over how to resolve the issues. Instead of trying to tie everything together, the EA tools will help to create building blocks. These building blocks are implemented independently. They are then moved to operations independently and magic, it works.

One way to let initiatives move independently and be confident of their effectiveness is through the usage of Architecture Contract.

It is important to understand what the expected outcome is. For example, in case of “Customer Digital Experience” the question would be, is it a pure Information Technology initiative or does it influence the Business Architecture and Business Model? This is a decisive moment to understand whether the changes are just to leverage some new technology capabilities like Mobile, Wearable, or Big Data. For all good reasons, the initiative may be just that. In that case recommendation would be to run them under any typical IT programs and please do not boil the ocean by putting them under the “Digital Transformation” initiatives. However, if one organization were really looking for changing the business playing field, then adopting EA practices would help immensely.

  1. Enterprise Architecture Tools:

For Digital Transformation, Business Architecture, Technology Architecture, Information Architecture Views and various tools related to them are pillars of the Enterprise Architecture. In fact understanding the Business Capabilities and being able to map the impact of the Digital Forces on the capabilities will be critical for final success of the outcome.

However, a few other areas of the Enterprise Architecture practice help in navigating through the entire effort of Enterprise Architecture, when one is trying to solve the problem of Digital Transformation. For now, I thought of venturing into these EA Tools; may return to applying Business Architecture, Information Architecture and Technology Architecture tools and practices to Digital Transformation in a latter article.

You might be wondering why I am ignoring the pillars. The pillars are something, which we have to go through anyways, however, to get them in place there are other vehicles required and I often find that the teams are struggling with them. For instance, Business Capabilities are going to be the pillars of Business Architecture for driving the Digital Transformation work; however, teams often struggle to find out what business motivations are going to affect the existing capabilities.

Now let us go through a few of the tools here.

To find out what is required to realize the Digital Strategy – If the organization has developed a Digital Strategy, then that is a big achievement. However, that is not the end of the journey. We have all been in situation where it takes months to decide on next steps and years to see the strategy taking bloom. One may like to see a few common reasons why Strategies fail.

A tool that can help untangle different aspects of what you are trying to achieve through the Digital strategy is the Business Motivation Model (BMM). The ArchiMate® supports to create a very effective abridged version of BMM. BMM can help in identifying the next set of activities by helping you to create a model that relates requirement to goals to stakeholders. This can quickly let one see through the next steps and what values it is trying to bring in to move towards the desired target.

EA Methodology – The idea is to move incrementally. Fail with an idea faster so that one can learn faster and apply the learning for success sooner! It is desirable to take incremental steps through modifications of existing Business Model using Business Architecture, keep the IT Architecture aligned during the iterations and the intermediate steps.

TOGAF®, an Open Group standard, ADM is a good place to start; other frameworks like, DODAF, FEA and methodologies around them can help to enrich the ADM. The important point to look for while one is iterating through the ADM or even evaluating it is to consider the kinds of customization required for the enterprise in scope. However, focus to mature the methodology incrementally.

Stakeholders Management: who is impacted and how – In a complex engagement like implementing Digital Transformation, stakeholder management can be challenging. Understanding the stakeholder’s goals and drivers can be daunting. Besides, understanding the real need and what does it mean, under the applicable constraints can be confusing. I have seen organizations stuck in tackling stakeholders and unable to come out of the labyrinth for months to years. There are tools within Archimate to lay down the stakeholders, connect them to their drivers, assessment, goals, and requirement. There are other tools, which independently or with ArchiMate extensions helps in doing the same.

It would be a good idea to lay down multiple levels of stakeholders, overall Digital Organization level, Program level and then various initiatives/project levels. Having an interaction model among these will help one to understand various Enterprise Architecture Views required in meeting the objectives of different stakeholders.

What does the enterprise wants to achieve during the incremental initiative: EA Vision – This is a critical and tricky part. Until now, the Digital Strategy work had mapped the Business Strategy to a clear Business Vision, mapped tactics to realize the Business Strategy. Sometime, each of the tactics may entail into EA Vision for the cycle (there may be multiple EA cycles for an EA vision too – pyramid of visions is the theme). I have seen organizations running with big transformation exercises and not all stakeholders clearly understand all different aspects; there is a lack of EA vision or there is not a well-developed structure other than Words of Mouth and slides. The recommendation is to lay down the EA vision as a subset of the organizational vision; however, the alignment needs to be clear by following a well-defined approach.

Make the EA vision clear, however, need not be something too insurmountable to achieve over a given period. EA Vision is not a blue-sky dream that may take one to the top of the mountain! It is a pragmatic value proposition that the organization is trying to achieve.

How do the milestones on the road look like: Roadmap – The recommendation will be to execute the road mapping activities under the EA initiative of the Digital Transformation. This will allow creating the right alignment from Business Perspective and will help to bind all the stakeholders to the common cause. There is significant number of examples where large programs have surprised the stakeholders with the outcome in a negative way. It would be a more difficult journey for Digital Transformation without the right level of effort or EA effort.

Can we do it better next time: Housekeeping – A significant part of the EA assets and activities that exist today in Literature and are more popular, are around the Housekeeping activities. One of them is EA repository. This is extremely important; however, practitioners should recognize this and appropriately position the activities around the Repository. I would not think positioning a significant amount of housekeeping activities while one is trying to build the house would do justice to the time and effort spent.

Nevertheless, this would be a good time where you can start with a clean EA repository and start populating with the artifacts being produced. Then, in a parallel thread or latter thread start tying things together. The benefit of this approach is to be able to avoid diluting the focus area of using EA as a problem-solving tool and keep the accelerated momentum of the transformation on.

The EA Repository can be helpful for Managing Business Assets, especially those focused around Information Technology (we are discussing technology enabled business transformation). Business Capability creation, impacts on business capabilities, visibility to key stakeholders will receive a boost, through traceability and reusability.

It may appear that the transformation team will adopt the tools and techniques, mentioned above, even without the EA umbrella. The point is – instead of doing these activities in silos of Business or IT at different points in time, the EA can bring all these together. It will help the organization make efficient progress. A few ways these can help, create “Views” for different “concern or focus” areas; thus allowing different groups to visualize their respective stake and impact, as different initiatives run in parallel. All these initiatives are large which is transforming the DNA of the organization; it would be important to understand the impact and be able to manoeuvre the steering.

  1. Enterprise Agility:

Why Enterprise “Agility” is important in the context of Digital Transformation? Is it just because Agility is the fad these days? I believe it is the environment. It has become very dynamic, for all reasons mentioned above. On the other hand, agility is being driven by the fact that it is possible to be agile with both information and tools available. We have moved quite far since the days of Mr. Ford’s era of “Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants as long as it is black.” In a very dynamic environment, ability to iterate is important. The points shared so far will help to achieve agility and make incremental progress. The main pillars to achieve incremental transformation are:

  1. Ability to have a single coherent view, though multiple threads are being run independently
  2. Conceptualize and initiate multiple iterations of Enterprise Architecture, driven by a vision (or pyramid of visions)
  3. A strong enterprise architecture repository so that every iterations and every independent thread is contributing to the common goal; this doesn’t mean that it is the most important thing (one of the important element)

As one is moving through the transformation, it is imperative to have a clear vision of what one wants to achieve. Then, it is required to break it down (architectural decomposition) into smaller achievable chunks and then iteratively implement the chunks. Approaches other than EA would fail to maintain the stability of the Enterprise System, after each of the viable iteration. This means that at every point in time during the transformation business should function in a seamless way with transformed and existing business and IT functions; there should be seamless flow of information across all business functions. Moreover, business benefits should be clear and measurable during each of the iteration.

Summing it up, if the technical initiatives with Big Data, Machine Learning or Artificial Intelligence or Cloud or Mobility or Social does not affect the Business (apart from adoption of new Information Services or Technology Services) then EA may not be required. However, if one wants to change business functions by leveraging digital tools or would have to change it because of Digital Forces, then EA would be the best vehicle to board to take up the journey of transformation!

The risk of not taking an architecture-centric approach is that it is too complex to handle the different variables that can influence the net outcome of Digital Transformation. The immediate success can soon wane out into an unmanageable mess of different organizations, departments, roles, systems and information. There are too many variables; which a few individuals can relate them, communicate them, and track them as they changes.

The promise of Digital in the business space is the capability to use information, move incrementally, and continuously optimize. Transformation of Enterprises (large or small) incrementally is not an easy affair, as we have realized and experienced it! Thus, without using a tool set that helps to ease out the transformation, the cost of technology and its rapid evolution will be difficult to manage.

During the whole journey of transformation, EA can produce tangible outputs. The organization can refer back to these outputs at any point in time to understand the rational for failure or success. Organizations, not matured in implementing strategies often, grapple with the outcome if it is not a great success. Their success seems to depend too much on the binary nature of success or failure, though business is continuous. There is plenty of opportunity to avoid the binary result and follow a path of incremental change.

By Sunil Kr. Singh, TATASunil Kr. Singh is a Senior Architecture and Digital Consultant at TATA Consultancy Services. He has more than 16 years of experience with Information Technology driven transformation and developing IT systems for business solutions. He has a wide range of hands on experience; established Enterprise Architecture Practices, streamlined IT and business processes, developed, designed and architected business systems.
https://ca.linkedin.com/in/sunilsingh1

The opinions expressed in this article/presentation are those of the author; no organization that the author is affiliated or works for is related to these views.

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