Tag Archives: IT

What Really Happens When You Run IT Like a Business?

By Sven Vollbehr, SAP Certified LEAD Business & Enterprise Architect, SKF; Speaker at The Open Group Paris 2016

Recently, The Open Group released a new open standard IT operating model and reference architecture called IT4IT™. They billed it as the answer to “How to run IT like a business.” At the same time, our Enterprise Architecture team at SKF was supporting the rollout of a major SAP initiative. To be successful in this initiative we became convinced that we must also simultaneously transform the way IT worked with the business to provide value.

Through this transformation, we aligned business strategy and IT operational governing activities through a pragmatic way to capture business demand and deliver services to the business that maintained traceability and alignment with the original demand. This article provides some valuable lessons that we learned on our transformation journey that we believe will help you re-orient IT to focus on business value, to structure its operating model, and to look into ways to gain additional growth.

Step 1: Agree upon the IT Business Model

 It is a broadly recognised – if not necessarily discussed – fact that IT organisations are experienced in developing and using IT operating models without necessarily knowing what value that the business within which they operate require from them. There is far too often the scenario that IT teams, within their well-planned out, best practice, quality assured activities, inherently hope that what is delivered is what the business themselves hoped for.

Many IT departments comprise of people predominantly from a technical background and are not necessarily schooled in business competencies which would allow them to reorient their activities to align with a business perspective. This is not a criticism, but simply a fact of how IT teams have traditionally been positioned in most organisations with respect to their purpose, structure and most importantly their behaviour and stakeholder relationships.

The viewpoint makes all the difference. While we believe the IT4IT Value Chain has a genuine place within the strategy of an IT organisation, we have identified that it is only a useful tenet for SKF if our IT Value Proposition is determined first; in this way the Value Chain supports the type of IT organisation we want to be, the roles we perform and the services we deliver, all undertaken within the fullest business context of the organisation. As it stands today, the IT4IT Value Chain puts more focus on IT operations than strategy. This is not necessarily incorrect, but does only represent one viewpoint.

Looking at how to run IT like a business from the customer viewpoint should start with different questions. We were required to fundamentally address these blind spots, to align IT in such a way that it reflected the broader (essentially non-IT) organisation and their transformation ambition. For our transformation, our chosen approach was aimed at ensuring the end-to-end structure and execution of our IT operational delivery would be fully aligned with business strategy and outcomes. We had a very specific IT Value Proposition in mind which determined the capabilities and structures we required.

With IT4IT, the IT Value Proposition is an implicit one which dictates many of the other aspects within the framework including the organisational setup. With our Value Proposition determined with respect to the type of IT organisation we were – and more importantly wanted to become – we concluded that a different organisational setup was required for our specific requirements, thereby driving the creation of a variation to the prescribed IT4IT Value Chain.
by-sven-vollbehr-skf

CIOs’ mandates and priorities are changing (Source: Moving from the back office to the front lines. CIO insights from the Global C-suite Study. IBM Institute for Business Value, November 2013.)

Building on these fundamentals, we can then define – with the business – targets for our transformation to deliver on the stated business outcomes. This would require the necessary organizational structure to be established both in classic hierarchical and associative terms but also in terms of shared and inter-related functions and accountabilities, all of which are aligned to shared business outcomes (not siloed technological outputs).

Step 2: Take Structured Approach to support the IT Operating Model

As an Enterprise Architect working in the IT Management, you have the heavy task of aligning between different organisational silos as well as architectural framework, and industry standards and best practises. Whilst each existing framework and standard has its own intended points of focus, they all share the same restrictive principle i.e. they take a “toolbox” approach where the more content you have in your framework, the more value you provide to the architecture practitioners – but only in and of the particular framework and do not take into account the need to provide insight into how they connect to the broader environment. It is therefore difficult for practitioners to implement the frameworks, understand how to integrate between multiple frameworks or what to prioritize for the benefit of the organisation. Such frustrations do not lend themselves to focusing on delivering business value.

The core value of IT4IT is in the fact that it forces you to think in terms of the value the IT Operating Model is set to deliver. Combined with an explicit IT Value Proposition, this becomes a very efficient tool to better understand and communicate what value the IT organization is set to deliver. However, to drive the creation of an effective IT Operating Model, we required additional, coordinated effort to combine the best aspects of various business and IT architecture disciplines, framework or standard and ensure we can be prescriptive in our undertakings. There is no single framework that is all-encompassing in its design and point of approach so as to be applicable to all business scenarios, and in the massive variety of toolboxes, relevance becomes of essence.

The architecture framework design must therefore begin with the customer (internal or external) request in mind, and limit the details strictly to a level that is sufficient to delivering the answers quickly back to the customer on that particular business use case. Losing the visibility to what originally was the business use case (and therefore why we, for example, modelled certain artefacts to a particular level or way) creates waste. Our efforts have shown that any framework with the primary objective of delivering business value should be an organic entity based on real-life products delivered with standard artefacts and entities in the meta model. Furthermore, such a framework should be context sensitive and at all levels aligned to specific business use cases.

by-sven-vollbehr-skf

Structured approach to building solution roadmaps and solutions

We created a structured approach to our transformation effort to help us comprehensively and holistically translate and structure business ambition to the nuts and bolts to ensure consistent and effective IT service delivery. We aim therefore to build up the complexity in our architecture framework through the services provided. We break down these services into deliverables and connect them into the architecture framework to ensure a consistent delivery and reusability of the information in further service delivery.

Step 3: Devise a Growth Strategy

Once you have established the IT Business Model, IT Operating Model, and related behaviour for the IT organisation, you should be looking for some growth of your IT Business. We must continue to be relevant to the business moving forwards and therefore our offering, competencies and job roles need to evolve over time in lock step with the business. Depending on how significant a gap there is between the IT Value Proposition and the Current Mode of Operations, an explicit growth strategy may be required to support organic growth, and in business terms, gain more market share.

IT has been traditionally viewed as a cost centre with fixed budgets provided on an annual basis. When value is not seen to be delivered, these budgets are reduced, forcing IT to deliver differently but at the risk of reducing further the value that they can realise for the business. What is required, say, to see the IT organisation recognized as a partner, not a service provider, and help it evolve to gain the trust of the business? What can we deliver for the same (or less) but that provides inherently more value if repeatedly adopted quickly by the organisation? What can we do to break out of our traditional domains, and seize the opportunities to take on a bigger role on the front lines of the business? I believe a growth strategy can be achieved through a number of different means.

We can improve organic growth by incorporating much of what we have seen to be successful in earlier undertakings such as delivering services based upon assured standards and frameworks such that repeatable delivery can be achieved. Delivering services outcomes which can be reused by more and more parts of the business reinforces the best practices we execute upon and reinforces the right operating model. This enhances how we are perceived by the business and therefore brings us closer together with each incremental delivery.

We can further enhance our perception with the business by identifying the appropriate business initiatives where we can pilot innovations, and ensure these can be delivered and thereby build trust with the key stakeholders. This is where we have found transformation programmes are an excellent way create and prove new operating models which continue to support the evolving business environment and requirements.

We can also work closer with Local / Business / Shadow IT teams and operate in such a way so as to be inherently advantageous to the business – after all, ultimately we all should have the aim of IT being the sole go-to organisation for the business to provide assured operational efficiency. We know we need to develop new competencies to achieve these outcomes and many times this is where you find those the easiest. Exposing services to these team gives visibility, opportunity to establish certain degree of governance and over time alignment with your central teams to a level it is easy to rationalize the team structures.

Anything which is delivered with these considerations in mind must be easily consumable by our customers so that they do not feel the need to go elsewhere.

@theopengroup #ogPARIS

http://www.opengroup.org    www.opengroup.org/paris2016

by-sven-vollbehr-skfSven is a true professional in architecture, software development and service management. He has 18 years of experience across business process management, business architecture, enterprise and solution architecture, enterprise integrations and integration architecture, front-end application design, server-side enterprise application development and maintenance, and, due to his entrepreneurial background, everything between business administration, sales, outsourcing, and server and network management.

SKF is the leader in bearing business, offering not only the
bearing and related products but also rotating equipment performance
through industry and application knowledge on technologies around the rotating shaft.

 

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Transitioning The Open Group Examinations from Prometric to Pearson VUE

By Andrew Josey, VP, Standards & Certification and Deborah Schoonover, Director, Certification, The Open Group

The Open Group is moving to Pearson VUE as its new examination provider for IT certification exams.

At the time of writing this article (October 2016), we are in a period of dual operation, with most exams available at both Prometric and Pearson VUE.  Through January 31, 2017, you will have the option to take exams at Prometric testing centers, as you have in the past, and must do so if you are holding a Prometric voucher. There’s no change to the exam registration process with Prometric. Effective February 1, 2017, Pearson VUE will be the sole provider of our certification exams.

As part of the transition to Pearson VUE, we are changing the registration process. To take an exam at a Pearson VUE testing center, you will need an Open Group web account, even if you plan on registering for an exam by phone or in person, so that we can ensure your certification history is kept in sync. You can register for an Open Group web account at www.opengroup.org (select login).

In the rest of this article we cover a number of key questions about the transition.

Q: When are The Open Group exams moving to Pearson VUE?

A: Most Open Group exams are currently available at Pearson VUE today and the remaining exams will be soon. We are running a dual operation, with many exams being offered at both Prometric and Pearson VUE during this transition period. See our exam registration page for a current listing of where different exams are being offered: https://certification.opengroup.org/take-exam.

The Open Group exams will be offered at Prometric through January 31, 2017. After that date, exams will only be available at Pearson VUE.

Q: Can I use my exam voucher at either exam provider today?

A: No, you must use your voucher at the designated exam provider. If your exam voucher code starts with “OG”, then it is for Pearson VUE, otherwise it must be used at Prometric, for exams scheduled through January 31, 2017.

Q: Am I required to have an exam voucher to take an exam at Pearson VUE?

A: No, you can also pay by credit card when registering for the exams.

Q: How do I know if my exam voucher is for Prometric or Pearson VUE?

A: If your exam voucher code starts with “OG”, then it is for Pearson VUE. All other codes are Prometric vouchers.

Q: Can I exchange my Prometric voucher for a Pearson VUE voucher?

A: No. Prior to January 31, 2017 you should use your Prometric voucher to book an exam at Prometric. Starting February 1, 2017, your Prometric voucher will be automatically accepted at Pearson VUE (if the code starts with any of the following two characters: 23, 50, 93, 95, 96, 98, 2X, 9X, SX, ZC, ZX). You won’t need to exchange your Prometric voucher, you will be able to use it directly within the Pearson VUE exam registration system.

Q: Will my Prometric voucher be accepted at Pearson VUE?

A: If you received your voucher from an Open Group Accredited Training Course Provider, then yes, your Prometric voucher will be accepted at Pearson VUE after January 2017. If your voucher is valid and unused, then starting February 1, 2017 you will be able to use you voucher to book an exam with Pearson VUE.

Prometric vouchers beginning with any of the following two characters: 23, 50, 93, 95, 96, 98, 2X, 9X, SX, ZC, ZX will be automatically usable at and accepted for exam registration at Pearson VUE after January 31, 2017.

If your voucher begins with any of the following two characters: ER, G2, G3, GP, or P2, then NO, your voucher will not be accepted at Pearson VUE. These vouchers must be used at Prometric by January 31, 2017.

Q: How do I use my Prometric voucher at Pearson VUE?

A: Starting February 1, 2017, if your Prometric voucher is unexpired and unredeemed, you will be able to use it directly when registering at Pearson VUE. Go to https://certification.opengroup.org/take-exam for instructions on how to register. When you get to the payment screen, enter your Prometric voucher number.

Q: What do I do if my Prometric voucher expires after January 31, 2017?

A: If your Prometric voucher has an expiration date after January 31, 2017 and the voucher code starts with the any of the following two characters, your voucher will be accepted at Pearson VUE starting February 1, 2017:

23, 50, 93, 95, 96, 98, 2X, 9X, SX, ZC, ZX

If you have one of the above voucher codes and wish to take your exam before February, you must schedule your exam at a Prometric test center.

If your Prometric voucher starts with any of the codes listed below, the voucher was purchased directly from Prometric and must be used at a Prometric test center by January 31, 2017:

ER, G2, G3, GP, P2

Any vouchers starting with code ER, G2, G3, GP, or P2 that are not used by January 31, 2017 will cease to be valid.

Q: Can I use my Prometric voucher to register in January for an exam in February?

A: No. Your Prometric voucher will not be accepted at Pearson VUE until February 1, 2017.

Q: If I failed the Combined exam at Prometric, can I retake the failed part at Pearson VUE?

A: Yes, you can retake the failed part at Pearson Vue. If the account you use to log in to Pearson VUE contains the email address you used when you took your exam at Prometric, then we will be able to match your new exam results to your prior results.

See our Pearson VUE Frequently Asked Questions for more information about taking an exam at Pearson VUE or our exam registration page to Register for an Exam at Pearson VUE.

@theopengroup

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

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

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

 

 

by-andrew-josey-and-deborah-schoonoverDeborah Schoonover is the Director of Certification at The Open Group, responsible for the development and operation of The Open Group’s certification and accreditation programs. In this role, she engages with various working groups to define each program and the policies and legal documents that underpin the program, defines the business requirements for and oversees development of the underlying software systems, and oversees operational delivery of the certification services.

Prior to joining The Open Group, Deborah held development, quality management, and marketing roles at Cadence Design Systems. Deborah holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Lehigh University and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from Boston University.

 

 

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The Role of Enterprise Architecture in Platform 3.0 Transformation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Managing volatile change

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

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

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

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

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

Architecting for an uncertain future

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

@theopengroup

by-stuart-macgregor-ceo-real-irm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

By Michael Fulton, President, CC and C Solutions

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

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

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

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

 

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

@theopengroup

 

 

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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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Filed under Certifications, devops, EA, Enterprise Architecture, enterprise architecture, Internet of Things, IT, operating system, Professional Development, skills gap, Standards, The Open Group, The Open Group Austin 2016, Uncategorized

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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