Friday, February 11, 2011

Infosys survey shows enterprise architecture and business architecture on common ascent to strategy enablers

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Read a full transcript or download a copy. Sponsor: The Open Group.

Join a panel discussion on the current state of enterprise architecture (EA) and which analyzes some new findings on the subject from a recently completed Infosys Technologies annual survey.

See how the architects themselves are defining the EA team concept, how enterprise architects are dealing with impact and engagement in their enterprises, and the latest definitions of EA deliverables and objectives. [Disclosure: The Open Group is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

We'll also look at where the latest trends around hot topics like cloud and mobile are pushing the enterprise architects. Toward a new future?

Assembled to delve into the current state of EA and the survey results are Len Fehskens, Vice President of Skills and Capabilities at The Open Group; Nick Hill, Principal Enterprise Architect at Infosys Technologies; Dave Hornford, Architecture Practice Principal at Integritas, as well as Chair of The Open Group’s Architecture Forum; Chris Forde, Vice President of Enterprise Architecture and Membership Capabilities for The Open Group; Andrew Guitarte, Enterprise Business Architect of Internet Services at Wells Fargo Bank, and Ahmed Fattah, Executive IT Architect in the Financial Services Sector for IBM, Australia. The panel is moderated by BriefingsDirect's Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.

Here are some excerpts:
Hill: There were some things that were different about this year’s survey. There are several major takeaways.

More and more, the business is taking hold of the value that enterprise architects bring to the table, enterprise architects have been able to survive the economic troubled times, and some companies have even increased their investment in EA.

If you took a look at this year’s survey compared to 2007-2008 surveys, largely they’ve come from core IT with some increase from the business side, business architects and some increase in project managers. The leader of the EA group is still reporting through the IT chain either to the CIO or the CTO.

We also introduced the notion of hot topics. So, we had some questions around cloud computing. And, we took a more forward-looking view in terms of not so much what has been transpiring with enterprise architectures since the last survey, but what are they looking to go forward to in terms of their endeavors. And, as we have been going through economic turmoil over the past 2-3 years, we asked some questions about that.

We did notice that in terms of the team makeup, a lot of the sort of the constituents of the EA group are pretty much still the same, hailing from largely the IT core enterprise group. We looked at the engagement and impacts that they have had on their organizations and, as well, whether they have been able to establish the value that we've noticed that enterprise architects have been trying to accomplish over the past 3-4 years.

This was our fifth annual survey. We did try to do some comparative results from previous surveys and we found that some of things were the same, but there are some things that are shifting in terms of EA.

Forde: In terms of the dynamics of EA, we're constantly trying to justify why enterprise architects should exist in any organization. That's actually no different than most other positions are being reviewed on an ongoing basis, because of what the value proposition is for the organization.

Certifying architects

What I'm seeing in Asia is that a number of academic organizations, universities, are looking for an opportunity to certify enterprise architects, and a number of organizations are initiating, still through the IT organization but at a very high CIO-, CTO-level, the value proposition of an architected approach to business problems.

What I'm seeing in Asia is an increasing recognition of the need for EA, but also a continuing question of, "If we're going to do this, what's the value proposition," which I think is just a reasonable conversation to have on a day-to-day basis anyway.

Fehskens: When you compare EA with all the other disciplines that make up a modern enterprise, it's the new kid on the block. EA, as a discipline, is maybe 20 years old, depending on what you count as the formative event, whereas most of the other disciplines that are part of the modern enterprise at least hundreds of years old.

So, this is both a real challenge and a real opportunity. The other functions have a pretty good understanding of what their business case is They've been around for a long time, and the case that they can make is pretty familiar. Mostly they just have to argue in terms of more efficient or more effective delivery of their results.

For EA, the value proposition pretty much has to be reconstructed from whole cloth, because it didn't really exist, and the value of the function is still not that well understood throughout most of the business.

So, this is an opportunity as well as a challenge, because it forces the maturing of the discipline, unlike some of these older disciplines who had decades to figure out what it was that we're really doing. We have maybe a few years to figure out what it is we're really doing and what we're really contributing, and that helps a lot to accelerate the maturing of the discipline.

EA, when it's well done, people do see the value. When it's not well done, it falls by the side of the road.

I don't think we're there completely yet, but I think EA, when it's well done, people do see the value. When it's not well done, it falls by the side of the road, which is to be expected. There's going to be a lot of that, because of the relative use of the discipline, but we'll get to the point where these other functions have and probably a lot faster than they did.

Hill: I think that’s very much the case. The caveat there is that it's not necessarily an ownership. It's a matter of participation and being able to weigh in on the business transformations that are happening and how EA can be instrumental in making those transformations successful.

Follow through

Now, given that, the idea is that it's been more at a strategic level, and once that strategy is defined and you put that into play within an enterprise the idea is how does the enterprise architect really follow-through with that, if they are more focused on just the strategy not necessarily the implementation of that. That’s a big part of the challenge for enterprise architects -- to understand how they percolate downwards the standards, the discipline of architecture that needs to be present within an organization to enable that strategy in transformation.

Fehskens: One of the things that I am seeing is an idea taking hold within the architecture community that architecture is really about making the connection between strategy and execution.

If you look at the business literature, that problem is one that’s been around for a long time. A lot of organizations evolved really good strategies and then failed in the execution, with people banging their heads against the wall, trying to figure out, "We had such a great strategy. Why couldn’t we really implement it?"

I don’t know that anybody has actually done a study yet, but I would strongly suspect that, if they did, one of the things that they would discover was there wasn’t something that played the role of an architecture in making the connection between strategy and execution.

I see this is another great opportunity for architects, if we can express this idea in language that the businesspeople understand, and strategy to execution is language that businesspeople understand, and we can show them how architecture facilitates that connection. There is a great opportunity for a win-win situation for both the business and the architecture community.

There is a great opportunity for a win-win situation for both the business and the architecture community.

Forde: I just wanted to follow the two points that are right here, and say that the strategy to execution problem space is not at all peculiar to IT architects or enterprise architects. It's a fundamental business problem. Companies that are good at translating that bridge are extremely effective and it's the role of architects in that, that’s the important thing, we have to have the place at the table.

But, to imagine that the enterprise architects are solely responsible for driving execution of a strategy in an organization is a fallacy, in my opinion. The need is to ensure that the team of people that are engaged in setting the strategy and executing on it are compelling enough to drive that through the organization. That is a management and an executive problem, a middle management problem, and then driving down to the delivery side. It's not peculiar to EA at all in my opinion.

Guitarte: From my experience of talking with people from the grassroots to the executive level, I have seen one very common observation, enterprise architects are caught off-guard, and the reason there is that there is this new paradigm. In fact, there is a shift in paradigm that business architecture is the new EA, and I am going out beyond my peers here in terms of predicting the future.

Creating a handbook

That is going to be the future. I am the founding chairman of the Business Architecture Society. Today, I am an advisory member of the Business Architecture Guild. We're writing, or even rewriting, the textbooks on EA. We're creating a handbook for business architects. What my peers have mentioned is that they are bridging the strategy and tactical demands and are producing the value that business has been asking for.

Fattah: The way I see the market is consistent with the results of the survey in that they see the emergence of the enterprise architect as business architect to work on a much wider space and make you focus more on the business. There are a number of catalysts for that. One of them is a business process, the rise of the business process management, as a very important discipline within the organization.

That, in a way, had some roots from Six Sigma, which was really a purely business aspect, but also from service oriented architecture (SOA), which has itself now developed into business process, decomposition and implementation.

That gives very good ammunition and support for the strategic decomposition of the whole enterprise as components that, with business process, is actually connecting elements between this. The business process architect is participating as a business architect using this business process as a major aspect for enabling business transformation.

I'm very encouraged with this development of business architecture. By the way, another catalyst now is a cloud. The cloud will actually purify or modify EA, because all the technical details maybe actually outsourced to the cloud provider, where the essence of what IT will support in the organization becomes the business process.

On one hand, I'm encouraged with the result of the survey and what I’ve seen in the organization, but on the other hand, I am disappointed that EA hasn’t developed these economic and business bases yet. I agree with Len that 20 years is a short time. On the other hand, it’s a long time for not applying this discipline in a consistent way. We’ll get much more penetration, especially with large organization, commercial organization, and not the academic side.

Hornford: I think what is driving [cloud adoption] is the ability to highlight the process or business service requirements, and not tie them to legacy investments that are not decomposed into a cloud. Where you have a separation to a cloud, you’re required to have the ability to improve your execution. The barriers in execution in our current world are very closely tied to our legacy investments in software asset with physical asset which are very closely tied to our organizational structure.

Forde: Any organization that hands over strategic planning or execution activity to a third-party is abdicating its own responsibility to shareholders, as they are a profit-making organizations. So I would not advocate that position at all. You give up control, and that’s not a good situation. You need to be in control of your own destiny. In terms of what Ahmed was talking about, you need to be very careful as you engage with the third-party that they are actually going to implement your strategic intent.

You need to have a really strong idea of what it is you want from the provider, articulating clearly, and set up a structure that allows you to manage and operate that with their strength in the game. If you just simply abdicate that responsibility and assume that that’s going to happen, it’s likely to fail.

Fattah: I agree, on one hand, the organization shouldn't abdicate the core function of the businesses in defining a strategy and then executing it right.

Having a bunch of people labeled as architects is different than having a bunch of people that have the knowledge, skills, and experience to deliver what is expected.

However, an example, which I'm seeing as a trend, but a very slow trend -- outsourcing architecture itself to other organizations. We have one example in Australia of a very large organization, which gives IBM the project execution, the delivery organization. Part of that was architecture. I was part of this to define with the organization their enterprise architecture, the demarcation between what they outsource and what they retain.

Definitely, they have to retain certain important parts, which is strategy and high-level, but outsourcing is a catalyst to be able to define what's the value of this architecture. So the number of architectures within our software organization was looked with a greater scrutiny. They are monitoring the value of this delivery, and value was demonstrated. So the team actually grew; not shrunk.

Forde: In terms of outsourcing knowledge skills and experience in an architecture, this is a wave of activity that's going to be coming. My point wasn't that it wasn't a valid way to go, but you have to be very careful about how you approach it.

My experience out of the Indian subcontinent has been that having a bunch of people labeled as architects is different than having a bunch of people that have the knowledge, skills, and experience to deliver what is expected. But in that region, and in Asia and China in particular, what I'm seeing is a recognition that there is a market there. In North America and in Europe, there is a gap of people with these skills and experience. And folks who are entrepreneurial in their outlook in Asia are certainly looking to fill that gap.

So, Ahmed's model is one that can work well, and will be a burgeoning model over the next few years. You've to build the skill base first.

Why the shift?

Guitarte: There's no disagreement about what's happening today, but I think the most important question is to ask why there is this shift. As Nick was saying, there is a shift of focus, and outsourcing is a symptom of that shift.

If you look back, Dave mentioned that in any organization there are two forces that tried to control the structure. One is the techno structure, which EA belongs to, and the main goal of a techno structure is to perpetrate themselves in power, to put it bluntly. Then, there is the other side, which is the shareholders, who want to maximize profit, and you've seen that cycle go back and forth.

Today, unfortunately, it's the shareholders who are winning. Outsourcing for them is a way to manage cash flow, to control costs, and unfortunately, we're getting hit.

Hill: The whole concept of leveraging the external resources for computing capabilities is something we drove at. We did find the purpose behind that, and it largely plays into our conversation behind the impact of business. It's more of a cost reduction play.

It's almost always the case that the initial driver for the business to get interested in something is to reduce cost.

That's what our survey respondents replied to and said the reason why the organization was interested in cloud was to reduce cost. It's a very interesting concept, when you're looking at why the business sees it as a cost play, as opposed to a revenue-generating, profit-making endeavor. It causes some need for balance there.

Fehskens: The most interesting thing for me about cloud is that it replays a number of scenarios that we've seen happen over and over and over and over again. It's almost always the case that the initial driver for the business to get interested in something is to reduce cost. But, eventually, you squeeze all the water out of that stone and you have to start looking at some other reason to keep moving in that direction, keep exploiting that opportunity.

That almost invariably is added value. What's happening with cloud is that it’s forcing people to look at a lot of the issues that they started to address with SOA. But, the problem with SOA was that a lot of vendors managed to turn it into a technology issue. "Buy this product and you’ll have SOA," which distracted people from thinking about the real issue here, which is figuring out what are the services that the business needs.

Once you understand what the services are that the business needs, then you can go and look for the lowest-cost provider out in the cloud to make that connection. But, once you’ve already made that disconnection between the services that the business needs and how they are provided, you can then start orchestrating the services on the business side from a strategically driven perspective to look at the opportunities to create added value.

You can assemble the implementation that delivers that added value from resources that are already out there that you don’t have to rely on your in-house organization to create it from scratch. So, there’s a huge opportunity here, but it’s accompanied by an enormous risk. If you get this right, you're going to win big. But if you get it wrong, you are going to lose big.

Cloud has focus

Fattah: When we use the term, cloud, like many other terms, we refer to so many different things, and the cloud definitely has a focus. I agree that the focus now on reducing cost. However, when you look at the cloud as providing pure business service such as software as a service (SaaS), but also business process orchestrated services with perhaps outsourcing business process itself, it has a huge potential to create this mindset for organization about what they are doing and in which part they have to minimize cost. That's where the service is a differentiator. They have to own it. They have to invest so much of it. And, they have to use the best around.

Definitely the cloud will play in different levels, but these levels where it will work in a business architecture is actually distilling the enterprise architecture into the essence of it, which is understanding what service do I need, how I sort the services, and how I integrate them together to achieve the value.

Hornford: We've talked in this group about the business struggle to execute. We also have to consider the ability of an enterprise architecture team to execute.

We're 20 years into EA, but you can look at business literature going back a much broader period, talking about the difficulty of executing as a business.

When we look at an organization that has historically come from and been very technically focused in enterprise IT, the struggle there, as Andrew said, is that it’s a self-perpetuating motion.

I keep running into architecture teams that talk about making sure that IT has a seat at the table. It’s a failure model, as opposed to going down the path that Len and Ahmed were talking about. That's identifying the services that the business needs, so that they can be effectively assembled, whether that assembly is inside the company, partly with a outsource provider, or is assembled as someone else doing the work.

That gets back to that core focus of the sub-discipline that is evolving at an even faster rate than enterprise architecture. That’s business architecture. We're 20 years into EA, but you can look at business literature going back a much broader period, talking about the difficulty of executing as a business.

This problem is not new. It’s a new player in it who has the capability to provide good advice, and the core of that I see for execution is an architecture team recognizing that they are advice providers, not doers, and they need to provide advice to a leadership team who can execute.

Varying maturity

Forde: It’s interesting listening to Dave’s comments. What we have to gauge here is that the state of EA varies in maturity from industry to industry and organization to organization.

For the function to be saying "I need a place at the table" is an indication of a maturity level inside an organization. If we're going to say that an EA team that is looking for a place at the table is in a position to strategically advise the executives on what to do in an outsourcing agreement, that's a recipe for disaster.

However, if you're already in the position of being a trusted adviser within the organization, then it's a very powerful position. It reflects the model that you just described, Dana.

Organizations and the enterprise architecture team at the business units need to be reflecting on where they are and how they can play in the model that Ahmed and Dave are talking about. There is no one-size-fits-all here from an EA perspective, I think it really varies from organization to organization.

Hill: One of the major focus areas that we found in the survey is that, when we talk about business architecture, the reality is that there's a host of new technologies that have emerged with Web 2.0 and are emerging in grid computing, cloud computing, and those types of things that surely are alluring to the business. The challenge for the enterprise architecture is to take a look at what those legacy systems that are already invested in in-house and how an organization is going to transition that legacy environment to the new computing paradigms, do that efficiently, and at the same time be able to hit the business goals and objectives.

It's a conundrum that the enterprise architects have to deal with, because there is a host of legacy investment that is there. In Infosys, we've seen a large uptake in the amount of modernization and rationalization of portfolios going on with our clientele.

That's an important indicator that there is this transition happening and the enterprise architects are right in the middle of that, trying to coach and counsel the business leadership and, at the same time, provide the discipline that needs to happen on each and every project, and not just the very large projects or transformation initiatives that organizations are going through.

The key point here is that the enterprise architects are in the middle of this game. They are very instrumental in bringing these two worlds together, and the idea that they need to have more of a business acumen, business savvy, to understand how those things are affecting the business community, is going to be critical.
Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Read a full transcript or download a copy. Sponsor: The Open Group.

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Some thoughts on the Microsoft and Nokia tag team on mobile or bust news

Given what they are and where they have been, there's little logical reason for Microsoft not dominating the mobile smartphone computing landscape. And it should have been a done-deal in many global major markets at least four years ago.

The only reason that Microsoft is now partnering with Nokia on mobile -- clearly not the client giant's first and primary strategy on winning the market -- is because of a lack of execution. I surely recall speaking to Microsofties as many as 10 years ago, and they were all-in on the importance and imperative for mobile platforms. Windows CE's heritage is long and deep. Nokia just as well knew the stakes, knew the technology directions, knew the competition.

Now. In the above two paragraphs replace the words "Microsoft" and "Nokia." Still works. Both had huge wind in their sails (sales?) to steer into the mobile category for keeps, neigh to define and deliver the mobile category to a hungry world and wireless provider landscape ... on their, the platform-providers', terms!

So now here we have two respective global giants who had a lead, one may even say a monopoly or monopoly-adjacency, in mobile and platforms and tools for mobile. And now it is together and somehow federated -- rather than separately or in traditional OEM partnership -- that they will rear up and gallop toward the front of the mobile device pack -- the iOS, Android, RIM and HP-Palm pack. [Disclosure: HP is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

How exactly is their respective inability, Microsoft and Nokia, to execute separately amid huge market position advantages enhanced now by trying to execute in cahoots ... loosely, based mostly on a common set of foes? I'll point you to the history of such business alliances, often based on fear, and its not any better than the history of big technology mergers and acquisitions. It stinks. It stinks for end-users, investors, partners and employees.

But why not reward the leadership of these laggards with some more perks and bonuses? Works in banking.

A developer paradise

And talk about an ace in the hole. Not long ago, hordes of developers and ISVs -- an entire global ecosystem -- were begging Microsoft to show them the mobile way, how to use their Visual Studio skills to skin the new cat of mobile apps. They were sheep waiting to be lead (and not to slaughter). The shepherd, it turned out, was out to lunch. Wily Coyote, super genius.

And execution is not the only big reason these companies have found themselves scrambling as the world around them shifts mightily away. Each Microsoft and Nokia clearly had the innovators dilemma issues in droves. But these were no secret. (See reason one above on execution again ... endless loop).

Microsoft had the fat PC business to protect, which as usual divided the company on how to proceed on any other course, Titantic-like. Nokia had the mobile voice business and mobile telecom provider channel to protect. So many masters, so many varieties of handsets and localizations to cough up. Motorola had a tough time with them one too. Yes, it was quite a distraction.

But again, how do these pressures to remain inert inside of older models change by the two giants teaming up? Unless they spin off the right corporate bits and re-assemble them together under a shared brand, and go after the market anew, the financial pressures not to change fast remain steadfast. (See reason one above on execution again ... endless loop).

What's more there's no time to pull off such a corporate shell game. The developers are leaving (or left), the app store model is solidifying elsewhere, the carriers are being pulled by the end-users expectations (and soon enterprises). And so this Microsoft-Nokia mashup is an eighth-inning change in the line-up and there's no time to go back to Spring training and create a new team.

Too little, too late

Nope, I just can't see how these synergies signal anything but a desperation play. Too little, too late, too complex, too hard to execute. Too much baggage.

At best, the apps created for a pending Nokia-Microsoft channel nee platform will be four down the list for native app support. More likely, HTML 5 and mobile web support (standards, not native) may prove enough to include the market Microsoft and Nokia muster together. But that won't be enough to reverse their lackluster mobile position, or get them the synergies they crave.

Each Microsoft and Nokia were dark horses in the mobile devices and associated cloud services race. Attempting to hitch the two horses together with baling wire and press releases doesn't get them any kind of leg up on the competition. It may even hobble them for good.

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The golden thread of interoperability runs deep at Open Group conference

This guest post comes courtesy of Dr. Chris Harding, Director for Interoperability and SOA at The Open Group.

By Dr. Chris Harding

AN DIEGO -- There are so many things going on at every Conference by The Open Group that it is impossible to keep track of all of them, and this week’s conference here is no exception. The main themes are cybersecurity, enterprise architecture, SOA and cloud computing. Additional topics range from real-time and embedded systems to quantum lifecycle management.

But there are a number of common threads running through all of those themes, relating to value delivered to IT customers through open systems. One of those threads is interoperability.

Interoperability panel session

The interoperability thread showed strongly in several sessions on the opening day of the conference, Monday Feb. 7, starting with a panel session on Interoperability Challenges for 2011 that I was fortunate to have been invited to moderate. [Disclosure: The Open Group is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

The panelists were Arnold van Overeem of Capgemini, chair of the Architecture Forum’s Interoperability project, Ron Schuldt, the founder of UDEF-IT and chair of the Semantic Interoperability Work Group’s UDEF project, TJ Virdi of Boeing, co-chair of The Open Group Cloud Computing Work Group, and Bob Weisman of Build-the-Vision, chair of The Open Group Architecture Forum’s Information Architecture project. The audience was drawn from many companies, both members and non-members of The Open Group, and made a strong contribution to the debate.

What is interoperability? The panel described several essential characteristics:
  • Systems with different owners and governance models work together;
  • They exchange and understand data automatically;
  • They form an information-sharing environment in which business information is available in the right context, to the right person, and at the right time; and
  • This environment enables processes, as well as information, to be shared.
Interoperability is not just about the IT systems. It is also about the ecosystem of user organizations, and their cultural and legislative context.

Semantics is an important component of interoperability. It is estimated that 65 percent of data warehouse projects fail because of their inability to cope with a huge number of data elements, differently defined.

There is a constant battle for interoperability. Systems that lock customers in by refusing to interoperate with those of other vendors can deliver strong commercial profit. This strategy is locally optimal but globally disastrous; it gives benefits to both vendors and customers in the short term, but leads in the longer term to small markets and siloed systems. The front line is shifting constantly. There are occasional resounding victories – as with the introduction of the Internet – but the normal state is trench warfare with small and painful gains and losses.

Blame for lack of interoperability is often put on the vendors, but this is not really fair. Vendors must work within what is commercially possible. Customer organizations can help the growth of interoperability by applying pressure and insisting on support for standards. This is in their interests; integration required by lack of interoperability is currently estimated to account for over 25 percent of IT spend.

SOA has proved a positive force for interoperability. By embracing SOA, a customer organization can define its data model and service interfaces, and tender for competing solutions that conform to its interfaces and meet its requirements. Services can be shared processing units forming part of the ecosystem environment.

This is in some ways reinforcing SOA as an interoperability enabler.

The latest IT phenomenon is cloud computing. This is in some ways reinforcing SOA as an interoperability enabler. Shared services can be available on the cloud, and the ease of provisioning services in a cloud environment speeds up the competitive tendering process.

But there is one significant area in which cloud computing gives cause for concern: lack of interoperability between virtualization products. Virtualization is a core enabling technology for cloud computing, and virtualization products form the basis for most private cloud solutions. These products are generally vendor-specific and without interoperable interfaces, so that it is difficult for a customer organization to combine different virtualization products in a private cloud, and easy for it to become locked in to a single vendor.

There is a need for an overall interoperability framework within which standards can be positioned, to help customers express their interoperability requirements effectively. This framework should address cultural and legal aspects, and architectural maturity, as well as purely technical aspects. Semantics will be a crucial element.

Such a framework could assist the development of interoperable ecosystems, involving multiple organizations. But it will also help the development of architectures for interoperability within individual organizations – and this is perhaps of more immediate concern.

The Open Group can play an important role in the development of this framework, and in establishing it with customers and vendors.

SOA/TOGAF practical guide

OA is an interoperability enabler, but establishing SOA within an enterprise is not easy to do. There are many stakeholders involved, with particular concerns to be addressed. This presents a significant task for enterprise architects.

TOGAF has long been established as a pragmatic framework that helps enterprise architects deliver better solutions. The Open Group is developing a practical guide to using TOGAF for SOA, as a joint project of its SOA Work Group and The Open Group Architecture Forum.

The discussion resolved all the issues, enabling the preparation of a draft for review by The Open Group, and we can expect to see this valuable guide published at the conclusion of the review process.

This work is now nearing completion. Ed Harrington of Architecting-the-Enterprise had overcome the considerable difficulty of assembling and adding to the material created by the project to form a solid draft. This was discussed in detail by a small group, with some participants joining by teleconference. As well as Ed, this group included Mats Gejnevall of Capgemini and Steve Bennett of Oracle, and it was led by project co-chairs Dave Hornford of Integritas and Awel Dico of the Bank of Montreal.

The discussion resolved all the issues, enabling the preparation of a draft for review by The Open Group, and we can expect to see this valuable guide published at the conclusion of the review process.

UDEF deployment workshop

The importance of semantics for interoperability was an important theme of the interoperability panel discussion. The Open Group is working on a specific standard that is potentially a key enabler for semantic interoperability: the Universal Data Element Framework (UDEF).

It had been decided at the previous conference, in Amsterdam, that the next stage of UDEF development should be a deployment workshop. This was discussed by a small group, under the leadership of UDEF project chair Ron Schuldt, again with some participation by teleconference.

The group included Arnold van Overeem of Capgemini, Jayson Durham of the US Navy, and Brand Niemann of the Semantic Community. Jayson is a key player in the Enterprise Lexicon Services (ELS) initiative, which aims to provide critical information interoperability capabilities through common lexicon and vocabulary services. Brand is a major enthusiast for semantic interoperability with connections to many US semantic initiatives, and currently to the Air Force OneSource project in particular, which is evolving a data analysis tool used internally by the USAF Global Cyberspace Integration Center (GCIC) Vocabulary Services Team, and made available to general data management community. The participation of Jayson and Brand provided an important connection between the UDEF and other semantic projects.

As a result of the discussions, Ron will draft an interoperability scenario that can be the basis of a practical workshop session at the next conference, which is in London.

Complex cloud environments

Cloud Computing is the latest hot technology, and its adoption is having some interesting interoperability implications, as came out clearly in the Interoperability panel session. In many cases, an enterprise will use, not a single cloud, but multiple services in multiple clouds. These services must interoperate to deliver value to the enterprise. The Complex Cloud Environments conference stream included two very interesting presentations on this.

The first, by Mark Skilton and Vladimir Baranek of Capgemini, explained how new notations for cloud can help explain and create better understanding and adoption of new cloud-enabled services and the impact of social and business networks. As cloud environments become increasingly complex, the need to explain them clearly grows.

Consumers and vendors of cloud services must be able to communicate. Stakeholders in consumer organizations must be able to discuss their concerns about the cloud environment. The work presented by Mark and Vladimir grew from discussions in a CloudCamp that was held at a previous Conference by The Open Group. We hope that it can now be developed by The Open Group Cloud Computing Work Group to become a powerful and sophisticated language to address this communication need.

The second presentation, from Soobaek Jang of IBM, addressed the issue of managing and coordinating across a large number of instances in a cloud computing environment. He explained an architecture for “Multi-Node Management Services” that acts as a framework for auto-scaling in a SaaS lifecycle, putting structure around self-service activity, and providing a simple and powerful web service orientation that allows providers to manage and orchestrate deployments in logical groups.

SOA conference stream

The principal presentation in this stream picked up on one of the key points from the Interoperability panel session in a very interesting way. It showed how a formal ontology can be a practical basis for common operation of SOA repositories. Semantic interoperability is at the cutting edge of interoperability, and is more often the subject of talk than of action. The presentation included a demonstration, and it was great to see the ideas put to real use.

The presentation was given jointly by Heather Kreger, SOA Work Group Co-chair, and Vince Brunssen, Co-chair of SOA Repository Artifact Model and Protocol (S-RAMP) at OASIS. Both presenters are from IBM. S-Ramp is an emerging standard from OASIS that enables interoperability between tools and repositories for SOA. It uses the formal SOA Ontology that was developed by The Open Group, with extensions to enable a common service model as well as an interoperability protocol.

This presentation illustrated how S-RAMP and the SOA Ontology work in concert with The Open Group SOA Governance Framework to enable governance across vendors. It contained a demonstration that included defining new service models with the S-RAMP extensions in one SOA repository and communicating with another repository to augment its service model.

Architecture governance must change in the context of cloud-based ecosystems. It may take some effort to keep to the principles of the SOA style – but it will be important to do this.

To conclude the session, I gave a brief presentation on SOA in the Cloud – the Next Challenge for Enterprise Architects. This discussed how the SOA architectural style is widely accepted as the style for enterprise architecture, and how cloud computing is a technical possibility that can be used in enterprise architecture. Architectures using cloud computing should be service-oriented, but this poses some key questions for the architect. Architecture governance must change in the context of cloud-based ecosystems. It may take some effort to keep to the principles of the SOA style – but it will be important to do this. And the organization of the infrastructure – which may migrate from the enterprise to the cloud – will present an interesting challenge.

Enabling semantic interoperability

he day was rounded off by an evening meeting, held jointly with the local chapter of the IEEE, on semantic interoperability. The meeting featured a presentation by Ron Schuldt, UDEF Project Chair, on the history, current state, and future goals of the UDEF.

The importance of semantics as a component of interoperability was clear in the morning’s panel discussion. In this evening session, Ron explained how the UDEF can enable semantic interoperability, and described the plans of the UDEF Project Team to expand the framework to meet the evolving needs of enterprises today and in the future.

This meeting was arranged through the good offices of Jayson Durham, and it was great that local IEEE members could join conference participants for an excellent session.

This guest post comes courtesy of Dr. Chris Harding, Director for Interoperability and SOA at The Open Group.

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Examining the current state of the enterprise architecture profession with The Open Group's Steve Nunn

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Read a full transcript or download a copy. Sponsor: The Open Group.

Join an executive from The Open Group to examine the current state of enterprise architecture (EA) as part of The Open Group Conference in San Diego the week of Feb. 7, 2011. In this podcast summary blog, learn how EA is becoming more business-oriented and how organizing groups for the EA profession are consolidating and adjusting. [Disclosure: The Open Group is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

Get an update on The Association of Open Group Enterprise Architects (AOGEA) and learn more about its recent merger with the Association of Enterprise Architects. What's more, receive an assessment of the current maturity levels and overall professionalism drive of EA, and learn more about what to expect from the EA field and these organizing groups over the next few years.

To delve into the current state of EA, we've interviewed Steve Nunn, Chief Operating Officer of The Open Group and CEO of The Association of Open Group Enterprise Architects. The discussion is moderated by BriefingsDirect's Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.

Here are some Q&A excerpts:
Gardner: Is EA dead or outmoded as a professional category?

Nunn: Absolutely not. EA is very much the thing of the moment, but it's also something that’s going to be with us for the foreseeable future too. Both inside The Open Group and the AOGEA, we're seeing significant growth and interest in the area of EA. In the association, it’s individuals becoming certified and wanting to join a professional body for their own purposes and to help the push to professionalize EA.

Within The Open Group it’s entities and organizations. Whether they be commercial, governments, academic, they are regularly joining The Open Group Architecture Forum. So, it's far from dead and in terms of the importance of business overall, EA being relevant to business.

A plenary session here at the conference is a good example. It's about using EA for business transformation. It's about using EA to tie IT into the business. There is no point in doing IT for IT's sake. It's there to support the business, and people are finding that one way of doing that is EA.

Gardner: Are the major trends around mobile, security, and cyber risk putting wind in your sails?

Nunn: Absolutely. We're seeing increasingly that you can't just look at EA in some kind of silo. It's more about how it fits. It's so central to an organization and the way that organizations are built that it has all of the factors that you mentioned. Security is a good one, as well as cloud. They're all impacted by EA. EA has a role to play in all of those.

Inside the Open Group, what's happening is a lot of cross-functional working groups between the Architecture Forum, the Security Forum, and the Cloud Work Group, which is just recognition of that fact. But, the central tool of it is EA.

Gardner: What's important about certification for enterprise architects?

Nunn: Everyone seems to want to be an enterprise architect or an IT architect right now. It's that label to have on your business card. What we're trying to do is separate the true architects from one of these, and certification is a key part of that.

If you're an employer and you're looking to take somebody on to help in the EA role, then it’s having some means to assess whether somebody really has any experience of EA, whether they know any frameworks, and what projects they've led that involve EA. All those things are obviously important to know.

One of the great things we see is the general acceptance of certification as a means to telling the wood from the trees.

There are various certification programs, particularly in The Open Group, that help with that. The TOGAF Certification Program is focused on the TOGAF framework. At the other end of the spectrum is the ITAC Program, which is a skills and experience based program that assesses by peer review an individual’s experience in EA.

There are those, there are others out there, and there are more coming. One of the great things we see is the general acceptance of certification as a means to telling the wood from the trees.

Gardner: It was three years ago at this very event that The AOGEA was officially launched. Tell us what’s happened since .

Nunn: Three years ago, we launched the association with 700 members. We were delighted to have that many at the start. As we sit here today, we have over 18,000 members. Over that period, we added members through more folks becoming certified through not only The Open Group programs, but with other programs. For example, we acknowledged the FIAC Certification Program as a valid path to full membership of the association.

We also embraced the Global Enterprise Architecture Organization (GEAO), and those folks, relevant to your earlier question, really have a particular business focus. We've also embraced the Microsoft Certified Architect individuals. Microsoft stopped its own program about a year ago now, and one of the things they encouraged their individuals who were certified to do was to join the association. In fact, Microsoft would help them pay to be members of the association, which was good.

So, it reflects the growth and membership reflects the interest in the area of EA and the interest in individuals' wanting to advance their own careers through being part of a profession.

Valuable resource

Enterprise architects are a highly valuable resource inside an organization, and so we are both promoting that message to the outside world. For our members as individuals what we're focusing on is delivering to them latest thinking in EA moving towards best practices, white papers, and trying to give them, at this stage, a largely virtual community in which to deal with each other.

Where we have turned it in to real community is through local chapters. We now have about 20 local chapters around the world. The members have formed those. They meet at varying intervals, but the idea is to get face time with each other and talk about issues that concern enterprise architects and the advancement of profession. It’s all good stuff. It’s growing by the week, by the month, in terms of the number of folks who want to do that. We're very happy with what has gone in three years.

Gardner: There are several EA organizations, several communities, that have evolved around them. Now the AOGEA has announced its merger with the Association of Enterprise Architects (AEA). How does that shape up?

Nunn: Well, it is certainly a melding of the two. The two organizations actually became one in late fall last year, and obviously we have the usual post-merger integration things to take care of.

As we develop, we're getting closer to our goal of being able to really promote the profession of EA in a coherent way.

But, I think it’s not just a melding. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts. We have two different communities. We have the AOGEA folks who have come primarily through certification route, and we also have the AEA folks who haven’t been so, so focused on certification, but they bring to the table something very important. They have chapters in different areas than the AOGEA folks by and large.

Also, they have a very high respected quarterly publication called The Journal of Enterprise Architecture, along the lines of an academic journal, but with a leaning towards practitioners as well. That’s published on a quarterly basis. The great thing is that that’s now a membership benefit to the merged association membership of over 18,000, rather than the subscribed base before the merger.

As we develop, we're getting closer to our goal of being able to really promote the profession of EA in a coherent way. There are other groups beyond that, and there are the early signs of co-operation and working together to try to achieve one voice for the profession going forward.

Gardner: This also followed a year ago the GOAO merger with the AOGEA. It seems as if we're getting the definitive global EA organization. Tell me about this new über organization.

Nunn: Well, the first part of that is the easy part. We have consulted the membership multiple times now actually, and we are going to name the merged organization, The Association of Enterprise Architects. So that will keep things nice and simple and that will be the name going forward. It does encompass so far GEAO, AOGEA and AEA. It's fair to say that, as a membership organization, it is the leading organization for enterprise architects.

Role to play

There are other organizations in the ecosystem who are, for example, advocacy groups, training organizations, or certification groups, and they all have a role to play in the profession. But, where we're going with AEA in the future is to make that the definitive professional association for enterprise architects. It's a non-profit 501(c)(6) incorporated organization, which is there to act as the professional body for its members.

Gardner: Let’s get back to the notion of the enterprise architect as an entity. Where are we on a scale of 1 to 10?

Nunn: There's a long way to go, and I think to measure it on a scale of 1 to 10, I'd like to say higher, but it's probably about 2 right now. Just because a lot of things that need to be done to create profession are partly done by one group or another, but not done in a unified way or with anything like one voice for the profession.

It's interesting. We did some research on how long we might expect to take to achieve the status of a profession. Certainly, in the US at least, the shortest period of time taken so far was 26 years by librarians, but typically it was closer to 100 years and, in fact, the longest was 170-odd years. So, we're doing pretty well. We're going pretty quickly compared to those organizations.

There's a long way to go, but we've made good progress in a short numbers of years, really.

We're trying to do it on a global basis, which to my knowledge is the first time that's been done for any profession. If anything, that will obviously make things a little more complicated, but I think there is a lot of will in the EA world to make this happen, a lot of support from all sorts of groups. Press and analysts are keen to see it happen from the talks that we've had and the articles we've read. So, where there is a will there is a way. There's a long way to go, but we've made good progress in a short numbers of years, really.

Gardner: What's in these groups for the enterprise? What does a group like the AEA do for them?

Nunn: It's down to giving them the confidence that the folks that they are hiring or the folks that they are developing to do EA work within their enterprise are qualified to do that, knowledgeable to do that, or on a path to becoming true professionals in EA.

Certainly if you were hiring into your organization an accountant or a lawyer, you'd be looking to hire one that was a member of the relevant professional body with the appropriate certifications. That's really what we're promoting for EA. That’s the role that the association can play.

Confidence building

When we achieve success with the association is when folks are hiring enterprise architects, they will only look at folks who are members of the association, because to do anything else would be like hiring an unqualified lawyer or accountant. It's about risk minimization and confidence building in your staff.

Gardner: You wear two hats, Chief Operating Officer at The Open Group and CEO of the AEA. How do these two groups relate?

Nunn: It's something I get asked periodically. The fact is that the association, whilst a separately incorporated body, was started by The Open Group. With these things, somebody has to start them and The Open Group's membership was all you needed for this to happen. So, very much the association has its roots in The Open Group and today still it works very closely with The Open Group in terms of how it operates and certain infrastructure things for the association are provided by The Open Group.

The support is still there, but increasingly the association is becoming a separate body. I mentioned the journal that’s published in the association's name that has its own websites, its own membership.

It's one of the leading organizations in the EA space and a group that the association would be foolish not to pay attention to.

So, little by little, there will be more separation between the two, but the aims of the two or the interests of the two are both served by EA becoming recognized as profession. It just couldn't have happened without The Open Group, and we intend to pay a lot of attention to what goes on inside The Open Group in EA. It's one of the leading organizations in the EA space and a group that the association would be foolish not to pay attention to, in terms of the direction of certifications and what the members, who are enterprise architects, are saying, experiencing, and what they're needing for the future.

It's a very close partnership and along with partnerships with other groups. The association is not looking to take anyone's turf or tread on anyone’s toes, but to partner with the other groups that are in the ecosystem. Because if we work together, we'll get to this profession status a lot quicker, but certainly a key partner will be The Open Group.
Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Read a full transcript or download a copy. Sponsor: The Open Group.

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Deployit 3.0 enhances deployment automation

XebiaLabs recently launched a new version of its deployment automation software. Deployit 3.0 promises to take away the risks associated with manual or scripted Java deployments, as well as out-of-date procedures. The end result: more productive DevOps teams.

Coert Baart, CEO, XebiaLabs, rightly points out that the escalating adoption of virtualization and cloud computing is causing increasingly complex application deployments -- especially with roles of development and operations teams crossing over.

“Issues of virtual sprawl, lengthy scripts, and error-prone manual processes become all the more burdensome for companies tackling deployments without the right technologies in place,” Baart says. “With Deployit 3.0, companies can relieve these burdens and achieve the productivity they need in today’s increasingly dynamic markets.”

Removing the red tape

Deployit 3.0 works to remove the complexity of managing deployments. Here’s the secret sauce: the ability to work with large numbers of applications and servers and manage large environments. XebiaLabs says the additional insight into configuration items and deployments empowers companies to implement secure, self-service deployments that set the stage for continuous deployment scenarios.

Deployit 3.0 executes multiple deployments at the same time with one mouse click. Additional new features in Deployit 3.0 include a new, user-friendly interface, Python command-line interface, and Maven plugin, as well as the ability to compare packages, servers and applications.

“At BGPI, part of Crédit Agricole, we constantly aim to deliver the best private banking services to our clients at competitive cost levels. However, too many errors in the deployment phase caused an increase in downtime for critical applications, leading to higher costs for our IT organization,” says Xavier Daguerre, Development Manager at BGPI. “With Deployit, we managed to significantly reduce the number of errors, as well as the time needed to deploy new applications or features. This contributed to lower deployment costs and overall, a higher business responsiveness.”
BriefingsDirect contributor Jennifer LeClaire provided editorial assistance and research on this post. She can be reached at and
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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Cloud computing drives need for open standards to define and describe a new enterprise environment

This guest post comes courtesy of Mark Skilton of Capgemini Global Applications, and The Open Group.

By Mark Skilton

recently looked back at some significant papers that had influenced my thinking on cloud computing as part of a review on current strategic trends. In February 2009, a paper published at the University of California, Berkeley, “Above the Clouds: A Berkeley View of Cloud Computing," stands out as the first of many papers to drive out the issues around the promise of cloud computing and technology barriers to achieving secure elastic service.

The key issue unfolding at that time was the transfer of risk that resulted from moving to a cloud environment and the obstacles to security, performance and licensing that would need to evolve. But the genie was out of the bottle, as successful early adopters could see cost savings and rapid one-to-many monetization benefits of on-demand services. [Disclosure: The Open Group is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

A second key moment was the realization that the exchange of services was no longer a simple request and response. Social networks had demonstrated huge communities of collaboration and online “personas” changing individual and business network interactions, but something else had happened -- less obvious but more profound.

This change was made most evident in the proliferation of mobile computing that greatly expanded the original on-premise move to off-premise services. A key paper by Intel Research titled “CloneCloud,” published around that same time period, exemplified this shift. Services could be cloned and moved into the cloud, demonstrating the possible new realities in redefining the real potential of how work gets done using cloud computing.

Remote services

he key point was that storage or processing transactions, media streaming, or complex calculations no longer had to be executed within a physical device. It could be provided as a service from remote source, a virtual cloud service.

But more significant was the term “multiplicity” in this concept. We see this everyday as we download apps, stream video, and transact orders. The fact was that you could do not only a few, but multiple tasks, simultaneously and pick and choose the services and results.

This signaled a big shift away from the old style of thinking about business services that had us conditioned to think of service-oriented requests in static, tiered, rigid ways. Those business processes and services missed this new bigger picture. Just take a look at the phenomenon called "hyperlocal services" that offer location specific on-demand information or how crowd sourcing can dramatically transform purchasing choices and collaboration incentives.

The new multiplicity based world of cloud enabled networks means you can augment yourself and your company’s assets in ways that change the shape of your industry.

Traditional ways of measuring, modeling and running business operations are under-utilizing this potential and under-valuing what can be possible in these new collaborative networks. The new multiplicity-based world of cloud-enabled networks means you can augment yourself and your company’s assets in ways that change the shape of your industry.

What is needed is a new language to describe how this shift feels and works, and how advances in your business portfolio can be realized with these modern ideas, often by examining current methods and standards of strategy visualization, metrics, and design to evolve a new expression of this potential.

Some two years have passed, and what has been achieved? Certainly we have seen the huge proliferation of services into a cloud hosting environment. Large strategic movements in private data centers seek to develop private cloud services, by bringing together social media and social networking through cloud technologies.

But what's needed now is a new connection between the potential of these technologies and the vision of the Internet, the growth of social graph associations, and the wider communities and ecosystems that are emerging in the movement’s wake.

With every new significant disruptive change, there is also the need for a new language to help describe this new world. Open standards and industry forums will help drive this. The old language focuses on the previous potential, and so a new way to visualize, define, and use the new realities can help the big shift toward the potential above the cloud.

This guest post comes courtesy of Mark Skilton of Capgemini Global Applications, and The Open Group.

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