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The Open Group Conference San Diego
Highlights of Day 2


The Open Group Conference San Diego 2011 continued on Tuesday, February 8 at the Marriot San Diego Mission Valley. The conference gathered to discuss themes along three primary tracks:

  • Architecting cybersecurity
  • Enterprise architecture and business transformation
  • The business and financial impact of Cloud Computing

Morning Plenary

The theme for Day Two was Enterprise Architecture. There was a lively discussion on business architecture versus enterprise architecture. Plenary session presentations in the morning brought together thought leaders from government and the analyst industry where key questions were posed, such as: What is business architecture, how is it different from enterprise architecture, why is it important, and who needs it?

Keynote: Good Enterprise Architecting Can Support Transformation
David Mihelcic, Chief Technology Officer, Defense Information Systems Agency (US)

David began by stating: “Enterprise architecture for the sake of building architectures is not good enterprise architecting.” He went on to talk about enterprise architecture transformation — whether for business, mission, front office, back office — is all about making change that helps an organization meet its objectives. The purpose of enterprise architecture in this process is to help decide what to do and then help guide and oversee downstream behavior.

The Department of Defense (DoD) aims to architect systems so they have the right person, right system, at the right time. However, the government restrictions on information sharing make this extremely difficult. David told the audience that the DoD wants to architect its systems so that it can share information and control access based on security credentials in the consuming system, but legacy problems are preventing this from happening.

He also said that in order to build a net-centric approach, there needs to be a culture change. The DoD does not view itself as a single enterprise, but rather a group of individual enterprises that operate under the same umbrella. He suggested the government should operate as a single enterprise in order to work towards common missions and goals and increase the flow of information sharing. Within this single operating body, a “how-to” guide on net-centricity would have impact.

The DoD has developed the Rapid Development of Enterprise Mission Services (RDEMS) to serve as “a cookbook with cooking lessons”. The “cookbook” aspect documents and pilots the processes and procedures required to rapidly and cost-effectively deliver information sharing capabilities to the DoD. The “cooking lessons” aspect provides shoulder-to-shoulder assistance to help organizations implement those processes and procedures, bringing the DoD to a tipping point of understanding and practice.

David concluded by telling the audience that the DoD has been working on implementing proper enterprise architecture for more than a decade. He also stated that the DoDAF infrastructure of “if you build it, they will come” is not enough. In order to succeed, the DoD needs to take a more hands-on approach to architecture.

Acquisition & Technology: Empowering the Enterprise
Dawn Meyerriecks, Assistant Director of National Intelligence for Acquisition, Technology and Facilities, Office of the Director of National Intelligence (US)

Dawn began her session by describing her current work within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. She currently works with many retired generals and admirals on acquisition & technology, and spoke about the process and the way of thinking within government that drives initiatives and action.

She then addressed the elephant in the room: architects don’t talk to scientists; scientists don’t talk to architects; and no one wants to talk to end-users. She emphasized the key challenge with enterprise architecture: lack of effective communication between inter-dependent departments.

This problem has plagued architects, and it doesn’t help that architects normally report to senior-level executives who have little or no time to decipher architect-speak and figure out why a certain mission is important to the business/organization. Even in her office, Dawn does not see her superior often, so there is a great need to communicate in a clear and efficient manner to ensure that, at the end of the meeting, her superior has a precise understanding of how a certain mission will help the organization and why it is important that it be approved and/or funded.

Dawn stated that: “Our job as technologists is to interpret technology and present it in a way that the boss gets it.” She urged architects to be “master marketers as well as brain engineers”, and stated that superiors shouldn’t have to speak a different language to understand the mission, and if the opposite holds true, then the architect has already lost the battle before the meeting has even started.

Especially in government, Dawn stated that Acquisition & Technology (A&T) professionals need to think far into the future when securing funding for a project. She cautioned that when A&T professionals are not successful in stating the case for a project, oftentimes the project is funded at a later date, setting up the project for certain failure. Therefore, A&T professionals need to communicate effectively and help their superiors ask the appropriate questions at the appropriate time in order for the mission to succeed.

She concluded the session by stating that the A&T community must:

  • Demonstrably focus on mission outcomes
  • Solve problems collaboratively
  • Innovate relentlessly

Business Architecture Challenge
Jeff Scott, Senior Analyst, Forrester Research

Analyst Jeff Scott spoke about the growing interest in business architecture. Though there is a great deal of discussion, there is little consensus about what business architecture is, how it should be pursued, and what value it delivers.

Jeff outlined trends that architects are currently seeing, which include outsourcing, buy before build, offshoring, and SaaS. He emphasized that these trends were driven by business, not IT, which is epitomized in the recent rise of the Cloud. Business is the big force driving Cloud; not because of the technological and collaborative benefits, but by the cost savings that organizations are starting to realize when they no longer have to pay for expensive hardware systems.

Success in the Cloud, he argued, will largely depend on a shift in thinking. He went on to say that there is no “should”, and that “should” shouldn’t matter. Business architecture needs to focus on what is and what can be. Understanding the current situation will allow an organization to have a clear view of what can be. From there, organizations can determine whether or not potential can be realized.

Jeff also emphasized that business architecture is not technology architecture and it’s not engineering. It is, in fact, driven by business-based decisions, not by knowledge-based decisions. After all, it is “BUSINESS architecture, not business ARCHITECTURE”, belying the notion that business architectures must wield influence with the business.

Trusted Technology Forum (OTTF) Panel Session
Moderated by Ken Hong Fong, Deputy Director for Program Protection and Director, Defense Research & Engineering/Systems Analysis

Ken Hong Fong began this session by discussing how The Open Group Trusted Technology Forum (OTTF) came to be. Ken was the first mover in driving the formation of the OTTF, overcoming obstacles, discovering industry pain points, and initiating feedback.

The session continued with a panel Q&A session with participants including:

  • Mary Ann Davidson, Chief Security Officer, Oracle Corporation
  • Carrie Gates, Vice-President of Research, CA Technologies
  • Steven B. Lipner, Senior Director of Security Engineering Strategy, Trustworthy Computing Security, Microsoft Corporation
  • Andras Szakal, Distinguished Engineer and Chief Architect of Federal Software Business Unit, IBM
  • Joanne Woytek, NASA Program Manager and Contract Technical Representative (CoTR) for the NASA SEWP Program
Ken moderated a very active Q&A session that addressed major topics which included supply chain risk management, prioritizing OTTF initiatives, and value proposition, among many others.

Parallel Tracks

Following the plenary sessions, attendees had the opportunity to attend track sessions. Tracks focused on:

  • EA & Business Agility
  • EA & Business Strategy
  • Developing an Architecture Profession
  • SOACamp

Architecture Career Path
Sreekanth Kalluri, Chief Technology Officer, Nationwide

CTO Sreekanth Kalluri spent most of the session emphasizing the need to define the role of an architect within architecture. Through his work at Nationwide, one of the largest insurance companies in the United States, and his experience at IBM, he has witnessed the evolving skills of architects. Today, there are varied definitions depending on organizations’ needs, so as architects are looking to build their careers, there is confusion in terms of what capabilities an architect needs now and in the future.

Sreekanth shared that Nationwide had established guidelines. In order to enable architects to develop a career path, he urges organizations to:

  • Establish a profession guide
  • Define functions and capabilities that articulate what you expect
  • Categorize groups, skills, and capabilities
  • Build in opportunities for growth
He concluded by saying that only by defining skills, capabilities, and competencies can the profession truly grow. This will set up the architecture for sustainability within the architect career path.

Evolution of an Architect Profession
Christina Woodbridge, IBM WW Architect Profession Leader, IBM, US

Christina began the session by talking about how the domain of IT has evolved into enterprise and business architectures. Both disciplines have been changing due to client demands for experience in a variety of areas involved in client-related professional engagements. So IBM had to redefine the IBM architect.

In the re-evaluation of the profession, IBM had to ask the question: What are the core capabilities of an architect regardless of operating context? And in order to answer this question, IBM had to:

  • Remove IT from the profession
  • Maintain core architectural capabilities and experience requirements at the highest level
  • Open the certification path for business and enterprise architects
  • Refresh IT architect specialization
Through this exercise, IBM was able to create, and will continue to assess, skills certification at three levels: associate certification, certification, and senior certification. This has allowed IBM to help mold and shape the IT architect profession not only within IBM, but also within the industry.

Emerging Technology Strategic Analysis Framework for Leading Business, Not Just Supporting It
Xijia Frank Chen, Cognizant Technology

Frank began the session by explaining the benefits of an emerging information technology (EIT) strategic analysis framework and listing what it enables a company’s leadership to systematically do:

  • Analyze the strategic impact of an EIT on a business
  • Identify industry discontinuities/threats created by an EIT
  • Create a strategic agenda to lead (rather than follow) industry changes caused by an EIT
  • Identify a competitive position benefiting the company most in a new business landscape
  • Create a new business model that would not be possible without the EIT
He went on to give examples of companies that had failed to perform EIT analysis, and because of this, failed to create an innovative technology or service that, in some cases, would have saved the company. Examples included:
  • Barnes & Nobles versus Amazon
  • Blockbuster versus Netflix
  • Microsoft versus Google

Obviously, Microsoft has not failed or filed for bankruptcy like Barnes & Nobles and Blockbuster have, but had it been able to identify the “Internet search” opportunity before startups like Yahoo! and Google had, it would have greatly changed the company, as well as the Internet as we know it today.

To conclude, Frank stated that an EIT strategic analysis framework enables C-level executives to analyze and identify strategic opportunities, create new business models within the industry, and design an executable strategic agenda to lead the industry to change. He cautioned that without realizing EIT strategic impact, an industry leading company may lose market share now, and may eventually be pushed completely out of the market.

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