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The Open Group Conference London
Highlights of Day 1


The Open Group Conference, London 2011 began on Monday, May 9 at the Methodist Central Hall, Westminster. The Conference was organized to discuss themes along three primary tracks:

  • Evolving EA to architect the business
  • The critical role of a digital identity ecosystem to improve cybersecurity
  • The business and financial impact of Cloud Computing

Morning Plenary

The theme for Day 1 was Evolving EA to Architect the Business, and the plenary session presentations in the morning brought together well-respected enterprise architects from several differing industries. President and CEO of The Open Group, Allen Brown, opened the conference with 30 seconds of silence, dedicated to those members of our ‘global family’ affected by the recent natural disasters in Japan and the United States.

An Enterprise Architect in the Land of Architects and Civil Engineers
Peter Edwards, Olympic Delivery Authority (Associate Director, IT & Communications Consulting, Arup)

Following a brief introduction from Mr. Brown, Mr. Edwards began his plenary speech by likening the enterprise architect to both a city planner and a symbolic bridge – between the worlds of business and technology. Mr. Edwards continued by familiarizing gathered members with the work of Arup, current projects he is working on, and those that he has worked on in the past: Projects such as Heathrow Terminal 5, the Chinese Olympic stadium, and the iconic Sydney Opera House. As well as static buildings such as these, Mr. Edwards explained that Arup is engaged in more dynamic projects like the design of transport systems, smart cities, and renewable energy systems, as well as water sanitation projects in the Third World. All of these projects, he explained, have had their own innate complexities, but also shared other sets of complexity.

Mr. Edwards gave the example of the London Olympic Village, which he said shared many of the same challenges and considerations as the City of London; concerns such as the availability of clean water, of electricity, of cost consideration, of security, and so forth. Newer projects also have had to contend with the influx of data and information; and of course, like a city, any construction project has to contend with multiple stakeholders.

Mr. Edwards then went on to talk about how we define an enterprise architect, discussing the differences between enterprise architects and their traditional namesakes, as well as the definition laid down by TOGAF®. He referred to Frank Lloyd Wright’s definition of an architect – ‘the master of the know-how’ – and commented that there was a similar expectation today of the enterprise architect. They are expected to have the ‘know-how’ of technology.

So what about an enterprise architect in the construction industry? These architects, Mr. Edwards explained, are tasked with helping senior decision-makers to make the best decision possible – whether strategic, tactical, financial – and provide a technological context. Their role is to provide clarity of thought and communication, interact with and understand technical people, but not necessarily be ‘technical’ themselves (although an up-to-date technical knowledge is important). Like any enterprise architect, he said, an understanding of business needs is key.

Mr. Edwards went on to discuss the differences between the domains of the built environment, once the sole responsibility of the traditional architect, but now increasingly shared between architects and enterprise architects. He gave a high-level overview of the use of TOGAF® and ArchiMate® at Arup, before underlining the importance that the metrics measured by architects are in line with business needs.

One framework will not fit all, no matter how good it is. Frameworks can be great sources of inspiration but have to be tailored to the job at hand. Mr. Edwards gave examples from the London Olympic Park.

Concluding, Mr. Edwards turned his outlook to the future: which aspects will be important to the enterprise architect of tomorrow? For one, security – not traditionally an area for the enterprise architect to consider although it is increasingly becoming so. Things are also getting smarter: smarter cities, energy, and transport systems; and this is all down to the increasing availability of data. Information will be a river of change, he said, and there will be big benefits for those who can make use of it in real-time.

For his final comment, Mr. Edwards turned his attention to the Cloud, which he called a “game-changer” for enterprise architects. With all Cloud's legal, technical, and financial ramifications and considerations, the enterprise architect will be ideally placed to assist organizations in the move to the Cloud. In Mr. Edward’s words, the future of enterprise architecture is very bright.

Bridging the Gap Between Architecture and Strategy
Bill Brierley, Practice Director, Enterprise Architecture, TRM Technologies, Canada

Bill Brierley, a practice director of enterprise architecture for TRM Technologies, gave an enlightening speech on how the Canadian government is connecting the divide between architecture and strategy.

Like Mr. Edwards, Mr. Brierley began by looking at how we can define enterprise architecture. It is, he said, an inherent structure of the enterprise; a language for articulating structure and a collective design discipline. Design too, is an important consideration.

He went on to define strategy and explained that we should view enterprise architecture and strategy as the connection between language and design. The enterprise architect should not be viewed as the master of the strategic vision, but as the facilitator of that vision to others so they can reach a consensus.

He went on to speak about strategy maps and in particular the Kaplan Norton, before providing some useful criticisms of strategy maps in general. These included analytical constraint, value bias, intentional bias, and analytical imprecision.

Next were some key questions to consider for business strategy. These include:

  • Who are we serving? (The service context)
  • What effect will it have on the enterprise? (The strategic logic)
  • What capabilities are needed? (The operational context)

Mr. Brierley closed his speech by explaining that stakeholders and enterprise architects must work together to create a common language. Strategy, he advised, is only good as execution, and enterprise architecture is crucial to ensuring a successful execution.

Leveraging Enterprise Architecture for Federal Strategy
Hind Yousef Al Youha, Director, Strategic Planning Performance, Ministry of Economy, United Arab Emirates

Taking a break from her honeymoon to talk at the Conference, Hind Yousef Al Youha gave an interesting explanation about her background as an auditor before going on to address the unique capabilities and challenges faced by the UAE Ministry of Economy (MoE).

She explained that a pragmatic approach to enterprise architecture helps transform the concepts driving the value of enterprise architecture and, similarly, the performance of the MoE. Enterprise architecture is essential to obtain excellence, she said, regardless of organization. It also provides an overall holistic view of organizational strategy which can be linked with government strategy, and translated into lower-level initiatives, methods, and measures.

Ms. Yousef Al Youha went on to discuss the benefits of a definition repository. This is where all definitions, strategy, KPIs, and roles, etc. are defined, and can be accessed by all employees as a point of reference. As a communication tool it assists change management, allowing directors to see the current stage of implementation quickly and easily mapping process across the organization.

World Class EA
Mick Adams, UK Leader, Global Architecture, Capgemini
Chris Forde, VP Enterprise Architecture & Membership Capabilities, The Open Grou

The first double act of the conference, Mick Adams and Chris Forde led an interesting discussion inviting audience participation when covering industry trends and challenges that architecture capabilities face globally. Using The Open Group “World Class EA” as a reference point, Mr. Adams and Mr. Forde went on to summarize the key challenges for IT organizations, starting with the need for enterprise architecture to consider effective ways of managing continuous change.

A recent Work Group study looked at breaking down the common key drivers across different industries. Mr. Adams and Mr. Forde explained the findings of the study: four common, cross-industry themes, including customer and product-centricity. They went on to talk about the capabilities of World Class EA, the guidance for IT functions, and the benefits of their approach, including growing customers and shareholders.

So what does World Class EA look like? Mr. Forde and Mr. Adams suggested that if enterprise architecture is working, it will be explicitly seen in the organization’s annual report. However, it’s also important to communicate the mission of enterprise architecture to those who may be unfamiliar with it.

Opening the questions up to the floor, they were asked what would the minimum or the lowest form of enterprise architecture look like? The answer: It depends on the organization in question. Just because a company has finite resources, doesn’t mean it doesn’t need a strategy in place.

Parallel Tracks

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

  • IT Professionalism and the Architecture Discipline
  • EA as a Business Discipline
  • EA and Business Strategy
  • Cybersecurity and E-Crime

Using a Live Architecture Environment to Control and Optimize Decision-Making Across a Complex Portfolio
Richard Whittington, CTO, The Salamander Organization, UK
Jim Bennett, The Salamander Organization, UK

Richard Whittington began by explaining that for any large organization or program, balancing the portfolio of capabilities presents significant challenges. It’s hard to get right, he stated. Most ‘good’ examples are said to be ‘balanced’. But it isn’t as simple as that. In the MoD, they use the term ‘balancing apples and Wednesdays’ because in the reality of business you might be trying to balance very different things, such as trying to balance future investment in aircraft with friendly diplomatic relations with another country.

He continued by illustrating the different levels of an organization and why, however you define or split them, it’s important to have a line of sight through these levels and how they connect together. Only by doing this can you reach ‘decision effectiveness'.

However, in many instances a traditional architecture approach is not enough to connect these assets in the portfolio. Organizations require a range of methods more commonly associated with business intelligence, like clever reporting and risk management. You need an apparatus that blends these together to make architecture-driven decision environments.

Mr. Whittington and Jim Bennett went on to give contemporary examples, such as the MoD logistics services portfolio, delivering resources to troops out on the front line. These not only allow the organization to view the current level of performance, but also to look at the current priorities and future spend.

It is important to remember, said Mr. Whittington, that we are not building architectures for architects, but for end users, for military program managers, etc.

When establishing an enterprise business architecture, it’s important to fully understand the metamodel; the different inputs, and what technologies are these inputs changing? What is the impact if the organization were to speed up a project, slow it, or cancel it? How does this affect business outcomes?

Mr. Bennett explained that dashboards are used to bring together key metrics in one place, illustrating the resource mix, the costs, and other key measures. Behind this top layer, architects can drill down into more detail. Architectures don’t stand still, and with online applications like dashboards organizations can get feedback in real time. Therefore, architects have the advantageous position of having a unique insight into the different moving parts of a business.

Aligning Strategy & Execution using Enterprise Architecture
Abdallah El Kadi, CEO, Shift Technologies, Dubai

CEO of Shift Technologies Abdallah El Kadi addressed the Conference explaining that in order to align and evolve strategies, we first have to understand the ecosystem. We have to have an honest view of our organization; who we are, what are our strengths and weaknesses. He referred to the familiar SWOT analysis which is used to define the key themes and drive the strategy. Enterprise architecture translates an organization’s business goals into a series of implementable initiatives.

Mr. El Kadi spoke of how operating models have evolved over time, from the 1980s, where they were largely internally focussed. The ecosystem, he said, is constantly evolving. He went on to concentrate on strategic planning and how we define the direction of an organization.

According to Mr. El Kadi, enterprise architecture has a very important role to play in how organizations understand their investment. It translates strategy into a set of initiatives, and provides the foundation of analysis for which initiatives need to be altered to meet the business goals.

Next, he gave a short background of Shift Technologies, the Dubai-based company of which he is CEO. At Shift, he explained, there are 100 consultants doing enterprise architecture, and this is due to a significant business appetite for external enterprise architecture consultancy. There has been significant growth for enterprise architecture and this is expected to continue.

Using the parable of the blind men and the elephant, Mr. El Kadi finished by explaining that enterprise architecture allows businesses to see the bigger picture; or, in the case of his analogy, the ‘whole elephant.’ This is because enterprise architecture integrates many different components and many different stakeholder perspectives into a single version of the truth.

Enterprise Architecture Education & Research in Higher Education
Brian Cameron, Professor of Practice and Director of the Enterprise Architecture Initiative, College of Information Sciences and Technology, Pennsylvania State University

Brian Cameron, professor at the College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST) at Pennsylvania State University, has been producing highly employable and sought-after graduates since 2009. He explained that while many have recognized the emergence of enterprise architecture as a critical discipline within industry, higher education and academia have been much too slow in creating educational programs to address this growing area of importance. Brian continued to say that in response to feedback from corporate and government stakeholders, the College of IST is planning the following EA-related initiatives:

  • The creation of undergraduate curriculum focused on enterprise architecture (this will be the first undergraduate major in EA in the country; students will be given a solid foundation in business, technology, and EA methods and practices and will have the opportunity to focus on several areas of specialty)
  • The creation of a new online Professional Masters program with a focus in enterprise architecture
  • The development of a research center with a focus in enterprise architecture
  • The development of a professional certificate series for early career EA professionals

In the short-term, the enterprise architecture ‘foundation course’ has been successful, with graduates highly sought-after in the employment market. However, Mr. Cameron's longer-term goal is to see enterprise architecture become much more of a mainstream academic discipline.

He went on to give a detailed overview of the undergraduate and master educational activities, as well as providing further detail of the professional development educational activities (set up with the assistance of Oracle, PwC, and The Open Group) and the university’s enterprise architecture research program. Globally, he explained, there hasn't been much a research community for enterprise architecture academia, but it is the university’s intention to create one.

Current research activities include developing:

  • An enterprise architecture lab
  • An enterprise architecture glossary meta-analysis
  • An enterprise architecture competency model meta analysis
  • An enterprise architecture career path development research study

Mr. Cameron concluded by talking about the Federation of EA Professional Organizations, which had its first meeting in June 2010 and was established to prevent duplication of enterprise architecture frameworks. Members will be meeting again in June to discuss their initial findings.

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