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Business Transformation at the Open Group Conference

December 9, 2013 Leave a comment

The last Open Group Conference in London provided an opportunity to hear about latest  developments in Health, Finance and eGovernment. It also featured major milestones for the Open Group, e.g. the successful conclusion of the Jericho forum (on de-perimeterised security), and the rise of Platform 3.0 (aka Digital). Read on for some highlights and headlines from the event

Open Group London

eGovernment – According to one keynote speaker, the transition towards egovernment is reflected in growing demand for the IT industry to help implement or enable such major initiatives as: open data, global tax information exchange, as well as an enterprise architecture plus supporting data structures to cover all human endeavour.  The Global Risks 2013 report illustrates pressing issues to be addressed by world leaders, particularly in the G8 and G20 countries which together represent 50% – 95% of the global economy. Some IT enabled scenarios, such as massive disinformation and the dangers of starting “Digital wildfires in a hyperconnected world”, illustrate the hurdles that need to be overcome with vital input from the IT industry. According to one attendee, “…government is just the back office for the global citizen”. Overall, these initiatives are aimed at connecting governments, by enabling better information exchange, and providing much needed support for an emerging global citizen.

Platform 3.0 – The conference provided updates on Platform 3.0, (aka the Open Group’s approach to Digital). Andy Mulholland (Ex Global CTO at Capgemini) set the scene in his keynote speech, by discussing the real drivers for change and their implications, plus the emerging role of business architecture and innovation, as well as the Platform 3.0 approach to Digital. Subsequent sessions provided a summary of activities outlining key Principles (and requirements) for Platform 3.0, including: the role of the IT organisation in managing digital (i.e. brokering anywhere / anytime  transactions), Inside Out vs. Outside In approach to interaction, and the challenge for Enterprise Architects to acquire key skills in organisational change & behaviours, in order to remain relevant.

eHealth – Several sessions were dedicated to the trends and impact of technology on healthcare. Topics discussed include: Big Data in healthcare and the growth in Smartphone or smart device capabilities for health care. Also discussed were:

  • Shrinking R&D budgets leading to collaborative efforts (e.g. Pistoiaalliance.org ),
  • Explosion of health monitoring related services and offerings e.g. self help health websites, bio telemetry wristbands etc.
  • Personalized Ambient Monitoring (PAM) of mentally ill patients, using multiple devices and algorithms. apparently 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience some kind of mental illness within the year.
  • Unobtrusive Smart Environment for Independent Living (USEFIL) aimed at senior citizens
  • Trends in life logging (e.g. quantified self and life slices), heading towards embedded or implanted devices (e.g. digestible RFID chips)
  • IPv6 and ubiquity of information points – ID management for tomorrow will include a surfeit of personal data.

However, key challenges discussed include privacy issues regarding the collection, storage and access to personal / health information. Also, who will monitor all that data gathered from sensors, monitoring and activation from the Internet of things for healthcare?

Innovation – These sessions focused on various aspects of future technology trends and innovation. It featured speakers from KPN, IBM, Inspired and Capgemini (i.e. yours truly), discussing:

  • Smart technologies (e.g. SMART Grid) and interoperability constraints, plus the convergence of business and technology and fuzzy boundaries of “outside in” versus “inside out” thinking
  • New technology architecture opportunities to leverage world changing developments such as: Semantics, nano technology, 3D printing, Robotics and the Internet-of-things, overlaid with exponential technologies (e.g. storage / processing power / bandwidth) and the network effect
  • Effects of Mobile and Social vs. traditional MDM, plus emerging trends for incorporating new dynamic data (sentiment analysis / IoT sensors plus deep / dark data).
  • Use of big data to enable the Social enterprise, via smarter workforce, innovation and gamification.
  • Case study of Capgemini internal architecture and innovation work stream – illustrating key organisational trends and cross sector innovation, plus challenges for internal innovation, and the emerging role of business model innovation and architecture

As you can probably surmise from the above, this multi-day conference was jam-packed with information, networking and learning opportunities. Also the Open Group’s tradition of holding events in the great cities of the world, (e.g. this one took place just across the road from the UK Houses of Parliament), effectively brings the latest industry thinking / developments to your doorstep, and is highly commendable. Long may it continue!

How to implement innovative business models

August 9, 2013 2 comments

Back in 2011, I wrote a post about business model innovation in which I waxed lyrical about how a simple, straightforward business model canvas could be the perfect tool for any organisation to use in tackling the complexities of today’s business environment. So what has changed since then?

Absolutely nothing, and I still stand by what I said. If anything, ample proof exists in the growing number of user communities and tools (e.g. here and here) that employ this amazing technique to simplify and facilitate business model innovations. However, the one missing piece for me was how to easily translate valuable insights gleaned from using the business model canvas into something tangible, practical and immediately applicable to the actual work of business transformation. That problem appears to have been solved with the introduction of tools that can automate and facilitate the execution part of business model innovation.

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Figure – The missing piece: executing business model innovation 

Don’t get me wrong, the above missing piece is achievable by manually translating business model changes into the enterprise architecture (EA) and business process (BPM) landscape, but this implies hefty overheads in terms of people and effort required to implement even a simple change. Also, the evolving nature of the role played by EA and BPM functions, (within a dynamic and fast changing business environment), demands a more seamless interface with changing business models. Thankfully, the afore-mentioned tools should help to automate and provide such seamless linkage.

A couple of weeks ago, I attended a vendor webinar which actually prompted this blog post, because they described how their software suite was designed to deliver this capability, and below are some of my impressions from that event, including:

  1. The promise of business model canvas as the right approach to address the challenge of a Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (aka VUCA) world.
  2. The shift away from products to business models as key differentiators
  3. Seven applications of the Business Model Canvas, including various business model innovation journeys and perspectives (e.g. offer / customer / revenue driven models)
  4. Business Model Mountain was the term used to describe how business model innovation falls over halfway between ideation and execution, (see diagram below).

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Figure – Business Model Mountain (source: BizzDesign Webinar Slides)

According to the presenter, their software suite provide a more compelling way to engage business stakeholders with the end-to-end transformation process, by using business model canvas as the reference model for communication between business, process and technology stakeholders. It was also great to see a demo of the software suite, which allayed some of my fears about tools that attempt to do too much, by featuring different aspects (i.e. business model canvas, EA and BPM) as distinct tools that work well in their own right, but which can be combined to deliver end-to-end translation of the business model into real system components and processes.

Health Warning: Not having used this tool yet, (due to very busy day job, believe it or not), I’m unable to say more about real hands-on capabilities, but in terms of its potential to help realise the huge promise and benefits of business model innovation, this is certainly a step in the right direction, in my humble opinion.

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Note: this is another post in the innovation topic series, and more specifically, “tools for innovation”. Watch out for more on this and related topics, over the next few months.

Some relevant links:

  1. Blogpost: “The Innovative Art of Business Model Generation” – https://www.capgemini.com/blog/capping-it-off/2011/07/the-innovative-art-of-business-model-generation
  2. BizzDesign Webinar: “Business Model Innovation Webinar” – http://www.bizzdesign.com/blog/serviceline/business-model-management
  3. Bright talk Webinar: “Innovation and EA”-  https://www.brighttalk.com/webcast/679/32551
  4. Blogpost: “Developing a tradition for change” – http://www.bcs.org/content/conBlogPost/2204
  5. Blogpost: “Capabilities for Sustainable Innovation” – https://www.capgemini.com/blog/capping-it-off/2013/08/capabilities-for-sustainable-innovation

Application Management for Executives

February 28, 2013 Leave a comment

This master class was delivered by Andy Kyte, (Gartner Fellow and SVP) to an audience of CxOs and senior IT people, and I was immediately struck by his almost counter-intuitive thinking, as well as the pivotal role played by Enterprise Architecture, managing applications in today’s business environments.

Andy Kyte - Talking Application Management

Andy Kyte – Talking Application Management

Below are some key highlights from the event:

  • Many organisations are unrepentant project junkies – project based application acquisition / delivery are often limited to the scope of the project, instead of the portfolio, and therein lies the origin of application slums, ghettos and shanty towns (i.e. no planning) that can be found within many organisations
  • Pace layering – Different applications move at different speeds for persistence and cost, e.g. Systems of Record (low velocity / most expensive), Systems of Differentiation (medium velocity / less expensive), Systems of Innovation (high velocity, least expensive)
  • Business vs. IT – In the war between Business Services and IT Services, the former usually wins, hence the uptake in BPO and Software-as-a-Service propositions
  • Application Sourcing Options – Applications that need to be customised are the road to pain for organisations, according to Andy,” it’s like buying a dog and barking yourself!”
  • Assets vs. Liability – An application is both an asset (albeit not handled very well by current accounting practices) and a liability, especially when you consider the stack that sits beneath each application (e.g. software / hardware / data / support / training needs etc.)
  • TCO Research – The go-live cost of an application constitutes a mere fraction of its TCO over 15 years. Don’t be fooled by the overly optimistic project estimates for TCO.
  • Functionality vs. Behaviour – Functional Requirements are less important than Non-Functional Requirements (e.g. maintainability / changeability etc). The non-functional requirements actually help deliver flexibility and agility, whereas functionality needs are certain to change over time
  • 3 Critical Application Attributes – Over a period of time, the costs and risks associated with an application increases whilst agility decreases. To address these we must:
    • Ensure good application governance –i.e. done by the stakeholders, for the stakeholders, in conjunction with the Enterprise Architects (aka city planners)
    • Introduce executive application portfolio management – CxOs need to know what their applications cost
    • Have the ability to make sound decisions to buy, sell, or hold on to existing applications
    • Forget application roadmaps, but embrace Options (typically 4 options are optimal for real stakeholder engagement)

The key recommendations are to: review the application portfolio regularly, and always bear in mind that project success does not equate to portfolio success. Overall verdict: another excellent, insightful and value added BCS event, delivered by a true expert, within the chambers of UK’s House of Parliament.

How will owners of Intellectual Property cope with the era of big and open data?

November 11, 2012 1 comment

The concept of Intellectual Property (IP) is well proven as a powerful incentive that drives creativity and innovation, but it is increasingly being challenged by a highly connected world, particularly in all aspects of digital information and content life-cycle  To further complicate matters, rapid changes in the enabling technology / triggers are only likely to increase or accelerate, and according to Gartner, some of these developments, (e.g. Big Data, Cloud, Mobile & Social) have combined to produce a paradigm shift in the way we do business.  Such worrisome trends are only exacerbated by the fact that IP sits right in the middle of it all.

 

The IP Puzzle

The IP Puzzle

Surprisingly, not many decision makers appear to understand, or are willing to discuss, how such developments affect their business, particularly with regards to information assets and IP. Is it too early for any meaningful dialogue? Are the impacts unlikely to be anything major, (i.e. compared to the other trends), or are business leaders far too busy facing harsh economic realities to focus on this too? The respective answers are no, yes and probably. However, the impact will be anything but trivial, when you consider just how tightly IP is interwoven with all such developments. Some of the high-level intersections between IP and technology trends are:

IP and the Cloud – Key implications for IP, (aside from relevant cloud technology patents), are related to access and use of data held within the cloud, as well as the services they power.

IP and Social Media – Social media is the product of all interactions between individuals in a social network, including all information created, modified, exchanged and shared between the members. Such content, their usage, and user behaviours, have huge implications for IP.

IP and Mobility – Mobility is the ability to access to information and other resources, through a mobile device, without restriction of a fixed location. Key implications for IP include unauthorised access to / use of location dependent material (e.g. territorial rights over copyright content).

IP and Big Data / Open Data – Data and information arguably have the most implication for IP, especially since digital data is both raw material and output / enabler of the information age (e.g. all IP is ultimately reducible to digital data, including the often controversial software IP). Data permeates and binds all the other technology and behaviour trends mentioned above, and reflects all their IP implications.

IP and Litigation – Following the recent spate of patent lawsuits between several large technology companies, it has become clear that IP is now regarded as a crucial weapon by some. According to a recent BBC news article, serious attempts are being made to address “an unwelcome trend in today’s marketplace to use standard-essential patents to block markets”. The cost and impact of such ‘weaponised IP’ litigation is basically stifling innovation, and goes against the key sentiment and objective of IP.

 

Top 5 things enterprise decision makers need to keep in mind

  1. The motivations and interests of 5 key IP stakeholder groups (i.e. the creative, technology, commercial, legislative and consumer stakeholders). No group is completely independent of the others; therefore a balanced approach is required for all IP related decisions.
  2. Need to create and communicate clear enterprise policies for IP, Social Media, Cloud, Mobility and Data
  3. The much desired real-time enterprise requires certain key elements to be in place, including: self-service BI (e.g. data mashups), event driven architecture (incl. Complex Event Processing), analytics and data discovery, as well as contextual capabilities (incl. location based services), and cloud computing. In all cases, early consideration of IP implications is crucial.
  4. The key to digital transformation and architecture, in a fast moving dynamic environment, may be found in alignment with constant business model innovation. The architecture of such an organisation, (incl. process and technology), must become more dynamic if it is to provide any sustainable value.
  5. In the brave new world, the customer comes first, and IP becomes the ‘value’ centre of the enterprise (rather than the products or services it is used to drive), whilst the business model flexes and changes as needed to accommodate those dynamics.

In conclusion, digital trends appear to suggest that mere products and services will no longer be sufficient differentiators in a digital world with ever diminishing barriers to entry. It ultimately boils down to a question of how, and not what, you create and deliver to your customers. Either way, data / Information and IP will continue to play a fundamental role in the entire digital value system.

Note: The above post is adapted from an article which is submitted and due for publication by the BCS Chartered Institute for IT.

The Open Group Conference

July 21, 2012 Leave a comment

This week’s quarterly Open Group conference in Washington DC,  featured several thought provoking sessions around key issues / developments of interest and concern to the IT world, including: Security, Cloud, Supply Chain, Enterprise Transformation (including Innovation), and of course Enterprise Architecture (including TOGAF and Archimate).

The Capitol in Washington DC

The Capitol in Washington DC

Below are some key highlights, captured from the sessions I attended (or presented), as follows:

Day 1 – Plenary session focused on Cyber Security, followed by three tracks on Supply Chain, TOGAF and SOA. Key messages included:

  • Key note by Joel Brenner described the Internet as a “porous and insecure network” which has become critical for so many key functions (e.g. financial, communications and operations) yet remains vulnerable to abuse by friends, enemies and competitors. Best quote of the conference, was: “The weakest link is not the silicon based unit on the desk, but the carbon based unit in the chair” (also tweeted and mentioned in @jfbaeur’s blog here)
  • NIST’s Dr. Don Ross spoke about a perfect storm of consumerisation (BYOD), ubiquitous connectivity and sophisticated malware, leading to an “advanced persistent threat” enabled by available expertise / resources, multiple attack vectors and footholds in infrastructure
  • MIT’s Professor Yossi Sheffi expounded on the concept of building security and resilience for competitive advantage. This, he suggested, can be done by embracing “flexibility DNA”, (as exhibited in a few successful organisations), into the culture of your organisation. Key flexibility traits include:
    • Your resilience and security framework must drive, or at least feed into, “business-as-usual”
    • Continuous communication is necessary among all members of the organisation
    • Distribute the power to make decisions (especially to those closer to the operations)
    • Create a passion for your work and the mission
    • Deference to expertise, especially in times of crisis
    • Maintain conditioning for disruptions – ability for stability is good, but flexibility to handle change is even better
  • Capgemini’s Mats Gejneval discussed agility and enterprise architecture using Agile methods and TOGAF. He highlighted the relationship flow between: agile process -> agile architecture -> agile project delivery -> agile enterprise, and how the latter outcome requires each of the preceding qualities (e.g. agile methods, and faster results, on its own will not deliver agile solutions or enterprise). My favourite quote, during the Q/A, was: “…remember that architects hunt in packs!”

Day 2 – Plenary session focused on Enterprise Transformation followed by four streams on Security Architecture, TOGAF Case Studies, Archimate Tutorials, and EA & Enterprise Transformation (including our session on Innovation & EA). Key Highlights include:

  • A case study on the role of open standards for enterprise transformation, featured Jason Uppal (Chief Architect at QRS), describing the transformation of Toronto’s University Health Network into a dynamic and responsive organisation, by placing medical expertise and requirements above the flexible, open standards based, IT delivery.
  • A view on how to modernise service to citizens via a unified (or “single window government”) approach was provided by Robert Weisman (CEO of Build a Vision Inc). He described the process to simplify key events (from 1400 down to 12 major life events) around which the services could be defined and built.
  • Samira Askarova (CEO of WE Solutions Group) talked about managing enterprise transformation through transitional architectures. She likened business transformation to a chameleon with: its huge, multi-directional eyes (i.e. for long term views), the camouflage ability (i.e. changing colours to adapt), and the deliberate gait (i.e. making changes one step at a time)
  • The tutorial session on Innovation and EA, by Corey Glickman (Capgemini’s lead for Innovation-as-a-Managed Service) and yours truly, discussed the urgent need for EA to play a vital role in bridging the gap between rapid business model innovation and rapid project delivery (via Agile). It also provided several examples, as well as a practical demonstration of the Capgemini innovation service platform, which was well received by the audience. Key take aways include:
    • Innovation describes an accomplishment, after the fact
    • EA can bridge the gap between strategy (in the business model) and rapid project delivery (via Agile)
    • Enterprise Architecture must actively embrace innovation
    • Engage with your partners, suppliers, customers and employees – innovation is not all about technology
    • Creating a culture of innovation is key to success
    • Remember, if you are not making mistakes, you are not innovating

Day 3 – Featured three streams on Security Automation, Cloud Computing for Business, and Architecture methods and Techniques. Highlights from the Cloud stream (which I attended) include:

  • Capgemini’s Mark Skilton (Co-chair of the Open Group’s Cloud Working Group) talked about the right metrics for measuring cloud computing’s ability to deliver business architecture and strategy. He discussed the complexity of Cloud and implications for Intellectual Property, as well as the emergence of ecosystem thinking (e.g. ecosystem architecture’ and ‘ecosystem metrics’) for cloud computing and applications
  • A debate about the impact of cloud computing on modern IT organisational structure raised the point that a dysfunctional relationship exists between business and IT with respect to cloud services. The conclusion (and recommendation) is that healthy companies tend to avoid buying cloud services in business silos, instead they will pursue a single cloud strategy, in collaboration with IT, which is responsible for maintenance, security and integration into the enterprise landscape
  • Prakash Rao, of the FEAC Institute, discussed Enterprise Architecture patterns for Cloud Computing. He reiterated the point made earlier about how enterprise architecture can be used to align enterprise patterns (i.e. business models) to development processes. Also that enterprise patterns enable comparison and benchmarking of cloud services in order to determine competitive advantage

 

The bullet items and observations recorded above does not do justice to breadth and depth of the entire conference which included networking with attendees from over 30 countries, across all key industries / sectors, plus multiple, simultaneous streams, sessions and activities, many of which I could not possibly attend. Overall, this was an excellent event that did not disappoint. Further materials can be found on the Open Group website, including:

I would recommend the Open Group conference to any professional in IT and beyond.

Innovation and Enterprise Architecture?

August 25, 2011 Leave a comment

You might be forgiven for thinking that these make rather strange bedfellows, especially considering as they don’t often appear together in the same sentence; at least not as frequently as Architecture and Governance, or perhaps Innovation and Start-ups. In my view, this sad state of affairs is all set to change.  

I recently did a BrightTalk Webcast on just this topic, and although the research for it was rather daunting at first, it eventually became clear, from talking to experts on both topics, that the key challenge was how to identify the best role, or sweet spot, for Enterprise Architecture (and all it can bring to the table) in a fluid and dynamic business context / environment. In my opinion, this sweet spot is nestled right between the more forward looking aspects of business model innovation and agile development.

When taken together, rapidly changing business models and agile development techniques do not necessarily make for the most robust, repeatable and best-governed business / technology processes or environment, and this is precisely where certain key aspects of Enterprise Architecture could bring much needed value. These and other issues were the focus for this webcast, and the slides can be found on the Slideshare website.  Enjoy…

Innovation and Enterprise Architecture

Innovation and Enterprise Architecture

Talking Enterprise Architecture

January 31, 2011 Leave a comment

Enterprise Architecture has come a long way from what it used to be, but it is still evolving to meet the changing needs of a very fluid business and technology landscape. The question on most people’s lips, (aside from whatever next?), is how to ensure their businesses can continue to cope with this amount and pace of change?

This evening seminar, hosted by the BCS Enterprise Architecture Specialist Group, featured two speakers from Capgemini UK’s Technology Consulting team (see picture). The highly interactive session covered a lot of ground, including questions from the audience that touched on a wide variety of topics and perspectives on EA, such as:

  • Effective Enterprise Architecture in an Agile Environment
  • The real value of architecture frameworks
  • Enterprise Architecture in the context of Cloud Computing
  • The many faces / roles of an Enterprise Architect
  • And (my personal favourite) a legal challenge about the use of the term Architect!

Richard Noon & Rob Rowe talking Enterprise Architecture

Verdict: Good event. Well attended with high level of interaction between speakers and audience, and as one audience member put it afterwards, “this is the type of BCS event that I like to attend”. Nuff said!