Examining the Current State of Enterprise Architecture With The Open Group's Steve Nunn
Examining the Current State of Enterprise Architecture WithThe Open Groups Steve NunnTranscript of a sponsored podcast discussion on the enterprise architecture and current movestoward gaining status as a profession.Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Podcast.com. Download the transcript. Sponsor:The Open GroupDana Gardner: Hi, this is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, and yourelistening to BrieﬁngsDirect.Today, we present a sponsored podcast discussion in conjunction with The Open Group Conference held in San Diego, the week of February 7, 2011. Were here with an executive from The Open Group to examine the current state of enterprise architecture (EA). Well hear about 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.]Well get an update on The Association of Open Group Enterprise Architects (AOGEA) and learnmore about its recent merger with the Association of Enterprise Architects. Whats more, wellget an assessment of the current maturity levels and overall professionalism drive of EA, andwere going to learn more about what to expect from the EA ﬁeld and these organizing groupsover the next few years.Here to help us delve into the current state of EA, please join me now in welcoming Steve Nunn,Chief Operating Ofﬁcer of The Open Group and CEO of The Association of Open GroupEnterprise Architects.Welcome back, Steve.Steve Nunn: Hi, Dana. Good to be back.Gardner: Were hearing an awful lot these days about EA being dead, outmoded, or somehowout of sync. I know theres a lot more emphasis on the business issues, rather than just thetechnical or IT issues, but whats going on with that? Are we at a point where this topic, thisprofessional category, is in some danger?Nunn: Absolutely not. EA is very much the thing of the moment, but its also something that’sgoing to be with us for the foreseeable future too. Both inside The Open Group and the AOGEA,were seeing signiﬁcant growth and interest in the area of EA. In the association, it’s individualsbecoming certiﬁed and wanting to join a professional body for their own purposes and to help thepush 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, its far from dead and in terms of the importance of business overall, EA being relevant to business. Tomorrows plenary session here at the conference is a good example. Its about using EA for business transformation. Its about using EA to tie IT into the business. There is no point in doing IT for ITs sake. Its there to support the business, and people are ﬁnding that one way of doing that is EA.Gardner: I would think too Steve that some of the major trends around mobile, security, andcyber risk would augment the need for a more holistic governing role, and the architect seems toﬁt that bill quite nicely. So is there wind in your sails around some of these trends?Central to the organizationNunn: Absolutely. Were seeing increasingly that you cant just look at EA in some kind of silo.Its more about how it ﬁts. Its so central to an organization and the way that organizations arebuilt that it has all of the factors that you mentioned. Security is a good one, as well as cloud.Theyre all impacted by EA. EA has a role to play in all of those.Inside the Open Group, whats happening is a lot of cross-functional working groups between theArchitecture Forum, the Security Forum, and the Cloud Work Group, which is just recognition ofthat fact. But, the central tool of it is EA.Gardner: In addition to recognizing that the function of the EA is important, you cant just havepeople walking the door and say, well, Im an enterprise architect. Its hard to deﬁne the role, butit seems necessary. Tell me about the importance of certiﬁcation, so that we really know what anenterprise architect is.Nunn: That’s right. Everyone seems to want to be an enterprise architect or an IT architect right now. Its that label to have on your business card. What were trying to do is separate the true architects from one of these, and certiﬁcation is a key part of that. If youre an employer and youre looking to take somebody on to help in the EA role, then it’s having some means to assess whethersomebody really has any experience of EA, whether they know any frameworks, and whatprojects theyve led that involve EA. All those things are obviously important to know.There are various certiﬁcation programs, particularly in The Open Group, that help with that. TheTOGAF 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 bypeer 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 wesee is the general acceptance of certiﬁcation as a means to telling the wood from the trees.Gardner: So, we certainly have a need. We have some major trends that are requiring this roleand we have the ability to begin certifying. Looking at this whole professionalism of EA, we alsohave these organizations. It was three years ago this very event that The AOGEA was ofﬁciallylaunched. Maybe you could tell us what’s happened over the past three years and set the stage forwhat’s driving the momentum in the organization itself?Nunn: Three years ago, we launched the association with 700 members. We were delighted tohave that many at the start. As we sit here today, we have over 18,000 members. Over thatperiod, we added members through more folks becoming certiﬁed through not only The OpenGroup programs, but with other programs. For example, we acknowledged the FIACCertiﬁcation 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. Weve also embraced theMicrosoft Certiﬁed Architect individuals. Microsoft stopped its own program about a year agonow, and one of the things they encouraged their individuals who were certiﬁed to do was to jointhe association. In fact, Microsoft would help them pay to be members of the association, whichwas good.So, it reﬂects the growth and membership reﬂects the interest in the area of EA and the interest inindividuals wanting to advance their own careers through being part of a profession.Valuable resourceEnterprise architects are a highly valuable resource inside an organization, and so we are bothpromoting that message to the outside world. For our members as individuals what werefocusing on is delivering to them latest thinking in EA moving towards best practices, whitepapers, and trying to give them, at this stage, a largely virtual community in which to deal witheach other.Where we have turned it in to real community is through local chapters. We now have about 20local chapters around the world. The members have formed those. They meet at varyingintervals, but the idea is to get face time with each other and talk about issues that concernenterprise architects and the advancement of profession. It’s all good stuff. It’s growing by theweek, by the month, in terms of the number of folks who want to do that. Were very happy withwhat has gone in three years.
Gardner: Weve got a little bit of alphabet soup out there. There are several organizations,several communities, that have evolved around them, but now you are working to bring thatsomewhat together.As I alluded to earlier, the AOGEA has just announced its merger with the Association ofEnterprise Architects (AEA). What’s the difference now? How does that shape up? Is this simplya melding of the two or is there something more to it?Nunn: Well, it is certainly a melding of the two. The two organizations actually became one inlate fall last year, and obviously we have the usual post merger integration things to take care of.But, I think it’s not just a melding. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts. We have twodifferent communities. We have the AOGEA folks who have come primarily throughcertiﬁcation route, and we also have the AEA folks who haven’t been so, so focused oncertiﬁcation, but they bring to the table something very important. They have chapters indifferent areas than the AOGEA folks by and large.Also, they have a very high respected quarterly publication called The Journal of EnterpriseArchitecture, along the lines of an academic journal, but with a leaning towards practitioners aswell. That’s published on a quarterly basis. The great thing is that that’s now a membershipbeneﬁt to the merged association membership of over 18,000, rather than the subscribed basebefore the merger.As we develop, were getting closer to our goal of being able to really promote the profession ofEA 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: And this also followed about a year ago, the GOAO merger with the AOGEA. So, itseems as if were getting the deﬁnitive global organization with variability in terms of how it candeal with communities, but also that common central organizing principle. Tell me about thisnew über organization, what are you going to call it and what is the reach? How big is it going tobe?Nunn: Well, the ﬁrst part of that is the easy part. We have consulted the membership multipletimes now actually, and we are going to name the merged organization, The Association ofEnterprise Architects. So that will keep things nice and simple and that will be the name goingforward. It does encompass so far GEAO, AOGEA and AEA. Its fair to say that, as amembership organization, it is the leading organization for enterprise architects.Role to playThere are other organizations in the ecosystem who are, for example, advocacy groups, trainingorganizations, or certiﬁcation groups, and they all have a role to play in the profession. But,where were going with AEA in the future is to make that the deﬁnitive professional association
for enterprise architects. Its a non-proﬁt 501(c)(6) incorporated organization, which is there toact as the professional body for its members.Gardner: You have been with The Open Group for well over 15 years now. Youve seen a lot ofthe evolution and maturity. Let’s get back to the notion of the enterprise architect as an entity. Asyou said, we have now had a process where we recognize the need. Weve got major trends anddynamics in the marketplace. We have organizations that are out there helping to corral peopleand manage the whole notion of EA better.What is it about the maturity? Where are we in a spectrum, on a scale of 1 to 10? What does thatmean for where there is left go? This isn’t cooked yet. You cant take it out of the oven quite yet.Nunn: No, absolutely no. Theres a long way to go, and I think to measure it on a scale of 1 to10, Id like to say higher, but its probably about 2 right now. Just because a lot of things that needto be done to create profession are partly done by one group or another, but not done in a uniﬁedway or with anything like one voice for the profession.Its interesting. We did some research on how long we might expect to take to achieve the statusof a profession. Certainly, in the US at least, the shortest period of time taken so far was 26 yearsby librarians, but typically it was closer to 100 years and, in fact, the longest was 170-odd years.So, were doing pretty well. Were going pretty quickly compared to those organizations.Were trying to do it on a global basis, which to my knowledge is the ﬁrst time thats been donefor any profession. If anything, that will obviously make things a little more complicated, but Ithink there is a lot of will in the EA world to make this happen, a lot of support from all sorts ofgroups. Press and analysts are keen to see it happen from the talks that weve had and the articlesweve read. So, where there is a will there is a way. Theres a long way to go, but weve madegood progress in a short numbers of years, really.Gardner: So, theres a great deal of opportunity coming up. Weve talked about how this isrelevant to the individual. This is something good for their career. They recognize a path wherethey can be beneﬁcial, appreciated, and valued. But, whats in it for the enterprise, for theorganizations that are trying to run their businesses dealing with a lot of change already? Whatdoes a group like the AEA do for them?Nunn: Its down to giving them the conﬁdence that the folks that they are hiring or the folks thatthey are developing to do EA work within their enterprise are qualiﬁed to do that, knowledgeableto 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, youd be looking tohire one that was a member of the relevant professional body with the appropriate certiﬁcations.Thats really what were promoting for EA. That’s the role that the association can play.
Conﬁdence buildingWhen 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 elsewould be like hiring an unqualiﬁed lawyer or accountant. Its about risk minimization andconﬁdence building in your staff.Gardner: Now, you wear two hats. Youre the Chief Operating Ofﬁcer at The Open Group andyoure the CEO of the AEA. How do these two groups relate? Youre in the best position to tell uswhats the relationship or the context that the listeners should appreciate in terms of how theseshakeouts?Nunn: That’s a good point. Its something that I do get asked periodically. The fact is that theassociation, whilst a separately incorporated body, was started by The Open Group. With thesethings, somebody has to start them and The Open Groups Membership was all you needed forthis to happen. So, very much the association has its roots in The Open Group and today still itworks very closely with The Open Group in terms of how it operates and certain infrastructurethings for the association are provided by The Open Group.The support is still there, but increasingly the association is becoming a separate body. Imentioned the journal that’s published in the associations name that has its own websites, itsown membership.So, little by little, there will be more separation between the two, but the aims of the two or theinterests of the two are both served by EA becoming recognized as profession. It just couldnthave happened without The Open Group, and we intend to pay a lot of attention to what goes oninside The Open Group in EA. Its one of the leading organizations in the EA space and a groupthat the association would be foolish not to pay attention to, in terms of the direction ofcertiﬁcations and what the members, who are enterprise architects, are saying, experiencing, andwhat theyre needing for the future.Gardner: So, I suppose we should expect an ongoing partnership between them for quite sometime.Nunn: Absolutely. A very close partnership and along with partnerships with other groups. Theassociation is not looking to take anyones turf or tread on anyone’s toes, but to partner with theother groups that are in the ecosystem. Because if we work together, well get to this professionstatus a lot quicker, but certainly a key partner will be The Open Group.Gardner: Well, very good. We have been looking at the current state of EA as profession,learning about the organizing groups around that effort and the certiﬁcation process that theysupport. Weve been talking with Steve Nunn, the Chief Operating Ofﬁcer at The Open Groupand also the CEO of the newly named Association of Enterprise Architects. Thank you so much,Steve.
Nunn: Thank you, Dana.Gardner: Youve been listening to a sponsored BrieﬁngsDirect podcast coming to you inconjunction with the Open Group Conference here in San Diego, the week of the February 7,2011. This is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions. Thanks for joining, andcome back next time.Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Podcast.com. Download the transcript. Sponsor:The Open GroupTranscript of a sponsored podcast discussion on the enterprise architecture and current movestoward gaining status as a profession. Copyright Interarbor Solutions, LLC, 2005-2011. Allrights reserved.You may also be interested in: • The State of Enterprise Architecture: Vast Promise or Lost Opportunity? • Cloud Computing, Enterprise Architecture Align to Make Each More Useful to Other, say Experts • New Deﬁnition of Enterprise Architecture Emphasized Fit for Purpose Across IT Undertakings