How the Role of Certification Impacts Professionalization of IT and Skills Management


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Transcript of a BriefingsDirect podcast from The Open Group Conference in Austin on how certification programs are aiding IT professionals as well as companies.

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How the Role of Certification Impacts Professionalization of IT and Skills Management

  1. 1. How the Role of Certification Impacts Professionalization ofIT and Skills ManagementTranscript of a BriefingsDirect podcast from The Open Group Conference in Austin on howcertification programs are aiding IT professionals as well as companies.Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and 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 in Austin, Texas, the week of July 18, 2011. Weve assembled a panel to update us on the impact and role of certifications for IT professionals. Well examine how certification for enterprise architects, business architects, and such industry initiatives as ArchiMate are provinginstrumental as IT organizations seek to reinvent themselves.There are now a lot of shifts in skills and a lot of movement about how organizations shouldproperly staff themselves. There have been cost pressures and certification issues for regulationand the adoption of new technologies. Were going to look at how all these are impacting the roleof certification out in the field.Here to help us better understand how an organization like The Open Group is alleviating theimpact and importance of IT skills and role certification amid this churning change in the ITorganizations is Steve Philp. He is the Marketing Director for Professional Certification at TheOpen Group. Welcome, Steve.Steve Philp: Thank you.Gardner: We are also here with Andrew Josey. He is Director of Standards at The Open Group.Welcome, Andrew.Andrew Josey: Thank you, Dana.Gardner: And were here with James de Raeve. He is Vice President of Certification at TheOpen Group. Hello, James.James de Raeve: Thanks, Dana.Gardner: Let’s start with you. As I said, were seeing a lot of change about many things in IT,but certainly how to properly staff, especially as you start to consider outsourcing options andcloud and software-as-a-service (SaaS) types of options. Organizations are also looking at
  2. 2. consolidation around their applications and infrastructure. So theres quite a bit of change.Naturally, the people in the "people, processes, and technology" spectrum need to be addressed.From your perspective, why is there the need for more professionalization, or what are the trendsthat are driving the need to reexamine your staff and how to properly certify your IT leadership?de Raeve: The primary driver here that were hearing from members and customers is that theyneed to get more out of the investments that theyre making -- their payroll for their IT staff.They need to get more productivity. And that has a number of consequences.Realizing talentThey want to ensure that the people they are employing and that theyre staffing their teams withare effective. They want to be sure that theyre not bringing in external experts when they don’t need to. So there is a need to realize the talent that theyve actually got in their internal IT community and to develop that talent, nurture it, and exploit it for the benefit of the organization. And professionalism, professionalization, and profession frameworks are all tools that can be used in identifying, measuring, and developing the talents and capabilities of your people. That seems to be the major driver.Gardner: Steve, any further thoughts on the trends that are driving certification andprofessionalization issues?Philp: Something I have noticed since joining The Open Group is that we’ve got some skills andexperience-based certifications. They seem to be the things that people are particularly interested in, because it’s not just a test of your knowledge about a particular vendor or product, but how you have applied your skills and experience out there in the marketplace. They have proven to be very successful in helping people assess where they are and in working towards developing a career path. That’s one of the areas of certification that things are going to move more towards -- more skills and experience-based certification programs inorganizations.Gardner: Where are we seeing this most in demand? Are there particular types of technologycertification or professional role certification that are in the most demand? Where is this the mosthot or impactful right now?Philp: Looking at certification in general, you still have areas like Microsoft MCSE, Microsofttechnical specialist, application development, and project management that are in demand, andthings like CCNA from Cisco. But Ive also noticed a lot more in the security field. CISSP andCCSA seem to be the ones that are always getting a lot of attention. In terms of security, the
  3. 3. trends in mobile computing, cloud computing, means that security certification is a big growtharea.Were just about to put a security track into our Certified IT Specialist Program at The OpenGroup, so there will be a skills and experience-based track for security practitioners soon.Gardner: James, of course we should point out for our listeners that were not just talking aboutcertification from vendors and suppliers about the specific products and/or platforms, but werereally looking at a skill and roles based approach. Maybe you could help us distinguish betweenthe two and why it’s important to do so?de Raeve: The difference, as Steve alluded to, is that there is a whole world out there oftechnology and product-related certifications that are fulfilling a very important function inhelping people establish and demonstrate their knowledge of those particular products andtechnologies.But there is a need for people too in the building of teams and in the delivering of results tonurture and grow their people to be team players and team participants and to be able to workwith them to function within the organization as, for want of a better term, "t-shaped people,"where there are a number of soft and people-related skills and potentially architecture relatedskills for the IT specialists, and skills and capabilities enable people to be rounded professionalswithin an organization.T-shaped peopleIt’s that aspect that differentiates the professionalization and the profession-oriented certificationprograms that were operating here at The Open Group -- The Open Certified Architect, TheOpen Certified IT Specialist. Those are t-shaped people and we think that makes a hugedifference. It’s what’s going to enable organizations to be more effective by developing theirpeople to have that more rounded t-shaped capability.Gardner: Andrew, with the emphasis on standards and your role there, how does the impact ofcertification on the ability to adhere to and exploit standards come together? What’s therelationship between making sure you have standardization around your people and their skillsets, but also being able to exploit standardization and even more automation across yourorganization?Josey: We see the certification as being the ultimate drive in the uptake of the standards, and so were able to go from not just having a standard on the shelf to actually seeing it being deployed in the field and used. Weve actually got some people certification programs, such as TOGAF, and weve got some over 20,000 practitioners now. Weve gone through the certification program and weve been using and evangelizing, TOGAF as a standard in the field and then feeding that back to our members and, through the association, the feedback improvements to the
  4. 4. standards. So it’s very much part of the end-to-end ecosystem -- developing a standard fordeploying it, and getting people on it, and then getting the feedback in the right way.Gardner: I suppose that as organizations want to create a level playing field, were starting tosee calls for this type of certification in requests for proposal (RFPs) around projects. For folkson the buy side who are seeking either people or the suppliers themselves, a supply chain andecosystem of providers, how much is certification playing a role and how they can pick andchoose among each other with some sense of trust and reliability?Philp: It’s very much an important part of the process now. TOGAF and IT ArchitectCertification (ITAC) have appeared in a number of RFPs for government and for majormanufacturing organizations. So it’s important that the suppliers and the buyers recognize theseprograms.Similarly with recruitment, you find that things like TOGAF will appear in most recruitment adsfor architects. Certainly, people want knowledge of it, but more and more you’ll see TOGAFcertification is required as well.ITAC, which is now Open CA, has also appeared in a number of recruitment ads for memberslike Logica, Capgemini, Shell. More recently, organizations like the CBS, EADS, ADGA Group,Direct Energy have requested it. And the list goes on. It’s a measure of how important theawareness is for these certifications and that’s something we will continue to drive at The OpenGroup.Gardner: All right, Steve, thanks for that. As you mentioned, there have been some changes interms of the branding around some of these. Let’s take a quick review if we could around what’sbeing happening at the Austin Conference, but also what’s new and what’s been going on withthe branding. Let’s look at the TOGAF, ArchiMate, and business architecture certifications.Whats new and interesting there?In developmentJosey: I am speaking up on what we are doing in ArchiMate first, before I talk about TOGAF, and then Steve will tell us what the Business Forum is up to. ArchiMate certification is something new that we’re developing right now. We haven’t deployed a certification program as yet. The previous certification program was under the ArchiMate Foundation, which was the body that developed ArchiMate, before it transferred into The Open Group.We’re currently working on the new program which will be similar to some aspects of ourTOGAF program, and it’ll be knowledge base certification with an assessment by exam and apractical assessment in which the candidate can actually do modeling. So this will be peoplecertification and there will also be accredited training course certification.
  5. 5. And then also what were going to do there is actually to provide certification for tools. Therewill be certifications there.That’s pretty much what we’re doing in ArchiMate, so we don’t have a firm timeline. So it willnot be available it looks like, probably towards the end of the year would be the earliest, butpossibly early next year.Gardner: Knowing that we reach a wide audience, could you give a quick overview of whatArchiMate is for those who might not be familiar.Josey: ArchiMate is a modeling language for enterprise architecture (EA) in general andspecifically it’s a good fit for TOGAF. It’s a way of communicating and developing models forTOGAF EA. Originally it was developed by the Telematica Instituut and funded, I think, by theEU and a number of commercial companies in the Netherlands. It was actually brought into TheOpen Group in 2008 by the ArchiMate Foundation and is now managed by the ArchiMate Forumwithin The Open Group.Gardner: Now we’re going to hear an update on TOGAF.Josey: The latest version of TOGAF is TOGAF 9 for certification. As we mentioned earlier,there are two types of certification programs, skills and knowledge based. TOGAF falls into theknowledge based camp. We have two levels. TOGAF 9 Foundation, which is our level one, is forindividuals to assess that they know the terminology and basic concepts of EA in TOGAF.Level two, which is a superset of level one, in addition assesses analysis and comprehension. Theidea is that some people who are interested in just getting familiar with TOGAF and those peoplewho work around enterprise architects can go into TOGAF Foundation. And these enterprisearchitects themselves should initially start with the TOGAF Certified, the level two, and thenperhaps move on later to Open CA. That will be helpful.For TOGAF 9 Certification, we introduced that by midyear 2009. We launched TOGAF 9 inFebruary, and it took a couple of months to just roll out all these certifications through all theexam channels.Since then, we’ve gone through 8,000 certifications. Weve seen that two-thirds of those were atthe higher level, level two, for EA practitioners and one-third of those are currently at thefoundation level.Gardner: And lastly, business architecture?A new areaPhilp: Business architecture, is a new area that weve been working on. Let me just to go backto what we did on the branding, because it ties in with that. We launched The Open Group’s newwebsite recently and we used that as the opportunity to re-brand ITAC as The Open Group
  6. 6. Certified Architect (Open CA) program. The IT Specialist Certification (ITSC) has now becomeThe Open Group Certified IT Specialist or Open CITS Program.We did the rebranding at that time, because we wanted to be it associated with the word “open.”We wanted to give the skills and experience-based certification a closer linkage to The OpenGroup. That’s why we changed from ITAC to Open CA. But, we’ve not changed the actualprogram itself. Candidates still have to create a certification package and be interviewed by threeboard members, and there are still three levels of certification: Certified, Master, andDistinguished.However, what we’re intending to do is have some core requirements that architects need tomeet, and then add some specific specializations for different types of architects. The one thatwe’ve been working on the most recently is the Business Architecture Certification. This cameabout from an initiative about 18 months ago.We formed something called the Business Forum with a number of platinum members who gotinvolved with it --companies like IBM, HP, SAP, Oracle and Capgemini. We’ve been definingthe conformance requirements for the business architecture certification. Its going through thedevelopment process and hopefully will be launched sometime later this year or early next year.Gardner: Im interested in how this is making a difference in the field. Theres a lot of changegoing on this consolidation. Theres re-factoring of whats core and whats context in what ITdepartment should focus on and, therefore, what their skill sets need to be. They’re adopting newtechnologies. I wonder if you have any examples of where we’ve seen certification come to playwhen an organization is looking to change its workforce. Any thoughts about some organizationsand what the impact has been?de Raeve: Theres a very good example of an organization that had exactly that problem, andthey’ve done a presentation about this in one of our conferences. Its Philips, and they used tohave an IT workforce that was divided among the business units. The different businesses hadtheir own IT function.They changed that and went to a single IT function across the organization, providing services tothe businesses. In doing so, they needed to rationalize things like grades, titles, job descriptions,and they were looking around for a framework within which they could do this and theyevaluated a number of them.They were working with a partner who wass helping them do this. The partner was an OpenGroup member and suggested they look at the Open Group’s IT Specialist Certification, theCITS Certification Program, as it provides a set of definitions for the capabilities and skillsrequired for IT professionals. They picked it up and used it, because it covered the areas theywere interested in.This was sufficient and complete enough to be useful to them, and it was vendor neutral, and anindustry best practice. So they could pick this up and use it with confidence. And that has beenvery successful. They initially benchmarked their entire 900 strong IT workforce against The
  7. 7. Open Group definition, so they could get to calibrate themselves, where their people were ontheir journey through development as professionals.They’ve started to embrace the certification programs as a method of not only measuring theirpeople, but also rewarding them. It’s had a very significant impact in terms of not only enablingthem to get a handle upon their people, but also in terms of their employee engagement. In theengagement surveys that they do with their staff, some of the comments they got back after theystarted doing this process were, “For the first time we feel like management is paying attention tous.”It was very positive feedback, and the net result is that they are well on their way to meeting theirgoal of no longer having automatically to bring in an external service provider whenever theywere dealing with a new project or a new topic. They know that they’ve got people withsufficient expertise in-house on their own payroll now. Theyve been able to recognize thatcapability, and the use of it has had a very positive effect. So it’s a very strong good story.I think that the slides will be available to our members in the conference’s proceedings from theLondon conference in April. That will be worth something to look at.Gardner: Where would you go for more information, if you were a practitioner, a buddingenterprise architect and you wanted to certify yourself and/or if you were in an organizationtrying to determine more precisely what certification would mean to you as youre trying toreengineer, modernize and right-size your organization? Where do you go for more information?Philp: If you go to the Open Group website,, all of the peoplebased certifications are there, along with the benefits for individuals, benefits for organizationsand various links to the appropriate literature. There’s also a lot of other useful things, like self-assessment tests, previous webinars, sample packages, etc. That will give you more of an idea ofwhat’s required for certification along with the conformance requirements and other programdocumentation. There’s a lot of useful information on the website.Gardner: Very good. We’ve been discussing how the role and impact of IT Certification isgrowing and some of the reasons for that. We’ve also looked at how organizations like The OpenGroup are elevating the role of certification and providing means to attain it and measure it thestandard.I’d like to thank our guests for delivering this sponsored podcast discussion in conjunction withThe Open Group Conference in Austin, Texas, the week of July 18, 2011 We’ve been joined byour panel, Steve Philp, he is the Marketing Director for Professional Certification at the OpenGroup. Thank you, Steve.Philp: Thank you, Dana.Gardner: And we are also have been joined by by Andrew Josey, Director of Standards at TheOpen Group. Thank you, Andrew.
  8. 8. Josey: Thank you, Dana.Gardner: And lastly, James de Raeve, he is the Vice President of Certification, once again at TheOpen Group. Thanks Raeve: Thank you, Dana, and thanks to everyone who has listened.Gardner: Right. This is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions. Thanks forlistening and come back next time.Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Sponsor: The Open GroupTranscript of a BriefingsDirect podcast from The Open Group Conference in Austin on howcertification programs are aiding IT professionals as well as companies. Copyright InterarborSolutions, LLC, 2005-2011. All rights reserved.You may also be interested in: • Enterprise Architects Increasingly Leverage Advanced TOGAF9 for Innovation, Market Response, and Governance Benefits • Open Group Cloud Panel Forecasts Cloud s Spurring Useful Transition Phase for Enterprise Architecture • The Open Groups Cloud Work Group Advances Understanding of Cloud-Use Benefits for Enterprises • Exploring the Role and Impact of the Open Trusted Technology Forum to Ensure Secure IT Products in Global Supply Chains