Steve Nunn, The Open Group President and CEO, Discusses the Inaugural TOGAF User Group Meeting and the Practical Role of EA in Business Transformation
Steve Nunn, The Open Group President and CEO, Discusses
the Inaugural TOGAF User Group Meeting and the
Practical Role of EA in Business Transformation
Transcript of a podcast discussion with President and CEO of The Open Group, Steve Nunn, on
what to expect from The Open Group San Francisco 2016, January 25 to 28.
Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Get the mobile app. Sponsor: The Open
Dana Gardner: Hello, and welcome to a special BrieﬁngsDirect thought leadership interview
coming to you in conjunction with The Open Group San Francisco 2016 event on January 25.
We'll explore a new user group being formed about TOGAF, The Open Group
standard and how this group will further foster the practical use of the TOGAF
Enterprise Architecture aid for effective and practical business transformation.
I'm Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, and I'll be your
host as we set the stage, the next chapter in enterprise architecture (EA) for
digital business success.
We are now here with the President and CEO of The Open Group, Steve Nunn. Welcome, Steve.
Steve Nunn: Thank you Dana. Glad to be here.
Gardner: I'm glad you are here as well. Before we get to the TOGAF User Group news, let’s
relate a little bit about what’s changed in the business world and why EA and frameworks and
standards like TOGAF are more practical and perhaps more powerful than ever.
Nunn: One of the keys, Dana, is that we're seeing EA increasingly used as a tool in business
transformation. Whereas in the past, maybe in the early adoptions of TOGAF and
implementations of TOGAF, it was more about redesigning EA, redesigning
systems inside an organization more generally. Nowadays, with the need to
transform businesses for the digital world, EA has another more immediate and
more obvious appeal.
It’s really around an enablement tool for companies and organizations to
transform their businesses for the digital world, speciﬁcally the worlds of the
Internet of Things (IoT), big data, social, mobile, all of those things which we at
The Open Group lump into something we call Open Platform 3.0, but it really is
affecting the business place at large and the markets that our member
organizations are part of.
Gardner: Now TOGAF has been around for quite a while. How old is TOGAF now?
Nunn: The ﬁrst version of TOGAF was published in 1993, so it's been quite some time. For a
little while, we published a version every year. Once we got to Version 7.0, the refreshes and the
new versions came a bit slower after that.
We're now at Version 9.1, and there is a new version being worked on. The
key for TOGAF is that we introduced a certiﬁcation program
around it for both tools that help people implement TOGAF, but
also for the practitioners, the individuals who are actually using it.
We did that with version 8.0 and then we moved to what we consider, and the marketplace
certainly considers, to be an improved version with TOGAF 9.0, making it an exam-based
certiﬁcation. It has proved to be very popular indeed, with more than 50,000 certiﬁed individuals
under that program to date.
Gardner: Now the IT world, the business world, many things about the world have changed
tremendously since 1993. Something that comes to mind, of course, is the need to not just think
about architecture within your organization, but how that relates across boundaries of many
I sometimes tease friends who are ‘Star Trek’ fans that we have gone from regular chess to 3-D
chess, and that’s a leap in complexity. How does this need to better manage boundaryless
information ﬂow make EA and standards like TOGAF so important now?
Nunn: With the type of change of the year that you talked about in the level of complexity,
what standards like TOGAF and others bring is some commonality and ability to make emerging
organizations a little bit easier, to give it a bit more structure. One of the things that we hear is
most valuable about TOGAF, in particular, is the common vocabulary that it gives to those
involved in a business transformation, which obviously involves multiple parts of an
organization and multiple partners in a group of organizations, for example.
So, it’s not just for enterprise architects. We're hearing increasingly about a level of training and
introductory use of TOGAF at all levels of an organization as a means of communicating and
having a common set of terminology. So everyone has the same expectation about what
particular terms mean. With added complexity, we need things to help us work through that and
divide up the complexity into different layers that we can tackle. EA and TOGAF, in particular,
are proving very popular for tackling those levels of complexity.
Gardner: So in the next chapter, these things continue to evolve, react to the market, and adjust.
We're hearing that there is news at the event, the January 25 event in San Francisco around this
new user group. Tell me why we're instituting a user group associated with TOGAF at this point?
Nunn: It’s going to be the ﬁrst meeting of a TOGAF User Group, and it’s something we have
been thinking about for some time, but the time seems to be now. I've alluded to the level of
popularity of TOGAF, but it really is becoming very widely used. What users of TOGAF are
looking for is how to better use it in their day jobs. How can they make it effective? How can
they learn from what others have done, both good and bad, the things to try and the things not to
try or more the things that worked and things that didn’t work? That isn’t something that we've
necessarily offered, apart from a few conference sessions at previous events.
So this really ends up getting a broader community around TOGAF, and not just those members
of the Architecture Forum which is our particular forum that advances the TOGAF standard. It’s
really to engage the wider community, both those who are certiﬁed and those who aren’t
certiﬁed, as a way of learning how to make better and more effective use of TOGAF. There are a
lot of possibilities for what we might do at the meeting, and a lot of it will depend on what those
who attend would like to cover.
Gardner: Now, to be clear, any standard has a fairly rigorous process by which the standard is
amended, changed, or evolves over time. But we're talking about something separate from that.
We're talking about perhaps more organic information, sharing, bringing points into that
standard’s process. Maybe you could clarify the separation, the difference, the relationship
between a standard’s adoption and a user group input.
Nunn: That’s the key point, Dana. The standard will get evolved by the members of The Open
Group, speciﬁcally the members of The Open Group Architecture Forum. They are the ones who
have evolved it this far and are very actively working on a future version. So they will be the
ones who will ultimately get to propose what goes in and ultimately vote on what goes in.
Where the role of the user community, both members and non-members, but speciﬁcally the
opportunity for non-members, comes in is being able to give their input, put forward ideas that
areas where maybe TOGAF might be strengthened or improved in some way. Nobody pretends
it’s prefect as you use it. It has evolved over time and it will evolve in the future. But hearing
from those who actually use TOGAF day to day, we might get, certainly from The Open Group
point of view, some new perspectives, and those perspectives will then get passed on through us
to the members of the Architecture Forum.
Many of those we expect to attend the event anyway. They might hear it for the ﬁrst time, but
certainly we would spend part of the meeting looking at what that input might be, so that we
have something to pass on to them for consideration in the standard.
This is the ﬁrst time we've offered nonmembers a real opportunity not necessarily to decide what
goes into the standard but certainly a greater degree of inﬂuence.
It's somewhat of a throwback to the days where user groups were very powerful in what came
out of vendor organizations. I do hope that this will be something that will enable everyone to get
the beneﬁt of a better overall standard.
Past user groups
Gardner: I certainly remember, Steve, the days when vendors would quake in their boots
when user meetings and groups came up, because they had such inﬂuence and impact. They both
beneﬁted each other. The vendors really beneﬁted by hearing from the user groups and the user
groups beneﬁted by the standards that could come forth and vendor cooperation that they
I recall, at the last Open Group event, the synergy discussions around Zachman, and other EA
frameworks. Do you expect that some of these user group activities that you're putting forth will
allow some of that cross pollination, if you will, people who might be using other EA tools and
want to bring more cooperation and collaboration across them?
Nunn: I would certainly expect that to happen. Our position at The Open Group, and we've said
it consistently over the years, is that it’s not "TOGAF or," it’s "TOGAF and." The reality is that
most organizations, the vast majority, are not just going to take TOGAF and let it be everything
they use in implementing their EAs.
So the other frameworks are certainly relevant. I expect there to be some interest in tools, as well
as frameworks. We hear that quite a lot, suggestions of what good tools are for people at different
stages of maturity and their implementation of the EA. So, I expect a lot of discussion about the
other thoughts or the other tools in the toolbox of an EA to come up here.
Gardner: So user groups serve to bring more of an echo system approach, voices from disparate
parties coming together sounds very powerful. Now this is happening on January 25. This is a
free ﬁrst meeting. Is that correct? And being in San Francisco, of course, it's within a couple
hours drive of a lot of inﬂuential users, start-ups, the VC community, vendors, or service
providers. Tell us a little bit about why people who are within a quick access to the Bay Area
might consider coming to this on January 25?
Nunn: That’s another reason, the location of our next event. We were ﬁrst thinking this is the
right time to do a ﬁrst TOGAF User Group, because you see there are a lot of users of TOGAF in
the area or within a few hours of it. What people would get out of it is the chance to hear a bit
more about how TOGAF is used by others, case studies, what’s worked, what hasn’t worked, the
opportunity to talk directly with people, whether it’s through networking or actually in the
sessions in the user group meeting.
We're trying to not put too much rigid structure around those particular sessions, because we
won’t be able to get the most beneﬁt out of them. So it’s really what they want to get out of it
that will probably be achievable.The point of view of The Open Group is that it's about getting
that broader perspective for the attendees, learning useful tips and tricks, learning from the
experience of others, and learning a bit more about The Open Group and how TOGAF has
This is a key point. TOGAF is so widely used now and globally, and even though we have quite
a few members in The Open Group, we have more than 350 organization participating in some
way in the Architecture Forum, and more in The Open Group as a whole.
But there's obviously a much wider community of those who are using it. Hearing more about
how it has developed, what the processes are inside The Open Group, might make them feel
good about the future of something that they clearly have some investment in. Hopefully, it
might even persuade a few of those organizations to join and inﬂuence from the inside.
Gardner: Now, there's more information about the user group at www.opengroup.org. You're
meeting on January 25 at 9:30 a.m. Paciﬁc Time at the Marriott Union Square right in the heart
of San Francisco. But this is happening in association with a larger event. So tell us a little bit
about the total event that's happening between January 25 and 28.
Nunn: This is part of one of our quarterly events that we've been running for lot of years now.
They take the form generally of a plenary sessions that are open to anyone and also member
meetings, where the members of the various Open Group forums get together to progress the
work that they do virtually. But it’s to really knuckle down and progress some of it face-to-face,
which as, we all know, is generally a very productive way of working.
Apart from the TOGAF User Group, we have on the agenda sessions on the Digital Business
Strategy and Customer Experience, which is an activity that's being driven inside our Open
Platform 3.0 Forum, as a membership activity, but this is really to open that up to a wide
audience at the conference. So, we'll have people talking about that.
Open Platform 3.0 is where the convergence of technologies like cloud, social computing,
mobile computing, big data, and IoT all come together. As we see it, our goal is for our members
to create an Open Platform 3.0 Standard, which is basically a standard for digital platform, so
that the enterprises can more easily use the technologies and get the beneﬁt of these technologies
that are now out there. There will be quite a bit of focus on Open Platform 3.0.
The other big thing that is proving very popular for us, which will be featured at the conference
is the Open Group IT4IT Reference Architecture, and there is a membership activity, the IT4IT
Forum. They're working on standards. We published the ﬁrst version of that reference
architecture at our last quarterly conference, which was in Edinburgh in October last year.
There has been a lot of interest in it, and it's really a standard for running the business of IT.
Oftentimes, IT is just seen as doing its own thing and not really part of the business. But the
reality nowadays is that whoever is running the IT, be it the CIO or whatever other individual, to
be successful they have to not just run IT as a business, with the usual business principles of
return on investment, etc., but they have to be seen to be doing so. This is a reference
architecture that's not speciﬁc to any industry and that provides a guide for how to go about
We're quite excited about it. There has been a lot of interest in it so far, and we are working on a
certiﬁcation program for IT4IT that we will be launching later this year, hopefully at our next
quarterly event in London in April.
Gardner: I'll just remind our listeners and readers that we're going to be doing some separate
discussions and sharing them on the IT4IT Reference Architecture. So please look for that
Getting back to the event, Steve, I've attended many of these over the years and I ﬁnd a lot of the
discussions around security, around speciﬁc markets like healthcare and government really
powerful and interesting. Is there anything in particular about this conference that you're
particularly interested in or looking forward to?
Nunn: The ones I've already spoken to are the ones that I'm personally most looking forward to.
We'll be having sessions on health care and security, as you say.
In the security area it’s worth calling out that one of the suggestions that we've had about
TOGAF -- I won’t call it criticism, but one of the suggestions for future versions -- is that
TOGAF is a bit light on security. It could do with beeﬁng up that particular area.
The approach that we've taken this time, which people attending the conference will hear about,
is that we have actually got the security experts to say what we need to cover in TOGAF, in the
next version of TOGAF from a security point of view. Rather than having the architects include
what they know about security, we have some heavyweight security folks in there, working with
the Architecture Forum, to really beef up the security aspect. We'll hear a bit more about that.
Gardner: I also see that customer experience, which is closely aligned with user experience, is
a big part of the event this year. That’s such a key topic these days for me, because it sort of
forms a culmination of Platform 3.0. When you can pull together big data, hybrid cloud
architectures, mobile enablement and reach, you can start to really do some fantastic new things
that just really couldn’t have been done before when it comes to that user experience, real-time
adaptation to user behaviors, bringing that inference back into a cloud or a back-end architecture,
and then bringing back some sort of predictive or actionable result.
Please ﬂesh out a bit more for us about how this user experience and customer experience is such
a key part of the output, the beneﬁt, the value, and the business transformation that we get from
all these technical issues that we've discussed; this is sort of a business issue.
Nunn: You're absolutely right. It’s when we start providing a better experience for the customers
overall and they can get more out of what the organizations are offering that everybody wins.
From the group that we have working on this inside The Open Group, they are coming at it from
a point of view that some of these new technologies are actually very scary for organizations,
because they are forced to transform. The expectations of customers now are completely
different. They expect to be able to get things on their cellphones or their tablets, or whatever
device they might be using. That's quite a big shift for a lot of organizations, and that’s not even
getting into some of the areas of IoT, which promises to be huge.
What we're trying to do from the organizational side is focus on what is it that you can do to look
at it from the customers’ point of view, meet their expectations, and start to evolve from there.
To me, it’s interesting from the point of view that it’s pretty business-driven. The technologies
are there to be taken advantage of or to actually be very disruptive. So the business needs to
know at a fairly early stage what those customer expectations are and take advantage of the new
technologies that are there. That’s the angle that we are coming from inside The Open Group on
Some of the main participants in that group are actually coming from the telco world, where
things have obviously changed enormously over the last few years. So that one is going to move
Gardner: It certainly seems that the ability to have boundaryless architecture is essential on that
customer experience beneﬁt. You certainly seem to be in the right place at the right time for that.
But the event in San Francisco also forms a milestone for you, Steve. You're now in your ﬁrst full
event as President and CEO of The Open Group, having taken over from Allen Brown last Fall.
Tell us a little bit about your earlier roles within the standards organization and a bit more about
yourself perhaps for those folks who are not yet familiar with you?
Nunn: Yes, it will be quite different this time around. I've been with The Open Group for 22
years now. I was originally hired as General Counsel, and then fairly quickly moving on to Vice
President of Corporate, Legal and Chief Operating Ofﬁcer under Allen Brown as CEO. Allen
was CEO for 17 years, and I was with him all of that time. It’s going to be quite different to have
somebody else running the events, but I'm very much looking forward to it.
From my point of view, it’s a great honor to be leading The Open Group and its members into
our next phase of evolution. The events that we hold are one small part of it, but they're a very
important part, particularly these quarterly ones. It’s where a lot of our customers and members
come together in one place, and as we have heard, there will be some folks who may not have
been involved with one of our events before through the user group, so it’s pretty exciting.
I'm looking forward to building on the very solid foundation that we have and some of the great
work activities that we mainly have ongoing inside The Open Group.
Don’t expect great change from The Open Group, but just really more of the same good stuff that
we've been working on before, having regard to the fact that obviously things are changing very
rapidly around us and we need to be able to provide value in that fast changing world, which we
are very conﬁdent we can.
Gardner: As an observer of the market, but also of The Open Group, I'm glad to hear that you're
continuing on your course, because the world owes you in many ways. Things you were talking
about 5 or 10 years ago have become very essential. You were spot on on how you saw the vision
of the world changing on IT and its inﬂuence on business and vice versa.
More than ever, it seems that IT and EA is destiny for businesses. So I'm glad to hear that we're
having a long vision, and the future seems very bright for your organization as the tools and
approaches and the mentality and philosophy that you have been espousing becomes essential to
do some of these things we have been discussing, like Platform 3.0, like customer experience,
In closing, let’s remind our audience that you can register for the event at The Open Group
website, www.opengroup.org. The ﬁrst day, January 25, includes that free user group, the
inaugural user group for TOGAF, and it all happens at the Marriott Union Square, San Francisco,
along with the General Conference, which also runs from January 25 to 28.
Any last thoughts Steve, as we close out, in terms of where people should expect The Open
Group to go, or how they can become perhaps involved in ways that they hadn’t considered
Nunn: Attending one of our events is a really good introduction to what goes on in The Open
Group. For those who haven’t attended one previously, you might be pleasantly surprised.
If I had to pick one thing, I would say it's the breadth of activities there are at these events. It’s
very easy for an organization like The Open Group to be known for one thing or a very small
number of things, whether it’s UNIX originally and EA more recently, but there really is a lot
going on beyond there.
Getting exposure to that at an event such as this, particularly in a location as important to the
industry and as beautiful as San Francisco is, is a great chance. So anyone who is on the fence
about going, then jump over the fence and try us out.
Gardner: We'll have to leave it there I'm afraid. We have been talking about how a new user
group is being formed around TOGAF, an Open Group Standard. We've heard how this group
will be fostering practical use of TOGAF, gaining insights from the ﬁeld, organic knowledge
bubbling up into the standards process around TOGAF. This, of course, is essential for EA to
support effective and practical business transformation.
This special BrieﬁngsDirect discussion comes to you in conjunction with The Open Group Event
this January in San Francisco. Join me now in thanking our guest. We've been here with Steve
Nunn, the President and CEO of The Open Group. Thanks so much, Steve.
Nunn: Thank you very much, Dana, for this opportunity and I hope to see some of your listeners
at the event.
Gardner: Very good. Also, a big thank you to The Open Group for sponsoring this discussion.
And lastly, a big thank you to our audience for joining us.
This is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, your host and moderator
throughout these Enterprise IT Thought Leadership Interviews. Thanks again for listening, and
do come back next time.
Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Get the mobile app. Download the
transcript. Sponsor: The Open Group.
Transcript of a podcast with President and CEO of The Open Group, Steve Nunn, on what to
expect from The Open Group San Francisco 2016, January 25 to 28. Copyright The Open
Group and Interarbor Solutions, LLC, 2005-2016. All rights reserved.
You may also be interested in:
• A Tale of Two IT Departments, or How Cloud Governance is Essential in the Bimodal IT
• Securing Business Operations and Critical Infrastructure: Trusted Technology,
Procurement Paradigms, Cyber Insurance
• Enterprise Architecture Leader John Zachman on Understanding and Leveraging
Synergies Among the Major EA Frameworks
• Cybersecurity standards: The Open Group explores security and safer supply chains
• Explore synergies among major Enterprise Architecture frameworks with The Open
• Health Data Deluge Requires Secure Information Flow Via Standards, Says the Open
Group's New Healthcare Director
• The Open Group Amsterdam Conference Panel Delves into How to Best Gain Business
Value from Open Platform 3.0
• Healthcare Among Thorniest and Yet Most Opportunistic Use Cases for Boundaryless
Information Flow Improvement
• Gaining Dependability Across All Business Activities Requires Standard of Standards to
Tame Dynamic Complexity, Says The Open Group CEO
• Big Data success depends on better risk management practices like FAIR, say conference
• Improving signal-to-noise in risk management