Penn State University Center for EA and FEAPO Presentation Available

Mike The Architect: Dr. Brian Cameron This week I invited Dr. Brian Cameron to an internal Microsoft Architecture Summit for internal Microsoft IT Enterprise Architects and our Microsoft Services Enterprise Strategy and Architecture organizations. He was our featured keynote speaker about his efforts in the Enterprise Architecture community. I wanted him to discuss where he sees the industry going along with how he his programs can help not only Microsoft but its customers that are trying to solve these very large and complex EA challenges.

Brian is such a great speaker who really tugged at the heart strings of our architects. Discussing the common challenges in the EA industry along with his five year vision on what he hopes to achieve. This is all supported by academic research and strong commercial industry ties to ensure it is grounded in reality. Pragmatism in IT has been a common issue in academic institutions for a very long time, as humbly admitted by Dr. Cameron with many examples of MIS programs around the country.


You may of noticed I am a real fan of what Dr. Cameron is trying to accomplish. I summed up the opportunity well in one of my later posts about his programs, Penn State Professional Masters Program for Enterprise Architecture Approved by Trustees.

There are a few really good reasons as enterprise architects why we should all be excited about this:

  • A learning path for aspiring architects – today there are limited to no options for EA’s who want to get a professional education for a reputable education institution. Now individuals can start their career in the architecture field rit away with training while before it was a role that was achieved through other roles and lengthy experiences in IT.
  • EA profession is real – with worldwide EA academic programs springing up continuously it is showing that there is not only steady demand for EA but we are at a tipping point of where this discipline is has enough demand and sustainability that an academic base is needed.
  • New perspectives – The EA industry has been dominated by analysts, large vendors, consultancies and some standards bodies to date. With the ground swell of academic institutions participation in this field there is another important perspective that brings with it necessary rigor, repeatability and research principles.

After listening to him speak and diving into his program deeper I still feel this way. This is something I think the industry should continue to embrace. While the organizations below have supported FEAPO and the Center for EA in it’s establishment phase, it is critical that they continue to develop and make this a sustainable possibility for our industry.


This is particularly true for standards setting organizations like OMG and The Open Group. It is critical that we have this very necessary feedback loop to ensure high quality and scaled thought leadership.



Thank you to Dr. Brian Cameron for accepting my invite to our summit and allowing me to share his presentation publicly. I look forward to many more collaboration opportunities.



About Dr. Brian Cameron

Brian Cameron is Executive Director of the Center for Enterprise Architecture in the College of Information Sciences and Technology at the Pennsylvania State University.  Dr. Cameron is also the Program Director for the new Master of Professional Studies in Enterprise Architecture. Within the College of Information Sciences and Technology, he works with a wide portfolio of companies on a variety of consulting engagements, ranging from systems integration projects to enterprise architecture planning and design. Through his academic work, Cameron has consulted with organizations such as Accenture, AT&T Wireless, Avaya, Boeing, EMC Corp, Lockheed Martin, NSA, Oracle, Raytheon, U.S. Marine Corps, and many others.

His primary research and consulting interests include enterprise architecture value measurement, hybrid enterprise architecture framework development, enterprise integration, information management and storage, and the use of simulations and gaming in education. The main focus areas for his teaching efforts are on graduate and senior-level capstone enterprise architecture, enterprise integration, and information technology consulting & information architecture courses. Dr. Cameron is currently developing new curricular materials for enterprise integration (through funding from NSF) including a textbook to be published by Wiley & Sons Publishing. He has also designed and taught executive education sessions for senior IT executives. Session topics include Strategic Alignment of IT & Business Strategies, Enterprise Architecture Value Measurement, Adaptive Enterprise Architecture, IT Governance, IT Portfolio Management, Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), and Business Process Management (BPM).

Dr. Cameron is TOGAF and Zachman certified and has developed an extensive background in the DoDAF, FEAF, and Gartner frameworks. He is an EACOE certified enterprise architect and serves on the boards and working committees of a number of international professional organizations and journals. He is a member of the Professional Education Standards Committee of the International Professional Practice Partnership (IP3), a member of the Board of Trustees for the Center for the Advancement of the Enterprise Architecture Profession and Business Architecture Guild, the founding president of the Federation of Enterprise Architecture Professional Organizations, a Co-chair of the Academic Alliance Committee for the Special Interest Group on Enterprise Architecture for the Industry Advisory Council of the US Federal Government, and a member of the editorial review boards for the Journal of Enterprise Architecture, the International Journal on Cyber Behavior, Psychology, and Learning, the Interdisciplinary Journal of Information, Knowledge, and Management, the Journal of Informa
tion Systems Education, and the International Journal on E-Learning.

Dr. Cameron was awarded the NPA Career Achievement Award in 2011 for efforts related to the founding of the Federation of Enterprise Architecture Professional Organizations, the building of the Center for Enterprise Architecture, and associated service to the enterprise architecture profession.

Dr. Cameron currently leads corporately funded research efforts in the following areas: enterprise architecture maturity analysis, enterprise architecture value measurement, risk analysis and management of enterprise systems integration projects, and service oriented architecture implementation best practices. Additional information can be found at:


Understanding Which Investments Should go to the Cloud

Mike The Architect: Understanding Which Investments Should go to the Cloud

In my last post in this series, “CIO Priorities for the Next 3 Years”, we examined the future of Corporate IT, and made some predictions on what CIO priorities for the next three years might be. According to research from IDC, IBM, and Gartner, the three areas that CIOs are expected to invest most heavily in will be data, mobility, and the cloud.

Today, we will take a closer look at the most recent and most aggressively growing of these three niches: The cloud. Our friends at Gartner estimate that, over the next five years, enterprises will likely spend about $112 billion cumulatively (no pun intended) on cloud services. Another example comes from a new survey of 600 large companies by Tata Consultancy Services. The Tata survey points out that companies in all regions expect their cloud usage to grow dramatically by 2014. For example, U.S. companies expect that 34 percent of their total applications will be cloud-based in two years. European respondents said they expect cloud applications to hit 25 percent in that period.

Clearly, the cloud is here to stay, so let’s talk about the power of the cloud. Specifically, what game changing elements does the cloud bring to businesses in the future?

Below is how I think about it from a Strategy and an Enterprise Architecture oriented way. This should resonate with most CIOs:

  • Convergence – The cloud is the ultimate power networker, bringing together the essential elements that enable both legacy and emerging technologies. The analyst community bears this out, positioning the cloud as the nerve center of the IT of the future. Gartner calls it the “CSMI Nexus,” and describes it as a junction of cloud, social, mobility and information. I agree with Gartner’s position that the future will be more integrated and connected when it comes to these four technologies, but the cloud will always be at the center, enabling all of this to occur.
  • A New Financial Model – Because the cloud requires no upfront investment for hardware and software, it enables a shift from capital expenditures to operational expenditures, wherein the bulk of the costs are absorbed into a utility model, with low monthly fees for applications and services. The challenge with this is that often, the implementation time and costs significantly reduce the value of the capital expenditure, and the investment is nearly depreciated before the value can be extracted. This can cause a bit of CFO angst.
  • Agility and Scalability – An agile, scalable enterprise is needed to support the rhythm of modern business—not all business cycles, after all, are static. Take for example the banking industry, which has a peak transaction volume between Thanksgiving and January 1; or healthcare and insurance, which are driven respectively by staggered enrollment periods and policy renewals. On-premises systems present a high barrier for agility, as they require sophisticated virtualization software, and significant investment in hardware and data communication equipment. Conversely, the cloud offers much greater flexibility via an on-demand environment that makes it easy to add more capacity as businesses evolve.
  • Streamlined IT – From deployment and management through administration and support, the cloud may deliver the biggest gifts to IT departments. Getting up and running is almost a no-brainer, often requiring nothing more than a standard internet connection. Standardizing PC environments and managing system and desktop updates are all made easier using the cloud. Cloud-based management also help drive down the cost of support. With a cloud-based system, it’s easier to proactively detect and manage issues to reduce help-desk calls, and to ensure that all managed PCs have the latest security updates using online distribution and management.
  • Productivity – The gains in productivity that can be garnered with the cloud are invaluable, given that more and more organizations have global workforces these days. Using the cloud to give users all the latest productivity tools is only the beginning. When employees have access to office desktops, files, and applications any time, from any location, they can get more done, faster—and even physically dispersed teams can collaborate more easily.


So what does this all mean for traditional, on-premises systems? The IBM Tech Trends Survey reports that 91% of IT professionals are anticipating that cloud will completely overtake on-premises computing in the next 5 years. Essentially, the challenge for on-premises systems with the advent of the cloud is their essential lack of innovation in the market. When faced with the explosive growth in the cloud paradigm that offers businesses more choice, extended capabilities, and exciting new emerging technologies, on-premises simply can’t compete.


The Financial Transition to the Cloud

From a financial aspect, it seems like a straightforward move: Operating primarily with a “pay-to-play” model, the cloud appears to be both cutting edge and cost-effective. But is it really that simple?

The truth is, most companies significantly underestimate the scope of change required to establish cloud services until it’s too late. In the traditional model, companies buy technology from a vendor as a capital investment, and continue to invest in maintaining and servicing it over time. With the cloud being a service, however, the financial model should be treated more like a utility, requiring the reallocation of budget from capital expenses into operating expenses.

We also have to consider that this monetization model could change over time. A recent in the Harvard Business Review Blog Network entitled, “The Truth About Cloud Economics” it talks about a potential and very valid shift in the way cloud providers will monetize their services. Below is the conclusion that Drue Reeves and Daryl Plummer make about this shift:

So, to combat this kind of risk, cloud providers will enter into what are called "enterprise agreements," where the two parties can define the parameters of the relationship based on mutual risk sharing. Essentially, this ensures that each party has a vested interest in the financial success of the other party. There’s risk, but there’s also reward for better service.

In the end, providers that deliver better service and better guarantees will ask for — and get — more money. Consumers, on the other hand, will get the flexibility of "pay-as-you-go." As long as they can figure out a way to pay for it.


What I think this means is that we should consider the value and risk for cloud providers as well as ourselves when making these de
cisions. The future financial viability for our cloud providers are important in this equation as well. Simply put, if they are not making money in the cloud business, there is no reason to have a cloud business.

From a CFO perspective, they will have a bone to pick, pointing out that this shift can present challenges when a company must still also pay to maintain legacy infrastructure. And if the new cloud services aren’t replacing existing services, new lines of expenditure must be created, which is rarely a smooth process.

Governance is also an issue to consider. With the ease of cloud deployment, it’s important to consider the ramifications of being able to add services quickly as a company grows and needs change. Having a predictable cloud requisition/governance strategy in place can go a long way toward making future service acquisitions easy.


Making the right choice

So now that we have identified some of the significant financial issues around the cloud, how do you determine what’s right for your organization?

  1. Rationalize your strategy. Understand where your business wants to go, what is important, and why. In this process, you need to distill the business and IT strategies to identify cloud-ready capabilities that align to strategy, and provide the maximum amount of value with minimal risk to the business.
  2. Get clear on capabilities. Understand what business capabilities will be a good fit for the cloud through a valuation process. This way, you’ll understand what investments should go to the cloud through a rigorous evaluation of the prioritized set of opportunities identified through strategy rationalization. Through this valuation an assessment of the business and technology capabilities will uncover the value and risk that each capability would bring the company if ported to the cloud.
  3. Make a plan. Create a business transformation plan that will prioritize investment opportunities, balanced across the enterprise and integrated into a transformation roadmap.


Below is a simple three phased approach to making a top down, business value driven decision on which investments to port to the cloud. It’s important that we take this value driven approach to ensure that we don’t make the mistakes we made with other very large technology initiatives such as SOA, CRM or ERP. We should focus on the value add capabilities first to realize value sooner, more reliably and predictably.


Mike The Architect: Understanding Which Investments Should go to the Cloud


We want to take a top-down business value driven approach to process, analyze and refine. This in turn will allow us to describe the business capabilities and to match those with cloud technologies enabling maps to the business-driven strategy that cloud services support. Entering into cloud assessments at a lower level can diminish the level of business impact—and the amount of value—that an organization will realize with the cloud, as seen below.

Mike The Architect: Understanding Which Investments Should go to the Cloud


This picture tells is that the lower in the “stack” we go the lower the overall business value we will realize. This is critical for decision makers to understand as we make decision to go to the cloud.

By respecting both the business and IT dimensions of an organization, and balancing value and risk to identify cloud opportunities while mitigating threats, companies can be assured that the cloud solutions chosen will be flexible, adaptable, and reusable—and just the right fit for their needs.

So that’s it for today. Next time, I’m going to dig a little bit deeper, and talk about how we can balance value and risk through effective cloud strategy.


Additional Resources


Enterprise Architecture Certifications Distilled Presentation Available

For those that attended my webcast entitled, Open Group Webcast – Enterprise Architecture Certifications Distilled yesterday, I have have published the presentation here.  The recording will come soon. If you have comments, questions or want more detail please let me know.


CIO Priorities for the Next 3 Years


In my last post, I was examining The Evolution of Today’s CIO and What kind of CIO’s will transform businesses?, and how it has morphed into a more strategic, business-driven role than ever before—one that directly affects top-line business goals. Today, I want to dig deeper into what this means for the future of corporate IT. Regardless of CIO Profile (i.e., Optimizer, Transformative or Innovative), what will CIO’s priorities be over the next three years?

My prediction is that by 2015, there will be a groundswell of CIOs that will have morphed into “strategy athletes;” that is, a stronger/faster/savvier version of today's CIO. We’ll see more CIOs who are entrepreneurial, adapting to and initiating major business shifts, and carrying equal responsibility with the CEO. These executives will no longer be measured primarily by the scope of their innovation; they will also be held responsible for the same financial metrics of the other C-level execs. That isn’t to say that all will suddenly convert over into a Transformative CIO or even that it required for all either. But I do think that there will be a majority that will move into this space. Not because of desire but out of need.

Converging Priorities

When we look at this there are two angles we need to come from. First the higher level strategic themes and objectives. This is where you will see soft or intangible goals that are meant to span across the entire enterprise and to last for more than one year. The second type of priority is the actionable tactical priorities and much more tangible goals and objectives. These tend to occur within a fiscal year and have very concrete success criteria.



Looking at the strategic priorities I see a convergence of IT and business strategy that means both the growth and innovation will be at the forefront of business decision making—but will the CEO and CIO be on the same page? According to IBM’s CIO study, The Essential CIO, it’s highly likely.



The IBM report, based on face-to-face conversations with more than 3,000 CIOs worldwide, found that the three key business issues that will be top-of-mind for both the CEO and the CIO in the coming years will be data (BI and analytics), people skills to manage growing organizational complexity, and client relationships.

As far for the second level of tactical priorities, there is variability in what I see as far as percentages on the predictions however the themes still stay the same. I would suspect that this is due in part by specific industry segments, their market needs and regulation.

So for these yearly priorities how do these joint CEO/CIO business priorities sync with CIO technology priorities? Will the core CIO agenda go out the window? Hardly. According to Gartner’s 2012 CIO Survey, CIOs have reported that they expect to spent 46% more over last year, and 61% plan to improve their companies’ mobile functions. The top technology priority, BI and analytics, is right in line with the business priorities, and mobile and virtualization (cloud) rank 2nd and 3rd, respectively.

The respondents to a 2012 IDG CIO survey had a slightly more focused take: Nearly 40% indicated that cloud services would take top priority moving forward. And the IBM group? They put data, mobility, and the cloud at the top of their lists.


CIO Priority Projection

So what does this mean for the prioritization of IT spend between now and 2015? Well there is a lot of data out there with different priorities and subsequent rankings. There are three priorities that do surface to the top every time though. Those common priorities include:

  • Cloud – The cloud has finally emerged from the 2011 purgatory of supplier propaganda, and is now being taken seriously—very seriously—by CIOs around the globe. It’s proven to be a game-changer, making competitive advantage more easily attainable for organizations regardless of size.
  • Information – Once a very stale topic, BI is now going through a resurgence thanks to new technology innovation like cloud and social. We are seeing the legacy reporting and analytics morph into Big Data and Collaborative BI. These new trends are helping companies build better customer relationships, and drive new business. According to Gartner fellow Dave Aron, “It is about more data, faster data, and the ability to crunch it in faster time.” These new technology enablers are allowing this to occur.
  • Mobility – In order to maintain a growth trajectory regardless of economic climate, more and more businesses have realized that having an employee base that can work from anywhere is key. Laptops, smart phones, and tablet devices have become the new standard equipment for organizations focusing on growth and innovation.

And since we’re on the subject, it seems like just about everybody is thinking about the cloud to some extent these days. It started out as a rather enigmatic concept, and was a catalyst for many a heated discussion in the industry as it emerged in the late 1990s. Now that the technology is becoming more ubiquitous, the benefits of economy, scalability, and administration are more clear and concrete. And as we’ve seen from the research, it’s garnered a position of top priority with technical decision makers.

With more and more CIOs now ready, willing, and able to invest in the cloud, my next post will look at the strategies around cloud implementation, and how to make true value-driven investments in the cloud to support strategic business goals.