Mike Walker has Joined Hewlett-Packard

Mike The Archtiect Blog: Mike Walker has Joined Hewlett-Packard Some of you may already know from my LinkedIn profile that I have joined Hewlett-Packard (HP) in the Software Division as an Strategy and Enterprise Architecture Advisor.

As I was evaluating HP I didn’t fully appreciate HP’s status in the world of IT. I suppose I just thought of some of the acquisitions and the printer on my desk. It was fascinating to research this historic company and see where they are today.

Below are a few eye opening stats that changed my view and perceptions:

Once I did my research and joined I decided to take a stop by the historic HP garage where it all started for Silicon Valley or commonly referred to as the "Birthplace of Silicon Valley".

Mike The Architect Blog: Mike Walker HP Garage Palo Alto

Back to what I’m doing for HP

As most of you may know, I have served in an advisory capacity for some time so the advisor role is a very familiar role for me. When at Microsoft this was a key component to my role. Likewise at HP, I will be an advisor to HP’s top customers. What is interesting about this role is that it isn’t a consulting (billable) type of engagement and there are no quotas that are measured on sales of products or services. This was done very deliberately so that it drove incentives of the enterprise architects to have a business driven and product neutral conversation with customers. HP saw from some high technology vendors with similar offerings that the enterprise architects became more product / solution architects that used the EA vocabulary.

My role as an Enterprise Architecture and Strategy Advisor is broken up into thirds:

  1. Strategy and Enterprise Architecture Advisor – A wide range of activities happen here. From ad-hoc engagements that last a half day to workshops that last multiple days such as strategic discussions, strategy and architecture review,  business capability analysis, architecture design session, enterprise blueprinting review or an EA health check.
  2. Enterprise Architecture Community Development – I will continue with blogging, whitepapers, speaking engagements and increased involvement into standards bodies. I will continue to provide thought leadership into the TOGAF standard along with getting plugged into other areas that are impactful to enterprise architects. You may even see a architect community spring up as well.
  3. Provide the Voice of the Customer Back to HP – A very smart move on HP’s part is this aspect to the role in which brings all the insights from the previous two areas back into the HP machine. This could range from simple process improvement to insights into market trends to product challenges.

 

Well that’s it on that front. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to comment or send me an email.

EA Practitioners Have Significant Influence on $1.1 Trillion in Enterprise IT Spend

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Gartner just released a report entitled, "EA Practitioners Have Significant Influence on $1.1 Trillion in Enterprise IT Spend” that strongly links to their Business Outcome Driven Enterprise Architecture.  This is interesting article because it’s shows the latest thinking from real EA practitioners with some real good stats on where we are at from an industry perspective. 

What is also clear is that EA is now positioned to do what we have wanted to do for years, drive business results not just technology decisions. This is a big opportunity for us and it is now our opportunity to lose.

 

EA Practitioners Have Significant Influence on $1.1 Trillion in Enterprise IT Spend

Fifty percent of enterprise architecture (EA) practitioners have a significant impact on enterprise IT budget activities and decisions, according to a recent survey by Gartner, Inc. A July 2012 Gartner survey of EA practitioners found that half of EA practitioners have an influence over their organization’s IT budget allocation that is either "final decision maker" or "great deal of influence."

Based on the EA survey results from Gartner events in North America and Europe, analysts estimate that EA practitioners have a "final decision-making" influence on $331 billion in worldwide enterprise IT spend and a "great deal of influence" on $774 billion in worldwide enterprise IT spending. Overall, EA practitioners have an influence that is either "final decision maker" or "great deal of influence" on $1.1 trillion in worldwide enterprise IT spending.

"Overwhelmingly we find EA practitioners focused on delivering on business value and strategic transformation," said Philip Allega, managing vice president at Gartner. "Gone are the days of just ‘doing EA’ with little value or impact. Sixty-eight percent of organizations surveyed stated that they are focusing their EA program on aligning business and IT strategies, delivering strategic business and IT value, or enabling major business transformation."

Gartner is leading the way in defining and mastering a radical new approach to EA, which is business outcome-driven EA. Leading EA practitioners are focused on creating diagnostic deliverables to help business and IT leaders respond to business and technology disruptions.

"This new generation of EA practitioners offers technology and service providers (TSPs) with an opportunity as well as a threat," said Mr. Allega. "Technology and service providers should develop targeted marketing to this new generation of EA practitioner as they have a significant influence on their organization buying decisions. Those that fail to understand the priorities, strategic focus and impact of EA practitioners will jeopardize their ability to sell into an organization."

Gartner has identified the impact of EA trends on IT purchasing decisions, and has the following advice and recommendations to help TSPs target this audience more effectively:

In organizations supporting EA as strategic, and as collaborative between business leaders and IT, TSPs will increasingly find EA practitioners influencing IT spend.

EA practitioners have a high degree of influence over emerging technology purchases, with 52 percent of the EA practitioners surveyed reporting directly to a CIO or CTO. They are also "very involved" in integration consulting services (64 percent) and business applications (52 percent). As EA practitioners continue to focus on integrating and aligning with business priorities and actively working with business leaders, their degree of influence on business intelligence tools, workplace tools and business applications will likely increase as well.

Organizations starting, restarting or renewing their EA efforts present an opportunity for providers to market to and influence a new generation of EA practitioners.

The survey revealed that 77 percent of respondents were either restarting or renewing EA efforts (18 percent), initiating EA for the first time (34 percent) or taking EA efforts to the next level (25 percent). In organizations starting EA for the first time, EA practitioners have a significant influence on IT budget decisions, but significantly less have decision-making authority. These new and restarting organizations present an opportunity for TSPs to target a new generation of EA practitioners.

As organizations become more mature in supporting EA, they will have a greater degree of influence on IT budget allocations to products and services.

Many organizations begin their EA journey by focusing inside the IT organization on system consolidation, standardization and cost management. As they mature, this evolves into looking more closely at the "alignment" between the business strategy and IT strategy. From here the EA program evolves further to become "business outcome-oriented," such that in a mature EA program, other areas of decision making are guided and influenced by business outcome-driven EA.

 

More Information

Additional information is available in the Gartner report, "EA Practitioners Have Significant Influence on $1.1 Trillion in Enterprise IT Spend”. The report is available on Gartner’s website at http://www.gartner.com/resId=2286216.

TOGAF Demystification Series: TOGAF Certification is Weak

 Continuing on with our demystification series, I will talk about the comments I hear form people with regards to the TOGAF certification itself and the process. When I hear comments about this topic they usually gravitate to one end of the extreme to another. I often don’t hear a middle ground. This for the obvious reason is an area of extreme passion, and rightfully so. After all we are talking about your career credentials, time investments in learning and the stressful certification process that architects will have to make. 

In this post, I will talk about the specific myth that TOGAF certification is weak. I suppose that the term “weak” is a matter of perspective. As we walk through the post we can explore if TOGAF certification is weak and but a bit more qualification around that term.

 

Overview

With a total of 21,390 certified TOGAF practitioners worldwide, the TOGAF certification has proved to be a market leader in the industry. Combined With all those TOGAF practicing architects and the amount of focus on TOGAF there is bound to be opinions and perceptions around what it takes to become certified along with the level of quality in the process.

Taking a step back, TOGAF certification is based on its extensive experience certifying UNIX implementations. The Open Group believed that the certification process needed to be demonstrably objective—that is, the same results would be achieved, regardless of who executed the process. So, in addition to the publication of the TOGAF framework, The Open Group membership defined a policy for certifying TOGAF products (specifically tools and training), services (consulting), and individuals (practitioners). The requirements for certifying TOGAF tools, training courses, professional services, and individual architects are defined by four TOGAF product standards. TOGAF-certified training courses and TOGAF-certified professional services must be delivered by TOGAF-certified architects.

There are two ways an architect can become TOGAF certified: by taking TOGAF certified training, or by passing a TOGAF-certified examination. The training must address, and the examination will test, knowledge and awareness of TOGAF, and a thorough and complete knowledge of the elements of TOGAF listed in the TOGAF 9.1 Framework specification.

 

Is the Certification Weak?

Lets look at the areas that I have heard scrutiny on the TOGAF certification:

  • Achieving the Certification – The process one goes through to get certified. This is the least common concern I hear about but it does come up. 
  • Pass Mark – By far this is the easiest to focus on. The TOGAF pass rate is set at 55% and 60%. 
  • Test Style – I sometimes hear the TOGAF certification as a multiple guess exam. 

 

Achieving the Certification
As I was sitting in on a training session for TOGAF a few months back this topic came up. It’s a small misconception but I still wanted to talk about it because I think it’s an important point to understand. The point at the training session was, “When do we take the test to become certified”. Most people I talk to believe it is simple to get TOGAF certified. The common view (at least with the folks I talk to) is that all you need to do is go to a TOGAF trainer and then take a test at the end of the 4 days.

This simply isn’t true. To preserve the integrity of the certification process The Open Group uses a third party called Prometric to administer the defined process. This ensures that there isn’t a chance that training providers or other educators alter the process to make it easier (or harder for that matter) for the candidates.

It’s subtle but there is an important point here, the TOGAF certification isn’t just a certification that you can get by just going to the training and getting the award at the end of the class. There is a lot more to it.

 

How does the Pass Mark Compare to Other Certifications

The TOGAF Level 2 certification, which most people get is set at a 60% pass rate. I think this is a little low but I think it is acceptable. Lets face it, there is a lot of material to learn inside TOGAF. I’m not convinced that if you raised the pass mark up that it would yield significant better results. I believe that there are other factors at play to increase it’s benefits to practitioners .

Let’s compare TOGAF to other certifications. Below are industry leading certifications with their pass marks:

  • ITIL – Multiple choice with a pass mark of 65%
  • COBIT – 56% pass mark required or 450 right answers out of 800
  • PMI – A 61% or higher is required to pass 

As you can see from the sampling of certifications in other disciplines TOGAF is not that dissimilar from other pass marks. Again, slightly lower but still in the same ball park.

 

Conclusion

Hopefully what I was able to do was to dispel some of the myths on TOGAF certification along with some hard numbers and comparisons. As I have said a few times in this post, I think the pass mark is on the low side but it’s still in the right range and isn’t drastically different from the industry. 

So, love TOGAF or hate TOGAF it is the market leader in Enterprise Architecture certifications. The number of TOGAF certified praticiners continues to increase year after year and we see continued support from organizations world wide that recognize that as the defacto standard. I see the evidence from two primary areas: