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The Guide to Accreditation within The Open Group Certified Architect (Open CA) Program

Copyright 2002-2012 The Open Group

Issue 1.1, August 2012



Table of Contents

1.  Introduction

1.1  Referenced Documents
1.2  Summary of Program Documents
1.3  Summary of Web References

2.  How to Achieve Accreditation

2.1  Understanding the Program
2.2  Confidentiality
2.3  Preparing for Accreditation
2.4  Accreditation
2.5  The ACP Trademark License Agreement
2.6  The Accreditation Agreement
2.7  Submission of Supporting Evidence
2.8  Formal Assessment
2.9  Accreditation of your Organization
2.10  ACP Operations

3.  Registration

3.1  Accessing the Web Certification System
3.2  Submitting Initial Accreditation Information
3.3  Applying to become an Accredited Certification Program
3.4  Completing Registration
3.5  Checking your Registration Status
3.6  Completion of Accreditation
3.7  The Appeals Process

4.  Renewals and Updating your ACP Information

4.1 The Renewals Process
4.2 Updates

5.  Batch Uploading Certification Records

6.  Checklist


1. Introduction

The intended audience for this document is the Certification Program Manager for an organization seeking to have a Candidate Certification Program (CCP) accredited within The Open Group Certified Architect (Open CA) Program (referred to in the rest of this document as the Program or the Open CA Program).

Note

This document is not intended for individuals seeking to become certified within the Open CA Program. Such individuals should consult the Guide to Certification within the Open CA Program.

This document covers the following topics:

  • How to register a Candidate Certification Program (CCP) for accreditation
  • How to register IT Architects from the accredited Certification Program for certification.
A Candidate Certification Program (CCP), once accredited is known as an Accredited Certification Program (ACP).

Certification and accreditation within the Program use an online web system (see Section 1.3). This document provides a roadmap for the steps required for accreditation, and subsequently how to certify IT Architects certified through the accredited program.

Summary Overview

The Open CA Program is designed to validate the existence of those qualities and skills in a professional that enable the effective practice of architecture. The program is skills and experience-based and goes beyond validating the mastery of any specific knowledge base.

The Program includes a framework for accreditation of third parties to establish IT Architect certification programs affiliated to The Open Group. The framework of accreditation and certification is specifically intended to standardize the process and criteria for IT Architect professional certification and establish a foundation for the required skills and experience necessary to achieve such a distinction. The Program was designed to be flexible and extensible so that the framework may be adopted by any industry, country, or organization.

The Open Group supports two different routes to IT Architect certification:

  • The first route is direct certification by The Open Group.
  • The second is indirect, through third-party programs accredited by The Open Group.

The Conformance Requirements for certification apply equally to the direct and indirect routes to certification.

Key Documents

The Program is based upon four key documents:

  1. The Accreditation Policy, which sets out the policies and processes by which an organization may achieve accreditation
  2. The Accreditation Requirements, in which the criteria that must be met by an ACP are documented
  3. The Certification Policy, which sets out the policies and processes by which an IT Architect may achieve certification.
  4. The Conformance Requirements, in which the skills and experience that a Certified Architect must possess are documented

All of these documents are applicable to the audience of this document. At the end of this document is a Checklist to help you make sure that your registration is complete.

You should also read the applicable Certification Guides to The Open Group Certified Architect (Open CA) Program. These are available from http://www.opengroup.org/openca/cert/docs/.

Note

Note: In the event of any conflicts, this informative guide defers to the normative Program documentation.

1.1 Referenced Documents

The documents currently referenced for certification within the Program are:

  • Open CA Program Documentation, July 2011, Open CA Certification Policy, Version 1.5.1 (X071), published by The Open Group.
  • Open CA Program Documentation, July 2011, Open CA Certification Conformance Requirements (Multi-Level), Version 1.0.1 (X110), published by The Open Group.
  • Open CA Program Documentation, July 2011, Open CA Accreditation Policy, Version 1.2.1 (X053), published by The Open Group.
  • Open CA Program Documentation, July 2011, Open CA Accreditation Requirements, Version 1.2.1 (X054), published by The Open Group.

You should be familiar with the above documents prior to commencing certification. See Section 1.3 for information on obtaining a copy of the documents.

1.2 Summary of Program Documents

This section includes a list of all the Program documents and their purpose.

To become familiar with this Program, you should read the following documents:

The Certification Policy
This document is the foundation of the Program, providing information on the policies and processes by which an IT Architect can become certified, what it means to be certified, and how to remain certified. Of particular interest to Accredited Certification Programs is the definition of Indirect Certification. See Section 2.1.2 for further information.

The Conformance Requirements
The Conformance Requirements should then be read to understand the detailed requirements against which an IT Architect can be certified. See Section 2.1.2 for further information.

The Certification Agreement (This document does not apply to ACPs)
The Certification Agreement defines the certification service and the legal commitment to the conditions of the service for individuals applying for IT Architect Certification through the Direct route.

The Guide to Certification within the Program (This document does not apply to ACPs)
This document is a high level guide for individuals who want to register for direct certification within the Program. It provides detailed information on the steps required to take to achieve certification.

Certification Package
This document is provided by an IT Architect to support registration within the Program. It is a detailed description of the skill levels attained and experience undergone, and provides the Certification Authority or Accredited Certification Program with sufficient information to determine whether an IT Architect meets the Conformance Requirements. It is created by filling the Certification Package template provided by the Certification Authority.

IT Architect Trademark License Agreement
To complete certification of an IT Architect, each individual must enter the web system in order to accept the IT Architect Trademark License Agreement. This sets out the usage terms and conditions for the IT Architect Certification mark. See Section 2.5 for further information.

The Accreditation Policy
This document provides information on the policies and processes by which an organization can achieve accreditation, through which its own IT Architect certification Program becomes recognized within this Program, and able to submit IT Architects for certification through the Indirect route. This document defines what it means to be accredited, and how to remain accredited.

The Accreditation Requirements
If your organization is considering becoming accredited you should read the Accreditation Requirements, in which the criteria that must be met to become an Accredited Certification Program are documented.

The Guide to Accreditation within the Open CA Program
This document is a high level guide for organizations who want to register an IT Architect Certification program for accreditation within the Open CAProgram. It provides detailed information on the steps required to achieve accreditation.

The ACP Trademark License Agreement
If your organization is considering becoming accredited you will need to sign the Accredited Certification Program Trademark License Agreement. This Agreement must be fully signed in order for your organization to become accredited.

The Accreditation Agreement
The Accreditation Agreement defines the accreditation service and the legal commitment to the conditions of the service for organizations undergoing accreditation. It must be fully signed in order to enter the accreditation process. See Section 2.6 for further information.

1.3 Summary of Web References

A summary of the external web references is given below:

The Starting point for IT Architect Certification http://www.opengroup.org/openca/cert/
The Guide to Certification within Program http://www.opengroup.org/openca/cert/docs/OpenCA_Certification_Guide.html
The Guide to Accreditation within Program http://www.opengroup.org/openca/cert/docs/OpenCA_Accreditation_Guide.html
The Directory of Certified IT Architects http://www.opengroup.org/openca/cert/Certified_Architects.html
The Accreditation Register http://www.opengroup.org/openca/cert/acpregister.html
The Current Set of Conformance Requirements http://www.opengroup.org/openca/cert/docs/OpenCA_Conformance_Requirements.pdf
The Frequently Asked Questions File http://www.opengroup.org/openca/cert/docs/index.tpl
The Certification Package Template http://www.opengroup.org/openca/cert/docs/templates.tpl
The Problem Reporting System and Database http://www.opengroup.org/openca/cert/PR/

2. How to Achieve Accreditation

This section of the guide details the steps you are required to take to achieve accreditation. It provides information on how to perform each of these steps.

The process involves:

  • Understanding the program and the processes
  • Preparing for accreditation
  • Applying for accreditation
  • Submission of Supporting Evidence
  • A formal Assessment
  • Accreditation of your Organization
  • Submitting batches of IT Architects for Certification

2.1 Understanding the Program

To become familiar with the Program, you should read the following documents:

  • The Certification Policy
  • The Conformance Requirements
  • The Accreditation Policy
  • The Accreditation Requirements

2.1.1 The Certification Policy

It is best to start with the Certification Policy, which is the foundation of the Program. It provides information on the policies and processes by which an IT Architect can become certified, what it means to be certified, and how to remain certified. These policies apply equally regardless of the path to certification, and thus apply to IT architects certified in an accredited certification program.

2.1.2 The Conformance Requirements

The Conformance Requirements should then be read to understand the detailed conformance requirements against which an IT Architect can be certified. These contain a definition of the mandatory and optional criteria an IT Architect must meet in order to be certified.

There is currently one set of Conformance Requirements against which IT Architects can be certified.

2.1.3 The Accreditation Policy

The Accreditation Policy is the key policy for organizations seeking accreditation. It provides information on the policies and processes by which an organization can become accredited, what it means to be accredited, and how to remain accredited.

2.1.4 The Accreditation Requirements

The Accreditation Requirements define a set of requirements that an organization must meet in order to gain accreditation. This includes a definition of roles and responsibilities and the detailed technical requirements.

You should review these documents and check that you understand the requirements.

2.2 Confidentiality

Your details when undergoing accreditaion are confidential between you and the Certification Authority. This is effective once you sign the Accreditation Agreement, which is a prerequisite to commencing the formal registration process for certification.

Upon successful completion of the accreditation process, the Accredited Certification Program will be included in the publicly available Accreditation Register at http://www.opengroup.org/openca/cert/acpregister.html, unless an explicit request is made during the registration process to hold the accreditation confidential See Section 11.3 Optional Confidential Treatment of Accreditation of the Accreditation Policy for information regarding keeping the fact that accreditation was achieved confidential for a period.

2.3 Preparing for Accreditation

You should read the applicable requirements in order to identify those you will need to meet.

2.3.1 Problems and Problem Reporting

If you have problems with meeting a requirement for accreditation, please check the Frequently Asked Questions file at http://www.opengroup.org/openca/cert/docs/.

If you still have a problem but are certain that you meet the requirements, please check the Problem Report information database held at http://www.opengroup.org/openca/cert/PR. The online Problem Report database contains known information on existing problems and interpretations for the Program.  The issue may already be resolved by an existing Interpretation, by an existing Evaluation Process Deficiency or by an agreed Certification System Deficiency.  If it is not, please raise a new Problem Report, see http://www.opengroup.org/openca/cert/PR.

For general questions related to accreditation, but not related to the conformance requirements, you can email openca-helpdesk@opengroup.org fully describing the problem. Please note that the Certification Authority helpdesk only handles general questions and is not able to address interpretations of the Program Conformance Requirements.

2.4 Accreditation

Accreditation is a formal process. By accepting the Accreditation Agreeement terms, you (as the Certification Program Manager for your organization) warrant and represent that your organization meets all the conformance requirements for accreditation within the IT Architect certification, and will operate your accredited program in accordance with the requirements.

The obligations, terms and conditions of accreditation are fully set out in the following documents:

  • the Accreditation Policy
  • the Accreditation Agreement
  • the Accreditation Requirements

In addition you will need to understand the following Certification documents since they will apply to the IT Architects that you certify:

  • the Certification Policy
  • the Certification Requirements

These documents are available at http://www.opengroup.org/openca/cert/.

It is necessary to read these documents before you start the accreditation process in order to fully understand the policies and requirements.

2.5 The ACP Trademark License Agreement

The ACP Trademark License Agreement is between your organization and The Open Group and requires signature. The Trademark License Agreement states the terms and conditions for use of the Program Logo and Program name in relation to your Accredited Certification Program.

It is recommended that you commence the process to complete the ACP Trademark License Agreement as soon as possible to save delays later in the accreditation process. A trademark license must be completed before the accreditation process is completed, and before your organization can be entered onto the Accreditation Register.

For information on obtaining a copy of the ACP Trademark License Agreement see the links on the left panel of the web site.

2.6 The Accreditation Agreement

You are required to complete and sign the Accreditation Agreement before you commence your registration.

The Accreditation Agreement is between your organization and the Certification Authority. It defines the accreditation service and the legal commitment to the conditions of the service. This is also where you warrant conformance to the Conformance Requirements. The assessment process will not commence until the Certification Authority receives the completed document.

2.7 Submission of Supporting Evidence

To support your registration for certification you need to prepare and submit supporting evidence. This includes completion of a Conformance Statement, and submitting a set of documents and a checklist.

2.7.1 The Conformance Statement

You must produce a Conformance Statement to describe your Candidate Certification Program and the way in which it meets the Accreditation Requirements. The Conformance Statement is completed within the web system. A html sample is provided on the web site to enable you to see the format of the questionnaire that you will have to complete within the system.

You need to answer a series of questions that provide information about your program. This includes declaring the location for the on-site assessment, and the name of the Certification Program Manager who is responsible for liaison with the assessment team. It also includes naming the members of the program's Certification Board , whether the program has any existing third party accreditation, and a description of any extended attributes of the program, if any.

2.7.2 Document Set and Checklist

You should submit a full set of documentation that illustrate that Candidate Certification Program meets the requirements for accreditation. To do this you can upload documents through the Supporting Documents link.

Since the exact form and number of documents produced may vary between applications, you are required to complete a documentation checklist. The Checklist is completed within the web system. A html sample is provided on the web site to enable you to see the format of the checklist that you will have to complete within the system.

For each document submitted, enter the name of the document in the Document Title column. The Document Reference is a short, unique identifier you assign to the document to enable shorthand references to the document. This document reference will be used in the assessment checklist when referencing a document. You may enter any relevant comment concerning the document in the Comment column; its use is discretionary.

2.8 Formal Assessment

Once a complete and well-formed submission for accreditation has been received by the Certification Authority a formal assessment is scheduled. The Certification Authority's designated assessor will contact you to begin the telephone and on-site stages of the assessment. The schedule for the telephone and on-site stages of the assessment shall be agreed between you and the assessor.

The assessment comprises an inspection of your organization's processes, procedures, and staff to determine the degree to which the Candidate Certification Program is operating in accordance with the Accreditation Requirements.

2.9 Accreditation of your Organization

Once the Certification Authority is satisfied that your organization has met all the applicable Accreditation requirements, they will issue you written notice of achieving Accreditation.

2.10 ACP Operations

Once your organizaton has achieved accreditation, your account within the web system has additional features enabled to support the operations of an ACP. These include:

  • Setting the default visibility levels of IT Architects that you register.
  • Batch uploads of IT Architect certification records
  • Access to billing records for your account.

3. Registration

3.1 Accessing the Web Certification System

The Certification Authority provides a web system through which an organization can apply for accreditation. This is a workflow system that will guide you through the necessary steps for completing the process. The entry point to the system is at https://www.opengroup.org/openca/cert/ (this is a secure server).

3.2 Submitting Initial Accreditation Information

Prerequisites

Prior to commencing a registration your organization should submit a number of agreements in hardcopy to The Open Group:

  1. You will need to submit a signed Accreditation Certification Program Agreement to signify acceptance of the terms and conditions of this program. Processing of your registration can not commence until this has been received and countersigned by The Open Group.
  2. You will need to submit a signed Accredited Certification Program Trademark License Agreement. The Trademark License Agreement states the terms and conditions for use of the Program Logo and Program name in relation to your Accredited Certification Program. A trademark license must be completed before the accreditation process is completed, and before your organization can be entered onto the Accreditation Register.

Please mail two copies of each agreement to Steve Nunn, The Open Group, Apex Plaza, Forbury Road, Reading, Berkshire, UK, RG1 1AX. The Open Group will countersign and return a copy to you. To expedite the signature process, in addition you can fax the signature pages of the agreement to +1 240 250 6102

To log into the web system you need a valid username and password on the Certification Authority's web server.

If you don't yet have an account, you may obtain one from the web system by selecting "New User" to create your username and password. It takes approximately thirty minutes for a new account to become activated.

Once you have your username, from the secure web site, select "Login".

3.3 Applying to become an Accredited Certification Program

In order to apply to become an accredited certification program you need to register information about your organization and its contacts (including the Certification Program Manager), and give payment details.

Please take the following steps to register your organization and its contacts:

  1. You will need a username and password on the The Open Group's web server for identification purposes. If you don't yet have an account, you may obtain one from the web site by selecting "New User" to create your username and password. Once you have received a confirmation email indicating that you are a registered user, you may return to the web system and proceed with the next step.
  2. Select "New Organization Account". Enter your organization or part of the name, which will then try and match that to organizations within the web system database.
  3. To register your organization, you need to provide information about your organization, including a web URL for the accredited program, and specify the name and contact information for the following contacts:
    • The Authorized Signatory who has authorized your organization's registration. The Authorized Signatory must be someone who is authorized to enter into legal commitments on behalf of the organization. This should be the same person who signed the Accreditation Certification Program Agreement.
    • The Certification Program Manager Contact who will be the primary contact for all accreditation-related issues.
    • An optional Alternate Contact, who will be the back-up for the Certification Program Manager Contact and also have access to the web system.
    • The Financial Contact, who will be the contact for any payment and/or invoicing issues.
    • An optional Marketing Contact, who will be the contact for any marketing-related issues.
    The Certification Program Manager Contact and the Alternate Contact, if specified, are the only users who will have the ability to enter the web system.
  4. You will be able to indicate whether you wish your accreditation to be held confidential.
  5. Accreditation fees are due at this stage. Payment may be either by credit card, or by purchase order, check, or wire transfer. We recommend that you send a purchase order with the hardcopy Accreditation Agreement. The Accreditation Agreement contains the applicable fee schedule for Accredited Certification Programs. Please note that if you use a payment method other than credit card, your registration cannot be processed until payment has been received by the Certification Authority. Please enter the requested payment information to complete the product registration.
  6. At this point the web system will place your registration on hold pending action by the Certification Authority .

3.4 Completing Registration

When the above steps are complete and the payment terms have been confirmed, the Certification Authority will respond to your designated Authorized Signatory with notification that your registration has been accepted. Your Certification Program Manager and Alternate contacts will receive confirmation by electronic mail from the web system that your company account has been activated. At this point, your Certification Program Manager and Alternate contacts will be able to progress to the next stage which is accessing the web certification system to complete the registration for accreditation.

The next set of screens will then prompt for you to upload the Accreditation Package documentation, which consists of a Conformance Statement, a Checklist and Supporting Documentation. Template documents are supplied on the web site that can be referenced to see the format of the documents to be completed within the web system.

You should then login to the certification system and select the Home logo. select "follow this link" under the Accredited Certification Program Route, or if you have previously created a registration select the "Home Page" link and then "Start a New Registration". You are then presented with a form. If you wish to send any notes to the Certification Authority about this registration you may do so on this form. Such notes are held confidential between you and the Certification Authority. You may also enter a URL for your ACP which would be presented on the Accreditation Register.

After you select the "Submit for Registration" button, you are then returned to your home page where the ACP Registration status is displayed, which includes status information on whether the document uploads have occurred. You should then select the Next link below the Registration ID field.

A form is then displayed for the User Submissions. You need to complete and submit a Conformance Statement and a Checklist. These are completed using an online document system, that allows you to produce the document. If you are unable to complete the documents in a single session, you are able to save any edits in the document within the system, and resume editing at a later date. Once you are satisfied you can select the Submit button to submit the document to the web certification system.

You may also optionally select to upload one or more supporting documents. These are recommended to be in html or pdf. You should provide a document reference with each upload. This reference should be referred to in the Checklist. You should select the button to declare that your document uploads are complete. If there are no supporting documents you should also declare the fact, in the same way.

Once the above steps are complete the onus is then passed back to the Certification Authority as noted in the next section.

3.5 Checking your Registration Status

The process to become an Accredited Certification Program takes place outside of the web system. Designated contacts can log in at any time to the system to check on status. Once payment details are confirmed, the status will become "Pending".

An initial review will occur to ensure the submission is complete and correct. If any errors or inconsistencies are found you will be notified and have to correct them prior to the audit. A telephone assessment will be scheduled, and following that a face to face assessment.

3.6 Completion of Accreditation

If for any reason the submission was not complete, you will  be notified within 10 business days so that any corrections can be made and resubmitted. Such a resubmission needs to be done within one month unless an extension has been granted by the Certification Authority.  The initial fee covers one set of corrective actions.

You will be informed of the outcome of the Audit by electronic mail. If successful, the details of your accreditation will then be put on the Accreditation Register, which is a public document, unless you have requested that it remains confidential. To keep the accreditation confidential, this option must be selected in the web system at the time your registration is submitted.

Once you have become accredited your web account will have some some additional features activated:

  • You will be able to alter the default visibility levels for Certified Architects that you register.
  • You will be able to batch upload Certification Records.
  • You will be able to download the Program Accreditation logos.
  • You will be able to access a management backend that allows you to track progress on submitted candidates and billing status.
  • You will be able to renew your accreditation within the defined period prior to expiry of the accreditation period.

You should note that accreditation is valid for a defined period as stated in Section 8, Renewal of the Accreditation Policy. At the end of that period if you wish to remain accredited you need to renew.

3.7 Appeals Process

You may appeal decisions made by The Open Group Certification Authority as stated in Section 10, Appeals Process of the Accreditation Policy. Any request for appeal should be sent by electronic mail to openca-cert-auth@opengroup.org . Receipt of such a request will be acknowledged within 6 working days by the Certification Authority and the appeals process invoked.


4. Renewals and Updating your ACP Information

4.1 The Renewals Process

An organization with an Accredited Certification Program (ACP) is required to renew the accreditation every two years.

When a renewal is due the Certification Authority will notify you around ninety days in advance (so it is important to maintain your contact information). The Certification Authority will notify you of the renewal requirements which will include an updated Conformance Statement, and may include additional documentation. You must respond within 30 days of the notice indicating whether you wish to renew. If you choose to renew, you must submit the renewal information requested at least 45 days prior to the renewal due date.

You may renew your accreditation in the web based system once you have received the reminder. At any time, you may use the web based system to obtain your renewal date.

4.2 Updates

You can enter the web system to update key information about your organization as defined in the Accreditation Policy. This includes some contact information.

The certification system restricts changes to certain information, such as change of organization name. If it does not allow you to make a change, please contact the Certification Authority.


5. Batch Uploading Certification Records

Note

Please refer to the instructions within the web system once you have become accredited.


 6. Accreditation Checklist

The following checklist is provided to assist with completion of your registration:

Understanding the program and process    
  Have you read and understood the Policy and Requirements documentation? YES / NO
Preparing for Accreditation    
  Have you identified and met the conformance requirements required? YES / NO
  Have you read the Program frequently asked questions file?  YES / NO
  Have you completed your preparation? YES / NO
  Have you filed all the necessary Problem Reports? YES / NO
Legal Agreements    
  Have you read the Accredited Certification Program Trademark License Agreement? YES / NO
  Have you read the Accreditation Certification Program Agreement? YES / NO
  Has your legal representative reviewed the above agreements? YES / NO
  Have you completed, signed and returned the Accreditation Agreement? YES / NO
  Have you completed, signed and returned the ACP Trademark License Agreement? YES / NO
Registration    
  Have you prepared any supporting Documentation? YES / NO
  Do you have an account (userid/password) to access The Open Group's web system? YES / NO
  Have you entered details about your organization and its designated contacts?  YES / NO
  Have you entered information on how payment is to be made? YES / NO
  Have you received confirmation that your organization is accepted into the program and can now login to complete the registration? YES / NO
  Have you completed the Conformance Statement within the web system? YES / NO
  Have you completed the Checklist within the web system? YES / NO
  Have you uploaded supplementary documents, if any, within the web system? YES / NO
  Have you completed the final submission? YES / NO

 


 Revision History:

Version Date Change History
1.0 July 2005 First release.
1.0.1 November 2005
Minor updates to the process.
1.1 August 2012 Updated section 1.1 to reference latest Certification Policy, Conformance Requirements, Accreditation Policy, and Accreditation Requirements.
   
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