This Open Group member spotlight focuses on Bill Estrem, President of Metaplexity Associates LLC. Bill has been involved with The Open Group for most of its 20+ year history.
Q: How long have you been involved with The Open Group?
I have been involved with The Open Group pretty much since it started. I was involved with the original merger of X/Open and the Open Software Foundation. I was a co-chair of the Customer Council when it was formed in 1995. I was also one of the original members of the Architecture Forum when we began developing TOGAF™.
Q: Why did you become a member and what does your involvement look like?
When I first joined The Open Group, I was an enterprise architect with 3M, which was a member at the time. I now have my own company, Metaplexity Associates LLC, which is a Bronze member and a member of the Architecture Forum. Over the years I have been involved in various committees, and, most recently, I was a contributor to the development of TOGAF 9 and the principal author of the TOGAF 9 Certification examinations.
Q: How has membership in The Open Group benefited you, your organization and the industry at large?
When I represented 3M as a member of the Customer Council, our goal at that time was to promote open standards in order to achieve interoperability, which was similar to what The Open Group now calls Boundaryless Information Flow™. The idea of Boundaryless Information Flow – even though it hadn’t been defined yet – was a critical requirement then and remains a critical requirement today.
In terms of my company, Metaplexity Associates is a provider of TOGAF services, so we support The Open Group and, in turn, they provide us a platform to continue our work promoting open standards by helping organizations develop effective enterprise architectures.
The Open Group’s motto “Making Standards Work®” helps the industry at large because the kind of problems that The Open Group tends to take on are practical problems that are at the core of the issues and challenges that are being faced by today’s organizations.
Personally, being involved in The Open Group has given me an opportunity to be involved in the evolution of the IT industry and contribute to the development of a significant EA framework that is widely used throughout the industry.
Q: What contributions to The Open Group are you most proud of?
I was proud to serve as chair of the Architecture Forum in 2005. I also served on The Open Group’s board of directors as a Customer Council representative and, as I mentioned, I was one of the first co-chairs of the Customer Council.
Q: Why is it important for other organizations to join The Open Group?
The fact that The Open Group is comprised of both supplier members and customer members is very important. If we in the IT industry are going to develop effective standards, it has to be a two-way dialogue between the customers and the suppliers. If the suppliers are the only people who are contributing, the standards won’t evolve in a favorable way for the customers. Therefore, it is especially important for customer companies to participate in organizations like The Open Group in order to make a contribution such that standards are effective and achieve the goals of interoperability and portability.
Q: What are your hobbies?
I enjoy traveling, and these days I have been increasingly involved with social networking and virtual environments. In real life, I enjoy playing a round of golf from time to time. Being from Minnesota, I also enjoy fishing, and I am especially fond of ice fishing in the winter months.
Q: What books are you currently reading?
I’m reading Tom Friedman’s “Hot, Flat and Crowded” and “The New Age of Innovation” by CK Prahalad and MS Krishnan.
Q: Any last thoughts?
I would like to emphasize the personal and professional dimensions of participating in The Open Group. I have established long lasting friendships and professional contacts that have been of considerable benefit over the years. The only limit I see to the opportunities facing The Open Group and its members is the ability of members to participate.
About Bill Estrem
Dr. Bill Estrem is the President of Metaplexity Associates LLC, a firm that specializes in TOGAF based Enterprise Architecture education and consulting. Bill has been an active member of The Open Group since it was founded in 1995. He has been committed throughout his career to supporting professional organizations and industry groups that promote open systems computing and industry standards.
He is a senior member of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers and is currently a community leader in the Product and Process, Design and Manufacturing community of the society. He is a past chair of the society’s Computers and Automated Systems Association. He was an author of the society’s Certified Enterprise Integrator examination, as well as the Certified Manufacturing Technologist examination.
Bill has been actively engaged in education and consulting in the areas of Enterprise Architecture, Technology Management, and Strategic Information Systems planning for several years. He currently teaches Operations Management in the Graduate School of Business at Saint Mary's University of Minnesota. Bill previously served as an Associate Professor in the College of Business at the University of St. Thomas where he held the Honeywell Endowed Chair in Global Technology Management. He served as an enterprise architect in 3M’s Information Technology division for several years.
Bill holds a Ph.D. in Education from Illinois State University and Masters of Science and Bachelor of Science in Technology Education from Eastern Illinois University.
TOGAF™ is a trademark, and Making Standards Work® is a registered trademark of The Open Group in the US and other countries.