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  • Conexiam Solutions Inc. / Chair of the Architecture Forum

    This Open Group member spotlight focuses on Dave Hornford, Architecture Practice Principal, Integritas Solutions Inc. and chair of the Architecture Forum.

    Q: How long have you been involved with The Open Group?
    The first Open Group conference I attended was the Architecture Practitioners Conference in Barcelona Spain in January of 2006. Over the following four years, I and my company at that time, Integritas Solutions Inc.,  increasingly deepened our involvement with The Open Group and the Architecture Forum given the value we derive from all the proceedings and activities.

    Q: Why did you become a member and what does your involvement look like?
    As a consultancy firm, we were using TOGAF in our projects and decided early on to become a member instead of just paying for a commercial license.  Sustaining the membership has been very valuable to me and my firm in terms of personal, professional and also organization development.  Over time we increased our involvement with the various work groups and forums as our comfort level with the organization increased and we began to see the return on our time investments. Originally, it was individual participation and learning in the different work groups, but as Integritas has grown, it made more sense to involve the entire organization at various levels.

    In my current role as chair of the Architecture Forum, I can make positive contributions to The Open Group from both an organization and a personal level.

    Q: How has membership in The Open Group benefited you, your organization and the industry at large?
    The opportunities for networking that The Open Group facilitates are incredibly powerful – finding and identifying professionals and organizations Integritas Solutions Inc. can do business with; as a mid-sized consulting practice I’m always looking for talent that can extend the capability of our firm. The ability to interact with the organizations and individuals that are active in our field, but not our market is extremely valuable. Here I can validate our experience and knowledge-base; I can also see where we may have gaps in our approach.

    The same holds true from a personal and professional growth standpoint. The fact that Open Group conferences and events allow individuals and organizations to sit down and have conversations with theoretical competitors is very valuable. Inside the firm it is my staff. At the conferences I’m interacting with people one wouldn’t normally collaborate with, let alone discuss common challenges and solve mutual problems.

    In short the broad benefits of consensus best practice is available much more richly through participation than passive consumption of the standards, and whitepapers.

    Q: What contributions to The Open Group are you most proud of?
    I have to say, the forging of the SOA definition. I was the project lead on that endeavor and it was most gratifying to lead a project that came up with a clear, concise definition that after five years is still in use without any serious edits to the original definition. Considering that the definition was adopted as the standard definition both inside and outside of The Open Group is a real honor.

    Q: Why is it important for other organizations to join The Open Group?
    I would say that there are two reasons – for service providers such as my firm that use TOGAF and other architectural standards produced by The Open Group, it’s about access and use of these standards as part of their services.  But consumption is one thing, being involved in the actual development of the standard is an unbelievable learning experience because you are able to see a myriad of other perspectives that you would never notice in your daily work.

    As an example, when we were developing the Practical Guide for TOGAF in 2008 and 2009, spending a weekend at a workshop on EA with a collection of the world’s leading enterprise architects was a fundamental experience for everyone involved that advanced everyone’s understanding of the practice.

    For organizations that are “customer members” or consumers of the best practices and standards that The Open Group produces, I have to quote Chris Forde, a former Architecture Forum chair and executive at American Express, who stated that “the Architecture Forum’s Work Groups are the equivalent of a masters’ class in enterprise architecture.”

    The Open Group delivers on its fundamental value proposition: it creates an equal-opportunity, open environment for organizations to work together. It provides a fundamental balance of lining up individuals with their peers. Some of it is validation, some of it is semi-formal benchmarking, another part is networking and collaboration and formal standards and benchmarking.

    Q: What are your hobbies?
    Photography and flying. On the ground I pursue large-format photography, I have a Sinar 4x5” and 8x10” camera. Black and white photography is always making me stop and look at the world that can be seen instead of the image in front of my eyes. In the air, flying my MJ5 Sirocco. Its an experimental aerobatic plane. An absolute joy to fly in the Canadian Rockies.

    Q: What book are you currently reading?
    Well, there are about six of them. I just finished a biography on Stalin – which I jokingly told my staff was a self-help book! The rest are historical non-fiction.

    Q: Any last thoughts?
    The only last thoughts are about where we are going in the Architecture Forum – we have TOGAF 9, an amazing success. It is a centerpiece; it is also massive. We have three complimentary initiatives that will help us move the state-of-the-art of enterprise architecture. First is an active TOGAF Maintenance initiative that is knocking away at the change requests submitted by careful readers; second is a formal modeling initiative that will help future evolution; the last is work with other Open Group forums to develop useful guidance on developing architecture in Real-time & Embedded and effectively introducing uncertainty into architectural description. The last initiative I find fascinating, on the one hand architecture in a very careful, detail aware space on the other how to effectively architect that facilitates uncertainty and the unknown.

    About Dave Hornford

    Dave has over twenty years continuous experience consulting in & about information technology. He is Managing Partner at Conexiam Solutions Inc., a speciality consulting firm which focuses on developing clients' architecture capability and delivering best-in-class enterprise architecture.

    Dave’s Political Science education highlighted the world always have three lenses for viewing: the way it is, the way we want it to be and the way it is evolving. All of Dave’s work uses the three lenses. When we know where we are, where we are going we can apply the energy necessary to change our course to where we want to be. As a consultant Dave focuses on two key delivery responsibilities in every project – provision of expertise to accelerate the client’s change activity and the transfer of knowledge and skills to the client so they can sustain change activity.