Organisations that promote standards, new ideas and community are vital to the health and growth of any profession. This article is a brief introduction to five organisations that, in my experience, consistently and ably boost IT Architecture skills and practice by supporting:
- Reference architectures
- Technical documentation
- Working groups in which we can participate and contribute
- Online communities and discussion fora
- Blogs and articles on trends, technologies and architectures
- Conventions to meet, connect and learn
Become a member of these bodies and check if your organisation is a member too. If not, you can push for it, as corporate membership often unlocks more value.
The top five
1. The Open Group
The Open Group is a global consortium that enables the achievement of business objectives through technology standards. With more than 900 member organisations, it has a diverse membership that spans all sectors of the technology community — customers, systems and solutions suppliers, tool vendors, integrators, consultants, academics, and researchers.
Some of its key provisions are:
- The TOGAF® Standard, a standard of The Open Group, is a proven Enterprise Architecture methodology and framework used by the world’s leading organisations to improve business efficiency.
- The Portfolio of Digital Open Standards
- The Open Group Library
- The Architect’s Toolkit
The best thing about it: Its Architecture Framework (TOGAF) and certification.
2. TM Forum
The TM Forum is an alliance of 850+ global companies cooperating to bring together digital service providers, technology suppliers, consultancies and systems integrators. It has become more than an organisation for telecommunication company IT processes and architectures. It leads collaboration between communication service providers, technology suppliers, consultancies, application developers and integrators to solve digital transformation problems. Its Open Digital Architecture is useful for several modern industries with digital and Web 3.0 ecosystems.
Some of the TM Forum’s key areas of work are:
- Digital Maturity Model
- Practical toolkits and frameworks
- Open APIs
- Proof of concept catalyst programmes
- Member-driven research
The best thing about it: Its process and application frameworks and Open APIs. They can be a model for other industries.
The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, or IEEE, has long gone beyond Electrical and Electronic engineering. It is the world’s largest technical professional organisation dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity. IEEE is the trusted “voice” for engineering, computing, and technology information around the globe.
You can find and use hundreds of standards and reference architectures for Information Technology (e.g., cloud architecture, security, IoT, Smart City, etc.). And much you can participate in and learn as an IT Architect.
The primary activities of the IEEE are:
- Conferences and events
The best thing about it: Its rigorous standards and awards for publishing technical papers in different categories.
4. Enterprise Architects Forum
A global organisation for Enterprise Architects (and others) to connect, share ideas and best practices, and collaborate.
- Local chapters
- Work groups and special interest groups
- Community blogs
- On-demand events
- Open Group related facilitation and support
The best thing about it: The discussions of practising EAs about real situations from which we can learn a lot.
5. Large technology companies
Of course, large IT hardware, software, cloud, and services companies try to get more business by providing a lot of public domain information, including that for architects. But there is great value in their material, training and certifications, as long as you keep the bias and alternatives in mind and can extract the generic value whenever required.
Here are five notable ones, with links to a random page related to architecture. It would be best to explore their sites systematically to find all the valuable artefacts.
The best thing about them: They constantly evolve with the world and keep us current.
ii. Amazon Web Services (AWS)
v. Red Hat
There is no shortage of excellent organisations and communities for architects willing to put in the effort to use them. There are similar institutions in the Banking & Finance industry, aviation, government IT, etc. This article is a glimpse into this world. Becoming a part of it will add dimensions to your competency and help you and your clients achieve tremendous success.