I have entitled this post Open Business. It could quite easily be titled Open Government, Government 2.0, Open Insurance, Open Retail, Open any business for that matter. So for the purposes of my thoughts here today I have made it generic and called it Open Business.
I was thinking of actually calling it Open Enterprise which then got me thinking. If I was going to call this Open Enterprise and now I am calling it Open Business should we bite the bullet and get rid of the term Enterprise Architecture and call it Business Architecture. It is the architecture of a business after all. Let it encompass all the layers of an Enterprise Architecture that we have today – business, application and technology. Maybe call the layers something like operation, application and technology layers of an organisations Business Architecture? Operation may not be the best term but hopefully you understanding what I am trying to saying. It may help to get rid of the stigma of IT not being part of a business when it is. Something I have written about previously in you never here of business/finance alignment. Anyway that is maybe for another discussion.
The purpose of this posting is around opening up an organisations knowledge capital to allow others to create innovative and exciting value from it. The United States Government has an initiative on-going at present, data.gov, to provide access to government data for others to use and create innovative and exciting applications. The UK Government is doing a similar thing with data.gov.uk as part of Smarter Government. We all know how google maps is changing the way we find out where places are and how to get to them both on the Internet and on smart devices such as the iPhone. Is there a website with a location service on it anywhere that doesn't use Google Maps these days?
This is all good stuff and there are some really innovative and exciting opportunities being created. I love Google Maps on the iPhone with the overlay of traffic data hot spots. Information is important, see Wisdom Hierarchy. However the one thing that strikes me about this is it just providing information.
For me the real opportunities are in governments and organizations that not only provide access to the information that they hold, they also provide access to core business services and functions that they perform. In simple IT terms a set of business application programming interfaces (APIs). This, coupled with access to an organizations information, will provide really ground breaking innovative applications for consumers.
Imagine a world where you can go to book a holiday from a site called YourPerfectHoliday.com (I made this up and the domain is for sale...). It takes in your personal information of where you have been, what you like to read and watch, integrates that with information from travel companies on what destinations may match what you like and then offers a set of option. You select an option and it makes the booking direct from the site with the company offering the holiday. It also books any transfers and train ticket. This is because that company has not only provide access to its data it has provided an API for others to use. So have the train companies to book train tickets and airline companies for flights. You don't have to book them individually and you don't need an administrative person doing the bookings in the background manually.
This is only a simple example but the possibilities for consumers are immense. More choice and value. For the organizations that provide the information and APIs it offers many more avenues for access to the services they provide rather than people having to go to them directly.
Imagine the possibilities if government not only offered access to its information but also provide APIs to allow you to claim benefits, tax your car and renew your passport. The opportunities seem endless.
So to me Open Business is not just opening up access to information but also to core business services and functions to provide innovative transactional opportunities. Roll on Open Business