Official OBASHI qualification launched

Accreditation body APMG-International has launched a new foundation certification for the OBASHI methodology.

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Accreditation body APMG-International has launched a new foundation certification for the OBASHI methodology.

The OBASHI model maps out the role of people, processes and technology in a business in a way that non-technical people can understand the value of IT in their business.

The methodology has been backed by Professor Jim Norton, an external member of the board of the UK Parliament’s Office of Science & Technology (POST) and council member of the Parliamentary IT Committee (PITCOM).

Speaking at the launch of the qualification, Norton, said: “I would like to see it [OBASHI] widely adopted ... particularly in the public sector.

“This sort of methodology might end up with government doing a quarter of the projects they do – and they [the projects] will actually work.”

OBASHI stands for ownership, business process, application, system, hardware and infrastructure. These ‘layers’ are mapped out in a ‘business and IT diagram’ that illustrates how the components fit in this framework under these headings, therefore outlining all the elements that the person at the top of the diagram, for example the CIO, is responsible for, and how they interconnect.

The OBASHI methodology was developed in 2001 by Fergus Cloughley and Paul Wallis, CEO and CTO, respectively, of consultancy firm OBASHI. The model was based on their work in the oil and gas industry, in particular with BP, where Wallis had been a business information manager, and Cloughley had provided IT consultancy services.

“BP said to us, ‘we know we spend a lot of money on IT’, but what they couldn’t do was manage the IT because it was so complex and so widespread. So they asked us: ‘Can you come up with a model so that the business can understand how IT works?’” Cloughley explained.

Despite the background in the oil and gas sector, Cloughley said that the OBASHI methodology can be applied to companies of any size, in any industry. It was growing interest in the company’s Wikipedia page from a wide range of people that triggered the creation of an official qualification.

“A couple of years ago, we put our Wikipedia page up, and we started to get interest from all sorts of different people. And people started to claim they were OBASHI-trained based on the Wikipedia page, even though there was no qualification,” said Cloughley.

Wallis said that interest has been particularly strong from the financial services sector, as OBASHI also helps businesses identify how data flows through their organisation, and enables businesses to assign values to data flows.

“There’s a drive from the Financial Services Authority for banks to understand what data they have got. With the financial crisis, banks did not understand data flows and what they meant.

“Also, as they look to consolidate and implement new systems, there is a need [for banks] to plan out their projects efficiently before they start implementation. There are a lot of new banks being set up, like Tesco Bank, looking to offer new systems and new controls. The old banks need to refresh their systems in order to compete,” Wallis said.

The foundation qualification in OBASHI is aimed at middle managers, and Steven Pearson, director at OBASHI, said that it does not require a specific existing set of skills to understand it.

“It’s very intuitive. You don’t have to understand ITIL, for example, to understand OBASHI and apply it. It bridges the gap between technical and non-technical people,” Pearson said.

Meanwhile, Wallis hopes that practitioner and consulting-level certifications in OBASHI will be made available in the future.

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