Arthur Young and Alwin C. Ernst never met in life, and their companies didn’t merge to form Ernst & Young until 41 years after they died within days of each other in 1948. But both men were innovators who believed in globalization. Today, the company provides professional services for its customers but on a much broader and, thanks to the advent of the cloud, more complex scale than anything that Ernst or Young could have imagined.
Sramana Mitra: Hi, Mal. Let’s start with some context about the scope of your work, the scope of the cloud computing footprint that you are dealing with, then we’ll go to your philosophy around it and so forth.
Mal Postings: Basically, Ernst & Young, for the last two years, entering into advisory services, we are not a McKinsey. We are not a high-level Boston Consulting Group type. Here’s where you need to diversify. Here’s where you need to acquire business. We’re not in that space, and we will never be in that space. Equally, we’re not in the space of assistant integrator, which is looking at the more detailed integration aspects of IT. We’re in Y play, and hence, the cloud 360-degree view that we have is that space between the strategy consultants and the actual implementers. There’s a huge gap in the market for players in that field. I think the cloud 360-view that we have absolutely plays into that middle ground.
A lot of people say the cloud is around infrastructure as a service or the Salesforce.com, but there’re certainly different aspects. Hence, the 360-degree view. But in any to your question, I think the E&Y positioning is in between the pure strategy consultant and the SIs. I think that’s our position going forward.
SM: So, where do you draw the line? Do you just make recommendations on cloud strategy, but you don’t really get into the implementation? Is that what I’m hearing?
MP: Yes. That is a great question. Let me refer to TOGAF. I’m not sure if you understand TOGAF; it’s is the open group architecture framework, T-O-G-A-F. TOGAF is the one and only, I would argue, architecture standard worldwide. I know the board of directors of TOGAF very well. I used to work for Capgemini before moving to Ernst & Young. TOGAF has said that the views of the different layers of architecture are moving. The bottom layers, be they networking or infrastructure are being more commoditized. Where I am positioning E&Y, and where we’ve been accepted as E&Y, where we are now, writing the new book for E&Y, is in the business architecture space. It used to be called BPE, business process engineering. But that is all old school. There’re new ways of thinking around business service engineering, as services move outside of a company, outside of the four walls, outside of the boundaries. From an architectural point of view, we do get involved in the implementation. I have many examples where we get involved in the implementation of the business architecture. But the business architecture is now moving away from the business process way of thinking, which was actually brought about – if you research BPE – it’s around a company.
If you have a process that has 20 steps, everyone assumes companies are doing steps 1 to 20. In reality, today a company will do steps 1, 3, 15 and 18. It’s more around the orchestration of these – what I would call services, not processes. That’s a new thinking that’s within TOGAF. And E&Y are now sponsoring platinum member TOGAF on the entire business architecture way of thinking.