I often daydream about the day a Hollywood executive approaches me to make a movie about the global phenomenon that OBASHI has become, and I always envisage a “Star Wars – esque” introduction: “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….”
The reality though is slightly less romantic. OBASHI was born in the Scottish Oil & Gas Industry about 11 years ago (although my wife assures me it seems longer……much longer.)
My colleague Paul Wallis and I met at the BP petrochemical plant in Grangemouth, Scotland, which was/is one of the leading plants of its type in the world.
We both shared an engineering (mechanical, electrical, process and instrument) background. What we worked together on most closely was understanding the relationships between business assets, the processes they supported and how they made the business actually work. We did this through a combination of different skills including Computer-aided design, Process Control asset management, and business optimisation, all based on a rigorous engineering approach.
Having jointly reached the end of our love affair with corporate life, we decided to set up on our own and within a few weeks got a call from BP, asking us to come and see them. They had a problem; they wanted to understand, in simple business terms, the dependency that their business had on IT assets and resources. It wasn’t a new problem; the techie guys had never been able to explain to the non-tecchie guys how IT supported the business, in a way they understood. It’s just that, until this point, no one had asked us to solve it before.
And in solving that problem, OBASHI was born (for more in-depth detail click here.)
- We developed the OBASHI framework to plot business assets logically; connecting the technology to the business processes and the people who operated them.
- We created Business and IT diagrams (B&ITs) as a tool for mapping, modelling and communicating the interdependencies of these assets
- We developed Data Flow Analysis views (DAVs) to identify, value and manage the data flows that kept their business alive.
For the first time they understood how IT supported the operation of their plant. Not only that, for professionals whose every waking working moment is focussed on optimising the flow of product through their plant, they now started to understand how flows of data helped them deliver it.
“Wow, OBASHI is the missing link in IT!” one of our ex-colleagues said.
Obviously, we were pleased things had gone well and as we drove home it began to sink in that we had something, in OBASHI. If we can do this for Oil and Gas assets then surely we can do it for other industries. I mean how many other industries measure data in real time, to the 1000th of a second?
In 2001 we were fortunate to meet Professor Jim Norton, currently President of the British Computer Society, Professor Norton got it. He told us, there and then, that if we could deliver OBASHI it would revolutionise ICT enabled business change.
Now it was our turn to go “Wow!”
We attacked the opportunity – developing our thinking and our technology. Testing it through consultancy work with local government authorities, Ineos, Scottish Power and; all the time learning, refining and improving.
During that process we experienced the “Penny Drop” moment many times – when the audience “gets” what OBASHI can do for them; the moment of clarity; the big picture in their terms.
Through the Global Scot initiative we got the chance to meet a fellow Scot (Paul’s actually from Teeside, which makes him an honorary Scot in my book) John Paterson, Chief Procurement Officer of IBM, who arranged for us to meet some of his colleagues in California, who gave us some fantastic advice and encouragement.
At IBM, in Almaden we met Dr. Anant Jhingran, then Director of Computer Science and Dr. Hamid Pirahesh, then Master Inventor. We had an excellent meeting with them and were delighted with the collective conclusion that we had overcame the two fundamental database constraints of ‘data type’ and ‘complexity of relationships’.
Miller Hicks, former adviser to Presidents Reagan and Bush Senior, introduced us to Mike Maples, former VP of Sales at Microsoft, who advised us to ensure our technology was scalable –
“It’s not just about Enterprise. Make sure a consultant can use OBASHI to make a six figure salary.”
Miller also introduced us to Andrew Heller, ex IBM board member, who believed OBASHI was the ideal design tool for system integrators.
We had our Enterprise product at that point. We had built on our Oil & Gas experience where the real time analysis of data governs, manages and monitors the dollar per second value flow of product. So we started on the development of our workgroup and individual user offerings to ensure it was fully scalable across all business sectors.
In early 2008, we decided to share our thinking on Wikipedia, so we posted details of our methodology online and described how the electronic flow of data is a fundamental part of how an organisation works.
Shortly after, we started to notice various professionals in business analysis and IT management claim they were OBASHI qualified. This was a surprise, to say the least, as neither Paul nor I had trained anybody. It did however take our journey down a different path which led us to meet Richard Pharro, CEO of AMPG.
Like Prof. Norton, Richard “got” OBASHI quickly but from a different angle. He recognised that OBASHI could act as a common language and delivery platform across the OGC portfolio of best practices of ITIL, Prince2, MSP and P30, as it put them all in real life business context, thereby bridging the great divide between classroom theory and day to day business reality.
After a lengthy due diligence process and positive feedback from the training community, we began the development of the OBASHI Foundation level Accreditation and we wrote The OBASHI Methodology manual, now published by TSO. Both were launched at the end of last year.
And now we are launching our individual user software after 10 years which is a long time for software development.
In dog years, it’s 70 – and I must admit that at times it’s felt longer. But to be fair, along the way we invented six new ways to relate data, overcame the constraints of the column to column join in the traditional RDBMS, developed a new standard way of thinking about ICT, developed a common visual language for data which is easy to understand, published a new business methodology and become a global professional accreditation. In these days of constant organisational change, delivering more with less, increased global inter-connectivity, the growth of Cloud and mobile and the continuing proliferation of data, OBASHI feels more relevant than ever.
Here it is. Try it. We think you’ll like it.