Archive for the ‘Conferences’ Category

Gartner EA: The Management Nexus

Presenters: Anne Lapkin and Colleen Young

One thing all of the presenters in the EA Summit are very good at doing is using consistent diagrams across all of their presentations. This is at least the third presentation where I’ve seen this flow diagram showing linkage between business goals and strategy, and business planning and execution. Unfortunately, Anne points out that the linkage is where things typically break down.

Colleen is now discussing strategic integration, which begins with an actionable articulation of business strategy, goals and objectives. From there, she recommends a standardized, integrated, results-based management methodology. As a result, she claims that we will see exponentially greater benefits from enterprise capabilities and investments.

Anne is speaking again and emphasizing that we need a unified contextual view. This consists of a goal, which is one level deeper than the “grow revenues by XY%” which includes a future end state with a timeline and measurable targets, principles that establish the desired behavior and core values, and relationships.

Colleen now has a great slide up called, “The Implication of ‘Implications’.” The tag line says it all- “Unclear implications lead to inconsistent assumptions and independent response strategies that inevitably clash.” Implications that must be investigated include financial implications, business process implications, architecture implications, cultural change implications, and more. All parties involved must understand and agree on these implications.

A statement Colleen just made that resonates with my current thinking is, “Based upon these implications, what do I need to change?” All too often, we don’t stop to think about what the “change” really is. Work starts happening, but no one really has a clear idea of why we’re doing it, only an innate trust that the work is necessary and valuable. If the earlier planning activities have made these goals explicit, the execution should be smoother, and when bumps in the road are encountered, the principles are right there to guide the decision making process, rather than on relying on someone’s interpretation of an undocumented implication.

Once again, this was a good session. I know I’ve commented on a few sessions that they could have been a bit more pragmatic or actionable, this one definitely achieved that goal. I think the attendees will be able to leave with some concrete guidance that they can turn around and use in their organizations.

Gartner EA: Strategic Planning Tools and Techniques

Presenter: Richard Buchanan

The first topic Richard is covering is the need for enterprise architects to master strategic thinking. His current slide is consistent with an earlier talk today, showing that enterprise strategy is at the intersection of three disciplines: Enterprise Strategy and Planning, Enterprise Architecture, and Enterprise Portfolio Management. He states that enterprise architecture must translate business vision and strategy into effective enterprise change. He’s discussing how a budget and the organization chart are not part of the business strategy, pointing out that a budget should be a downstream deliverable derived from the business strategy. Great point. His definition of strategy includes an organization’s environment, goals, objectives, major programs of action, and the resource allocation choices to execute them.

The next topic he is covering are the categories of tools and techniques that are used in developing a business strategy. These are not software tools, as the first one he’s showing is Porter’s 5 Forces Model (this is second time Michael Porter has been referenced at the Summit). He’s challenging us to go and find the people in our organization that are looking at these things. Good advice. There’s no doubt that if you want to do strategic planning, you need to be looking at these five forces, and there’s a good chance that someone at the company (probably outside of IT) is already doing this. The same thing holds true for the other categories of tools that he has went through.

The final point he’s covering is how to leverage these strategic tools within the EA process. To some extent this is motherhood and apple pie, but it’s very good advice, especially knowing that many EA’s have grown out of the world of application development and may still be very technology focused. As a result, it’s entirely possible that the EA team has never read the company’s annual report. It’s even more likely that EA hasn’t seen things like competitive analysis documents. If an EA doesn’t understand how a company competes, how can they make appropriate decisions? Speaking very broadly and citing Michael Raynor’s earlier presentation, do you know whether your company differentiates on cost or on products? Both of those can have significant impacts on how information technology is leveraged. A company that differentiates based on product excellence and customer service must have significantly better technology for understanding their customers than a company that simply tries to be the lowest cost provider in the marketplace.

My final thoughts: There’s not much to disagree with in this presentation. I think he paints a great picture of what many of us would like to be doing. The challenge I suspect that many attendees have is that our EA organizations, as a previous presenter put it, “are mired in the world of technology architecture.” Somehow, we need to find a seat at the strategic planning table so when we ask about some of these artifacts, everyone knows its importance versus stopping us in our tracks and asking, “Why do you need it?”

Gartner EA: Context Delivery Architecture

Presenter: William Clark

I’m looking forward to this talk, as it’s a new area for me. I don’t remember who told me this, but the key to getting something out of a conference is go to sessions where you have the opportunity to learn something, and you’re interested in the subject. That’s why I’m avoiding sessions on establishing enterprise technology architects. I’ve been doing that for the past 5 years, so the chances are far less that I’m going to learn something new than in a session like this one, where it’s an emerging space and I know it’s something that is going to be more and more important in my work in the next few years. The only downside is I’m now on my fourth day in Orlando which is starting to surpass my tolerance limit for sitting and listening to presentations.

He’s started out by showing that the thing missing from the digital experience today is “me.” By me, he implies the context of why we’re doing the things that we’re doing, such as “where am I,” “what have I done,” “who are you talking to,” etc. He points out the importance of user experience in the success and failures of projects, especially now in the mobile space.

Some challenges he calls out with incorporating context into our systems:

  • Blending of personal contexts and business contexts. For example, just think of how your personal calendar(s) may overlap with your business calendar.
  • Managing Technical Contexts: What device are you using, what network are you connecting from, etc. and what are the associated technical capabilities available at that point?
  • Context timing: The context is always in a state of flux. Do I try to predict near-term changes to the context, do I try to capture the current context, or do I leverage the near-past context (or even longer) in what is shown?

It’s always a sign of a good presentation when they anticipate questions an audience might ask. I was just about to write down a question asking him if he thinks that a marketplace for context delivery will show up, and he started talking about exactly that. This is a really interesting space, because there’s historical context that can be captured and saved, and there’s an expense associated with that, so it makes sense that the information broker market that currently selling marketing lists, etc. will expand to become on-demand context providers with B2B style integrations.

All in all, I see this space with parallels to the early days of business intelligence. The early adopters are out there, trying to figure out what the most valuable areas of “context” are. Unlike BI, there are so many technology changes going on that are introducing new paradigms, like location aware context with cellphones, there’s even more uncertainty. I asked a question wondering how long it will be before some “safe” areas have been established for companies to begin leveraging this, but his answer was that there are many dimensions contributing to that tipping point, so it’s very hard to make any predictions.

This was a good presentation. I think he gave a good sampling of the different data points that go into context, some of the challenges associated with it, and the technical dynamics driving it. It’s safe to say that we’re not at the point where we should be recommending significant investments in this, but we are at the point where we should be doing some early research to determine where we can leverage context in our solutions and subsequently make sound investment decisions.

Gartner EA: Effective IT Planning

Presenter: Robert Handler

He’s showing a slide on IT Portfolio Management Theory, and how there is a discovery phase, a project phase, and an asset management phase. Discovery explores new technology, projects implement new technology, and the asset management phase operates it once it’s in production. Next, he’s shown an Enterprise Architecture diagram and discusses the whole current state/future state approach, risk tolerance principles, etc. He now has a slide with a summary of three areas: IT Strategic Planning, Project & Portfolio Management, and Enterprise Architecture. He shows that all three of these have overlapping goals and efforts that could be better aligned because at present, they tend to exist in vacuums.

He’s now talking about some of the issues with each of these disciplines. First, he used Wikipedia’s definition of technology strategy to show the challenge there (Wikipedia claims it’s a document created by the CIO, the audience chuckled at that). On to Project and Portfolio Management, he’s calling out that only 65% of organizations cover the entire enterprise in their portfolio, and most PPMs are focused on prioritizing projects. On the EA side, he calls out that most efforts are mired in the creation of technical standards.

His recommendations for creating a win/win situation are:

  1. Collectively maintain, share, and use business context.
  2. Use EA to validate strategic planning and improve portfolio management decisions.
  3. Use portfolio management to generate updates against IT strategy and EA design and plans.

He proceeded to go into detail on each of these. Overall, I think this was a good 100-level presentation to tell an audience of EA’s that they can’t ignore IT strategy efforts and PPM efforts. They need to be aligned with them. It could have been a bit more pragmatic to emphasize how one would go about doing this.

Gartner EA: Michael Raynor

Presenter: Michael Raynor, Deloitte Consulting

This session is from Michael Raynor, author of “The Strategy Paradox.” The title is “The Accidental Strategist: Why uncertainty makes EA central to strategy.” He feels that it is ironic that there is a separation between the formulation of strategy and the implementation of strategy. He doesn’t agree with this approach. He feels that formulation and implementation should be a more interactive process and less linear, minimizing the strategic risk that an organization takes.

On this slide, his observation is that strategic uncertainty has been ignored. He used an example of the search engine competition of years ago and how, at least in part, Google won the space by making the best guess with regards to their strategy. It’s not that AltaVista made poor choices, they simply guessed wrong with what would be the most important factors in that marketplace. There is uncertainty associated with strategy.

An interesting anecdote he’s showing us now is that organizations that have a high commitment to strategy, which often times are the companies that we try to emulate, have an extremely high chance of failure, while companies with a relatively low commitment to strategy have a very low failure rate. To me, this seems be an example of low risk/low return and high risk/high return.

Extreme positions help customers know what to expect. Companies that are in the middle, “wander around like a stumbling drunk.” His example of the continuum was Wal-Mart at one end (cost differentiation, if given a choice of make it better or make it cheaper, Wal-Mart makes it cheaper), Nordstrom at the other end (product differentiation, Nordstrom makes it better), and Sears in the middle. Margins are best at the extremes and squeezed in the middle, yet most companies are in the middle. The reason is that at the extremes, it’s a winner take all approach. K-Mart can’t compete with Wal-Mart, Lord & Taylor couldn’t compete with Wal-Mart, yet Sears and JcPenney can both co-exist just fine. The reason for this is that companies in the middle have chosen to minimize their strategic risks. Companies at the extremes take on more risk in their strategic choices.

He’s now discussing Microsoft. He’s explaining the Microsoft manages strategic risk through their portfolio and understanding that things will change over time. This is different than diversification, where the profits of one division would cover losses in another. This is where if what’s important to revenue changes, the company is positioned to quickly leverage it. For example, if consolidation of computing in the home is centered at the gaming console rather than at the PC, Microsoft has XBox.

Another good example he’s presenting is Johnson & Johnson. Their Ethicon & Endo-Surgery division sells colonoscope, an area that previously differentiated on the technical excellence of the product. For growth, however, the problem was enough people weren’t getting colonoscopies. In the US & Canada, a colonoscopy is a sedated procedure, which greatly increases the cost associated with it. In order to manage the strategic risk that selling colonoscopes may switch and become a pain management rather than technical excellence issue, Johnson & Johnson’s VC arm invested in a company that was advancing sedation technologies. (Hopefully, I got this recap right…)

The metaphor that he believes captures how to manage strategic risk is not evolution, but gene therapy. That is, if the environment changes in certain ways, the genes can be recombined in new ways to leverage that environment appropriately. Good talk!

Gartner EA: EA by Stealth

The presenter is Gary Doucet, the Chief Architect for the Government of Canada. His summary is that EA makes everything the business does better. EA needs to be ubiquitous, not owned by any single non-EA process. He emphasized that there are hidden architects all over the place, producing artifacts (artefacts, if you’re from Canada like him), that are the descriptions of the business today. EA’s role is to discover and align these efforts, not necessarily to own them all. Interesting talk.

Gartner AADI/EA: Nick Carr, The Big Switch

I’m now in the keynote from Nick Carr, author of IT Doesn’t Matter and his latest book, The Big Switch. I haven’t read his book yet (I did get a copy when he offered to send free ones to the first 100 bloggers who responded), but from reading the reviews of others and comments around it, I knew that it was basically advocating a cloud computing approach to corporate IT. His presentation reaffirmed this. Nothing much to say beyond that, they’ve now transitioned to a discussion with him and Darryl Plummer and David Mitchell Smith. The first question from Darryl was on the moving of data into the cloud. Nick’s response was that company’s will do it when their competitors wind up “saving millions of dollars” by doing it. Darryl drilled more into the notion of what to do with the legacy “stuff” and Nick expects that for the foreseeable future, large companies will have a hybrid model, slowly moving things into the cloud. He feels that smaller and mid-size companies will be quicker to adopt. David then asked if 50 years out, the Google data center that Nick used in one slide will be seen as “the dinosaur” and replaced by a peer-to-peer model. Nick hesitated a bit and said that 50 years is hard to predict in technology, but then said he doesn’t see it. Personally, I agree with David, and I think Nick’s analogy to power grids shows it. We moved to centralized power generation, and now with the focus on being green, we now see individual home owners contributing back to the grid through solar panels on their roof, etc. It wouldn’t surprise me at all, as standards evolve, to see individuals contributing their compute resources back to the cloud, however, we’d need to have far, far better standards for doing so. I had a conversation with Mike Kavis about this at lunch, and we both agreed that the cost of moving is still too high. I can’t simply take the .ear file from my application server and stick it on a server in the cloud yet. We’ll get there, though, and that’s when it will become a more interesting discussion for the large enterprise.

Darryl just did an informal audience poll, asking the question, “How many of you think a significant part of your IT will leverage cloud computing in 2 years, 5 years, and 10 years?” Within 2 years, there were probably less than 20 people. At 10 years, probably about 30-40% of the room said yes. That’s probably realistic, especially not knowing the size of the companies that are represented here. If 30% of the people here represent SMB’s, it’s a no-brainer in my opinion in a 10 year timeframe. Ultimately, this was just a fun exercise to stimulate the discussion, much as how Darryl pinned Nick down to make a prediction on how many of us won’t have a job due to this “big switch” in 10 years. For the record, Nick said 60%, but then said the more safe statement, “IT headcounts will be at lower levels than they are now.”

Gartner EA: Business Architecture Primer

Presenter: Betsy Burton

The presentation is starting out with a future vision statement. They believe that “by 2011, the majority of automated business processes at Global 1000 organizations will have evolved our thinking about processes with a shift from linear to nonlinear. Processes will have evolved to include a combination of formal workflow, information analysis, social networks, collaboration and ‘person-centric’ processes.”

She states that the goal of business architecture is to create the foundational artifacts for people to define the organization and enable change in the organization toward a future state. The interesting term in this statement for me is “organization.” Having roots in IT, we often want to talk about technology, and the application of technology, but when we bleed into organizational discussions, many architects think that it’s the job of management. Guess what? Organization can be an impediment or an enabler for being successful with technology so it is something that we need to think about. If it’s management’s responsibility, then invite them to the table and include them in the discussions so your efforts can be successful. As she just stated, “70% of what EA does is family counseling.” Don’t ignore the people!

She’s now moved on to the dimensions of business architecture. She includes people, financials, organization, and process. All of these are layered across the business functions of the organization. If we have these dimensions, we then need to develop requirements of business processes, the principles that guide people’s use of business processes, and the models of what the processes should look like in the current and end state. She now has a slide, and she’s showing an example of an anchor model and it’s importance to Enterprise Architecture. I’m really glad she called this out, because it aligns directly with my horizontal/vertical thinking I’ve mentioned before. I called this out back in the December EA Summit, and it’s nice to see that their thinking has continued to evolve. The anchor model is a representation of the business capabilities of the organization, and as the name suggests, it’s an anchor for other efforts like SOA and BPM.

There’s a ton of good information being presented here at a very fast pace, so I’m not going to keep trying to quote things. They’ve given a great walkthrough from the anchor model into some swim lane diagrams of processes, and have stated that this example is available online. If you’re a Gartner subscriber, and interested in this, I recommended looking for the “Bank XYZ” example artifacts that they have. As someone hoping to look more into business architecture in the future, I think this material is going to be very useful.

Her final recommendations in the standard Gartner powerpoint template are:

  • Don’t do the business architecture in a vacuum.
  • Focus on interdependent business and IT viewpoints, aligned in the solution architecture.
  • Use a multidisciplinary team approach.
  • Business architecture is much more than process optimization.
  • Involve business leaders as much as you can.
  • Start at the conceptual level, and work your way down, maintaining traceability as you go.
  • Demonstrate actual value through improvement (or business operational improvement) and reuse.
  • Gartner EA: EA as Strategy

    Presenter: Colleen Young

    This is the opening keynote for the EA Summit. Colleen is telling us that we are the individuals that need to bring the message to the business that IT can contribute to growth, rather than simply being about back-end processes and support. Things that she says that are critical to success of EA:

    1. EA’s must be bilingual- speaking the language of the business and the language of IT.
    2. Architects must be political.
    3. Architects must be influential. Architects need to be confident, with a firm grasp on the business’ needs.
    4. Architects must deliver distinctive solutions. How do we do this? We need to evolve toward integrated IT and business strategic planning. Architecture needs to bridge the gap.

    Overall, a good presentation.

    Gartner AADI: Measuring the Value of SOA

    I just finished my panel discussion with Mel Greer and Mike Kavis on measuring the value of SOA. I think we all had hoped that there would be more attendees, but hopefully those that chose to attend got something out of it. My main message was measure, measure, measure. I think it’s difficult to put a direct value on SOA adoption, that is, one where you can say the value was directly as a result of SOA efforts, but it’s not difficult to put a contributory value on SOA adoption. In other words, we need to measure the way IT is contributing to the success of the company as a whole, and as part of that, we can see some before and after measurements to see the impact of SOA and any other changes. The two things that I brought up in answering questions that I thought I’d share here are:

    • Instrument your services now. Part of the problem with measuring things today is that we haven’t instrumented things in the past. These days, value is almost always expressed in relative terms, such as “relative to what we’re doing now.” If you’re not collecting metrics, you can’t say what “now” is, though. Once again, we’re at one of those unique opportunities where the door is open to do things differently. Put the instrumentation in now, before you have a portfolio of 100+ services that have no instrumentation.
    • Measuring puts the spotlight on you, but will always enable you to answer questions better than before. A member of the audience asked the question, “What happens if your measurements show that you’re not achieving your goals?” This was a great question. Unfortunately, sometimes by the mere act of measuring things, people will immediately put the blame on you when things aren’t achieving the desired benefits, simply because you’re the one thing that can concretely demonstrate contribution (or lack thereof). My answer to this was two-fold. First, it was to try to make sure you have the backing metrics to allow proper root cause analysis. If you just focus on one metric, and nothing else, it makes root cause identification very difficult, and it puts the spotlight at the one area when you’re measuring. This puts strategic initiatives like SOA at risk, because people will think the whole thing is flawed, when in fact, the lack of results may have nothing at all to do with SOA adoption. Second, I talked about the appropriate spin to put on it, this being the political season in the US. When something doesn’t work out as planned, the way to spin the metrics is to show that we’re in a better spot to fix the problem because of the measurements than we would have been before.

    The final thing I wanted to call out was a reference to a blog I posted yesterday at the request of Rob Eamon. Someone asked a question about how to get the stated goals from “the business” and the role of IT in contributing ways of measuring it. I called out that IT is part of the business, so there’s no reason that IT can’t contribute to the definition and appropriate ways to measure the business goals. Rather than viewing it as an “extraction” effort, it should be a joint effort with all members of the business, which includes IT.

    If you attended the session, please feel free to post any comments or questions here. I hope it was valuable.

    Gartner AADI: Dr. Andrew Lippman

    Presenter: Dr. Andrew Lippman from MIT’s Media Laboratory

    Dr. Lippman came and talked to us about MIT Media Lab in a keynote this morning. He was an excellent speaker. Most of the talk was focused on how technology can contribute to the increasingly social nature of our society. While we increasingly have more and more personal technology, the usefulness of that technology will largely depend on its ability to focus on the “we” rather than on “me.” A great point that he made is that a company’s value is in its social network- the speed with which the values and ideas flow through the company. Again, the degree to which technology supports that is a key element. Excellent talk.

    Gartner AADI: State of SOA

    Presenter: Daniel Sholler

    Dan is largely presenting results from some surveys that Gartner has done. Highlights:

    1. Adoption is increasing, but so is number of organizations that are choosing to delay/do nothing
    2. Nearly all organizations are at maturity level 1
    3. Of the very few organizations that are above level 1, interest/usage in WOA/REST is increasing
    4. More mature organizations are using services for B2B and multi-channel applications
    5. Only 1/3 of organizations adopting SOA are using an ESB
    6. Stage 2 maturity companies have nearly double the number of service consumers for the same number of services as Stage 1 maturity companies
    7. “BPM is the ‘killer app’ for SOA”

    My thoughts: Nothing really surprising here. I’m not at all surprised that we’re at a very early stage of maturity. The statement that the more mature organizations are pursuing B2B and multi-channel opportunities is an aberration, in my opinion. I think those are simply opportunities that some organizations have and other don’t, rather than being tied to the maturity of the organization. The bullet point that more mature organizations have twice the number of consumers was interesting to me. That one seems to make sense from a maturity standpoint. The BPM comment isn’t surprising at all, because I don’t think you can do a good job with BPM without having services.

    Gartner AADI: Application Strategies

    Presenter: Andy Kyte

    The title of this session is, “If You Had an Application Strategy, What Would It Look Like?” So far, I think I’m going to like it, because he’s emphasizing the need to manage the application lifecycle. That’s application lifecycle, not application development lifecycle. The application lifecycle ends when the last version of the application is removed from production. He’s emphasizing that an application is both an asset and a liability, with the liability being all of the people, technologies, and skills required to sustain it.

    He’s now getting a ton of laughs by using a puppy/dog metaphor. He stated that we don’t buy a puppy, we buy a dog. It may be all cute and playful when we get it, but it will grow in a dog that sheds, eats, etc. Applications are the same way. Great quote just now: “Business cases are focused on putting applications in, and not on what to do after it. We are contributed to the problem by not addressing this.” He emphasizes that an application strategy should cover the next seven years, or half the expected remaining life of the application, whichever is the greater.

    He’s now talking about stakeholder management and hitting on all the points I usually mention when talking about Service Lifecycle Management. The application is an asset, it must have an individual who is responsible for it, lifecycle decisions should be transparent, and all stakeholders (i.e. users of the application) must be identified and actively encouraged to play some role in the governance of the application.

    The rest of the session is focusing in on the creation of the strategy document and making sure that it is a living, useful document. He’s emphasized that it is a plan, but also stressed the first law of planning: “No plan survives contact with the enemy.” It’s recognized that the plan is based on assumptions about the future. By documenting those assumptions, including leading indicators, leading contra-indicators, and expected timings, we can continually monitor and change the plan.

    Overall, this is a very, very good session. What’s great about this is it is promoting a genuine change in thinking in the way that probably 90% of the companies here operate. Add a great speaker to the mix, and you’ve got a very good talk.

    Gartner AADI: SAP Presentation

    I’m in a SAP session now. They’ve got their “End-to-End SOA Composition and Middleware Platform” picture up right now. It’s always nice when your vendor’s picture aligns with your own. Specifically, they have a separation between their Enterprise SOA Provisioning layer and their SOA Interoperability layer. Enterprise SOA Provisioning includes “Service and Event Enablement” and “Connectivity and Integration.” In SOA Interoperability, they have “Service Bus and SOA Management.” Thanks to the confusion between the ESB space and EAI space, these two layers are frequently combined, and I think they should be separate. The SOA Interoperability layer should be about mediating across a set of standards that the enterprise has adopted, which the enablement and integration layer is about hooking non-standard things into it. Push those pieces as close to the endpoints as possible, and put the stuff that’s required on all standards-based service messages in the middle. Unfortunately, they’ve now put up a slide on SAP NetWeaver Process Integration 7.1 and are positioning it to cover Service Bus, Service Integration, and SOA Management. So, conceptually they get it, but in terms of the product mapping, there could be some challenges if you don’t deploy it properly. If you separate out one PI environment for SOA Interoperability, and a second environment for Enablement and Integration, a lot of the potential risks can be mitigated.

    Gartner AADI: Composite Applications

    Presenter: Benoit Lheureux

    This was a decent overview of a whole bunch of things including composite applications, *-as-a-Service (software, platform, etc.). I would have preferred it if this presentation had taken more of an advisory, rather than informing, approach. There has to be a large number of enterprises represented here who have SAP, Oracle, or something else in their environment. Rather than going into depth on how to incorporate (e.g. best practices) these packaged applications into an enterprise’s SOA efforts (it did cover it, just at a light level), it went for breadth and spent a lot of time discussing packaged vendors and SaaS providers and their approach to SOA.


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