Archive for the ‘Gartner’ Category

Gartner AADI: Building a Business Case for SOA

Presenter: Anthony Bradley

Anthony’s going to present Gartner’s new framework for building SOA business cases. He immediately began by stating that you can’t build a general business case for SOA. Rather, the point is to build an SOA business case for a particular business need. I can tell it’s the end of the day, as my attention span is dwindling quickly. This framework presentation is having the same impact on me as when I was first introduced to RUP. It appears to have a level of detail that makes it difficult to digest. The other thing that hasn’t been immediately apparent to me is why this isn’t a framework for building IT project business cases in general, rather than just SOA business cases. I’ll have to dig into the notes on this one, but right now, I’m a bit skeptical.

Gartner AADI: Application and SOA Governance

Presenter: Matt Hotle

“Governance is the key to predictable results” is the title of his first slide. At first glance, I disagreed with this statement, but as he explained it, he emphasized the use of policies and how they guide decision making. That I agree with. I don’t know if I’m comfortable going so far as to saying it’s the key to predictable results. I think it’s the term “predictable” that’s causing my discomfort. As I’ve said before, governance is about achieving a desired behavior, which is a slightly different view than predictable results. When I hear “desired behavior,” I don’t think of standard processes, when I hear “predictable results,” I do. Perhaps I’m nitpicking since I’m somewhat passionate about this space.

BTW, 92 minutes into the Steve Jobs’ keynote, iPhone 3G has just been announced. Are they selling them anywhere in the Orlando World Center Marriott? No? Rats. Now back to governance.

The slide he’s showing now has one very good nugget. He states, “SOA Governance needs… a funding model to maintain services as assets (service portfolio management/chargeback).” I’ve always felt that if an organization wants to do services the right way (see Service Lifecycle Management), it would inevitably wind up challenging the typical project-based funding model in most IT shops. Matt is now talking about the term “application” and while he didn’t go as far as I have in the past (see The End of the Application), he did make it clear that the notion of “application” needs to change. He just hit another key point with me! He said that what he’s outlining is “product management” and most IT shops don’t have a clue how to do product management. Boy does that sound very familiar (see this, this, this, this, and listen to this).

Gartner AADI: Mobile Web 2.0

Presenter: Nick Jones

This session was a well-presented, broad overview of the web application space. Near the end, Nick touched a bit on choosing architecture for mobile applications, which gets into the decision on developing for the web, sacrificing some capabilities and usability, versus developing for a device, which provides more capabilities, but also introduces additional challenges given the average lifetime of a mobile device, let alone the broad number of devices and platforms available. It’s a bit disappointing that it wasn’t more broadly attended, although I think that part of the problem was that the session was targeted at Mobile Web 2.0, rather than on the decisions between writing a device or OS specific mobile application versus a mobile web application. There’s no doubt that more and more companies are going to start thinking more about how to leverage and support mobile access, so I expect that attendance will be increasing in these sessions in the next year or two, especially if we get a 3G iPhone in the next 30 minutes or so…

Gartner AADI: World Class Governance

Susan Landry and Matt Hotle are giving this presentation.

Matt had a couple good quotes in the introduction:

  • Governance is a framework that allows management to be successful.
  • Governance is the set of processes that allow us to safely move from the past to the present and into the future.

Susan just covered a key topic, which was to perform stakeholder analysis. Each stakeholder has their own interests, political agendas, etc. I can agree with this. I define governance as the people, policies, and processes an organization puts in place to achieve desired behavior. A huge problem will ensue if there isn’t agreement among the stakeholders on what the desired behavior is, so getting them all on the same page and understanding their differences is very important.

The session is now over. One thing I disagreed with a bit was in their definition of governance, they limited it to the policies and processes associated with the efficient allocation of resources. I think this is only one aspect of it. As I called out earlier, it’s about achieving desired behaviors. The efficient allocation of resources is only one contributor to it.

Gartner AADI: Schulte Keynote

Roy Schulte is delivering the opening keynote. Right now, he’s presenting a good slide on integrating applications from outside of your domain and emphasizing the role of metadata and policies in formalizing the agreement between service consumers and service providers, all because of the need to build applications that cross the boundaries of different domains, whether inside the enterprise or outside the enterprise. I agree!

Roy’s now presenting what he feels will be the major improvements in business computing over the next 5 years. They are:

  1. SOA, EDA, REST, BPM, and SaaS will improve the long-term business agility while reducing the life cycle cost of application systems.
  2. BAM is IT’s biggest near-term opportunity to shine.
  3. End users will have more direct control over the applications they use, and IT solutions will be more customized.
  4. IT systems will become better able to handle data in the form of documents.
  5. End users will participate more actively in information capture, information sharing and collaboration.

Gartner Time Again

The east coast Gartner AADI and EA Summits (that’s Application Architecture, Development, and Integration and Enterprise Architecture) are nearly upon us, and thanks to the SOA Consortium and Gartner, I’ll be part of two end user panels again. In the AADI Summit, I’ll be speaking with Mike Kavis and Melvin Greer on “Measuring the Value of SOA.” I think I’ll bring an interesting perspective to this. That session is at 10:45 AM on Wednesday, near the end of the AADI but right before the beginning of the EA Summit. At the EA Summit, I’ll be part of a panel with John Williams, Maja Tibbling, and Marty Colburn in a session titled “SOA and EA: Lessons Learned from the Trenches.” That one is at 8:30 AM on Friday, so stop by the coffee shop on your way down to conference center and pick up a double latte. I’ll be at both events (and blogging) for the duration of them, so stop by and introduce yourself.

Gartner EA Summit Podcast

Thanks to Gartner and the SOA Consortium, the panel discussion I was part of in December at the Gartner Enterprise Architecture Summit is now available as a podcast. I’ve referenced it as an enclosure in this entry, so if you subscribe to my normal blog feed in iTunes, you should get it. If you have difficulty, you can access the MP3 file directly here. For all the details on the session, I encourage you to read Dr. Richard Soley’s post over at the SOA Consortium blog.

More on Events

Ok, the events page is finally functional. I gave up on WordPress plugins, and am now leveraging an embedded (iframe) Google Calendar. A big thank you to Sandy Kemsley, as she already had a BPM calendar which I’m now leveraging and adding in SOA and EA events. I hope this helps people to find out the latest on SOA, EA, and BPM events.

Gartner EA Summit: Closing Session

I’m checked out now, and in the closing session which is an open research panel with four Gartner panelists. They’re throwing up a statement and then debating it. The first prediction is “Through 2012, 40% of EA programs will be stopped due to poor execution.” The audience seemed to be in favor of the statement, although I wasn’t. Some of the audience comments had to do with lack of funding, lack of support, confusion with the value proposition for EA. I think it’s likely that 40% of the EA programs may change in how the company is attacking the problem (in fact, probably even more than that), but I’d be surprised if the program was abolished altogether.

The next statement is “By 2010, 70% of EA teams will be forced to spend as much time on information architecture as they currently spend on technical architecture.” About 70% of the audience agreed with this statement. I differ slightly. I definitely think the emphasis on information architecture will increase, but I also think some of the technical architecture may decrease. So, I would say that information architecture will probably receive equal treatment to technical architecture, but probably not as much as what technical architecture receives today. Interestingly, Nick Gall asked how many of us expect that Business Process Architecture will increase, more so than Information Architecture, in the next few years, and about 70% of us (myself included) agreed.

The final statement is “By 2010, the primary focus of technology architecture will shift from defining product standards to identifying and describing shared and repeatable technical services.” About 70% of the audience agreed with this. The key word that I disagree with on this one is the use of the term “technical services”. If your definition of this term includes “business services” exposed through technology, then I’d agree. If we’re talking about capabilities in the technical domains, like security, routing, etc., then I disagree. I think they are using the former definition, so I would agree with this one.

Time to head to the airport. I’d like to publicly thank the SOA Consortium and Pascal Winckel with Gartner for giving me the opportunity to be a speaker and for putting on two great summits. I especially enjoyed the EA Summit and hope to attend again.

Gartner EA Summit: Logical and Conceptual Models for Security Architecture

This session is being presented by Tom Scholtz. His opening message is that we have to avoid one-size-fits-all security solutions and that we need to think strategically, otherwise we’ll always be behind the risk management curve. The approach he’s advocated is very consistent with EA: Plan, Build, Govern, Run, and back to Plan again.

He’s now talking about the organization model for information security in the future. The first item is that he recommends moving the corporate information security team outside of IT to increase the message that security is a corporate issue, not just an IT issue. This team would be involved with risk management, policy management, program management, business continuity management, architecture, and awareness. This group would report to a Corporate Risk Manager. Within IT, reporting to the CIO, there would be an IT Information Security Team looking at risk assessment, design and implementation, disaster recovery plan, security operations, and vulnerability assessments. Within business units, they would have local continuity plans, awareness, and policy management. Tying it all together is governance.

He’s now recommending that we become more process centric about security. In the vertical dimension, there are four key protection processes:

  • Identity and Access Management
  • Network Access Control
  • Vulnerability Management
  • Intrusion Prevention

In the horizontal dimension, he has strategic processes:

  • Risk and Policy Management
  • Security Architecture
  • Business Continuity
  • Relationship Management

Not much more to report on this one, as I need to skip out early and check out of the hotel to catch my flight home. This definitely looks to be more appropriate to an ISO manager than someone closer to the technology like me, but I’ll have to review the notes in the conference materials to get more detail.

Gartner EA Summit: Communication for EA

In this session, Robert Handler is giving a talk entitled Communication, Persuasion, and Interpersonal Skills for EA. In a previous job, I worked with someone who was passionate about communications. He helped us create a communication plan around SOA and our competency center, and I really think it made a huge difference in our efforts, so I had a keen interest in this topic. I’ve previously blogged on some of the subjects in this presentation, including my Focus on the consumer entry.

Robert is spending a lot of time talking about Marketing and Sales, which is a great approach for this subject. For example, one task in marketing is identifying and segmenting it. Robert correctly points out the different segments for EA (senior leaders, business unit leaders, IT leaders, and IT groups) all want different things. Great point. I’ve met many technical people who want to create one thing and expect that everyone will see the inherent value in it when there hasn’t been any effort to tailor it or present it according to the differing needs.

He’s also spoken about creating the delivery system. Are you going to use a web portal? Wikis? Think about how your EA deliverables will be sent out to your markets. He’s also addressed branding and its importance.

On the sales side, he’s begun with a discussion on stakeholder analysis, and a detailed level at that. Again, it’s about understanding how to communicate and sell to the particular personalities and how they make decisions. Do they want a lot of detail? Do they want structure? Do they want to hear more about people and social issues, or do they want specific tasks? Again, there’s no one approach, it’s about matching the right approach to the right person.

He’s now talking about persuasion, and presenting techniques from the work of Dr. Robert Cialdini. He defines persuasion loosely as getting people to reply to your requests. The principles associated with persuasion include:

  • Contrast principle: You can change the way someone experiences something by giving them a contrasting experience first.
  • Principle of reciprocation: people feel obligated to give back somethign similar to what was given to them.
  • Principle of scarcity: People want what they can’t have.
  • Principle of authority/credibility: People defer decisions to experts, legitimate or otherwise.
  • Principle of trust: Admit a flaw or weakness to show you are trustworthy.
  • Principle of consistency: People want consistency and to be viewed as consistent.
  • Principle of liking: People like those who like them, pleasant associations is the same as liking, people say yes to those who they believe are cooperating.

Message: keep these principles in mind as you sell EA. For example, he told us about a group that had little badges with LED lights that were given to projects that worked well with EA. The EA team was very stingy with them, however, adhering to the principle of scarcity. The result was that teams worked that much harder to be compliant, because they wanted these $2 badges that they could have ordered from Oriental Trading Company.

I’ve been really impressed with both of Robert’s sessions that I’ve attended. I’ve have to look into more of his research and recommend that other Gartner clients out there do so as well.

Gartner EA Summit: Beyond the Business Case- Projects in the Enterprise Architecture

In this session, Robert Handler (of Gartner) is talking about the relationship between Enterprise Architecture and Project Portfolio Management (PPM). First off, there is clear overlap between the two efforts, provided that your PPM efforts are involved with the actual project definition and approval efforts, and not simply involved after project are approved and underway. Both efforts have the common desire to define projects that are intended to progress the company from a current state to a future state, although the criteria involved in project selection probably varies between the two.

On the PPM side, the biggest challenge is that this often isn’t happening. The survey quoted in the slides showed that the bulk of the time in PPM is spent mediating discussions on project priority, and just over 50% of the projects are even under the purview of the PPM effort. On the EA side, the slide states that most efforts are “mired in the creation of technical standards,” operating too much in a reactionary mode to current projects, and have very little effort on gap analysis. So, the end result is that neither effort is necessarily meeting their objectives, especially in the areas where they overlap, and neither effort is communicating well with the other.

He’s now showing an anchor model, and demonstrating how projects can be mapped onto the anchor model to show areas of concern and overlaps. I mentioned this anchor model in my blog entry on the Beginner’s Guide to Business Architecture session, and it’s jumping out again. This is definitely something that I need to get more information on, and hopefully start leveraging. He also presented a common requirements matrix and scoring approach which can assist in prioritization. The one challenge I see with this latter approach is that the projects all have to come along at the same time, which isn’t always the case. We’ll see if he gets to my question on this subject that I just submitted. (Note: he did, and pointed out that it doesn’t assume that everything comes in the same time, but that you do need to be willing to make adjustments to in-flight projects such as removing resources, altering scope, etc.)

Back to EA side of things, he’s advocating the use of patterns, principles, models, and standards as part of the architectural guidance that projects use. No arguments from me here. His slide also states that resource utilization in one organization went from 67% to over 80% when these are used effectively.

His closing recommendations are pretty straightforward. First, EA needs to be coordinated with PPM activities. Someone needs to take the first step to establish some synergies. Second, use coarse-grained EA deliverables for better project selection criteria. Third, use fine-grained EA deliverables on projects as gating factors. Fourth, capture some baselines and measure overall improvements, such as how long the design phase takes, productivity, etc. Finally, evolve maturity and effectiveness from where you are toward the ideal.

Overall, this was a very good session. It could have been a bit more prescriptive, but in terms of clearly showing the relationship between PPM and EA, it hit the mark.

Gartner EA Summit: Guide to Strategic Planning and Tools

In this talk, Richard Buchanan spoke for a long time on the tools that the business uses for strategic planning. Now, he’s talking about what EA’s need to do, because as he says, “EA is about strategic planning.” Tools he recommends includes product/service lifecycle management. Specifically, we need to model the definitive list of products or services the organization provides. This sounds a lot like Application Portfolio Management, and I would agree that not having that portfolio of IT “stuff” makes strategic planning very difficult. Another tools that he recommends is competitor analysis, which covers who the competitors are and how the organization competes with them. The next one is portfolio analysis, which is analogous to the Project Portfolio Management discussed in many of the AADI sessions. What are the major initiatives the organization is engaged in? Are there mergers and acquisitions in the pipeline?

The main takeaway from this for me is that a huge component of EA is analysis. I’ve always felt this, but given that many EA’s have grown out of the developer ranks and not the analyst ranks, myself included, we sometimes need to give ourselves a kick in the pants to do some of this work, rather than staying in our comfort zone of technology architecture and design.

Gartner AADI: Context-Oriented Architecture

While I didn’t attend the later session on it, in the opening keynote of the AADI Summit on Monday, the term “Context-Oriented Architecture” was mentioned. A colleague (thanks Craig!) caught me in the hall and asked me what my thoughts were on it, and as usual, my brain starting noodling away and the end result was me leaving the conversation saying, “you’ll see a blog entry on this very soon!”

I’ve brought up the slides from the Gartner session on it, and they estimate that sometime in the 2010’s, we will enter the “Era of Context” where important factors are presence, mobility, web 2.0 concepts, and social computing. The slides contain a new long acronym, WYNIWYG (Winnie Wig?), which stands for “What You Need is What You Get.” While it seems that the Gartner slides emphasize the importance that mobility will have in this paradigm, I’d like to bring it back into the enterprise context. While mobility is very important, there is still a huge need for WYNIWYG concepts in the desktop context. There will be no shortage of workers who still commute to the office building each day with the computer in their cube or their desktop being their primary point of interaction with the technology systems.

I think the WYNIWYG acronym captures the goal: what you need is what you get. The notion of context, however, implies that what you need changes frequently within a given day. Keith Harrison-Broninski, in his book Human Interactions, discusses how a lot of what we do is driven by the role we are playing at that point in time. If we take on multiple roles during the course of our day, shouldn’t we have context-sensitive interfaces that reflect this? If you’re asking the question, “Isn’t this the same thing as the personalization wave that went in (and out?) with web portals?” I want to make a distinction. Context-sensitivity has to be about productivity gains, not necessarily about user satisfaction gains. Allowing a user to put a “skin” on something or other look and feel tweaks may increase their overall level of satisfaction, but it may not make them any more productivity (I’m not implying that look and feel was the only thing that the personalization wave was about, but there was certainly a lot of it). As a better example of context-sensitivity, I point to the notion of Virtual Desktops. This has been around since the days of X Windows, with the most recent incarnation of it being Apple’s Spaces technology within Leopard. With this approach, I can put certain windows on “Virtual desktops” rather than have all of them clutter up a single desktop. With a keystroke, I can switch between them. So, a typical developer may have one “desktop” that has Eclipse open and maximized, and another “desktop” that has Outlook or your favorite mail client of choice, etc. Putting them all in one creates clutter, and the potential for interruptions and productivity losses when I need to shift (i.e. context-shift) from coding to responding to email.

Taking this beyond the developer, I bring in the advent of BPM and Workflow technologies. I’ve blogged previously on how I think this will create a need for very lightweight, specific-purpose user interfaces. Going a step further, these entry points should all be context-sensitivie. I’m doing this particular task, because I’m currently playing this role. Therefore, somehow, I need to have an association between a task and a role, and the task manager on my desktop needs to be able to interact with the user interaction container (not any one specific user interface, but rather a collection of interfaces) in a context-sensitive manner to present what I need. In our discussion, he brought up an example of an employee directory. An employee directory itself probably doesn’t need to be context aware. What does need to be context-aware is the presence or lack thereof of the employee directory depending on the role I’m currently playing. Therefore, it’s the UI container that must be context-sensitive.

All in all, this was a very interesting discussion. In looking at the Gartner slides, I definitely agree that this is a 2010+ sort of thing, but if you’re in a position to jump out (way) ahead of the curve, there’s probably some good productivity gains waiting to be had. I recommend getting pretty comfortable with your utilization of BPM technology first, and then moving on to this “era of context.”

Gartner EA Summit: Beginner’s guide to Business Architecture

I’m now in the Beginner’s Guide to Business Architecture session from Philip Allega. So far so good. He’s got a slide up right now showing an Anchor Model which presents a view that aligns nicely with my mental model of a diagram that shows the horizontal and vertical domains of the business. It’s nice to see something more formal than my own thoughts, and is exactly what I’m hoping to learn in this session.

The next components of a business architecture being discussed are principles and business domains. Interestingly, in doing technology architecture, I’ve worked with principles (technology-based, such as open-source vs. closed source, best of breed versus best fit, etc.) and technology domains. There’s really no difference in approach other than we’re now dealing with business principles (he gave the example of “No supplies will gain more than 5% of internal market share”) and business domains.

He’s now discussing roles that may be found in the BP & BA activities. There seems to be a strong correlation between BPI (Business Process Improvement) initiatives and Business Architecture. While he hasn’t come out and said that they are one and the same, it does make sense. If Business Architecture isn’t a once-and-done deal, then it makes sense that BPI is really just the continuous evolution of the Business Architecture.


This blog represents my own personal views, and not those of my employer or any third party. Any use of the material in articles, whitepapers, blogs, etc. must be attributed to me alone without any reference to my employer. Use of my employers name is NOT authorized.