Friday, June 30, 2006
The Ruby Community and their love for enterprise architects...
Noted Redmonk analyst, James Governor sent me to Rick Bradley who is working on an Enterprise Ruby on Rails project. His work seems credible (doesn't meet my original definition of enterprise though) and I hope that he would continue this fine effort of sharing with others.
Something can be learned from his efforts in that he has attempted to inform vs. attack. Acknowleding that different folks have different perspectives shows a sign of maturity not found elsewhere in the community. Instead of arguing from the point of perspective, he stated undisputable facts. Folks reading this blog entry need to consider adding him to their blogroll...
Awhile back I threw out the challenge to the Ruby community that if within thirty days, they could get a single Fortune 100 enterprise whose primary business isn't technology to tell a story in a public forum (conference or magazine) about how they used Ruby to develop an enterprise application (aka system of record) that I would make a sizable donation to a mutually agreed upon charity. I still have my money in my pocket.
I likewise challenged the community to get a single industry analyst firm that has published a research report (this is distinct from simply blogging about it) outlining why any Fortune enterprise should consider dropping Java for Ruby that this too would result in a charitable donation. I am now challenging the Ruby community to get any large consulting firm with over a thousand employees to publish a case study (by July 15th) on any mission-critical system that supports more than 1,000 concurrent users for any business whose primary business isn't technology where they have developed where the client is 100% on the record that this too would take money out of my pocket.
The funny thing is that at work, there are several folks whom I have the utmost respect for that program in Ruby after hours. I have asked them one and only one question: At work, you have the opportunity to recommend lots of things for us to pursue, yet no mention of Ruby has ever came up in conversation. How come you don't talk about it at work? Never really got a good answer from any of my peers. Maybe someone can provide insight into this question?
Anyway, the one thing that I have developed an appreciation for is in eating my own dog food. When I originally pointed out non-technical deficiencies in Ruby, folks such as Chris Petrilli and James Robertson jumped all over me. By luck or by plan, the conversation seemed to change in that we stopped throwing daggers at each other and instead engaged in an open conversation for all to observe. I wonder who else in the Ruby community not only has the interest but the capability of participating in a two-way conversation...
Thursday, June 29, 2006
Stop these architects!
I wonder what folks such as James Governor, Scott Mark, Chris Petrilli and James Robertson have to say about how enterprises are distorting the real meaning of architecture?
One of the behaviors that I find troubling is a trend where IT executives are starting to believe that architects don't need to be technical (beyond knowing the vocabulary). Does your enterprise hire architects who have never written a single line of code in their lifetime? Do you think this is right?
If someone were silly enough to hire me as a horse jockey (I am a very big guy) and were to pay me a lot of money, should folks attack me for accepting it or should they bash the flaming idiot that was stupid enough to hire me in the first place?
Maybe we could get industry analysts to start helping with this particular aspect? They have been sitting on the sidelines for way too long. I wonder what would happen if say Brenda Michelson stopped talking about business architecture and why the enterprise sorely needs it and instead developed a litmus test on how to detect when you meet a real one vs. a faker.
Anyway, we all understand the problem, how about noodling out some solutions...
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Enterprise Architecture and Free Software
I wonder if my peers at work have figured out how we can use open source to solve some of our hiring problems. There is always a demographic of folk that have absolutely zero interest in working for a large enterprise and refer to us that do as being enterprisey. Chris Petrilli and James Robertson come to mind. The key thing that we need to noodle is how to leverage their knowledge and wisdom without actually hiring them. This requires that we understand and leverage their individual motives and figuring out ways to get them to contribute to open source projects that matter to us.
The interesting thing about web 2.0 is that it acknowledges that for the most part we already have access to software we need and that the real problem is the ability to combine and assemble it with other parts. Most importantly, unlike enterprise software, we don't have to pay for it before we actually start using it and instead pay when it starts providing value. This means no more shelfware.
Simon suggests that enterprise architects need to be cognizant of how software is sold and that we seriously need to get our noodles smacked if we don't start shifting away from the "right to use" model that is so pervasive and wasteful and instead migrate towards a value oriented model.
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Do Industry Analysts really get open source?
Some folks in the blogosphere are aware that I believe that enterprise architects should not only use open source but should be active in contributing. Contribution doesn't just mean writing code. In fact, I don't think I would want any of my peers doing such a thing as we are kinda second-class in the ecosystem in this regard. Contribution could though come in the form of providing guidance on features that are important for future releases of the product, providing quality assurance testing or even a good word to others on the high quality software that you have successfully deployed.
This of course begs five distinct questions to my friends at Redmonk of which I hope they will provide detailed coverage in future blog entries:
1. What would it take to get any analyst firm to create a written research report that provides guidance on how enterprises can start actively participating in the open source ecosystem? Is Redmonk willing to be first?
2. I have been in somewhat stealth mode but some folks within our own industry vertical are working across Fortune enterprises and will have a public plan to create amongst ourselves, open source software to solve problems that are very costly in hopes of commoditizing this space. Ideally, I would like to get deep analyst coverage but would analyst firms understand that one can be both a creator of software and a user at the same time? The reason I ask is that I attempted to brief two very large analyst firms who wouldn't accept viewpoints of me participating on certain open source projects as a contributor because they couldn't classify my advice into the vendor thinking.
3. If enterprises were to start creating their own open source software, what would you suggest to the remaining enterprisey folks who are hooked like crack on the abstract notion of vendor support and the value it supposedly provides when in reality, it is a crutch?
4. What merit do you think exists for using folks who provide advisory capital such as Stowe Boyd for enterprises who want to partner with other enterprises to create open source software?
5. Do industry analysts have their own opinions as to which forms of licensing are more or less enterprise friendly?
Monday, June 26, 2006
Enterprise Architecture Manifesto
1. Governance is all about changing the behavior of an enterprise and should never be mistaken for a financial control.
2. The Enterprise Architecture team should evolve the EA discipline if current practices stand in the way of being fully effective.
3. Enterprise architecture as a discipline exists to enable the strategic intent of the business and is not about software development, project management
4. The best way to evolve enterprise architecture is via face to face conversations. Not only with IT and business executives, but with folks in other enterprises.
5. Enterprise architecture is not about Powerpoint, regurgitating industry analyst research, putting processes in place for standards, or constantly repeating IT should align with the business along with other cliche phrases. It is about creating a framework in which decisions can occur in a thoughtful informed manner.
6. There is no one definition of enterprise architecture as it has to emerge on a local scale. This however is no excuse to not learn from others.
Sunday, June 25, 2006
My vacation in the State of CT...
I vacationed in the Stamford CT area and stayed at the Stamford Marriott in which I purchased via Priceline. This hotel is expensive on weekdays but gets incredibly cheap over the weekends as this side of town is usually working class folk. Upon checking in, and getting off the elevator from the garage, there was this lady who was dressed very professional and had nice looks but was moving like she sniffed a pound of cocaine. She was with another guy whom she seemed to have some confrontation with and put powder up her nose in order to relieve her sorrow.
Anyway, on Saturday I did lunch at the Crab Shell restaurant which I remember eating there about fifteen years ago. They have the most wonderful seafood casserole on the planet. I found it interesting that the price of the dish, ingredients and size haven't changed in such a long time.
After stuffing my face, I went to the Norwalk Maritime center and checked out the aquarium. They have an awesome set of huge sea turtles and the coolest set of sharks you would ever want to see. Didn't have enough time to check out the IMAX though.
Since it was raining the entire day and there was a slight lull, I took my sons to the beach where the older one (he is four) wanted to go to the skateboard park. He hasn't really learned to skate good yet but loves the idea of doing stunts. I suspect this is because both my wife and I are big fans of Bam Margera and Johnny Knoxville and watched it alot while she was pregnant.
My son having never been on a ramp fastened his safety gear, walked up to the top of the ramp, stood up and flew down the ramp. I panicked but he actually did it successfully. First thing Monday morning, I will be pinging the folks at Schwinn to see how much they will pay for a four year old sponsorship.
Not to be left out, his younger brother, almost two grabbed the board and ran up the highest ramp they had, sat down on the board and went flying. The level of excitement that those two had and the sense of accomplishment in overcoming their fear was wonderful. This even trumped earlier in the day when they went swimming in the pool and jumped into the deep end.
We finished the day by stopping at Stew Leonards. This store rocks, although they aren't giving away as much free samples as they used to do in the past.
When I get home, I have to follow up with a posting to Chris Petrilli, James Robertson and Scott Mark on topics that I owe them a response on...
Saturday, June 24, 2006
Big Company Open Source Behavior Patterns
Friday, June 23, 2006
The Evils of Indian Outsourcing...
My friends thesis was based on the fact that the enterprises who go down the outsourcing route tend to lower their expectations for individual consultant productivity when pursuing outsourcing arrangements. He stated once an American company has failed at attempting outsourcing to India, he gets to come in and pick up the pieces at a higher rate. He also mentioned that this allowed his 100% US firm to staff a lot lower on the food chain that prior to outsourcing. Clients generally don't do individual interviews anymore which has afforded him the ability to place less optimal resources on projects.
In the past, he worked for one of the spinoffs from the big four consulting firms who had the notion of partner. While the partner would bill out at higher rates, they wouldn't necessarily bill 100% of their time to a client. He noted that the Indian outsourcing model had the same notion of a partner only that they stayed at a single client to work on relationship-oriented issues. He believes this is another opportunity for him to take folks who are losing their technical ability to not only make them billable but to do so at extreme rates.
The funniest comment he said was how it was appreciative that they have gotten the clients to agree to take on more billable resources than they actually need. This has allowed him to literally empty his bench.
I wonder if other consulting firms have thought that this particular aspect is something they are also seeing? What are US based consultants seeing?
I wonder if enterprise architects in large enterprises should start thinking about how consulting firms exploit enterprises in this manner. Should we manage things at the macro-level or dive deeper? The consulting rates seem to be going upward which tends to be a predictor that there may be some truth to his perspective.
Thursday, June 22, 2006
How to pretend you are an Enterprise Architect and not get caught
1. Invite lots of people to useless unproductive meetings. Especially target folks in the enterprise who neither have any interest in your agenda nor even know why they have been invited in the first place. Your opening phrase should be: Let's go around the table.
2. Feel good that you were successful in shutting down a major project that could have provide immense business value in the name of governance.
3. Eschew open source. We all no that we cannot possibly embrace by directly interacting with the community and cannot break our habits of having to buy it from a vendor. After all, who will do Powerpoint for us?
4. Avoid those pesky software developers. Instead hang out with the project management and business analyst crowd. This establishes a persona that you are really aligning yourself with business goals. Besides, your technical knowledge regardless of how deep or not will be enough to impress this crowd.
5. Over time, acknowledge that as your own technical abilities fade, start stating in a prominent manner that architects don't need to be technical in order to be successful so that you maintain a position of control.
6. Ignore small industry analyst firms. They actually have a clue and useful insights but this doesn't really matter. What is important is to consume research about marketshare and vision which will really help you with the integration problems you are struggling with. Besides, quotes from large analyst firms provide an escape clause whenever a project fails.
7. Read Dilbert cartoons. Don't find humor in them though and instead consider incorporating some of his deeper observations into the EA methodology.
8. Evangelize EA and SOA practices, but don't actually buy any books on the topic so you can gain a deeper understanding and instead when talking tell folks the importance of keeping things at the high level.
9. Don't spend $600K delivering valuable working software that can solve business goals. Instead, consider hiring your favorite
10. Use the following words in at least every other sentence that is uttered: synergy, collaboration, alignment, business and strategy.
11. Before starting any discussion, immediately apologize to the listener indicating that you may not know all of the right terminology but that you are simply going to use analogies to explain a concept. We all know that this means that doing your homework isn't really important and generalities allow you to not be held accountable...
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Thoughts on Wipro and Indian Outsourcing Firms
wiprohas decided to also write commercial grade BPM software and compete with their partners. The product name is FlowBrix.
"Flow-briX is a complete BPM framework available in both J2EE and.NET platforms. With its unique customizability approach, we have been instrumental in offering best-in-class BPM /Workflow solutions to diversified market segments starting from Banking to Telecom, Media, Health Care and so on."
Folks such as Jeff Schneider would think that Wipro doing such a thing is a really bad move as the perspective of competing against a partner has traditionally proved unwise. I am of the belief that this is actually a good thing. Consulting firms need to not just "partner" with vendors and develop expertise in specific products but also need to show that they truly understand given problem-space so deeply that they could actually write the product themselves. This form of leadership shows capability that their competitors simply don't have in-house.
I wonder when the blogosphere will see similar actions taken by Cognizant, Bearingpoint, Accenture, DiamondCluster, ThoughtWorks and so on...
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Enterprise Architecture and Information Security
Many folks know that I have been savage in not only creating a new role of chief security architect within my own enterprise but have talked with IT executives in other shops and have encouraged them to do the same. There are several problems that have emerged with this role.
Enterprise architecture and software development teams are used to solving technical problems and delivery a product or solution on time. The role of the chief security architect as currently implemented in most shops, usually enters the scene at the absolute last minute in loud mouth fashion declaring at least a dozen reasons why their solution is either insecure, won't work and is otherwise of insufficient quality.
This behavior has become everyday routine for most chief security architects. The savage practice of wrecking timetables which drives project managers to drink, suggesting actions as a quick-fix that cause performance to suffer and even more sinister the recommendation to remove functionality sorely demanded by the business community is busted at some level.
The role of chief security architect has been defined at a grass roots level and in reaction to many of the legal and regulatory challenges now costs enterprises millions in order to comply with. Before this role gets out of hand, I am firm in my belief that industry analysts should start not only defining wonderful grids of products in the security space but should also define job descriptions that can be handed to HR folks to ensure success. What would happen if say, James Governor of industry analyst firm Redmonk actually blogged out what he believes the role of Chief Security Architect should be within an enterprise? What if Dan Blum of the Burton Group also chimed in. Would us enterprisey folk start discovering value in industry analysis that we otherwise wouldn't have seen?
I wonder why neither of these two guys who have the right perspective on security never seem to hone in on the problem of security education within enterprises? I hope their thinking isn't just on products and vendors? The notion of secure coding practices almost never gets airtime. The only person that seems to care about this topic in the blogosphere is Gary McGraw who is CTO of Cigital but yet his approach hasn't yet reached the ears of many CIOs.
It isn't fair of me to say that Gary is the only one. Folks like Gunnar Peterson also frequently talk about this space but the rest of the blogosphere isn't providing amplification to what he writes. Maybe if all the readers of this blog who also blog could add him to their own blogroll, things would get better. Sometimes folks get it twisted by wanting a more lighter read and gravitate towards more mindless topics that folks such as Security Monkey covers. Ever noticed how he only talks about kindergartner topics such as virus, malware and other things that most large enterprises already have mastery of? It would be interesting to understand his perspective on secure coding practices, XACML, federated identity and other topics that are more meaningful going forward.
Several behaviors I have noticed include the disregard for building privacy in. Sure, many enterprises have established privacy policies but haven't even lifted a finger to actually incorporate the notion of privacy throughout their architecture. Large enterprises still think about security in terms of the DMZ where if it is on their servers, they can do whatever they want with the data.
Maybe the blame isn't 100% on the architecture team as some of it belongs in the legals folk court as well. Engineers should be aware of legal principles so that they can design products and services in ways that promote security, privacy and most importantly user control. When was the last time an enterprise architect last talked to the legal department on this problem space. I think we already know the answer...
How many architects are even thinking about building in the appropriate security functionality into their service oriented architectures? I am a big believer in the XACML specification which very few industry analysts seem to get. The ability to define policy within a markup language is powerful and ensures consistent support for execution. Imagine what would happen to enterprise security if portals such as Liferay, your Enterprise Service Bus and even relational database engines could at runtime consume policy from a single unified source?
XACML policy is a single, complex assertion for the authorization domain. Developers could also use XACML constraint functions as a generic language for writing assertions in any domain. We could even centralize the notion of data masking by having products from companies such as Cerebit consume them. We could within the enterprise even realize the same benefits that folks such as Kim Cameron talk about related consumer identity within our own enterprises. Tools such as Identity Engines and Securent can assist in this regard.
Monday, June 19, 2006
Apple software declare India Outsourcing a failure...
Sunday, June 18, 2006
Thoughts on Enterprisey Folk
The comforts of a corporate job cannot be underrated. The benefits are there for a reason - to entice smart and productive people like you to stay and help the company generate more profits. Why do you think that crack dealers give young kids free samples? Don't get it twisted as I am not saying that IT executives are akin to crack dealers, but you have to admit that their means of persuasion are remarkably similar...
I wonder folks such as Chris Petrilli, James Robertson, and other entrepenueral types could help provide guidance on how to detox ourselves? I wonder if they were ever enterprisey folks themselves at one time but simply don't want to admit to it?
Saturday, June 17, 2006
Thoughts on Securing our Border
Us American's would like to think we are all equal to each other when it it is convenient to do so. I have always questioned why when it comes to Iraq that we always seem to have Christian Generals leading the troops when the military itself has a large enough population to choose from. Imagine if we get rid of rank and abstract authority and instead had Muslims from America in the military do the negotiation of cease fire on our troops themselves?
I guess I can get it twisted and think that I have equal capability of attending a Klu Klux Klan rally. I was actually thinking about taking horse riding lessons. For anyone who has met me in person, just because I can put on the outfit, and may even complete the race, how many folks would bet their paycheck on me winning?
We need to acknowledge at times in America that we are not all equal. There are things that I can accomplish and things were there is no chance in hell of me ever being successful.
By now, folks are already getting it twisted to think that all I am talking about is race, religion and skin color. You would be wrong. Consider for a moment one of my own personal beliefs. In my own town, I have been known to file compliants against the local police for the most minor of offenses. I kinda don't have much respect for them. They are pretty good though at writing out lots of tickets to make folks auto insurance rates go higher but not in solving obvious crimes like the gas station and the Dunkin Donuts being held up and robbed at gunpoint which it is located across the street from the police station.
I can say on the record that my personal respect for our state police is even lower. I would say though that the city of Hartford police I have the utmost respect for. They don't spend time simply enforcing laws that really don't matter (seat belt laws come to mind) but are savagely focused on things that are wrong. Just because something is against the law doesn't make it wrong!
Small town police practice a sinister form of authorative ignorance. The best way this should be countered is by encouraging them to get training. I have several friends who are corrections officers (this would have been my career in the late 80's but an IT job then payed $1K more a year) who deal with known murderers, rapists, serial killers, drug dealers every single day, face to face and are unarmed when doing so. You get smart really quick in this situation. In fact, you develop a level of smarts that the local FBI, CIA, DEA, etc can't never hope to possess. We have this same exact problem on the border...
Friday, June 16, 2006
Do Enterprise Architects feel the pain of others...
At conferences you rant that IT executives are idiots and have no clue. You ask for advice as to how you find serenity in your profession. You tell me your personal thoughts on outsourcing and how you believe it to be evil yet you must tote the partyline of how it benefits the business.
For some, you are still savage in the pursuit of finding ethical, creative ways to convince management that forced ranking compensation plans are illogical, destabilize morale and are just plain dumb. No amount of creativity could overcome the fact that it is a stupid idea and does nothing but create an environment of competition, politics and resentment. Whoever sold you on that idea was wrong.
You enlist a very large posse of Kindergartner's from the largest insulting firm on your preferred vendors list who back up the school bus to your enterprise and help you spend millions of dollars on a strategy when you know that architecture isn't the real problem and that culture is. Of course you acknowledge on some level that attempting to change culture is futile.
Now you are off to the next meeting where you will brainstorm the latest IT slogan and provide feedback on posters that promote a new mantra borrowed from another corporation down the street who has already failed at it. But of course, you are smarter than everyone else so you will be successful.
On the way to work, you pick up the local newspaper and read Dilbert. You find Dilbert amusing and then decide to read more but it gets less funny over time. You realize that Dilbert and you have a lot in common. The funny thing is that your boss and your bosses boss are also reading Dilbert and coming to the same conclusion.
In order to get this thought out of your head, you start repeating cliche phrases spewed by industry analysts such as: IT needs to align with the business or in order to guarantee project success, you must find a stakeholder. Over time, you start reflecting on your own personal pain, but have you ever stopped for a minute and consider the pain you have inflicted on others...
Thursday, June 15, 2006
Can Enterprise Architects learn from the folks over at 37Signals?
One of the bigger evils that Service Oriented Architectures brings with it is the mindset of reuse. Some things simply shouldn't be reused. If Enterprise Architects were to attend conferences sponsored by industry analyst firms such as the 451 Group, you would hear attendees such as Loglogic talking about the importance of having an exit.
The dot-com mindset never really made it to corporate America or we are just catching up to it. Imagine if we started asking ourselves how difficult it would be to take software out several years from now and shoot it. Of course this would require asking ourselves deeper questions regarding integration complexity, the huge cost of maintenance and even to think about the subsequent deluge of monotone meetings.
If I were to advocate within an enterprise context< that enterprises start paying deeper attention to web 2.0 companies, I would be embraced by those whom already crossed the chasm while being eschewed by those who haven't. Is it practical to think any large IT shop would adapt their processes and more importantly their culture to make their software more disposable?
I can see lots of enterprise architects asking themselves how does Ruby on Rails integrate with their Enterprise Service Bus but not asking themselves whether they needed an Enterprise Service Bus in the first place? Ruby on Rails demands simplcity, something that is good for the enterprise yet will also be an impediment to its rapid adoption. Maybe Ruby on Rails and the community is more service-oriented than we give them credit for, and all we need is simply a better definition of SOA...
Thoughts on marketing Enterprise Architecture
The discipline of enterprise architecture is extremely valuable to enabling the strategic intent of the business but can otherwise be a difficult sell. IT always has a lot on its agenda; from simply understanding and contributing to business
planning to operating networks, servers, and applications. IT is constantly making decisions, and EA provides guidance to IT management so it can make better decisions about business solutions and technology uses.
EA frames decisions and without it, decisions are are usually made with little understanding of context or implications for future capabilities, resulting in higher IT operational cost due to more platform diversity (NOTE: Maybe this is why Ruby hasn't penetrated large enterprises), greater complexity because of application proliferation, and higher technology risk from lack of focus.
EA groups are still challenged within IT itself to explain their value contribution. Most EA's assume that the value is self-evident. EA groups depend on sponsorship and influence to provide results. Both sponsorship and influence depend on the perception of EA value and the relevance of this value to IT and to the business. EA groups often feel that if they just put together a good case, then the benefits will be self-evident, and they will get the sponsorship and authority they need, they will be successful.
Marketing of enterprise architecture should be thought of as mission critical. Think of it as the execution of a contract between an external interface with customers and prospects. Likewise, marketing allows an IT organization to move away from being just a cost-center to focusing on revenue generation.
The key practice that marketing brings to enterprise architecture is crisp definition. We can get away for years with a clearly indoctrination based approach as long as IT remains insular. The second it has to become communicated clearly and concisely outside is the moment of clarity as to why marketing matters...
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Thinking out loud: The evil enterprise architect
EA in most enterprises tends to be all about a big fat cleanup exercise on large systems. Do our business customers get frustrated with us IT folk who ask for budgets to clean up mess we created because we have no foresight on otherwise obvious problems? If I were to align myself with the business (I really hate this phrase), it would seem they would want genuine value creation and not the cliche stuff industry analysts spew in this space.
I suspect if I were to ask every blogger on my blogroll to provide the answer to the following question: How do I create genuine business value from architecture? I would get varying answers of which maybe one at best would have any form of integrity. The masses would respond with a repeat after me, monotone your call is important to us partyline.
It has occured to me that real business/IT alignment requires architects to practice architecture. Architecture is all about abstraction and models. Many enterprises are getting it twisted by mistaking process for architecture and are focused on nonsense like governance, metrics and other ceremonial practices.
What would happen if EAs started to think about creating new business value by modeling and ultimately simplifying the complexities of the business domain. Last time I checked, this was known as business architecture which is rarely seen. Maybe if us EAs started noodling the notion of enterprise service models that would be a good first step. Maybe I could get one of my fellow EA bloggers out there (KnowledgeCrisis and Brenda Michelson comes to mind) to start actually talking about the notion of business architecture, then we may actually make meaningful progress as a profession.
Business value can also be created by understanding the marketplace (bazaar) and even the social domain in which one plays in (aka community). What if we were to enable better ways for communities to communicate and interact with each other in a meaningful way? Would this enable new business opportunities?
Today, I am going through a moodswing and of course reserve the right to change my mind at a later date. Would love to know the blogosphere's thoughts on us architects in corporate America and the evils we practice...
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Venture Capitalists: Please teach your portfolio companies how to sell to enterprises
Why does every single security software vendor nowadays mention as part of their pitch Sarbanes Oxley compliance? Don't you think us customers have heard this one before? It is way to cliche and should be dropped. Instead focus on your real value proposition.
It is amazing how much your sales folks don't really know about the marketplace. I usually send them away with homework when I ask them to email me the URL to their CTO's blog. Likewise, I also ask when was the last time they have briefed industry analyst firms such as Burton Group, Redmonk, Seybold, ZapThink and so on. I expect that they would have briefed Gartner and other larger analyst firms as this is mandatory. The specialist analyst firms tend to go deeper on some topics and hence the reason for us wanting to understand.
Maybe you shouldn't be so surprised if we ask you not only what open source software is embedded in your offering as the folks from SCO nowadays make us inquire, but we also would like to know what open source projects you directly contribute to.
Engaging a community is a predictor to the success of your offering and allows us to gain visibility into how well you support your customers which is something we don't normally see in our Hello World ceremonial POCs we do inside our enterprise.
Software vendors, you really need to think deeper about software licensing models. In this particular instance, several vendors were targeting tools that provide scanning of source code and would be used by the development community. Just because software is used by developers doesn't mean that licensing has to be per developer-seat. If you haven't been paying attention to the marketplace, enterprises have become disacustomed to paying for software at the developer seat level. Remember, five years ago when we all used to pay for IDEs in order to do J2EE development? Do you think we are still paying today?
Maybe if you thought about your problem space more deeply you would realize that the appliance form factor is appealing to us. Consider how many people within an enteprrise have to get involved to install a product vs simply getting a preconfigured box that all a network engineer needs to do is assign it an IP address? Your development environments can have useful plugin's that communicate with your appliance so I only have to install a stub into my IDE that I don't have to otherwise syncronize or even inventory when licensing time rolls around.
Consider for a moment, if I had to spend money, say $100K for a solution where one requires me to keep track of all the places it is installed, and I have to coordinate installation with the desktop folks, the network folks, the DBA team, the server team, etc vs simply accounting based on the capacity of the appliance, which one do you think I would choose?
Have to ping Cote of Redmonk to see if he has ever thought about steering vendors away from licensing stupidity. He has the perfect background to fix this problem forever. Anyway, Venture Capitalists are getting it twisted. Maybe they should start noodling getting some enterprise architects on their advisory boards instead of their usual players. Insular thinking isn't so healthy. Maybe they could hire Stowe Boyd or James Governor to provide useful advice on how to sell to enterprises...
Monday, June 12, 2006
Outstanding Questions for folks on my blogroll...
Alan Pelz-Sharpe, I would love to understand what you believe are the ten questions that us enterprisey folk should consider when thinking about the creation of an ECI layer for enterprise content management.
James Governor, I would love to know as a customer how I can
Yakov Fain, I apologize for not saying hi when in NYC at the conference. I guess I was slightly distracted by the sys-con staff. I suspect if you get rid of all those CTOs with thinly veiled sales presentations from the cover and instead show the staff at the desk on all your advertising, conference attendance would increase ten-fold. Those stripes were definetely distracting on day two...
J.T., you and Scott Mark have much in common. I know that you both think about frequently the notion of business rules engines yet have never talked about them in your blogs. Maybe, you could see if others within the community will start understanding this space more deeply as it provides orders of magnitude more productivity for enteprrises than approaches such as Ruby. Maybe James Robertson could also contribute his two cents.
Robert McIlree, when will you acknowledge that consulting on EA is not the same thing as practicing EA as the rest of us are in the game for the long haul. We also value the opinion of some of the folks that call us enterprisey. I must confess, I have become too enterprisey at times. Sometimes the culture of large enteprises consumes on. There is goodness in both approaches and we should figure out how to harvest the thoughts of others and put them into our own context.
Brenda Michelson, maybe you could share with us how one actually becomes an industry analyst. I know in the past, you were an enterprise architect for a major retailer. What can us enterprise architects learn from the way that industry analysts pursue their own research?
Dan Blum, you probably have never received as much client interaction and feedback on research than from me. Would it be possible for you to figure out creative ways for others to observe the client/analyst dialog in a more public fashion? What would it take for you to start blogging more frequently? Could you also add to your blogroll, all of your team's blogs?
James Strachan, ServiceMix is a kick butt enterprise service bus. I am curious why you let industry analysts get away with not comparing it directly with the likes of BEA's AquaLogic and Sonic? What are you afraid of?
Pat Patterson, what would it take for you to get Liberty Alliance to embrace the WS-Federation specification? Having federation capabilities built directly into an operating system is liberating...
Kim Cameron, I would love it if you could start talking about identity from a corporate perspective and not stay exclusively focused on consumer-centric identity. You can leave the consumer stuff to Dick Hardt...
Sunday, June 11, 2006
Delusional thoughts on Enterprise Architecture, Web 2.0 and Why Scoble is leaving Microsoft...
Enterprise architects are busy thinking about centralizing pretty much everything and never really acknowledge the benefits nor even the potential that enterprise architecture itself should be distributed just like their systems. Systems need to communicate and share information, kinda like us enterprisey folk but we haven't yet figured out our own SOA contract.
As we construct the extended enterprise where we noodle the benefits of federated identity to allow our systems to connect to others not within our administrative domain, maybe we need to federate ourselves! I wonder when the last time enterprise architects such as J.T., Charles Betz or others even talked to another enterprise architect not within their administrative domain as part of their day job?
Talking this one step further, I realized that I missed an opportunity last week. I had the opportunity to have a great dialog with Alex Cullen of Forrester Research and should have asked him when would he start blogging. More specificially, when would he start participating in a larger community. I haven't came across too many Forrester bloggers in my travel that blog outside of the ones provided by their own firm.
Another missed opportunity was when I was on stage at the Infoworld conference in NYC discussing the notion of Web 2.0 and what enterprises needed to consider. I was thinking the web 2.0 killer app isn't the same tools I use at home such as YouTube, Technorati, 30Boxes, DabbleDB or even LinkedIn. In thinking about this topic, I can never find things at work. We have a myriad of microsites spread throughout the enterprise. I wonder if social bookmarking sites would solve the problem not only for me, but for others. I would if any of the bookmarking sites have considered an enterprise edition?
Scoble of Microsoft fame is leaving to start PodTech.net, a podcasting startup that got $5 million in private equity. The funny thing is that Scoble's equity was built by blogging. I wonder if other enterprise architect bloggers who wanted to start a venture would also be snapped up as enterprises will start to position themselves within Web 2.0? Maybe, us EA bloggers could become millionaires by doing what we love best and just don't know it yet...
Saturday, June 10, 2006
Enterprise Architects versus the World
It is interesting to run across consultants who sell their EA services to large enterprises and the perspective they bring. To a certain extent, they make their dollars off of reconciling complexity. You have to ask whether it is in their best interest to eliminate all of it and not over-generalize the problems we face positively or negatively.
Chris appropriately called him out indicating his pedestal is showing without realizing he is on a pedestal that he doesn't actually own.
The post that is 100% on the money comes from Karthik Hariharan who acknowledges as a big four consultant, he is encouraged to propose large scale enterprise solutions. Nick Malik is also very wise to acknowledge that architecture is an attitude, not a model. I wonder what his thoughts are on the practice within corporate America to create reference architectures?
There are of course some folks who get it twisted. In this blog it states that people who work for large companies typically do not care about the company. They care about having and keeping a job. Hmmm. It is ignorant statements such as these that further cause folks to go astray. Yes, every single individual should care about being gainfully employed. Likewise, folks who don't really care about their employer tend to work for both large and small companies alike. I would argue that folks in large enterprises actually care more about their employer than those in smaller firms do to overdependence on company pension plans and other perks not found elsewhere in which if the company fails, they do to.
There are several things that should have emerged in this conversation that I am disappointed that haven't. First, it seems as if the real pain point is with small consulting firms who haven't been able to overcome the process of being on large company preferred vendors lists and are delegated to second-class citizenship. Maybe these small insultancies should stop attempting to sell agile and start to sell valuable business solutions instead.
Many of us architects care about agility, but this isn't a selling point (or at least shouldn't be). Tell me that you understand my business problem at hand. Acknowledge that many of the problems in which I seek consulting help are not about software development.
I wonder if folks who believe the enterprise is way more complex than it should be have ever put an industry vertical slant on their thinking? Not to be insulting but I would suggest that the domain that JT and I work in is infinitely more complex than say the one that either Scott Mark or Charles Betz work in.
The reason I can say this is that we are subject to more legal and regulatory oversight in our domain than what would occur in others. Likewise, the business logic varies by each and every state we do business in whereas other domains can through good modeling achieve one approach. Sometimes complexity exists not for IT reasons but because of the way the business operates.
Friday, June 09, 2006
Enterprise Architects who blog...
At work, I had the opportunity to chat with our folks in media relations. One of the things that they do is monitor the Internet to see what types of things are being said about the company.
Yesterday, my old blog at ITToolbox in which I haven't used in over a year hit their tool due to a comment that someone left in my blog mentioning my employer's name.
The folks in media relations know that I blog and that I even include the URL of my blog on all of the public presentations that I give at various industry conferences of which they review in advance. Likewise, I have never attempted to hide whom my employer is as whenever you read any book or magazine article, it is usually contained within my bio.
In order for the blogosphere to thrive, it requires the full participation of consultants, industry analysts and even us enterprisey folk. Since corporations are moving towards using tools such as these it becomes important to not mention employer names especially in situations where it is superfluous.
Out of curiousity I decided to search my own blog for mention of keywords my employer looks for and have found that my most favorite bloggers: James Governor and Brenda Michelson were actually the two biggest offenders. As industry analysts, maybe they could add this particular scenario to their research and share it with others.
Of course some folks reading this blog may get it twisted and think that I am being censored or got my hand slapped. Nothing could be further from the truth. The real issue I would like to avoid is having to be in a situation of spending time explaining blogging to folks who have to read these notifications which takes away time from me participating in the community.
Likewise, I am a firm believer in that all forms of moderation are evil. This may force me to edit/change/censor folks postings that do mention it. I suspect there will be an idiot or two that will of course post just to cause me extra work but I guess they have too much time on their hands and are simply practicing a form of jealousy.
I would also ask that you extend the same courtesy to other bloggers who work for large enterprises such as Knowledge Crisis, Scott Mark, Charles Betz and others.