Thursday, January 18, 2007
Easy external conversations have an effect on Enterprise Architecture...
Let's start with a fictitious scenario where an enterprise architecture team decides to counter industry trends not only in terms of embracing open source but also in using languages such as Smalltalk and/or Ruby on Rails. They have decided that the ceremony afforded by inviting closed source vendors in isn't something they want to give up as their internal culture believes that the participation age is all about everyone participating equally with no one individual having an advantage over another.
So the leader of the enterprise architecture team decides to have a vendor bakeoff where he invites in two vendors, one who advocates the merits of using Ruby on Rails while he also invites in James Robertson to talk about success stories using Smalltalk. Upon arrival, James Robertson realizes that James McGovern is present and comments how he absolutely loves his blog and reads it on an almost daily basis. He even praises him for his thought leadership and says he looks forward to continuing dialog. At this point in time, the vendor should ask themselves the following questions:
- While the vendor was being human, did he just undo all the hard work that the person whom invited him who wanted to achieve a level internal conversation or at least change the perception?
- If the other vendor gets wind of this, will they cry foul even though nothing unethical happened?
- Will folks that don't blog nor embrace any open thinking, attempt to figure out how to participate in a more open manner or will they behave in a way that will result in the exact opposite?
Of course the answer to the last question is it depends. How folks perceive things is a function of their background, their base of knowledge, the current role they play,the context of the situation and other factors. One predictor in terms of background may be if they came from a control the message culture or one that was transparent from the beginning. The only thing one should conclude is the sage wisdom of know thy audience...
Industry analysts have embraced many forms of social networking to the benefit of the IT industry as a whole but yet need to figure out how to get others to engage. Many bloggers including myself have always gotten it twisted by questioning the integrity of industry analysts when in all reality, we are part of the problem. Industry analysts are more service-oriented than the SOAs we evangelize. The question should never be whether the producer can create a valuable service but rather the question should be on how and will consumers can consume those same services.
For example, there are a variety of industry analysts that I read including but not limited to: James Governor, Bob Blakely, Brenda Michelson and others. They produce in their blogs stuff of high value yet as a consumer, sometimes I have to think about alternative ways of consuming it. What if I happen to share my thoughts with them publicly, will they think that I am talking about work?, my role as a series editor at Springer Verlag?, my wife's Internet startup? or my general interest in technology at large? One could always disclose context if context where so straightforward.
Are there times where I see a great idea for a book that may also benefit my employer? Absolutely! In many ways that analysts participate in conversations across enterprises, I too need to perform the same separation of context so as to not leak non-public information across silos. Maybe the one thing that I could ask of my other enterprise architect peers is not how do you maintain your own personal firewall, but how do you allow others to observe its existence?
I if James Governor, Bob Blakely, Doc Searls, Brenda Michelson and others that are highly respected analysts could provide guidance in terms of allowing others to observe the personal firewall?