Sunday, September 30, 2007
Enterprise Architecture: The IT equivalent of the glass ceiling?
When I reflect on my own career, I realize that in the workplace, I am only as good as I was in the past and no one ever took the time out to truly understand my potential. The past is my shackles and I need to figure out how to become more than myself. One of the things that I have realized is that while I enjoy being an Enterprise Architect for my own employer, I have no desire to be an Enterprise Architect for anyone else.
Recruiters in large enterprises are tasked with hiring someone who is a good match for a job opening. This of course places too much emphasis on experience as opposed to ability. When hiring someone, an obvious starting point is their resume which naturally causes a focus on what someone has done in the past while not paying attention to what they aspire to become. Have enterprises ever figured out that if you know I do a kick butt job at Enterprise Architecture, how successful I may be if I were able to truly focus on something I really was passionate about?
If enterprises are truly serious about hiring top talent, they need to pay attention to the future, especially for those who are setting the strategic direction. Do you know how many positions I have interviewed for in the past where the focus was on strategy let they didn't ask a single question on where I wanted to head? Way too many.
What if recruiters were to stop thinking about resumes as a document that outlines ones pedigree and history while encouraging candidates to list their aspirations instead? Do you think this may lead to finding better talent? The funny thing is that not a week goes by where I don't get a ping from multiple recruiters seeking to find enterprise architects. In networking with them, I find it interesting that they are pursuing a dry waterhole in that they have never even figured out from the folks they are recruiting on behalf of how much training would they be willing to accept in a near match.
While my resume is transparent and unadulterated, I can certainly tell you that history does lie. Have you considered that the best way to learn about an individual is to simply ask them what they want to do in the future and what they aspire to become? You may even realize that candidates may tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth...
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Enterprise Architecture, Email and Collaboration Patterns
Sometimes, folks in large enterprises prove the theory that we are all just a bunch of silly little human beings. There are times where we in our matrixed organization chart where you report to everyone and no one at the same time need the services of others in a timely manner, but the person on the other end of the email doesn't respond. Of course, this too may be because they are also in mail jail but the odds are good that it is more likely they are ignoring your requests or believe it to be of less priority.
Folks over time have concluded that the best way around this conundrum is to CC his manager and put this person's boss in mail jail as well. The recipient of the email may feel pressured to respond and will answer the email also CC'ing his manager but will make sure that all future requests take longer than they should. He may also respond faster than he should and think about where in the hierarchy the person asking the request is vs responding in terms of its actual importance which means they are spending time on less important activities.
Furthermore, his manager may have a blackberry and may be reading emails in meetings where thinly veiled Powerpoint presentations are being conducted by closed source vendors and will send the recipient another email indicating its importance. The end result is that the recipient now has to spend time on five or six emails to get himself out of mail jail before he can take care of your request.
Everything is important, but sometimes us folks in large enterprises can't figure out what is more important...
Friday, September 28, 2007
Enterprise Architecture: ECM and Compliance Oriented Architectures
Both Laurence Hart and Jesse Wilkins said something in their blog that got me thinking about the importance of disposition and how it too can become a service. While the original discussion was all about IDARS, Alchemy and Documentum, I came to the conclusion that retention is not only something that should be part of an ECM platform and not a separate SKU but that this too needs to move away from the ECM-oriented insular thinking and migrate to be service-oriented.
Of course, I am of the belief that Enterprise Architects at Morgan Stanley in terms of their records management initiative are more than likely focused on productecture and consumed by features instead of architecture and thinking about how disposition fits within a larger context, but I will of course allow folks from that enterprise to chime in and provide their own perspective to readers in the blogosphere.
Let's consider the scenario where I am an Enterprise Architect for State Farm and I have three different platforms. I have a policy administration system, a claims administration system and my wonderful proprietary closed source ECM platform with horrific WSDL. From a retention perspective, I may want to have a retention policy for my policy administration system that says keep all insurance policies for cat insurance for two years after policy expiration unless they are in the state of Wisconsin and know how to bark which we want to keep them for four years after policy expiration.
Likewise, I may want to have a policy for my claims administration system that says to keep all claims information related to cat insurance for nine years or until the cat runs out of nine lives. Of course the claims administration system may not want the policy administration system to remove its information especially if the claim is still active.
From an ECM perspective, one could envision that the policy administration system stored pictures of cats, their favorite toys and the application they filled out prior to getting the policy which may have included their favorite food and whether they like catnip. It may even store audio of cats who know how to bark. One could also envision that the claim administration system also leverages the ECM platform and would store pictures of the cat being chased up the tree by Clifford and Blue.
If you think of this business scenario, you may conclude:
- ECM is not an insular domain and should participate in a larger context
- While the notion of retention has been built into ECM, it really is a larger problem
- ECM platforms should consider the fact that retention rules should not be proprietary but ideally described in an open, portable way as other systems may also need to consume them
- To get retention right, ECM platforms may not only need to expose retention functionality, but the platforms themselves may need to consume other services to get it 100% correct
- Retention is not about ACL++ but more about business rules. Maybe this is an an opportunity to incorporate algorithms such as RETE into ECM
- If you look at the horrific WSDL being created by ECM vendors, this couldn't be accomplished as the interfaces don't account for this business scenario
- Documentum, Alfresco, Nuxeo, Stellent, Filenet, OpenText and others are way too insular and need to start thinking more about how folks outside the ECM domain may use their products.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Records Management, ECM and an Enterprise Architecture Perspective
- RM capabilities should be built into any ECM platform... final disposition needs to be a built-in part of the platform. I believe all, and I am open to correction here, ECM vendors charge separately for retention and RM functionality, if they even have it split into two products.
The other thought that I had is this feels like an opportunity for Alfresco and Nuxeo to take marketshare away from Documentum and Stellent. The separate SKU sales pattern feels fugly when it should be a feature of an existing product and not something distinct as it cannot standalone on its own.
- Many people will still go with RM as tracks those paper records that James mentions and people still need CYA. However, it can lead an organization down a rabbit hole if they look at two products, RPS and RM, and pick the term Gartner uses to define the problem.
- He defined RM with the 20 year old definition focused around paper.
Imagine a scenario where you have a BPM system and an ECM system integrated where documents are in the ECM and processes are in the BPM. Shouldn't you be able to via some industry standard that is implemented in all products be able to say that all documents are disposed of when the business process reaches a certain state without fugly syncronization?
Enterprise Architecture: Retaining Top Talent
The notion of the exit interview seems like the latest fad that has gone without accompanying common sense. Why wait till the absolute last minute to solicit feedback from someone who has zero vested interest when you can seek feedback from those who still care? What if enterprises figured out not only a way to measure sentiment before folks depart but did it in such a way that it actually had integrity?
For example, I crafted several questions that if asked to developers within your enterprise, you may actually learn something:
- All other considerations being equal, what characteristic represents the ideal boss?
(a) A respected industry guru such as Martin Fowler, James Gosling, Chris Date, etc
(b) Someone who is passionate about community, bold in their communication and savage in the pursuit of excellence which includes individuals such as Todd Biske, James Governor or Brenda Michelson
(c) Someone from a project management background who has never written a single line of code in their life and doesn't care to learn, but is keenly interested in process maturity such as CMM and Six Sigma
- Does the ideal boss focus on?
(a)Technical excellence and demonstrated ability
(b) Perception management
(c) Process as a substitute for competence
- Does your boss understand that top talent wants to work with other top talent?
(a) Top talent is just another management buzzword
(b) Top talent is something he pursues but due to outsourcing no one wants to work there
(c) While outsourcing is important, gaining access to top talent is more important and acknowledges that outsourcing removes much of the desired collaboration
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Thoughts on MBAs
At some level, one gets engaged at more of a personal level in that I want to see him accomplish his goals and know that some small part of it is tied to my own writing abilities. While I am flattered that he chose me to write his recommendations, at some level the pressure is tough. I will of course second guess myself until the acceptance letter arrives, but at least their is solitude in knowing that I have tried my best...
Folks don't think faster under pressure...
Have you ever reflected on your days in college? Would you have learned more if you had two weeks for every week of work assigned? Why do project managers think that pressure helps? Have they considered that putting stress on others causes suboptimal work that jeopardizes the longer term goal of strategic projects?
People only think fast when the anxiety level is self-imposed. Otherwise, the problem of pressure will merely be reflected back in the direction over time to the person applying it. Simply put, anxiety is not the optimal mental state for clear thinking over longer periods of time. In fact, it more than likely jeopardizes any scintilla of planning that does occur.
Maybe project managers and IT executives have gotten it twisted by reading too many books about sports. We all wanna be like Mike, a team player like Tim Duncan or even hit home runs like
An important time-management and stress-management technique is to set priorities, and then address each task in a focused-but-unhurried manner. You can never do everything you want/should, so focus on the tasks that have the biggest payoff. Trying to "work harder" doesn't pay off. Why can't focus understand the simple concept of not working harder, but smarter?
Transparent ECM and SOA
- My fear, as a Documentum practitioner, is simple. What if Documentum becomes all about the platform and neglects the client components?
- Oracle’s Billy Cripe writes that many users would be perfectly happy having their ECM platform supporting their other applications. However, sometimes that takes work. An ECM SOA standard may help with that, but right now, there is still benefit to be had by having Content Applications that are business problem focused.
- Records Management, Collaboration, Web Content Management, and others center around content, and it makes sense to have versions of those applications that can tightly integrate with an ECM platform
- Here is the Catch-22. We need an ECM platform that can easily be plugged into an Enterprise Architecture. On the other hand, we like having good, solid Content Applications from the same vendor. Oh, there are times we want/need to mix and match, but many organizations want to at least be able to consider the applications provided by the ECM vendor. It also shows an understanding of the problems that the ECM Platform needs to support.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Links for 2007-09-25
Jed Cawthorne asks what ECM 2.0 will look like. I am of the belief that it will look no different than ECM 1.0. Security will still be weak. There will be no interoperability and vendors in this space still will create horrific WSDL. 2.0 in the ECM world will be more of a branding exercise than a value proposition.
In my travels, I have heard dozens of folks talk about the difficulty of rolling out identity management tools where one of the biggest problems is in how the tools make you jump through hoops, don't support all the products an enterprise has and most importantly don't interoperate very well with existing security managers such as RACF, ADAM, etc. I wonder when transparency in conversation around tools from Sun, Oracle, BMC and others will occur in the blogosphere?
My peers in other enterprises are too busy having coffee clutch conversations with their business partners and focusing on perception management while not paying the needed attention to ROI. Sooner or later, many programs will be shut down and I will be esctatic when it happens.
I love the quote, SOA is not EA. The problem though is if folks realize what SOA truly is, the sales of vendor projects may go way way down and they will have to hype something else in order to stay in business.
The notion of the skip-level is simply fugly when enterprise architects participate. The funny thing is in prior conversations with one of the large enterprises across the street, I remember a couple of EAs telling me that they have never talked to their VP whereas a week doesn't go buy where I haven't chatted with at least one SVP. The notion of skip levels need to be shot and we need to help executives communicate downward better.
More discussions around the economic model for SOA need to occur in the blogosphere.
Brenda Michelson, noted industry analyst of Elemental Links calls out us enterprise architects. Maybe in a future blog entry, she can talk more about point five and how it compares/contrasts with perception management which is so freakin
If vendors are frustrated with paying Gartner higher fees while they also feel that analysts lack deep domain knowledge, the question is why aren't they seeking alternatives? If you want to understand the mindset of an enterprise buyer, why not simply post questions in your blog and pay a bounty in the form of a charitable contribution to a worthy charity for whomever from a large enterprise responds?
I wonder if James Governor understands at some level that folks in large enterprises are increasingly being encouraged to have less meaningful conversations by speaking in the tone of the business language. According to sage wisdom, this helps IT align with the business. I of course believe we are giving the business the business
Even more thoughts on Records Management
- James argues that IDARS has nothing to do with records management and is more about report management. I think there's a relation between IDARS and RM on the one hand and between IDARS and ERM (enterprise report management) on the other - but these are neither complete nor exclusive.
- for example in the case of federated records management. It's used to put a control framework around those records so that items declared as records cannot be edited or deleted prior to the expiration of the retention period, which is itself assigned according to the legal, administrative, fiscal, and historical value of the records.
- For those documents where the paper is not mandated to be kept, I agree that a better approach is to scan everything of value into e.g. Documentum or FileNet. I also agree that there are significant drawbacks with microfilm, including time to create, time to retrieve, need for controlled climate storage, etc.
- But with electronic storage comes another issue: preservation. CAD drawings, Microsoft Office documents, Adobe PDFs....none of these will last the lifespan of a building, or of a 787, or even more than 10 years, due to media lifespan, hardware availability, and software compatibility issues.
- Here's where I think James misses the RM boat. An enterprise that relegates effective records management - including policies, processes, skills, AND technology enablers - to 996th out of 1000 will almost assuredly end up regretting it, and that sooner than later.
- For those interested in much more information about records management and its practice regardless of the media used to store records, visit ARMA International (formerly the Association of Records Managers and Administrators) at http://www.arma.org. Again in the interests of full disclosure, I sit on the ARMA International Board of Directors. Their annual meeting and conference is Oct 7-10 in Baltimore, MD;
Monday, September 24, 2007
ECM: Recent Thoughts on Records Management
I am surprised that Jesse Wilkins didn't call me out. My mention of IDARS as I have now learned really has nothing to do with records management and fits into a space that Gartner refers to as report management. As I understand, records management is more about tracking physical paper and there are applications that help manage this.
A records management application may know that my job application is in box 742, on shelf C, in aisle 23, in building 22. It may track retention and disposition status for lots of paper-oriented processes.
One of the things that I think this dialog should contain is whether records management even makes sense nowadays. Why do folks still keep paper? Why can't they simply scan all documents and store within an ECM repository such as Stellent, Alfreso or Documentum? Why aren't folks simply converting from micro-film and all of the headaches around climate control that it brings and moving more of it into the data center?
In terms of the thousands of applications a large enterprise may have, I have placed the notion of records management, in terms of its relative importance in the 996th position in a three-way tie with the application used by our employee fitness center along with the application the folks in the cafeteria use to keep track of employees who loose change in the vending machines. This reminds me to figure out if Gartner has a magic quadrant for lost change management applications?
I find it intriguing that in my travels, I haven't ran across a single Enterprise Architect who even cares about this space. I wonder what we are missing?
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Enterprise Architecture: When was the last time you had a meaningful conversation?
- I long ago came to the conclusion its impossible to truly engage with more than 200 bloggers. That, after all, is the size of a village, and the natural limit to our legacy brains, unaccustomed as they are to the I/O requirements of the utterly connected age.
The 80/20 rule comes to mind in that enterprise architects shouldn't focus on everything and likewise industry analysts need to stop sending out surveys to IT executives attempting to measure where the gaps reside. Sometimes having gaps is a good thing. Everything and everyone is important but who is more important?
James goes on to state:
- The Power of Small Teams: Gore tries to keep its teams small (and caps even its manufacturing plants at 200 people). That way, everyone can get to know one another and work together with minimal rules, as though they were a task force tackling a crisis.
James then mentions
- Make Time for Face Time: There’s no hierarchical chain of command; anyone in the company can talk to anyone else. Gore discourages memos and prefers in-person communication to email.
There are lots of benefits to face-to-face conversations. While they take longer and most certain put pressure on the elusive work-life balance, it does help reduce the headache of managing your email inbox, especially if your shop institutes mailbox size quotas. Now I know why I am always in mail jail...
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Enterprise Architecture: Perception Management destroys Innovation...
At its highest level of immaturity, perception is reality tends to breed communication patterns where employees are told what they want to hear instead of what is actually happening. Metrics are created left and right as a flag waving exercise to show that transparency is the goal but if you look carefully, the metrics measure activity and not value. The funny thing is that the business side of the house as consumers of most metrics receive them but neither understand nor challenge. In reality, IT won't get better and expenses will continue to rise relative to the value provided unless business folks have the ability to tell the difference between when IT is lying or when they are truly going out of their way to meet business expectations.
I wonder how many executives understand what those below them think in terms of how they are perceived? Are modern IT executives merely facades for those that came before them? Nowadays, it isn't too difficult to find an IT executive who focuses on the following in increasing amount of time but in decreasing order of importance:
- how they appear to others
- how their department appears to others
- how their organization appears to others
If you study the behavior models of those who evangelize perception is reality, you may hear them talking about innovation and how they are the linchpin to making it happen within the enterprise, but reality tells a different story. If you were to look at history, the innovators of the past have had less of a perception mindset and more of an engineering mindset where their focus wasn't on perception and in all reality had a totally different set of priorities. At some level, they thought about things in terms of importance as follows:
- making things
- making things that work
- making things that are useful
Maybe what is wrong with modern IT is that IT executives forgot the simple fact that they need engineers to make things and the sole focus isn't just on making thinly veiled PowerPoint presentations. If you also look back to the days when IT was cheap, you would realize that there were more engineers than perception-oriented folks. Likewise, if you were to plot when IT expenses started to grow faster than revenue, you may discover the time when IT executives started focusing on perception and thinking that if they don't like what engineers are telling them, then they can just go get another.
People skills are important, but not more important than engineering skills within an IT culture. People skills are nothing more than knowing how to appear good to others. We have to do something about the death march downward spiral of spending time and effort acquiring people skills as it means we are obviously focusing less on learning science and making things well which can only result in increased IT spend and less competitive advantage...
Friday, September 21, 2007
SOA: Traveling to India
Anyway, whenever I travel to another country I haven't previously been to, I tend to think of this as yet another opportunity for charity. If there are any projects in these countries that are sponsored by any of the large Indian corporations analogous to our Habitat for Humanity, where they are building homes for the poor, I would most certainly love to swing a hammer and do my small part. Likewise, I wouldn't also mind volunteering to work in a soup kitchen or two. Hopefully, I can find some India-based bloggers to keep me company.
My Nephew, who has recently entered the IT profession and is busy programming for a cool site that is in stealth mode may also be travelling with me. He has an interest in meeting single Indian women and hopes to find women who look like Rani Mukherjee, Isha Koppikar, Shamitha Shetty, Riya Sen or Priyanka Chopra. I think he will be out of luck, but will let others provide the opportunity to correct me. An Indian friend of mines once said that if you want to find beautiful Indian women, Bangalore and Chennai are the last places in India you want to go.
Links for 2007-09-21
I wonder if Phil Windley knows that I am a big fan of IT Conversations. Having worked all day last Saturday and Sunday being alone at work on the floor, I put Anne Thomas Manes, Stephen O'Grady, Gary McGraw and others on blast while I attempted to write code. I realize that even I am dangerous nowadays when attempting to build working software
Hopefully our friends in India outsourcing firms can consider supporting this worthy cause.
Jackson Shaw comments on how Active Directory is becoming the center of the universe within many enterprises. I wonder though if the Quest ActiveRoles product should be something that Microsoft should purchase and simply put into the next version?
I hate when folks complain about technology when they haven't researched deeply enough the underlying issues why what they are asking for is problematic?
ECM: Five Questions for John Newton of Alfresco and Brian Huff of Stellent...
Thursday, September 20, 2007
So, exactly what is innovation?
Two of the best innovators I know is James Tarbell and James Governor. Notice a pattern...
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Helping your boss transition from being a manager to a leader...
Many developers bitch and complain that their managers don't understand what the team is doing, don't provide the necessary resources, and have unrealistic demands or expectations. Here is yet another scenario where perception over reality thinking should be shot. Most managers are neither stupid nor malicious and are honestly trying to do their jobs well. You can help your manager to be more effective by following a few simple rules. Making your manager effective and happy is an excellent way to advance your career. Following these rules makes the manager and team more effective, which is good for everybody.
Here are some things to noodle:
Links for 2007-09-19
Gunnar Peterson shares his advice on secure coding within an enterprise context that for the most part I agree with. Of course, he should ask the question whether secure coding should be championed by the security team or is it better positioned by being championed by Enterprise Architects? Likewise, he skipped over an important success factor in terms of security at large and that is the acknowledgement that the vast majority of folks in large enterprises who have security responsibility don't know how to program.
It is good that Satyam's Chief Mr. Raju acknowledges that they should use Americans for higher value American projects and others will agree with this as sound business judgement. However, one of the topics not discussed is why would an American want to work for an Indian outsourcing firm especially if they are at the top of their game. Indian outsourcing firms have the stigma of not paying as well as their American counterparts and therefore won't gain access to the same quality of talent. Every American I know that has worked for an Indian outsourcing firm is severely underpaid.
David Linthicum shares some great thinking on thinking about SOA. Most folks tend to get it twisted.
Too bad the MySQL community is still busy misleading folks by convincing them that their product is open source when you can't find 100% of the code base for the current release. I guess you can twist words or they can move to a model such as Liferay which is 100% open source for life.
Linux is also not ready for the Enterprise desktop either
I wonder which analyst firm won't be willing to show GlassFish in the Leaders Quadrant?
India, Racism and Christianity...
Almost all Christians in India hail from the so-called Dalit community, the former "untouchables" relegated to the bottom of the Hindu caste hierarchy. Under India's constitution, Dalits are entitled to affirmative-action benefits including 15% of all federal government jobs and admissions in government-funded universities. The government however didn't require outsourcing firms to step up and do their part to right this historical wrong.
Any Dalit caught abandoning Hinduism for Christianity loses these priveleges and can be fired from jobs gained under the quota. The rules are enforced by vigilant local officials who keep a close eye on comings and goings.
India's Dalits have tried over the centuries to escape their low status, which Hindu scriptures teach is a punishment for sins in a previous life, by embracing caste-less religions. Dalits are now turning to Christianity, attracted by benefits such as education and health care that are sometimes offered by Western funded congregations.
While discrimination against Dalits is illegal, it is in practice widespread where people from higher castes often won't touch a Dalit or share food or water. Many people of higher castes object to any action such as quotas which seek to right past wrongs and prefer to talk as if they are the victims of systemic discrimination while others who are employed by outsourcing firms will simply pretend that this problem doesn't exist and exercise their right to remain silent on this matter.
My take is that India is one of the most diverse countries on the planet only if you choose to change the meaning of diversity. If you see diversity through the lens of caste, gender, ethnic origin or religion, you may see something other than diversity, but who am I to challenge a nation of Billions to stand for the poor...
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Patriotism, India and Charity...
I guess he is encouraging me to put my money where my mouth is. One of the most honorable things one can do is to die in the name of your country. Many young American men and women are dying in the pursuit of spreading freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan. In this war against terror, we have lost thousands of lives.
I guess one small token of gratitude would be for me to personally donate to worthy charities that benefit fallen soldiers who died to protect our freedom to outsource jobs to other countries, to perform ungodly acts in public settings and to allow us to waste food at industry conferences while children in third world countries starve.
I would like to offer $200 for each and every soldier who was born in India and perished in Iraq and/or Afghanistan who served in the United States Armed Forces to either the charity of their families choice or to a worthy charity such as Freedom is not free which aids wounded service members and their families.
Please post their names, rank and branch of service so that I and others can honor them in a way that they deserve...
Links for 2007-09-18
I wonder if the brainwashing regarding total compensation packages is something that others are experiencing? Is competitive compensation the same as modest? The best quote is: You are rated based on the stupid rules invented by someone in the HR department. All year you are earning points for good behavior. The highest points are earned if you fill and submit your timesheets which I cannot refute.
Rajesh asks whether Sun Java System Identity Manager appearing in the magic quadrant is a surprise to anyone. My response is no as Sun pays lots of money for this to occur. I am still awaiting news that someone in the past has actually landed in the leaders quadrant without paying fees.
I suspect lots of folks in the federal government are giddy that they got yet another framework to help them create comprehensive documentation that will sit on the shelf.
Here is a story of graceful degradation in how Infosys discusses how many of their customers bringing work back in-house. They have mentioned how they are also moving up the foodchain which I totally support without of course mentioning that as you move up, the need for lots of butts in seats goes down and the trend that revenues will grow while also weeding mediocrity is beneficial for both parties. There are hundreds of thousands of folks in IT in India today that shouldn't be.
I would love for others to share their thoughts on this topic. I plan on responding sometime next week in a separate blog entry.
Here is evidence that Nuxeo at least is noodling secure coding. I wonder if Alfresco and Stellent are as well?
I wonder what enterprise architects should aspire to become?
Finally, a proposal on SOA that makes a lot of sense. I suspect though that Aloof hasn't acknowledged that introducing a definition that has more integrity wouldn't allow for propagation of magic quadrants and other forms of distillation that many IT executives love.
Does anyone know why being hub-based is evil?
Many identity bloggers will exercise their right to remain silent on topics that make sense within an enterprise when they don't have a product that fulfill this important need.
A Jewish guy in New York talks about racial diversity or the lack of (depending on one's perspective) in a bold way. Most folks would never talk of such topics within their blog. My personal opinion is that more conversations such as these need to occur in the blogosphere. He is spot on when it comes to Black and Indian folks. I wonder what his thoughts are regarding Asian and Hispanic. I wonder if he would agree that racism is propogated when folks are afraid to offend and where honest dialog cannot occur?
Monday, September 17, 2007
Fair Trade is better than Free Trade...
Fair trade organizations, such as the Fair Trade Federation and the International Federation for Alternative Trade maintain that fair trade practices alleviate poverty, enhance gender equity, improve working conditions, the environment, and distributive justice.
By contrast, free trade proponents believe that under a system of voluntary exchange, the demands of justice are met. Although free traders hope to alleviate poverty and improve conditions around the world, they prefer measures that are less intrusive than fair traders, who regard the unfettered market as injurious to these same goals.
Free traders argue that in the long run markets will solve - that is, when permitted to come to equilibrium, both rich and poor nations will benefit. In this way, free traders hold that free trade is fair trade.
George P. Alexander, Diversity and India
- You're talking about a country where traditional stereotypes and emphasis on marital status factor in. The traditional stereotype of a woman is slowly changing though as western culture influences the Indian mindset and the urban Indian mindset more specifically.
- let me cite Infosys which has a neat open source community (InfyLUG) tied up with FOSS. IN that focuses on training, creating solutions, RnD, product development and consulting using open source. And as for the second part of your question, this is done by volunteers... in their free time and also outside their project work. That's just an example I know and have heard of.
- Do Indian outsourcing firms provide a budget for software developers to acquire books on topics such as rules engines, ECM, SOA and security?Yeah, sure! One of the things I like about the Indian IT Industry is that they emphasis a whole lot on training.
- find it disturbing that James encouraged readers to create additional stress on Indian call center workers by "psychologically disturbing" them.
I bet you don't also know that harrassment and complaining can be a good thing in terms of customer service as well? If you voice your opinion loud enough, many companies will buy you off by sending you coupons, free merchandise and so on. In other situations, complaining also works to a consumers advantage. For example, if you have a Sprint cell phone and want to cancel service yet your two year contract isn't up, the best way to get out of it is to not pay for termination charges that can be as high as $175 but to start complaining. Sprint tracks the number of calls that each customer makes to their call center and determines which are the most expensive customers and fires them.
- a strong critic of outsourcing… outsourcing to India and China more specifically (other locations are a-okay).
I do thank George for helping me see things through his lens. Part of being diverse has nothing to do with what race, religion, ethnic origin or gender one is but the ability to be savage in the pursuit of understanding others. I still have one other question that I didn't ask that is related to charity. One observation I have is that folks in India IT outsourcing firms expect their employer to handle charity and eschew direct participation / conversation about this. I understand time constraints but is this the right mindset that employees should have? If not, what would it take to get India based bloggers to talk about charity within their own blogs and to help spread the wealth?
I will be in India speaking at a conference in February and would love to network with fellow Indian bloggers and look forward to having many face to face conversations. Hopefully, we can dig deeper into the meaning of from incite comes insight and not think of it as request/response but an ongoing dialog where one truly wants to understand another's culture.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
George P. Alexander, Diversity and India
I originally asked: Where can I find EEOC numbers indicating the number of Hispanic employees in the United States employed by Wipro, Cognizant, Infosys and TCS? and he responded with Where do you usually find EEOC numbers indicating the number of Hispanic employees in the United States employed by Oracle, IBM, Yahoo, Microsoft and Google? . I guess one could always respond with another question pointing out inequality in making certain numbers public but I think at some level this misses the point. If you were to walk the corridors of the firms you mentioned, it wouldn't take that long to bump into a truly diverse culture. I can also say that in my travels along with personal networks that I know these firms employ hundreds of folks of Hispanic origin. I have yet to meet face-to-face or virtually any hispanic employees of Wipro, TCS or Cognizant that work in India. If you know of a dozen or two, please do not hesitate to introduce them to me.
I also asked: Do any of the Indian outsourcing firms have any Dalits in the senior management ranks? where he responded: Frankly, Indian IT outsourcing companies do no care whether you are a dalit, a brahmin or a millionaire as long as you do the job expected. At a senior level, if you are capable of doing the job and they're happy with you, they take you in. One could interpret from a numbers perspective that zero point zero Dalits exist in senior management ranks. The folks who stand up and say that they aren't biased tend to be the places where diversity is lacking the most.
Another question was: Do any of the Indian outsourcing firms have any women in the senior management ranks? and he responded with Offcourse, consider Kiran Mazumdar Shaw: CEO of biocon. There are a few of ladies in my company too who are on top. If you've got what it takes, no one is going to stop you. If you don't have what it takes... you know the rest of the story. I have to admit, I never heard of BioCon but I suspect that they are no where near the size of Wipro, TCS, Infosys, Cognizant and so on. If I were to read into your response, it feels as if your employer is diverse in that you have a few ladies on top but this is by no means representative of Indian outsourcing firms at large.
The most avoid question was: Do Indian outsourcing firms restrict their employees from contributing to open source on their free time? where George responded with Do they provide resources to participate? No they don't restrict. Sheash, off course not. Infact, they encourage in many ways. Our CIO had once asked our entire group to do something productive as a showcase project. The funny thing is that a showcase project doesn't feel like at any level open source? After all, open is exactly that. You didn't mention the project name nor did you mention if folks outside your firm even participated. Can we acknowledge at some level that open source requires a community and not just one company?
I wonder if George has any thoughts on which will be the first Indian outsourcing firm to establish a blogging platform that is publicly exposed for all of its employees. Kinda like Sun?
Why Software Developers should aspire to become Enterprise Architects...
In case you haven't figured it out yet, the vast majority of enterprise architects work less hours than hardcore software developers with compatible pay. While I will disclaim that dinosaur mainframe folks tend to work the least amount of hours in IT, enterprise architects have similiar priveleges.
Consider the fact that even for us enterprise architects that do work a lot of hours, we still have certain luxuries as to how and when work will get done. For example, I have been thinking about what should be part of my 2008 agenda and I have been able to noodle this while driving a car, eating dinner, at the mall and so on. I bet software developers can't do their craft well while driving.
Software developers love to think of their code as a thing of beauty and always attempt to gain reuse yet it cannot match the reuse of Powerpoint and the frequent conversations many enterprise architects have. Consider the simple fact that I have been reusing the same Powerpoint presentation with only minor tweaks on the subject of SOA since 2002. I expect that based on current adoption rates, I still can get at least another five or six presentations out of it in the next couple of years.
When enterprise architects are busy aligning with the business, we have to remember to dumb down our vocabulary. Reality says that in many situations we can skip much of the homework required and just stay dumb by learning a few buzzwords, focusing on nomenclature and practicing hand waving techniques. If we are really smart, we will master the artful copying of quotes from industry analysts in our emails and presentations. If we are even smarter, we don't even have to understand reality and can instead stay focused on perception management. After all, the higher up in the clouds you go, perception is reality.
Imagine not having to bust your brain figuring out complex problems and simply being able to defer it to others whether it be poorly dressed slobs otherwise known as software developers or high-classed pimped out consultants who will gladly interview developer for opportunities and then nicely package it as their own. The best situation though is that enterprise architects get to listen rapty to the vendor sales pitch on their value proposition, strong ROI and how we are all partners without ever asking ourselves if ever vendor provides ROI, then how come IT is so damn expensive.
Reality says that enterprise architects can exercise their rights to remain silent when it comes to federated identity, open source or anything truly valuable and instead focus on drawing cartoons for the executive crowd while dreaming about the day when all the vendors stories will manifest in terms of ROI and they are the only employee left in IT and they can be king of the hill...
Links for 2006-09-16
Jesse Wilkins mentioned something that I have always had as a thought in the back of mind which he mentions that he doesn't program. I am curious how pervasive the lack of programming experience is in the world of ECM? Maybe this explains why WSDL is horrific and no one is complaining?
Blog eitquette is hogwash. We need more incite so that insight can emerge...
I wonder why enterprise architects aren't listening to their industry peers and instead prefer abstract conversation on SOA from software vendors and consulting firms?
I like the thinking of Mike Kavis. While I know he has limited influence in terms of CIO magazine, we do need to encourage him to encourage CIO to publish more print articles on the bottom up perspective of leadership. To many IT executives are busy patting themselves on the back when they should be kicking themselves in the bleep.
I wonder if Chris Han understands that many enterprise architects spend all day miseducating non-technical IT executives on expensive closed source products. When they are not busy doing this, they may be crafting their next four color chock-a-block eye candy Powerpoint and practicing handwaving techniques. They are incredibly busy