Saturday, September 30, 2006
Why outsourcing to Trinidad may make more sense than India...
India's population includes an estimated 120 to 150 million folks of Islamic descent which should translate into about 15% of the folks who take jobs away from American's in an outsourcing context at about 15%. Yet these folks seem to be strangely absent. Within my travels, this year I have only met one person of the islamic faith from an outsourcing firm. Do Indian outsourcing firms believe they should practice something similar to our EEOC laws or that they should put their heads in the sand and convince themselves that everything is ok?
I understand why American's don't really care about the above since they have the perspective that it doesn't affect them. What if they also learned about lack of opportunity in India for those of the Christian faith? This is the same tactic used by Israel to convince Americans that Palestine's current freely elected government is somehow illegitimate when if the story got out about Christians the perspective may change.
According to Human Rights Watch, more than 250 million people worldwide face caste-based discrimination which the vast majority of it occuring in India. Has anyone ever heard of the Dalits?
We are all now talking about Lebanon and their supposed hostility towards Israel. I wonder if the conversation should be about India's support of terrorism in Sri Lanka.
I wonder if the leadership in India could learn a thing or two from a country such as Trinidad which has a high Indian population yet practices no form of caste-based discrimination. Maybe they could learn how to setup equitable economic exchanges where both countries benefit from the relationship and neither party loses good high-paying jobs.
In a future blog, I will discuss factual economic reasons why outsourcing to Trinidad makes better financial sense not only for corporations but the United States economy over doing the same to India...
Friday, September 29, 2006
So you want to become an Enterprise Architect?
What future do you think enterprise architects have? What do you want that future for yourself? Have you acknowledged your own self-worth as a human on this planet earth? You are the most important consideration in making the choice to become an enterprise architect where everything else is secondary.
Do you like listening to the advice of others? Yes, acknowledge upfront that the vast majority of advice you will receive is of questionable quality. The worst and best advice usually comes from those who have been in IT for 30+ years. While I tend to refer to these folks as dinosaurs, they have something to say and more importantly you need to listen.
In my travels, I have met COBOL developers who have had one years of experience twenty times but haven't met an architect who has spent a lot of time repeating the same mistakes that developers do. The most difficult part of being an architect is the human aspects of technology (understanding people and their unstated desires).
Of course you understand the importance of people, then process, then tools in that order but you also need to figure out what tools you will keep in your toolbox. Don't attempt to beg, borrow and steal the tools of others as they may be of questionable quality.
Whenever you run across an HR-type pitching logically flawed notions such as competencies, run in the opposite direction. Everyone is weak at something so focusing on this will only handcuff your progress. Instead, focus on areas of strengths.
To be a good architect, you need to have skills in the following areas:
- Don't talk about paradigm shifts, but instead ensure that shift happens
- Lots of folks have knowledge but don't know how to apply it.
- Know when to hush your mouth
- You need some aptitude in technical matters. You don't need to be the best developer, merely competent
- Only say things that can be heard
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Vendors who understand the needs of large enterprises...
The folks from PacketMotion paid me a visit yesterday. They acknowledged upfront that they were not there in terms of a sales call but wanted to understand how they could add more value to their product so that it was attractive in the long run to large enterprises.
Our conversation started around the notion that we acknowledge that startups always are better at what they do over incumbent vendors and therefore competing on just features alone may not result in a win. Many large enterprises have hundreds of IT vendors they do business with and it takes a lot of energy to manage all these relationships. Smaller firms never really think about how much work it is for us enterprise folk to work with them and need to be thoughtful as to how to make it easier on us vs simply thinking about the perspective of all about them. I would suspect that Internet startups who engage Brenda Michelson of Elemental Links would get great insight into the mind of EAs.
In terms of features, the one thing that I am really big on is compliance to the XACML specification. Do you know how many different ways we within our enterprise can specify the notion of a policy? Do you really think I need yet another one? I am surprised that XACML isn't receiving more coverage from analyst firms. For example, I would love to see Anne Thomas-Manes of the Burton Group note that many products she covers from JBoss to BEA to IBM to Mercury Interactive are building in XACML support into their application stacks. So far, XACML seems to only be covered by security types.
We did have a brief conversation on analyst firms and my perspective on them. I do believe that all vendors I interact with should pay their fees to the large firms regardless of the value they bring. Not paying causes problems for us. It is easier within a large enterprise to acquire new technology when an indepedent third-party says it is a leader than when there is only your own evidence to support. Likewise, I know that my peers at work are incredibly brilliant and can see solutions in the marketplace before others but the real key is that we need to also choose products that are sustainable and will be used by other large enterprises.
I wonder as a sidenote, what it will take to get the folks over at Intalio to pay the fees to large analyst firms? I would also love to see the folks over at LogicBlaze do the same thing as the ESB space where CapeClear and Sonic have been listed as leaders in a category where their product isn't even mentioned is somewhat suspect...
Anyway, I guess that some vendors get that it is OK to talk with us enterprise folks even if you don't have the intent on selling to us. We can provide you with insight that you may or may not get through other channels. So, what's in this for me? This is simple, I am interested in having choices within the marketplace. Choice causes price of solution to go down which helps make the TCO of IT go lower.
If there are other vendors who aren't necessarily interested in selling to me but would like an enterprise perspective, do not hesitate to leave a comment and let the dialog begin...
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Enterprise Architecture: So exactly what is a strategy?
Strategy is about making tough choices. A strategy is not formed by simply inventorying prior-made decisions and presenting them in a clearer, Powerpoint eye-candy like manner. An enterprise should think of a strategic position as a path and not a fixed location. Likewise, a path implies a single vector and a target endpoint. You simply can't have multiple.
The biggest problem with most strategies is that there are too many of them. Maybe if the enterprise had a strategy to have one and only one strategy at a time, they may be better off. Of course the strategy does need to incorporate new ideas to improve/maintain operational effectiveness.
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Enterprise Architecture: Increasing communication may hurt the enterprise...
The defining characteristics of "design by committee" are needless complexity, internal inconsistency, logical flaws, banality, and the lack of a unifying vision. Much of this comes when enterprise architects are encouraged to communicate in hopes of increasing visibility at the expense of actually having any conceptual integrity.
The term is especially common in technical parlance. Often, when software is designed by a committee, the original motivation, specifications and technical reasons take a backseat and poor choices may be made merely to appease the egos of several individual committee members. Such products and standards end up doing too many things or having parts that fit together poorly (because the entities who produced those parts were unaware of each other's requirements for a good fit).
The key to good enterprise architecture is architecture. Architecture cannot be realized by lots of folks communicating to each other and has to start with the enterprise embracing the notion of conceptual integrity above everything else...
Monday, September 25, 2006
Enterprise Architecture and the Calendar Full of Meetings...
I ran across an interesting practice by the folks at ObjectMentor that encourages folks to leave a meeting when bored. You have that right as an attendee. It's your time. It is one of the odd rules that could never possibly work, but seems to. The funny thing is lots of folks on the down-low acknowledge this practice but what if we made it an act above the radar?
The reason that this works is that when meeting organizers know that people can leave when board, they will put the most important stuff first. They will also ask themselves why are they having the meeting in the first place. Finally, they will be judicious in whom they invite and eschew the current shotgun approaches of inviting folks purely for representation purposes.
Maybe I will bring up this idea in our Friday staff meeting? Maybe if I mention it, folks will simply leave while I am suggesting it...
Sunday, September 24, 2006
Is the Liberty Alliance still relevant?
When the Liberty Alliance was first formed, it was a forum in which end-user enterprises could with one cohesive voice define not only their basic requirements but also propose solutions in which vendors should implement. Today, there are more software vendors than large enterprises and this trend doesn't seem to be changing.
Likewise, the early influence that Liberty had with SAML was good but now they have moved on to less important issues. Wouldn't it be wonderful if the Liberty Alliance pushed the folks at Oasis to incorporate the notion of impersonation into SAML 3.0?
The biggest proponent of Liberty Alliance in the blogosphere seems to be Pat Patterson of Sun. I have yet to see him in his blog talk about how SAML can be used in other contexts. For example, the folks over at BEA have incorporated SAML support into their Weblogic Server. Should all J2EE containers embrace this approach?
What would happen if a Sun employee decided to submit an enhancement request to the Java Community Process asking for these folks to consider figuring out a way that JDBC could also support SAML? What about if databases from Oracle, Microsoft and IBM could also support SAML? Do you think it may mean that the notion of identity propagation may become a reality?
If identity propogation became real, then all enterprises may be able to tighten up on their Sarbane Oxley deficiencies by having one identity transcend all tiers. SAML can be a savior in the SoX world too...
The one thing that I have struggled to figure out in the Liberty Alliance is not in the realm of case studies or any of the other public information on the site but what the members of large non-software enterprises are telling as their internal story. Of course, I understand at a high-level they may babble about ROI, increasing security, etc along with the usual CIO magazine cliche phrases but wouldn't it be interesting if one of its members shared their internal story with the rest of the world?
Should the Pope have exercised his right to remain silent?
There are of course multiple perspectives on how the media has handled the popes mistake of quoting an older text. One perspective says that if a religion claims they are of peace that they should bend over and take it. This of course feels too much like letting the police beat innocent folks in the street.
The perspective not discussed is whether the pope as a leader of a religious organization should have used better judgement. Let's pretend for a moment that a guy named James Robertson wants break into a military base. Beforehand, he understands that the soldiers in the guard tower adhere to the general orders and that you will get one warning and if you take another step you will get shot. So, James Robertson ignores what he knows and decides to test the system and of course the military puts a bullet in his behind. Should James Robertson claim that the soldier is violent?
In the same way I cannot walk into a crowded movie theater and yell fire, for the simple fact that the consequences of my words could get folks injured and/or killed, the pope has the same responsibility...
Saturday, September 23, 2006
Podcasts from Industry Thought Leaders...
If you listen to these five podcasts, I guarantee that you will gain insight that is not typically discussed amongst the industry analyst or magazine crowd. Even the Ruby on Rails crowd may learn more about how to make their software enterprise worthy...
Security Futures: Promising Security Technologies with Dan Farmer and myself...
Organized Crime vs. Enterprise Security with Daniel Clements and Steve Orenberg
The Top 10 Myths About Technology Risk with Scott Trieste, VP of Security Architecture and Engineering, Marsh McClennan
Architecture Matters: From Sans to Grid: How to Architect for Utility Computing
Is Software Licensing Dead?
Friday, September 22, 2006
Enterprise Architecture: Leadership is distinct from Management
Leadership is about guidance and support while management is about direction and control. As a leader has learned to fulfill their own vision, so it is at least part of the leader's duties to assist others to fulfill their own visions. Leaders have higher principles and appear to be modeless.
The manager's job factors into the roles of ambassador to people outside one's group and of arbitrator to people within one's group. The former role requires empathy for everyone in the group, without any real or perceived partiality. The latter role inevitably entails the generation of real or perceived partiality. Thus there is another contradiction between managing subordinates and being a good manager.
Of course, some bonehead will argue that one individual can be both a manager and a leader. We tend to argue the most with those whom we agree with the most, and obsessively debate the tiniest of differences rather than recognise that we agree on the big picture.
Software Vendors: How to ensure you will never win business...
Imagine receiving a nicely dressed box where cool trinkets come to mind only to be disappointed to learn that it contained a pack of bubble gum! Some marketing person thought it was OK to waste natural resources by killing tons of trees to simply make bubble gum look pretty.
In today's society, you would figure that folks would be a little smarter. Ignoring the environmental aspect of their stupidity, the gum wasn't even kosher. Ever heard of a place called the Middle East? You should whenever serving any food product ensure that it meets the standards of today's diverse IT population. Everything you consider should be Kosher at a mininum and vegetarian out of respect for those from India.
The funny thing is that in this mailing, they didn't even know my title as if they bought a list from some magazine which tends to have generic categorizations. Even worse, I think they made an assumption that lots of folks chew gum. Guess what? Lots of folks don't including myself. I haven't chewed gum over a year and now definetely won't for another.
I have refrained from mentioning the vendors name in hopes that they may do something redeeming. The CTO of this company should consider making a sizable donation to my current favorite charity: Nine Million within the next thirty days...
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Enterprise Architecture and Stuck on Stupid...
My initial reaction was to tell him to stop apologizing and start studying but the political correctness demon in my brain kept prodding me to be a better citizen. Lately, I think there is some merit to this behavior. This week, I will attempt an expiriment on my peers by telling them don't worry about feeling stupid and instead worry about not feeling stupid.
I know that when I absolutely feel confident that I know something the odds increase dramatically that I am either wrong (this applies to most folks but not to myself) or that I really do know a lot and it is time to move on and learn something new. In other words, I should embrace stupid as a methodology.
Way too many times we operate within our zone of comfort. Maybe shaking this up could be good for both enterprise architects and their employers. What if the Ruby community allowed me to start committing code to the rails framework? What if I were to speak at an upcoming Agile conference on the merits of Waterfall? Could I convince others that my ideas were worthy of further consideration or would I need to continuously apologize?
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
The miseducation of an Enterprise Architect
IT executives and CIO magazine have been encouraging each other to increase communication channels (FUBAR comes to mind) when in all reality they haven't acknowledged what the enterprise really lacks is a thoughtful architecture. Imagine as a career path when an enterprise takes their best and brighest and asks them to not work on the creation of thoughtful strategies, roadmaps and architectures but to communicate them to other parties.
The simple fact is that while enterprises suffer from poor communication, this fact shouldn't take your best people to solve for. In all reality, the art of communication is something any IT firm can simply bring in their favorite insultancy and have them back up the school bus and let the
I suspect that most executives can see the forest for all those damn trees in the way. Luckily, they have a process that weeds them out every three to five years. For those who keep attempting to recruit enterprise architects, maybe you could start sharing how your enterprise deals with this problem space...
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Enterprise Architecture and how IT Executives will fail...
Ceremonial practices oft-repeated become indoctrinated into the minds of executives. IT must align with the business which morphs into the need for enterprise architecture executives to embark on the journey of marketing. The delivery of value in this mindset becomes secondary unless you can convince yourself that marketing is delivery.
I wonder what it would take for industry analysts to ask some difficult questions of CIOs to tell whether they are mistaking process for architecture. I thought of some:
- Does your training budget focus on consistency of skill or depth of skill?
- Do you believe that architects should get their hands dirty by writing code every once in awhile?
- Do you believe governance is more about financial controls or about changing behaviors and values?
- What deliberate steps are you taking to commoditize enterprise architecture? I hope you understand that everything should become a commodity to enable cheaper IT?
- Do you value research reports from industry analyst firms over the discovery of your own staff?
- Do you prefer single sourcing or best of breed when it comes to purchasing software?
- Have you figured out that outsourcing may make IT cheaper but that it doesn't fundamentally address the root cause of your problem of which is lack of a thoughtful architecture?
Monday, September 18, 2006
James Robertson and Smalltalk...
Analyst Transparency: The 2006 Tekrati award goes to Redmonk
Stephen OGrady of Redmonk over the past couple of months has been incredibly transparent in sharing with the world what infrastructure they use for their business. I wonder what it would take for large analyst firms to do the same?
For example, I would love to know if folks at the Burton Group have any plans to allow us customers to use federated identity to interact with them so that I can get rid of another credential?
Maybe Forrester, you could tell us whether you have any applications that are built on .NET or are they all J2EE? Anyone there considering using XACML to protect your research reports?
Imagine if Gartner chimed into the discussion and mentioned that they actually have some in-house applications built using Ruby on Rails? Would be interesting to know if they always choose software for inhouse use that is on the leader's quadrant and where they have deviated?
Inquiring minds would love to know what parts of Gartner, Forrester and IDC's infrastructure actually contain open source? Tell us about your own ECM strategy and how you manage content as it is probably more mature than simply researching us customers (unless one of the customers you research is playboy).
Sunday, September 17, 2006
Pat Patterson on Federated Identity Infrastructure
I have recently learned that BEA Weblogic 9.1 and greater has SAML support built-in. I wonder if he also thinks this is good or evil?
The folks from JBoss are building in XACML support into JBoss 5.0, something of which BEA has had for a little while. Sun at some level has shown leadership by creating the reference implementation for XACML but hasn't yet incorporated XACML support into all of their products. The obvious one would be portal.
Word on the blogosphere is that Microsoft will finally start embracing XACML in order to catch up to IBM. Likewise, CA, BEA and Oracle already are supporting in their products. Does this leave Sun in the dust?
Why eBay is the top web 2.0 site...
While I have known about ebay for a long time I never really got around to shopping on it until recently. I have found that I can get tools cheaper than at Home Depot. For example, here is a Black & Decker Cordless Finish Nailer for $139 that retails for $199 at Lowes. There is also a Cordless Circular Saw for only $20 which retails for $59...
Saturday, September 16, 2006
Enterprise Service Oriented Architectures
Technorati and Ruby on Rails
I have noticed something intriguing about the Ruby on Rails crowd in that they never seem to answer questions directly and prefer instead to throw daggers. Anytime I say anything about this it tends to result in lots of bloggers chiming in and attacking me instead of providing compelling reasons for why anyone who may possibly share a similar viewpoint to change their opinion.
Ruby on Rails while a decent solution for small trivial problem spaces still isn't ready for the enterprise and I defy anyone in the Ruby community to prove otherwise. My challenge of anyone in the Ruby community that can do any of the below still stands:
- Find a single magazine article where a full-time employee of any Fortune 100 enterprise talks about how they have built a mission-critical enterprise application using Ruby
- Find a reference to any consulting firm with more than 5,000 employees that has done a case study on anything they have implemented for one of their clients using Ruby
- Find a single enterprise architect in the blogosphere that is a full-time employee that has ever talked about Ruby on Rails being worthy of consideration in a past blog entry
The funniest thing is that the blogosphere can be thought of as just one big enterprise. Sometimes on the surface my peers do things that appear stupid. They sometimes have to walk into meetings and pretend that they have no clue when in all reality they know the answer they seek and have deep mature thinking into the problem space. They usually lead with a very dumb sounding question which tends to result in lots of dialog. Usually what occurs is that half the crowd will get torqued in that the dialog will either cause additional work or minimally frustration while the other half may start to see the larger picture.
Anyway, I wonder if this often used enterprise tactic may work in the blogosphere to get those Ruby and Smalltalk types to see an alternative perspective and not just their own? Going forward I should bait the conversation by leaving windows of opportunity open to start a larger dialog vs posting my own conclusions. While deep thinking is a good thing, sometimes sharing it before its time is detrimental and instead causing noise is a better approach.
I suspect that the community will come out of the woodwork and throw daggers at me instead of addressing the comment. Either way, my technorati rank shall increase...
Enterprise Architecture and the Perspective of another enterprise...
In my latest trip to Home Depot to purchase a battery and charger for my cordless saw, an architect from Cigna also echoed the same sentiments. I guess I never really thought about talking to a VP, SVP or even an EVP as in our culture this happens pretty much every day for architects. I guess when indexing my employer against others we are way ahead of the curve in the human aspects of technology.
NOTE: The person at both the Aetna and Cigna have never talked with an SVP in four years...
Friday, September 15, 2006
Why Conferences don't show respect to small analyst firms...
I will be speaking at several upcoming conferences on SOA, Security and Open Source over the next couple of weeks. Apparently, my name has appeal to many conference hosts. Some have asked me to speak because I am a noted author, others because I work for a well-branded Fortune 100 enterprise and others still because of the topics that I speak about tend not to be thinly veiled repeat-after-me cliche statements delivered in bullet form.
I enquired as to why I wouldn't be hearing from analysts I have the utmost respect of such as James Governor of Redmonk, Jason Bloomberg of ZapThink and Daniel Blum of the Burton Group. The answer I received was interesting at some level in that conferences look for speakers not because of subject matter expertise but more because of brand. They did mention that large analyst firms tend to have massive customer lists they blast out to large enterprises like the one I work for in order to attract participation.
They did indicate that small analyst firms are plagued by a problem in that they could bring lots of vendors to the table, but without us enterprise folks also showing up that this isn't sustainable. Likewise, they also mentioned that some analysts expect compensation for speaking at industry events while others don't. Not sure of what to think in this regard.
Anyway, on one of the upcoming conferences, I will be ahead of an analyst that works for one of the larger industry analyst firms. Being displeased with having an analyst follow me I started to noodle how to have fun with it and figured I would ask him to answer one single question.
Do you think enterprise customers deserve to see in the research reports they spend money on, all software that can enable the strategic intent of their business or should it be filtered to only those vendors who either pay you or take the time out to spoonfeed you information in the form of a briefing?
This analyst may need to duckdown...
Thursday, September 14, 2006
Citizens Against Government Waste
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Evil Processes encouraged by Enterprise Architects
One of the most sinister practices is in large shops where there is the perception that they have a well-defined infrastructure and they want to ensure that application/software architects use the infrastructure in an efficient manner. They of course erect tons of processes but never engage in meaningful conversations amongst diverse perspectives.
Whenever an enterprise doesn't acknowledge people over process they will more than likely get it twisted and cause bloat in both infrastructure and applications while reducing the productivity of both. Enterprises going down this path may need to take a pause and ask the question what can infrastructure folks do to take better advantage of applications?
Ever wonder why web 2.0 sites can support millions of users on just a few servers while enterprises have thousands of servers yet suffer from performance issues? Some may be of the belief that most enterprises have scaled not only their infrastructure too big but the people as well and therefore can't get access to those of a higher caliber. I am of the belief that while this may be true, the bigger problem is that most folks mistake process for architecture...
Anyway, the best thing that infrastructure types can do is engage in a face-to-face conversation with software types. Process is secondary to people and don't allow infrastructure folks to ever consider software folks as customers...
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Crap we learn in school (Part Two)
My son came home with a fundraising kit from the local PTA. He was looking forward to earning toys for selling the most prizes when I had to teach him what charitable acts are really all about.
The kit contained instructions for the parents indicating that kids are too young to go door-to-door within their neighborhood but that the parent's should take the kits to work with them. Should we teach this at a young age? This is kinda what non-technical management within most IT shops do today? No wonder we are losing our jobs to India.
Anyway, I wrote a letter to his teacher indicating that my son can take part in charitable acts such as carwashes but he would not participate in any materialistic act such as selling overpriced goods of questionable value in which the school only gets a tiny portion of the revenue. Instead, I suggested to the teacher that they can make out a list of goods the classroom needs and I would instead make his charitable act by shopping on officedepot.com.
Charity should be all about helping others and not necessarily receiving stuff out of it for yourself with the exception of knowing that you are making God happy. We need to start instilling the proper values into our school children. Any Republican's out there that want to assist in getting our school systems untwisted?
Becoming Chief Security Architect
1. They must have a vision and no it should be I see stupid people...
2. They should be marketers but not just to internal folks. They should also market issues that are important to enterprises such as XACML, software vendors writing secure code and industry analysts covering open source projects next to proprietary closed source offerings.
3. Be courageous. Most folks will follow you even if your decision is not the most popular choice.
4. Stick your neck out. Being a problem solver requires sticking one's neck out. Facilitating solutions that meet the enterprise objectives may require challenging the status quo...
Monday, September 11, 2006
web 2.0 and the medical profession
There was a doctor on a program who was talking about the trend of American's in seeking out doctors more like them. For example, if you are interested in finding a lesbian doctor or jewish doctor there are sites that cater to this demographic.
Having recently learned that my own doctor is moving to Atlanta and that I would have to choose amongst the others within the practice made me think about what I would like in a doctor. I have concluded that my next doctor will have to be a one-armed Puerto Rican who likes to cross-dress who also uses metal detectors to find unicorns in his sock drawer. His favorite color should be Mauve and he should also like to wear Cordouroy on the weekends.
This does seem like an opportunity for those web 2.0 types to build better doctor finder sites...
Sunday, September 10, 2006
Judiasm vs Islam: The Saga Continues
I had asked several folks in the store whether the contributions to this fund would only benefit those of the Jewish faith or would it help all races and nationalities of those displaced by Hezbollah in Northern Israel. There was deafening silence...
We know that Hezbollah was indiscriminate in their attacks and that they also hurt those of the Christian and Islamic faith as well. I wonder why there stories are never told?
Anyway, when I arrived home I went through the mail where I got a solicitation from the ARCSociety who wants to help the children of Lebanon where over 1,000,000 people of all faiths have fled their homes.
I was thinking about visiting the local Jewish Community Center and putting up a donation box for contributions to those in Lebanon. Likewise, I was also thinking about visiting the local Mosque and putting in a donation box to contribute to those displaced in Israel.
It would be interesting to know which demographic has the most humane thoughts and will be charitable to those outside of their own faith....