Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Heat Maps

Heat Maps are good way to depict the application roadmap. A quick way is to show the current state of architecture on the first slide of ppt. And add another slide for the target state. And in between the two slides of Current and Target state, it is possible to add migration steps(phases).

Few legend to add on the heat maps for the application roadmap can be - Consolidate, Decommission, New and Impacted. I have tried it with the portfolio for one Line of Business and its provides the clear direction for future state aligned with business vision.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Why Enterprise Architecture is not a joke?

After a long time, I am publishing a long pending draft post -

A nice discussion was going around Is EA your center of Excellence? and another one Why EA is Joke. I would like express my point of view, I feel EA is not a joke. Actually it is a challenging and interesting job. Again but, sometimes EA forgets that they are working to add value to the company. EA itself become a silo in a company. With my little experience, I would propose a small solution for a problem - EA group should understand its Customer within a company. Organisation could be complex or simple, depends how you look at it. And EA could consider diverse teams its valued customer. Looks complex task but may not be. Often EA team starts with 2 to 5 people with lot of expectations. And as they are not able to deliver to all its customers and finally vanish. I feel start with small team and create a charter, proper communication interfaces and communicate properly. After a while start increasing the number of people and start serving to all the customers. It could be group of architects serving to different teams like Business, Delivery, Infrastructure etc. And same team participating in effective IT Governance and initiating challenging technical projects for the Business problems in virtual teams.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Attempt to define : IT Governance

I will attempt to define IT Governance on basis of my experience -

IT Governance improves the efficiency of Enterprise and manage the risk. There are different standards like COBIT, ITIL, Six Sigma etc which provides more detail.

May be we could divide the Governance in different categories like Portfolio Governance, Project Governance and Architecture Governance in an organisation.

Portfolio Governance helps to prioritise projects in pipeline, conducting cost benefits analysis, measuring business value, managing risk, defining effective process, initiating right concept and proposals.

Project Governance helps to steer the project towards the expected outcome, improving quality, aligning everyone to shared goal, revisiting the business value, delivering the right solutions.

Architecture Governance helps to build the future, identifying the opportunity, preparing road maps, migration plans, gap analysis, documenting current state, governing Enterprise Initiatives like SOA, Web2.0, EDW, Virtualisation etc.

Friday, May 23, 2008

TOGAF Framework

Last month, I attended the TOGAF training. It was a quite interesting experience. We conducted the case study based on TOGAF framework. It was interesting to follow the Architecture Development Method (ADM) for the case study.

TOGAF framework provides good ADM process to develop Enterprise Architecture in the organisation. It provides the insight to the IT Architects who most of time focus on Technology Architecture and remain ignorant about the Business and Information Architecture.

I feel most of people in IT industry relate Enterprise Architecture to Technology Architecture.

And may be most of Enterprise Architecture programs in organisations keep doing the Architecture Domain analysis. And never able to effectively prepare Migration Planning for the Architecture. It is not easy task with ever changing landscape in Business and IT.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

In Search of Patterns in the Enterprise

My understanding of the Enterprise Architect role improves with every quarter. For last few quarters, my focus was on Technology Architecture and Governance.

Its a good beginning for me to understand the Mutual Fund business domain. In my view, Enterprise Architect role demands good understanding of Business Architecture. And to add more, its easy to read the architecture domains as described in TOGAF framework as compared to analyse the complexity of inter-relationship between the architecture domains.

I have seen Enterprise objectives, vision and goals for very few companies and they look more or less same. And its interesting to find the pattern on how these are related to initiatives in the different Enterprise.

Another interesting place to find pattern is between the mapping of the Business process, applications and technology stack. And for the similar kind of business process in different business unit of same Enterprise which all applications and technology stacks are used.

Interestingly, I am still trying to identify the similar resolution pattern for the identical recurring problem at conceptual level in different units of the Enterprise.

May be Enterprises needs to define Architecture Policies, Standards, Best practices to abolish the pattern of re-inventing the solutions for the recurring problems at Enterprise level.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Thoughts on RIA

First thought which comes to mind is whether its a another buzzword and is it going to survive. My view is its going to survive and reason for this not that its cool or hot or bleeding edge technology. But the only driver behind its success would be "Customers are going to Love it". Its the way web is moving towards - a friendly, fast and fantastic user interface.

I don't understand the intricacies of RIA and I am not expert in it. But I understand fundamentally that Magic lies in Asynchronous XML messaging. It provides perception of site with hyper intelligence. There many flavours of RIA available in the market. Few famous one's are Adobe Flex, Microsoft SilverLight and JavaFX.

Now the challenge for an Enterprise, it is still emerging technology and not based on standards. Is it ready to be introduced in mission critical production environment? Benefits comes with calculated risk. Enterprises need to adopt these AJAX based technologies in less critical applications. Few examples of such selected applications may be for survey, selection of product, search screen, choice based on criteria and wizards. And above all, try to keep the number of AJAX toolkits as low as possible in Enterprise.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Stand up in Universe and find your value

Stand in big ground, raise your head and look at sky. Think how you can add value in this big ground? Move one level up, how much value you add in the area where the ground is located. Move up again, do you matter in context of city. At next level, do you matter in context of state level. Now think of country, how country is impacted by your actions. Is this the end? Not yet, think of continent, think of Mother Earth, how you add value to it. That still not over, how my existence matter in universe - May be Inconsequential.

Let try the same analogy in big enterprise. A developer working in a module of project. Module is kind of world to him. How his work impact the the whole project. This project is part of some program. Program is run by some business unit. Business unit belongs to some vertical. This vertical is part of regional unit. This regional unit again reports to headquarters in country. Country is just one of countries where MNC operates.

Is it possible one person, one team, one group, one unit creates ripple effect to make the Enterprise better? In the last I remember a quote, if you don't make a difference, you don't matter !!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Attempt to understand meaning of "Strategy"

My first attempt to understand the meaning of famous word "STRATEGY". I am using this word for quite sometime during my conversation with teams. Whenever I want to focus on some long term plan with expensive investment. To me, Strategy means to have plan and road map to execute plan with existing resources. With fast changing markets scenarios, one need strategic direction and tactical steps to move in right direction.

Furthermore, Strategy could devised at different level in organization for different purposes. It shows the path to reach the identified goals. Mostly organization devise corporate, business and system strategies.

Lets try to understand business strategy - It frequently contains simple and common objectives like generate revenue, increase profit margins, reduce total cost of ownership, improve stability, increase agility, create brand value, focus on people and processes, deliver results, innovate, become leader in flat world, motivate people to drive organization and lot many similar things.

On similar lines, IT drives the Technology strategy from Business strategy. It plans the future road map from current roadmap, create plans/steps to reach the long term objectives, better align with the business directions, increase reliability and availability, improve service levels and create governance mechanism.

Strategy looks quite common sense and most of companies have strategy in place on similar lines. But not all companies are excellent and growing at tremendous pace. What else is needed for business to succeed? May be a excellent implementation of strategy, people who believe in strategy, leaders who keep the whole team moving together in right direction and selection of right strategy at right time.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

In Search of Excellence by Tom Peters

One more must read book. 7-S model is interesting and provides insight into the working of organization. This link shows the various models at organization, team and individual levels.

7-S model define the various elements which forms the organization. I am still trying to understand the various stages in the life of any organization. Is there exits a trend for stages during life of Organization? May be on the lines of Tuckman's team model.

Another team model worth reading is Situational Leadership.

Experience matters more than any theoretical knowledge. I think in Architect role, we get lot of opportunity to hone leadership & process management skills but people management skills take a backseat. In my view, People management skill is also important in long term and one should find ways to develop it.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Google Story by David A. Vise

Not just another book. It looks more like a fiction. Google phenomenon happened during our lifetime and before our eyes. Its a inspirational story.

Sergey Brin and Larry Page are people of principles and beliefs. They have reaped benefits of economies of scales. Google is default search engine and have unique position. Power of Google lies in
- Search Engine business case i.e. Information and Search significance are directly proportional to each other, both are growing at fast pace.
- Secondly, in having a winning edge on technical front. Mammoth hardware clusters and creative software to harness the power to generate lightening results.
- and in the last, they are able to build a big brand name associated with high integrity, values and reach.

Lets end this blog entry with Google Motto "Don't be Evil".

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Is productivity directly proportional to time?

Few Indian companies are thinking to increase weekly working hours from 40 to 50. In my view productivity is not directly proportional to number of hours spent in office. It could easily be improved by increasing the focus on doing right things and improving motivation of workforce. But by increasing number of hours would only increase the billable hours not productivity.

Quite opposite to study conducted by Gartner and trend suggest that weekly hours will reduce.

SOA in MOE and LOE

More acronyms - MOE and LOE. May be due to my roots in Telcom domain, I am used to acronym in day to day life. MOE means Management Oriented Enterprise and LOE means Leadership Oriented Enterprise.

MOE is basically a type of culture prevalent in Enterprise. In this type of Enterprise, there exists lot of committees. Every decision is approved by hierarchy of people. Decisions are based on big reports. Long discussions take place to improve the efficiencies. Every big enterprise has processes. In this enterprise, employees follows all the processes to complete milestones. It helps to check the progress but the value of each step in process is not evaluated. Employees just complete the activity to tick the completeness. Delivery is primary focus.

LOE is another type of culture prevalent in Enterprise. In this type of there exists Leaders. Leaders at all levels. These Enterprises also creates lot of small committees. These committees come up with small action items. They believe in pilots, POC, prototypes instead of big reports. Long discussions too happens but with actionable outputs. Processes are followed and employees try to add value in each step. Quality is primary focus.

Somehow, I feel MOE adopts top down approach of SOA and LOE adopts bottom up approach due its culture. A push for top down in LOE is going to be much more successful than in MOE.

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Run a country without governance

Idea looks quite weird to run a Country without governance. Even thought is scary that if no governance is present in country, what will happen to state of a nation.

Think of a Country which is composed of States. And there is no central governance present, what will happen to States. Few States might be able to self govern, few will loose direction and few will become rogue States. With time, it will become difficult to manage the Country as a whole. Vision of country will be blurred and lost. States won't be able to leverage each other strengths. States will try to run their own charters and soon forget that they are part of Country. Most of States will have their own priorities, goals and budgets.

Still not convinced and think that Governance is overhead in a Country. Just for information, check the link Somalia , which is the only country in the world where there is no government.

Now just replace the Country with Enterprise and States with Projects. Hope you understand that missing governance in Enterprises is one of most common reason for complex IT state.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Candidate for the EDA

For a long time, I am reading excellent posts on SOA and EDA blog by Jack Van Hoof. EDA reminds me of Telecom domain. This domain is excellent candidate for EDA. Telecom network generates the events. These events are intercepted by application services like Prepaid, Ringback tone, Follow me, VPN etc.

Explaining my point with scenario like execution of Single Service -
Consider scenario where prepaid caller dials a called party number. A event is generated, service capture the calling party number and called party number. Based on called party number it routes the call. Now caller listens the ringing. Called party picks up the phone. Another event is generated. Service captures the events and starts charging. There is voice channel between caller and called party. After sometime, called party hangs the phone call. Another event is generated and service based on this event stops charging and persist the duration of call. In this flow, based on current event and last event result, application service executes the business logic. There is requirement for storing the state of call. This makes scenario little bit complex. Events cann't be consider stateless in real sense.

Execution of Multiple Services
In this case, one approach is to introduce Service Manager and this Service Manager further manages the interactions with several services and their sequencing.

In contrast with Enterprise application, Telecom applications are more chatty i.e. Events are too many and are of very short duration. Due to this, scalability and performance becomes burning issues. Secondly, all these events are in real time. While events are processed, customers are waiting for call to connect, waiting for ring back tone, announcements etc. It makes true testing ground for EDA.

In last, I feel, SOA and EDA could change the landscape of Telecom services. Niche companies could provide services like charging, rating, application services on internet. These services could be consumed by operators instead every one building themselves. Telecom domain is always a front runner at concept level. Hub & Spoke model of Telecom switches was innovated three decades back. This model is foundation for buzzword ESB nowadays.

"That man is successful who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much; who has gained the respect of the intelligent men and the love of children; who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; who leaves the world better than he found it, whether by an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul; who never lacked appreciation of earth's beauty or failed to express it; who looked for the best in others and gave the best he had." - Ralph Waldo Emerson