Tag Archives: mobility

The Interconnectedness of All Things

By Stuart Boardman, KPN

My admiration for Douglas Adams only seems to increase with the years.

Adams, in his quiet way, conveyed quite a few useful insights into both human behavior and how the world (and the universe) works – or seems to work – or seems at times not to work. One of his little masterpieces was “the interconnectedness of all things,” which was the insight that inspired the work of Dirk Gently, owner and sole operative of the Holistic Detective Agency. This wasn’t some piece of cosmic mysticism, but essentially a rather practical insistence on looking at the pieces of the puzzle as an interconnected whole, even when one doesn’t yet know what the completed puzzle will look like. Here’s how Dirk expressed it:

“I’m very glad you asked me that, Mrs. Rawlinson. The term `holistic’ refers to my conviction that what we are concerned with here is the fundamental interconnectedness of all things. I do not concern myself with such petty things as fingerprint powder, telltale pieces of pocket fluff and inane footprints. I see the solution to each problem as being detectable in the pattern and web of the whole. The connections between causes and effects are often much more subtle and complex than we with our rough and ready understanding of the physical world might naturally suppose, Mrs. Rawlinson.

Let me give you an example. If you go to an acupuncturist with toothache, he sticks a needle instead into your thigh. Do you know why he does that, Mrs. Rawlinson?

No, neither do I, Mrs. Rawlinson, but we intend to find out. A pleasure talking to you, Mrs. Rawlinson. Goodbye.”

Cloud, SOA, Enterprise Mobility, Social Media/Enterprise/Business, The Internet of Things, Big Data (you name it) – each in its own way is part of an overall tendency. The general trend is for enterprises to become increasingly involved in increasingly broad ecosystems. As a trend, it predates that list of Internet phenomena but it’s clear that they are dramatically accelerating the pace. Not only do they individually contribute to that trend but collectively they add another factor of both complexity and urgency to the picture. They are interconnected by cause and effect and by usage. Unfortunately that interconnectedness doesn’t (yet) involve very much interoperability.

Readers of this blog will know that The Open Group is starting a new initiative, Platform 3.0  which will be looking at these technologies as a whole and at how they might be considered to collectively represent some new kind of virtual computing platform. There’s an ongoing discussion of what the scope of such an initiative should be, to what extent it should concentrate on the technologies, to what extent on purely business aspects and to what extent we should concentrate on the whole, as opposed to the sum of the parts. One can also see this as one overarching phenomenon in which making a distinction between business and technology may not actually be meaningful.

Although no one (as far as I know) denies that each of these has its own specifics and deserves individual examination, people are starting to understand that we need to go with Dirk Gently and look at the “pattern and web of the whole”.

Open Group members and conference presenters have been pointing this out for a couple of years now but, like it or not, it often takes an analyst firm like Gartner to notice it for everyone else to start taking it seriously. What these organizations like to do is to pin labels on things. Give it a name, and you can kid yourself you know what it is. That fact in and of itself makes it easier for people – especially those who don’t like dealing with stuff you actually have to think about. It’s an example of the 42 problem I wrote about elsewhere.

Gartner frequently talks about the “Nexus of Forces.” Those of you who are not Trekkies may not understand why I fall over laughing at that one. For your benefit, the Nexus was this sort of cloud thing, which if you were able to jump into it, enabled you to live out your most treasured but unrealistic dreams. And in the Star Trek movie this was a big problem, because out there in the real world everything was going seriously pear shaped.

In my view, it’s crucial to tackle the general tendency. Organizations and in particular commercial organizations become part of what Jack Martin Leith calls a “Business Ecosystem”(jump to slide 11 in the link for the definition). If one goes back, say, ten years (maybe less), this tendency already manifested itself on the business side through the “outsourcing” of significant parts of the organization’s business processes to other organizations – partners. The result wasn’t simply a value chain but a value network, sometimes known as Extended Enterprise. Ten years later we see that Cloud can have the same effect on how even the processes retained within the organization are carried out. Social and mobile take this further and also take it out into the wider enterprise and out into that business ecosystem. Cloud, social and mobile involve technological interconnectedness. Social and mobile also involve business interconnectedness (one could argue that Cloud does too and I wouldn’t feel the need to disagree). The business of an enterprise becomes increasingly bound up with the business of other enterprises and as a result can be affected by changes and developments well outside its own range of control.

We know that the effects of these various technologies are interconnected at multiple levels, so it becomes increasingly important to understand how they will work together – or fail to work together. Or to put it more constructively, we need strategies and standards to ensure that they do work together to the extent that we can control them. We also need to understand what all the things are that we can’t control but might just jump out and bite us. There are already enough anti-patterns for the use of social media. Add to that the multi-channel implications of mobility, stir in a dose of Cloud and a bunch of machines exchanging messages without being able to ask each other, “excuse me, what did you mean by that?” It’s easy to see how things might go pear shaped while we’re having fun in the Nexus.

Does this lead to an unmanageable scope for Platform 3.0? I don’t think so. We’ll probably have to prioritize the work. Everyone has their own knowledge, experience and interests, so we may well do things of different granularity in parallel. That all needs to be discussed. But from my perspective, one of the first priorities will be to understand that interconnectedness, so we can work out where the needle needs to go to get rid of the pain.

Stuart Boardman is a Senior Business Consultant with KPN where he co-leads the Enterprise Architecture practice as well as the Cloud Computing solutions group. He is co-lead of The Open Group Cloud Computing Work Group’s Security for the Cloud and SOA project and a founding member of both The Open Group Cloud Computing Work Group and The Open Group SOA Work Group. Stuart is the author of publications by the Information Security Platform (PvIB) in The Netherlands and of his previous employer, CGI. He is a frequent speaker at conferences on the topics of Cloud, SOA, and Identity. 

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Filed under Enterprise Architecture, Platform 3.0

The Open Group San Francisco Conference: Day 1 Highlights

By The Open Group Conference Team

With the end of the first day of the conference, here are a few key takeaways from Monday’s key note sessions:

The Enterprise Architect: Architecting Business Success

Jeanne Ross, Director & Principal Research Scientist, MIT Center for Information Systems Research

Ms. Ross began the plenary discussing the impact of enterprise architecture on the whole enterprise. According to Ross “we live in a digital economy, and in order to succeed, we need to excel in enterprise architecture.” She went on to say that the current “plan, build, use” model has led to a lot of application silos. Ms. Ross also mentioned that enablement doesn’t work well; while capabilities are being built, they are grossly underutilized within most organizations.

Enterprise architects need to think about what capabilities their firms will exploit – both in the short- and long-terms. Ms. Ross went on to present case studies from Aetna, Protection 1, USAA, Pepsi America and Commonwealth of Australia. In each of these examples, architects provided the following business value:

  • Helped senior executives clarify business goals
  • Identified architectural capability that can be readily exploited
  • Presented Option and their implications for business goals
  • Built Capabilities incrementally

A well-received quote from Ms. Ross during the Q&A portion of the session was, “Someday, CIOs will report to EA – that’s the way it ought to be!”

How Enterprise Architecture is Helping Nissan IT Transformation

Celso Guiotoko, Corporate Vice President and CIO, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.

Mr. Guiotoko presented the steps that Nissan took to improve the efficiency of its information systems. The company adapted BEST – an IT mid-term plan that helped led enterprise transformation within the organization. BEST was comprised of the following components:

  • Business Alignment
  • Enterprise Architecture
  • Selective Sourcing
  • Technology Simplification

Guided by BEST and led by strong Enterprise Architecture, Nissan saw the following results:

  • Reduced cost per user from 1.09 to 0.63
  • 230,000 return with 404 applications reduced
  • Improved solution deployment time
  • Significantly reduced hardware costs

Nissan recently created the next IT mid-term plan called “VITESSE,” which stands for value information, technology, simplification and service excellence. Mr. Guiotoko said that VITESSE will help the company achieve its IT and business goals as it moves toward the production of zero-emissions vehicles.

The Transformed Enterprise

Andy Mulholland, Global CTO, Capgemini

Mr. Mulholland began the presentation by discussing what parts of technology comprise today’s enterprise and asking the question, “What needs to be done to integrate these together?” Enterprise technology is changing rapidly and  the consumerization of IT only increasing. Mr. Mulholland presented a statistic from Gartner predicting that up to 35 percent of enterprise IT expenditures will be managed outside of the IT department’s budget by 2015. He then referenced the PC revolution when enterprises were too slow to adapt to employees needs and adoption of technology.

There are three core technology clusters and standards that are emerging today in the form of Cloud, mobility and big data, but there are no business process standards to govern them. In order to not repeat the same mistakes of the PC revolution, organizations need to move from an inside-out model to an outside-in model – looking at the activities and problems within the enterprise then looking outward versus looking at those problems from the outside in. Outside-in, Mulholland argued, will increase productivity and lead to innovative business models, ultimately enabling your enterprise to keep up the current technology trends.

Making Business Drive IT Transformation through Enterprise Architecture

Lauren States, VP & CTO of Cloud Computing and Growth Initiatives, IBM Corp.

Ms. States began her presentation by describing today’s enterprise – flat, transparent and collaborative. In order to empower this emerging type of enterprise, she argued that CEOs need to consider data a strategic initiative.

Giving the example of the CMO within the enterprise to reflect how changing technologies affect their role, she stated, “CMOS are overwhelming underprepared for the data explosion and recognize a need to invest in and integrate technology and analytics.” CIOs and architects need to use business goals and strategy to set the expectation of IT. Ms. States also said that organizations need to focus on enabling growth, productivity and cultural change – factors are all related and lead to enterprise transformation.

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The conference will continue tomorrow with overarching themes that include enterprise transformation, security and SOA. For more information about the conference, please go here: http://www3.opengroup.org/sanfrancisco2012

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Filed under Cloud, Cloud/SOA, Data management, Enterprise Architecture, Enterprise Transformation, Semantic Interoperability, Standards