By The Open Group Conference Team
Yesterday concluded The Open Group Conference San Francisco. Key themes that stood out on Day 3, as well as throughout the conference, included the need for a better understanding of business expectations and existing structures.
Jason Bloomberg, president of ZapThink, began his presentation by using an illustration of a plate of spaghetti and drawing an analogy to Cloud Computing. He compared spaghetti to legacy applications and displayed the way that enterprises are currently moving to the Cloud – by taking the plate of spaghetti and physically putting it in the Cloud.
A lot of companies that have adopted Cloud Computing have done so without a comprehensive understanding of their current organization and enterprise assets, according to Mr. Bloomberg. A legacy application that is not engineered to operate in the Cloud will not yield the hyped benefits of elasticity and infinite scalability. And Cloud adoption without well thought-out objectives will never reach the vague goals of “better ROI” or “reduced costs.”
Mr. Bloomberg urged the audience to start with the business problem in order to understand what the right adoption will be for your enterprise. He argued that it’s crucial to think about the question “What does your application require?” Do you require Scalability? Elasticity? A private, public or hybrid Cloud? Without knowing a business’s expected outcomes, enterprise architects will be hard pressed to help them achieve their goals.
Understand your environment
Chris Lockhart, consultant at Working Title Management & Technology Consultants, shared his experiences helping a Fortune 25 company with an outdated technology model support Cloud-centric services. Lockhart noted that for many large companies, Cloud has been the fix-it solution for poorly architected enterprises. But often times after the business tells architects to build a model for cloud adoption, the plan presented and the business expectations do not align.
After working on this project Mr. Lockhart learned that the greatest problem for architects is “people with unset and unmanaged expectations.” After the Enterprise Architecture team realized that they had limited power with their recommendations and strategic roadmaps, they acted as negotiators, often facilitating communication between different departments within the business. This is where architects began to display their true value to the organization, illustrated by the following statement made by a business executive within the organization: “Architects are seen as being balanced and rounded individuals who combine a creative approach with a caring, thoughtful disposition.”
The key takeaways from Mr. Lockhart’s experience were:
- Recognize the limitations
- Use the same language
- Work within existing structures
- Frameworks and models are important to a certain extent
- Don’t talk products
- Leave architectural purity in the ivory tower
- Don’t dictate – low threat level works better
- Recognize that EA doesn’t know everything
- Most of the work was dealing with people, not technology
Understand your Cloud Perspective
Steve Bennett, senior enterprise architect at Oracle, discussed the best way to approach Cloud Computing in his session, entitled “A Pragmatic Approach to Cloud Computing.” While architects understand and create value driven approaches, most customers simply don’t think this way, Mr. Bennett said. Often the business side of the enterprise hears about the revolutionary benefits of the Cloud, but they usually don’t take a pragmatic approach to implementing it.
Mr. Bennett went on to compare two types of Cloud adopters – the “Dilberts” and the “Neos” (from the Matrix). Dilberts often pursue monetary savings when moving to the Cloud and are late adopters, while Neos pursue business agility and can be described as early adopters, again highlighting the importance of understanding who is driving the implementation before architecting a plan.