Which Enterprise Architect did you mean?

The IT industry has a magnificent history of appropriating titles and then through the process of demand outstripping supply, diluting the skills and requirements for those roles to a new lowest common denominator based average.

Continue reading “Which Enterprise Architect did you mean?”

The Fool, the JourneyMan, and the Expert

Whether I talk about my earliest stints as a masseuse, my forays into agriculture, professional photography, or the mainstay of my employment, the Business Information Systems and Technology fields — for much of my working life, I have been teetering on the see-saw of comparative knowledge.

Continue reading “The Fool, the JourneyMan, and the Expert”

Is EA broken? Does EA have value?

These are the questions de jour on many forums, in recent trade articles and across the LinkedIn environment. It would be easy to simply respond with “no” and move on, but nobody has time for such a short response, so this longer response is required.

I have always been a huge fan of utilising analogies to explain concepts, so I shall not deviate from my previously successful actions and do the same here by exploring EA via the analogy of a Marketing Plan.

I doubt anyone would disagree these days that any corporation should operate without a Marketing Plan and that as such, any efforts expanded by a corporation would otherwise, at best, be considered ad-hoc and, at worst, wasteful and disorganised.

A Plan is, according to many dictionaries, defined as “a scheme, program, or method worked out beforehand for the accomplishment of an objective”.

A marketing plan is not a spreadsheet of activities. It’s not an editorial calendar. It’s not a list of surveys, research assignments and campaigns. It’s not a budget or set of goals. It isn’t a set of articles or models from McKinsey. It isn’t something you think you have in your head.
It is a strategy.
It helps focus resources.
It is a plan for activities that stimulate objectives – like sales and growth.

The planning process helps you to understand the different factors that may affect your success. The process of creating a strategy plan involves three steps:

  1. An analysis of the firm’s internal and external environments;
  2. A decision on the what to emphasise and project; and
  3. The selection of action plans to guide the enterprise.

The very first, and arguably most important step, is to perform research and analysis of your business and the market it serves. Once you are confident that you know your business, your market and what you have to offer – then define your goals. With your goals in sight, you will then need to determine the guidance and tactics you will undertake in order to achieve them. Ideally, by mapping them into your landscape via some situational awareness.

Now, instead of worrying about the future, you actually have a sense of control over your direction, because your decisions, and any unexpected issues, are guided by an overall map and strategy governance.

This is as true for Marketing plans as it is Enterprise Strategies.

Throughout the processes of creating, implementing and evaluating your plan, it is important to realise just how valuable mapping and planning is for your company.

The secondary question of frameworks, methods or schools of thought are, to my mind, of little consequence in the overall argument. No amount of textbook correct implementation of FEAF, Zachman or <insert sparkly-new-fandangled framework here> is of any use if it does not produce – and communicate – a plan.

An Enterprise Architecture, just like a Marketing Plan, is a strategy that functions as a blueprint for everyone within the organisation to not simply see, but also to be guided by and follow. The company as a whole will know in what direction it is going – thus causing energy and efforts to be amalgamated and focused.

If you are not doing this as an EA, then yes, I may be inclined to agree that you are the problem and, by extension, your company is likely to believe that EA holds no value.

Whilst I may disagree with a few of the definitions spouted by many respondents and claimants of expertise across the many forums and articles I have read, my initial yardstick of measure will be the success the communication of “the plan” has had on the non-IT departments of the corporation – namely the support they offer and the amalgamated effort that is spent by those departments in aiming to achieve its success.

Implementing a Corporate EA training capability framework?

This is a rambling entry, because one of my biggest issues is that my brain is always churning. I have thoughts that keep cycling, re-cycling and uncovering new stones ad infinitum. So sometimes, when it comes to writing – my thought processes makes it impossible to provide any form of standardised flow of defined structure. So, I’m not going to bother Continue reading “Implementing a Corporate EA training capability framework?”

The semi-regular review of my personal cloud apps

Last time I updated this was back in 2012, so, I guess it’s about time …

So, what’s changed?

Well, I still utilise Android as my phone OS of choice, I still have the iPad bought back then, but I haven’t updated it, and when it dies, I am unlikely to replace it – or if I do, it may be an Android device it is replaced with.

I considered buying a surface or Samsung Note to go BYOD, but in the end decided none of those options had the level of processing and memory capacity I required for some of the DABI tasks I undertook, thus I chose to upcycle my early-2011 17″ Macbook Pro by adding a 1TB SSD and 16GB RAM to it, upgrading to Yosemite and Parallels 10 to run a Windows 7 VM for use with work based apps such as Lotus Notes, MS Office and MS Sharepoint tools.  This has been a rather satisfactory result.

I have been making a concerted effort to evaluate the differing cloud based application offerings – choosing those that offered a good mix of bang-for-buck, cross-platform compatibility,  security and ease of use. Thus some of my offering choices have changed. 

  • eMail is maintained via the Google Mail & App Services which is still the no brainer choice here. The continued improvements of the integrated Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Drive and if you are inclined, hangouts and plus,  The implementation of inbox is also making this a choice of preference for another year. I just wish they would allow inbox to become the one window view to all my accounts, not just one eMail address at a time.
  • Storage is something that has undergone a number of contenders over the last few years. I was a fan of Dropbox, but then SugarSync stole my heart. Then I flirted and had serious affairs with Cubby and Box.com but in the end, I started forking out my hard earned dollars to TresorIT. Built for security, it offers a range of ACL options, the ability to selectively sync folders between devices, the ability to implement two-factor authentication, the ability to utilise groups and policies, IP Filtering, Device management, DRM … well, you get the idea – plus they are constantly tryinbg to improve and add new features, which is nice.
  • Evernote : It’s a constant for me – I was introduced to the application back in the day when it was still a thick client that had just introduced a “run on USB” portable option. It is the next best solution for keeping all your ‘business’ in one place. It has replaced Pocket, Reader and Instapaper for my “read it later” functions and now it is lIke a digital memory box – with OCR, camera, handwriting and audio notes, plus and an ever increasing set of capabilities that makes it hard to leave the platform. In fact, when I looked at onenote as part of the (workplace) desktop SOE, I decided that I would need IFTTT to have a better connector to send my content back into Evernote.
  • The Chrome browser : A few years ago, I was using the “Chrome to Phone” and  “Phone to Chrome” as well as the XMARKS bookmark sync engine. Frankly though, simply utilising Chrome on all of my devices allows me to synchronise bookmarks, form data, tabs and even push pages to a specific mobile device. It has all but become a cloud based browser. Though, with the known memory leak issues of Chrome on Windows, I can understand why people are starting to get annoyed with it.
  • LastPass : The “last password you need to remember” password managment system that integrates across devices, browsers and is cloud accessible. Plus the secure notes feature now allows you to add attachments (images, pdf, etc) to them, making it a great way to photograph all of your IDs, cards, passports, etc and keep them lockd behind a two-factor authentication and the best part is, this “premium” feature costs all of $12/year!
  • Whilst I like the google Doc options, the CloudOn service when I originally discovered it a few years back was a cloud based MS Word, Excel and Powerpoint service that was not just “compatible” but was an actual MS Office environment. However, since then it has reinvented itself into a Simple, Powerful Doc Editor. It’s nice, but it’s not what I wanted, but essentially, I guess the O365 made the original venture uncompetitive. This has led me to need to look at this arena again. For 90% of my document writing, editing and presentation needs, the Google offerings are fine. Yet, nothing I have found (yet) is as powerful as excel for the DABI that I do. The range of array formulas and index lookups I perform on even my simplest sheets is enough to drain most machines into a paging frenzy – so for now, excel must remain a thick client.
  • The demise of the google reader left a few of us in the lurch. There were a number of contenders for replacement, but in the end, Flipboard became my default reader. RSS feeds aren’t as simple to feed into it, but via various methods, they can still be fed into your account, plus, if you’re so inclined, you can create your own flipboard magazine to keep articles of interest on for yourself or to share with your friends.
  • Task managment is somethign I am still flipping between with Any.do and Google.Tasks both leapfrogging each other every six months or so to become my flavour of the month, as it were. I’m not sure which one will win out in the end.

So, other than the LIMA I am expecting to receive when it exits beta next year, then that’s it for now. I may not end up getting a new PC or laptop in a few years, the new QNAP devices are now offering virtualisation engines and the ability to plug a keyboard, mouse and HDMI device directly into them to utilise VMs directly when at home, and with a good tablet, remote access to them will also be a breeze.

So, once again, So, that’s my list for now … what else is out there that you’d recommend? If so, let me know, otherwise, untill next time.

Disruptive Palooza : Possibilities, Futures and Predictions

 

I started this blog entry no fewer than ten times in the last three months. I have tried under a range of titles and verbosity to map out my thoughts on the overall complexities of the roles of Enterprise Architects, and how that also comes with connotations and expectations that include the need to be a balanced mix of Consultants, Analysts, Forecasters, Futurists, Thought Leaders, Visionaries …

Yet, whilst we are meant to have those answers, we are still being asked to “shoot behind the duck” as we manage implementations, offerings and solutions that have passed their hype cycle climbs and peaks. Just like a perfect bowl of morning cereal, we are meant to wake up on the dawn of an engagement, be able to pour out a balance of business wholesomeness, technical nutrition and financial tastiness to provide the kick start needed. We’re meant to have the answers to be not too heavy on the legacy and not too light on the predictions, all while being “Just Right”. Continue reading “Disruptive Palooza : Possibilities, Futures and Predictions”

expanding the synaptic roadmaps

The value of maths problems from those mathematics classes when we were at school was not about whether you would ever use them in real life (though I have in some of the strangest ways!) but the fact that it rewires your wetworks.

The value of maths problems from those mathematics classes when we were at school was not about whether you would ever use them in real life (though I have in some of the strangest ways!) but that it rewires your wetworks.

The same, I believe, goes with expanding your general knowledge of a field outside of the one you are in.

As a general rule, I think we tend to either stick to what we know, and learning tends to be within the scope of the general field we are in. It’s natural, and it’s normal, and it occurs in every industry with every skill set.

Ever notice how after a couple of weeks, any new exercises or physical activities you take become easier? If you were trying to lose weight, you’ll notice it’s about this time that the impact starts dropping off. It’s because our bodies are designed to increase efficiency. Just like our muscles, our minds will find ways to become efficient in the areas we use most.

To increase the ability to make a bigger impact and train our muscles (or synapses) to be able to handle more, we need to keep changing gears and exercises. This is one reason I continue down this philosophy of reading a great variety of topics and challenging myself to learn something new everyday.. I see it as a way to keep training my brain to be fit. Different paths to think, different ways to see a problem. Different ways to a solution.

That said, I am also lazy. I am. I tend to recycle work, re-use and re-post. A comment I made on the workplace collaboration site gets sanitised and reposted on one of my social networks, and sometimes the opposite happens.

I was asked after one such status cross-post (Thinking is difficult; That’s why most people judge” — Carl Jung) to recommend a reading list. So, I present my leveraged post from that network to here as this weeks blog entry.

Any chance of a reading list?

You know, this is a really hard thing for me. It’s like saying, any chance of recommending your favourite oxygen particles? I am reminded of a quote by Maud Casey

I was born with a reading list I will never finish.

So, where do I start? This is going to take a while …

One of the greatest rewards of a reading life is discovery and I think it’s important that you go through the process of exploration and discovery … and sometimes, just read the books that happen to find their own way into your hands. Continue reading “expanding the synaptic roadmaps”