Friday, August 7, 2009

Cloud pushes enterprise architects' role beyond IT into business process optimization czar

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Download or view the transcript. Sponsor: The Open Group.

Welcome to a special sponsored podcast discussion coming from The Open Group’s 23rd Enterprise Architecture Practitioners Conference in Toronto. This podcast, part of a series from the July 2009 event, centers on the fast-changing role and expanding impact of enterprise architecture (EA).

The enterprise architect role is in flux, especially as we consider the heightening interest in cloud computing. The down economy has also focused IT spending to seek out faster, better, and cheaper means to acquire and manage IT functions and business processes.

As service components shift in their origins and delivery models, the task of meeting or exceeding business requirements based on these services becomes all the more complicated. Business outcomes and business processes become the focus, yet they may span many aspects of IT, service providers and the business units and partners/suppliers involved.

The new services era calls for powerful architects who can define, govern, and adjust all of the necessary ingredients. This new process czar role must creatively support and improve a business process lifecycle over many years.

Yet who or what will step into this gulf between the traditional means of IT and the new cloud ecology of services? The architect's role, still a work in progress at many enterprises, may well become the key office where the buck stops in this new era.

What then should be the role, and therefore what is the new opportunity for enterprise architects? Here to lead the way in understanding the evolving EA issue, we're joined by our panel, Tim Westbrock, managing director of EAdirections; Sandy Kemsley, an independent IT analyst and architect; and John Gotze, international president for the Association of Enterprise Architects. The discussion is moderated by me, BriefingsDirect's Dana Gardner.

Here are some excerpts:
Kemsley: I work a lot with companies to help them implement business process management (BPM) solutions, so I get involved in architecture things, because you're touching all parts of the organization. ... A lot of very tactical solution architects are working on a particular project, but they're not thinking about the bigger picture.

... In many organizations, architecture is not done all that well. It's done on an ad hoc basis. It's done at more of the deep technical level. I can understand why the anti-architecture people get frustrated with that type of architecture, because it's not really EA.

Westbrock: The more strategic enterprise architects depend on the strategic nature of the executives of the organization. If we're going to bring it into layers of abstraction, they don't go more than a layer or two down from strategy. ... One of the good transformations, or evolutionary steps that I have seen in enterprise architects is less of a technology-only focus. Enterprise architect used to be synonymous with some kind of a technology architect, a platform architect, or a network architect, and now you are seeing broader enterprise architects.

Gotze: [The down economy] is helping to change the focus in EA from the more tactical to the more strategical issues. I've seen this downturn in the economy before. It's reinforcing the changes in the discipline, and EA is becoming more and more of a strategic effort in the enterprise.

There are some who call us enterprise architects by profession, and this group at The Open Group conference is primarily people who are practitioners as enterprise architects. But, the role of EA is widening, and, by and large, I would say the chief executive is also an enterprise architect, especially with the downturn.

Westbrock: I still don't think business architecture is within the domain of most IT enterprise architects. ... There are some different drivers that are getting some organizations to think more holistically about how the business operates. ... Modeling means we need architects. We're getting involved in some of these more transformational elements, and because of that, need to look at the business. As that evolves more, you might see more business ownership of enterprise architects. I don't see it a lot right now.

Kemsley: In many of the companies that I work with ... there is this struggle between the IT architects and/or the enterprise architects, who are really IT architects, looking at, how we need to bring things in from the cloud and how we need to make use of services outside.

They're vowing to have all of that come through IT, through the technology side. This puts a huge amount of overhead on it, both from a governance standpoint, but also from an operational standpoint. That's causing a lot of issues. If you don't get EA out of IT, you're going to have those issues as you start going outside the organization [for services].

... It's the ones who are starting to regenerate their architect community internally -- both with business architects and with architects on the IT side -- who can bring these ideas about cloud computing. [It's about] using business process modeling notation (BPMN) that can be done by the business architects and even business people, as opposed to having all of that type of work done in the IT area.

Gotze: The IT department will not disappear, of course. It's naive to say that IT doesn't matter. It's not the point that IT is irrelevant or anything, but it's the emphasis on the strategic benefits for the enterprise.

The whole notion of business-IT alignment ... is yesterday's concern. Now it's more about thinking about the coherent enterprise, that everything should fit together. It's not just alignment. You can have perfectly well aligned systems and processes, without having a coherent enterprise. So, the focus basically must be on coherency in the enterprise.

Westbrock: I don't think that this is a new problem. ... The difference between '80s and '90s and now is that it's not a chain with seven big links. It's an intricate network with hundreds, if not thousands of pieces. ... That adds complexity an element of governance that we need to mature toward. ... Where is that expertise going to come from? How are we going to capture which vendors that popped up this week are still going to be around next week?

Kemsley: The ones that can handle this new world of complexity well are ones that can bring some of the older aspects of governance, because you still have to worry about the legacy systems and all of the things that you have internally. You're not going to throw that stuff away tomorrow and bring in some completely new architecture. But, you need to start bringing in these new ideas.

Gotze: There will be a standardization and certification [process for architects]. That will not go away. ... [But it's at] the strategic level of architecture where you must have an emphasis on innovation and diversity to make it work.

... It will be some kind of hybrid model. Look at how government is working with it.

What's missing is somebody with this portfolio, meaning holistic, enterprise-wide view of what services we need, what services we have, where we can go get other services -- basically the services portfolio. Enterprise architects are uniquely positioned to do that justice.

They are enterprises after all -- it's not just the private sector. There's much more emphasis in government about getting all the agencies and departments to work together and to understand each other.

Westbrock: We're still decades away from any kind of maturity in the business architecture space, whether that be method, process, or organization. But, we're now at the point where more standardization in the applications or solutions and the data or information layers is going to help us with this particular challenge that's facing enterprise architects.

... I don’t think that the expectations for most enterprise architects are to enable business transformation. In most organizations that I deal with it’s to help with better solutions here and there. It’s to do some technology research and mash it up against business capabilities. It’s not this grand vision that I think most of us have as enterprise architects in the profession of what we can accomplish.

Kemsley: I don’t see the business leadership clamoring to take over architecture anytime soon. ... You're not going to get the CEO coming in and saying on day one, "Oh, I want to takeover that architecture stuff."

Gotze: That’s also because we in the profession have managed to create a vocabulary that's nearly impossible-to-understand for people outside the profession. I think the executive leadership will want to take over the work that the strategic EA is doing. They might not call it EA, but they will be the ultimate architect. The CEO is the ultimate chief architect for a forward-looking and innovative enterprise.

Kemsley: We have to learn to use EA power for good, rather than evil, though. In a lot of cases, it’s just about implementation. It’s sort of downward looking. Enterprise architects tend to look down into the layers rather than, as Tim was saying, feed it back up to the layers above that.

Westbrock: When we talk to folks about the kinds of capabilities, skills, and credentials that they're looking for in enterprise architects, deep technical ability is nowhere on the list. It's not because that deep technical ability is not useful. It's because generally people that are performing those deep technical task lack the breadth of experience that make enterprise architects good.

They have that deep technical knowledge, because they've done that a long time. They've become experts in that silo. ... [But] the folks that are going to be called to function as enterprise architects are folks that need a much broader set of skills and experience.

Gotze: I agree. The deep technical skills will come way down the list. Communication is very high on the list -- understanding, contracting, and so on, because we have the cloud and similar stuff also very high on the list.

Westbrock: The folks that have been successful are the ones that take the time to do two things. They build artifacts and processes that work down, they build artifacts and processes that work up, and they realize that they're different. You don't build an artifact for a developer and take that to a member of the board. You don't build project design review processes and then say, "Okay, we're going to apply that same process at the portfolio level or at the department level."

We don't have communication strategies that are going to facilitate the broadcast of results to the people that use the standards, and then use the same strategy and modes of communication for attaining strategic understanding of business drivers. It's really been a separation, knowing that there's a whole different set of languages and models and artifacts that we need here and a whole different set here.

... There is a huge opportunity for enterprise architects relative to not just the cloud. The cloud is just one more of the enablers of service orientation, not SOA, but service orientation.

Somebody needs to own the services portfolio. Maybe we're going to call them the "Chief Services Architect." I don't know. But, what I see in so many organizations is service oriented infrastructure being controlled by one group, doing a good job of putting in place the kinds of foundational elements that we need to be able to do service orientation.

What's missing is somebody with this portfolio, meaning holistic, enterprise-wide view of what services we need, what services we have, where we can go get other services -- basically the services portfolio. Enterprise architects are uniquely positioned to do that justice.
Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Download or view the transcript. Sponsor: The Open Group.

Information management targets e-discovery, compliance, legal risks while delivering long-term BI and governance benefits

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Download or view the transcript. Learn more. Sponsor: Hewlett Packard.

Losing control over information sprawl at enterprises can cause long-term inefficiencies. But it's the short-term legal headaches of not being prepared for E-discovery requests that have caught many firms off-guard.

Potentially massive savings can be had from thwarting legal discovery fulfillment problems in advance by governing and managing information. In a sponsored podcast, I recently examined how the well-managed -- versus the haphazard -- information oversight approach reduces legal risks. Yet these same management lifecycle approaches bring long-term payoffs through better analytics, and regulatory compliance, while reducing the cost of data storage and archiving.

Better understand the perils and promise around information management with guests Jonathan Martin, Vice President and General Manager for Information Management at HP, and Gaynelle Jones, Discovery Counsel at HP. The discussion is moderated by me, BriefingsDirect's Dana Gardner.

Here are some excerpts:
Martin: Over the last five to 10 years, we've become increasingly addicted to information, both at home and at work. ... and the size of it is beginning to really impact businesses. This trend is that information tends to either double every year in developing countries, and tends to double about every 18 months in developed organizations. Today, we're creating more information than we have ever created before, and we tend to be using limited tools to manage that information.

We're getting less business value from the information that we create. ... Unfortunately, in the last 18 months or so, the economy has begun to slow down, so that concept of just throwing more and more capacity at the problem is causing challenges for organizations. Today, organizations aren't looking at expanding the amount of information that's stored. They're actually looking at new ways to reduce the amount of information.

Coming into 2010, both in the US and in Europe, there is going to be a new wave of a regulation that organizations are going to have to take on board about how they manage their business information.

Jones: Because we have black-letter law that computerized data is discoverable if relevant, and because of the enormous amount of electronic information that we are dealing with, litigants have to be concerned with discovery, in identifying and producing it, and making sure it's admissible.

I'm charged here [at HP] with developing and working with both the IT and the litigation teams around making sure that we are compliant, and that we respond quickly to identify our electronically stored information, and that we get it in a form that can be produced in the litigation.

There are horror stories that have been in the news in recent years around major companies such as Morgan Stanley, Enron, Qualcomm and a host of others being sanctioned for not following and complying properly with the discovery rules. ... In each case, companies failed to properly implement litigation rules, directly pointing to their failure to properly manage their electronic information. So the sanctions and the penalties can be enormous if we don't get a hold of this and comply.

We've seen, over the last few years, organizations move from taking a very reactive approach on these kinds of issues to a more proactive or more of a robust approach.

Martin: You have to be able to identify and manage the information and think

Over the last two to three years, organizations have begun to take a more proactive approach.

ahead about where you're likely to have to pull it in and produce it, and make a plan for addressing these issues before you have to actually respond. When you're managing a lot of litigation, you have to respond in a quick timeframe, by law. You don't have time to then sit down and draw up your plan.

[Not being prepared] makes the process at least twice as expensive, than if you've planned ahead, strategized, and know where your information was, so that when the time comes, you could find it and preserve it and produce it.

Over the last two to three years, organizations have begun to take a more proactive approach. They're gathering the content that's most likely to be used in an audit, or that's most likely to be used in a legal matter, and consolidating that into one location. They're indexing it in the same way and setting a retention schedule for it, so that when they're required to respond to litigation or are required to respond to an audit or a governance request, all the information is in one place. They can search it very quickly.

At first, the problem statement may look absolutely enormous. ... What we're seeing, though, is that organizations that went through this shift from reactive to proactive two to three years ago have actually generated a new asset within the organization. ... They ultimately end up with a brand-new repository in the organization that can help them make better business decisions, leveraging the majority of the content that the organization creates.

If you logically think through the process, as an organization, you are taking a more proactive stance. You're capturing all of those emails, you're capturing content from file systems and your [Microsoft] SharePoint systems. You're pulling sales orders. You get purchase request from your database environment. You're consolidating maybe miles and miles of paper into a digital form and bringing all of this content into one compliance archive.

This information is in one place. If you're able to add better classification of the content, a better way of a layer of meaning to the content, suddenly you have a tool in place that allows you to analyze the information in the organization, model information in the organization, and use this information to make better business decisions.

The final step, once you've got all that content in one place, is to add a layer of analytic or modeling capability to allow you to manipulate that content and respond quickly to a subpoena or an audit request.

Jones: We're working right now on putting an evidence repository in place, so that

So we're seeing either top-down or grassroots-up content moving into the cloud. From a regulatory perspective, a governance perspective, or a legal perspective, this has new implications for the organizations.

we can collect information that's been identified, bring it over, and then search on it. So, you can do early electronic searches, do some of the de-duping that Jonathan has talked about, and get some early case assessment.

Our counsel can find out quickly what kind of emails we've got and get a sense of what the case is worth long before we have to collect it and turn it over to our outside vendors for processing. That's where we're moving at this point.

We think it's going to have tremendous benefit for us in terms of getting on top of our litigation early on, reducing the cost of the data that we end up sending outside for processing, and of course, saving cost across the board, because we can do so much of it through our own management systems, when they're in place. We're really anxious and excited to see how this is going to help us in our overall litigation strategy and in our cost.

Martin: Increasingly, we're seeing more and more content move into the cloud. This is may be coming from a top-down initiative, or from a cost or capability perspective. Organizations are saying, "Maybe it's no longer cost effective for us to run an email environment internally. What we'd like to do is put that into the cloud, be able to manage email in the cloud, or have our email managed in the cloud.”

Or, it may come from the grassroots, bottom up, where employees, when they come to work, are beginning to act more and more like consumers. They bring consumer-type technology with them, something like Facebook or social networking sites. They're coming to the organization to set up a project team and to set up a Facebook community, and they collaborate using that.

So we're seeing either top-down or grassroots-up content moving into the cloud. From a regulatory perspective, a governance perspective, or a legal perspective, this has new implications for the organizations. A lot of organizations are struggling a little bit on how do they respond to that.

... How do you discover this content, how are you required to capture this content, or are they the same, legal obligations, the content that's inside your data center of this various IT data centers? How do you address applications, maybe mashups, where content may be spread across 20 to 30 different data centers. It's a whole new vista of issues that are beginning to appear as content moves into the cloud.

Jones: The courts haven't yet addressed the cloud era, but it's going to definitely be one for which we're going to have to have a plan in place. The sooner you start being aware of it, asking the questions, and developing a strategy, the better. Once again, you're not being reactive and, hopefully, you're saving money in the process.

Martin: Probably one of the best ways to learn is from the experience of others. We've invested quite heavily over the last year in building a community for the uses of our products, as well as the potential use of our products, to share best practices and ideas around this concept of information and governance that we've been talking about today, as well as just broader information management issues.

There is a website, If you go there, you'll see lots of information from former users about how they're using their technology.
Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Download or view the transcript. Learn more. Sponsor: Hewlett Packard.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Letterman's job remains safe as HP goes to top 10 list hijinks on server virtualization management

Is server virtualization sprawl a laughing matter? Do the pains of IT platform architects and administrators matter so little that world's largest technology company by revenue can poke fun at their daily challenges?

Apparently so. Taking a page from late-night comedians -- and the expected viral repurposing effects of such blogs like Huffington Post -- HP's virtualization marketers have swapped speeds-and-feeds brochures for self-deprecating cheap shots at corporate polyester ties.

It's all in the name of educating the IT community on virtualization best practices, and for the most part it works. [Disclosure: HP is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.] Not as well as my podcasts, mind you, but it works.

Posted on YouTube, HP with its "HPEN Top Ten," clip has spoofed the satirists. Usually Top Ten lists apply to areas of politics or entertainment -- but, honestly, most of the IT departments I've visited have plenty of both. So it's actually quite appropriate after all.

The next thing you know chubby, white, middle-aged bald guys will be stereotyped as IT industry analysts.

Starring Shay Mowlem, Strategic Marketing Lead, HP Software & Solutions, (as the sidekick musician), the video also features Mark Leake, Director, Portfolio & Executive Content, HP Software Products.

And what makes our dynamic duo fun and interesting to watch? None other than the "Top Ten Reasons that Customers Need HP Virtualization Management Solutions" ...

10) They have no idea how many virtual machines (VMs) they have

9) They have more management tools than staff

8) It takes 2 minutes to provision a VM and 2 weeks to provision its storage

7) They're drowning in new platforms and technologies

6) Virtual machines are up; user satisfaction is down

5) They are experiencing backup traffic jams in their network

4) Their VMs have gone prime time

3) They can't tell which business service their VM is supporting

2) Their auditors are starting to ask questions

1) Because VMware, Citrix, Microsoft and all the other partners say so

The video is better than the read, I have to say, but only virtually so. Check it out. And let me know, honestly, wouldn't you prefer the speeds-and-feeds brochures again?

Monday, August 3, 2009

WebLayers sets sights on cloud governance with updated WebLayers Center 5.0

For all the buzz about cloud computing, there remains a key challenge for companies: regulatory compliance and governance issues.

Left unaddressed, these issues could derail the long-term growth of cloud adoption. That's why more companies are coming to market with ever-evolving solutions that aim to take the pain out of controlling the cloud.

Now, Cambridge, Mass.-based WebLayers just updated its flagship automated governance software, WebLayers Center 5.0, with new features that aim to mitigate the risk and cut the costs of developing in the cloud.

From extended support for Eclipse-based integrated development environment (IDE) to a deeper policy library and from "what if" scenarios to tighter integration with IBM and HP governance software, WebLayers Center 5.0 offers a solution worth exploring for policy enforcement across service-oriented architecture (SOA) and related IT architectures.

Consistent, Measurable, Auditible

John Favazza, vice president of engineering at WebLayers, said governance is transforming from an option to a necessity. It's a necessity because governance can proactively identify and address policy violations in the software development life cycle (SDCL) before they make a negative impact on business operations.

"This necessity is due to the realization that the cost of fixing software code after it’s been deployed can be 50 to 200 times higher than if the issues were addressed as the code was being written by the software developer," Favazza says. "WebLayers Center 5.0 mitigates these risks and reduces unnecessary development costs resulting in greater cost efficiencies.”

WebLayers' approach centralizes policy management and distributes policy enforcement to support automated governance at every point in the infrastructure and across all platforms throughout the SDLC. As WebLayers sees it, distributed governance is a key to breeding a distributed-centric environment and intelligent automation via rules-based logic are a key to reducing errors while meeting business goals. I might call it federated governance, but the point is the same and will be critical to master going forward.

WebLayers 5.0 in Action

WebLayers 5.0's intelligent automated governors work to pinpoint all of the artifacts throughout the infrastructure that are related to a low security score and let the software developer and the SOA architect know specifically where code violates development policies or business rules.

WebLayers Center then picks up where the automated governors leave off, guiding the developer on

"This necessity is due to the realization that the cost of fixing software code after it’s been deployed can be 50 to 200 times higher than if the issues were addressed as the code was being written by the software developer."

the path to address issues no matter where they occur or in what phase they appear in the SDLC. WebLayers Center includes an auto correct feature to correct the violations so developers don't have to review entire applications. It's easy to see how this capability would reduce overall software development errors, lessen learning curves and even accelerate the return on SOA investments.

On the policy distribution front, WebLayers new node director captures a snapshot of each governance point within the enterprise so the manager can distribute recommended policies to any governed system – including each developer's desktop – for knowledge sharing and time savings across the SLDC.

While the debate on the best way to achieve cloud governance continues, the progress toward automated identification and correction and stronger distribution capabilities is a step in the right direction. With a growing list of competitors seeking to solve a real cloud computing challenge, we should see plenty of innovation in this space in the years ahead.

BriefingsDirect contributor Jennifer LeClaire provided editorial assistance and research on this post. She can be reached here and here.