Thursday, January 12, 2012

Case study: How professional services and portfolio management helped Nottingham Trent University transform IT

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod. Read a full transcript or download a copy. Sponsor: HP.

The latest BriefingsDirect case study podcast discussion centers on how Nottingham Trent University gained strategic operational efficiency and improved IT management.

A combination of professional services and portfolio management technologies allowed the 25,000-student university -- one of the U.K.’s largest -- to improve end-user satisfaction while freeing up IT resources to pursue additional technology innovation.

To learn more, BriefingsDirect brought together Ian Griffiths, Director of Strategic Partnerships at Nottingham Trent University, and Michael Garrett, Vice President of Professional Services for HP EMEA. The discussion was moderated by Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions. [Disclosure: HP is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

Here are some excerpts:
Gardner: What was the one glaring thing that needed to be changed when you began to think about improving how you did IT?

We were very, very good at moving forward and doing lots and lots of things, but delivering products at the end of that period was more difficult.

Griffiths: We were very, very good at moving forward and doing lots and lots of things, but delivering products at the end of that period was more difficult. We seemed to be running around in circles, and didn’t quite meet customers’ expectations. So we were doing a lot, working really hard, but not really delivering the last mile.

Gardner: Why did something like professional services become a priority for you?

Griffiths: We found that our processes were not really defined well enough. We really weren’t getting sign-off from the business, and the expectations were never really met. So it was clear that we were not doing something well, and we didn’t quite know what that was. And our teams within the department weren’t gelling that well together either.

Gardner: So perhaps having some outside additional authority and experience seemed to work for you?

Earlier attempt

Griffiths: Yes. That worked really well. We had had another attempt about 18 months before, and had some consultants in, but it didn’t really gel. We were aware that we had a partnership with HP, and HP Professional Services seemed a sensible way to go. But we were still doubtful as a management team within the university's Information Services (IS) Department whether it was really going to work. And we are very pleased with the outcome.

Gardner: Let’s learn about Nottingham Trent University. You’re in Nottinghamshire and you have 25,000 students. Tell us a bit more.

Griffiths: We’ve been a higher education establishment for about 160 years. We’re one of the biggest providers of "sandwich education," which means that students have two years at the university, a year in industry, and then a year at the university.

We're seen as a popular university that has good reputation for placing students at the end of their courses, and we got top of The Green Agenda twice in the last three years within the U.K. We have about 150 people working in the IS Department on three campuses and nine academic schools.

I have responsibility for the strategic partnership we have with companies and with firms. I have responsibility for the regional network within the East Midlands of the U.K., which is connecting all the universities in that region and all the further education colleges. And I also manage relationships with key suppliers, such as HP.

Gardner: Ian had a relationship with HP, but looked for something bigger.

Garrett: It’s often imagined that these organizations look to pure-play consulting organizations for that advisory activity. In Nottingham Trent’s situation they were willing to listen to a different type of vendor or organization in that space as to what they could offer in their approach. What’s different for HP Professional Services is that it forms part of HP’s Software organization. Our consulting capability is very focused on IT transformation, operations, organizations, and applications.

But it’s about bringing that into real practical use quickly with the support of technology. That's the real differentiator we wanted to bring to customers like Nottingham Trent, and hopefully that’s true with what we've seen in the practical implementation and the work we've done with them.

Gardner: Ian, how has this worked out for you?

Initial workshops

Griffiths: We had some initial workshops where all the senior management team of the IS Department worked with HP and looked at what we wanted to achieve, and looked at what the journey might look like to get there. I have to congratulate HP. They were able to get that team to gel together within IS in a way that we hadn’t before.

We spent a lot of time working together and working through the structure, the plan of the department, and what we called the "tube map" of the department. Everything, in a sense, was allowed. HP was very good at giving us a straw man to look at. In other words, giving those examples of what other companies have done, but forcing us to discuss them in detail and change them into what was right for Nottingham Trent.

They weren’t trying to sell the straw man, but were using the straw man as an example to move us forward, and it worked extremely well. Although there were some heated discussions amongst IS staff, HP was very good at facilitating those discussions.

We had to go back to the rest of the department to try not to force something new on people that, as far as they could see, had no relevance to the situations they were in. We had to find a way as well of getting the business to buy into our new methodology, getting the business to feel some ownership, and getting the business to make some decisions during the planning of projects and the ending of projects.

We had to find a way as well of getting the business to buy into our new methodology.

Garrett: It’s that level of being able to bring the input, the straw man, and then guide organizations around that model. To customize from scratch takes a great deal of time and can take too much energy and cost. What we’re trying to do is bring our method and models at the start point and then work in a very collaborative, but directed, way to get clients to a point, although, a configured approach rather than a completely dispersed approach.

Therefore, we get to things more quickly, but absolutely meet the requirement of the individual organization. We’ve got to appreciate they are different across different industries and different areas, and strong cultural alignment is critically important. We certainly saw that in this program.

Griffiths: The important thing again was that we were producing our outline, and that outline allowed us to go away and do a lot more detail later. In other words, we got the big picture agreed upon and then all the details were passed back to teams within the department to build up details in the areas where they had real knowledge of what happened.

Gardner: Was there a point at some time where you needed to get an understanding of where and what’s going on in order to know how to measure any improvement?

Define projects

Griffiths: An important step early on in this was beginning to define how many projects we were running as a department and to categorize work into projects that were developmental and projects that were more of the business-as-usual type.

We found in the end that we had over 100 projects running simultaneously. Some of those projects had been running for more than a year, some had no real defined endpoint, and the customer requirements weren’t documented in a thorough way.

It’s important to measure how many projects you’ve actually got, and actually have a start date and a planned finish date for them. One thing we learned was that 100 was too many for us to run, and we were able to cut down by finishing some off, to less than 50 that we have now.

Gardner: And what has that done now? What are some of the metrics of success by getting more of a handle over your portfolio and managing it?

We were actually delivering something that the customer was expecting.

Griffiths: Probably the biggest one is that projects are getting completed and the project didn’t become the be-all and end-all, and continue running forever. We were actually delivering something that the customer was expecting. And the customer, the student or the staff department, had a glow that they have had something delivered to them.

The student satisfaction with IS has gone up over the last two to three years. They're very happy with our technology and technology moving forward. But again, we found that people were happier with the delivery of an item, rather than as IS was before, striving for technical perfection.

Aiming at 50/50

Before, we had the figures of 80 percent [of IT projects] being used in the areas of business-as-usual, and only 20 percent in project and development work. We quickly moved to a 70/30 split and our target is to move towards 50 percent. We're not quite there yet, but we’re a lot more like 60 percent business as usual, 40 percent new development work.

It’s a virtuous cycle, and the other thing that is gained from that is appreciation amongst other departments within the university and with senior management with what IS was delivering, and getting them to prioritize what we did.

There was a problem, if we look back two or three years. IS very much decided what the priorities were. Now, the business is deciding and even deciding in the case that a project that was a favorite of a senior member of staff, he or she may decide that it no longer is a top priority, compared with other projects that needed to be delivered.

Gardner: Is there something about the products themselves, the portfolio management approach, that now allows the business side of the organization, the leadership in this case, to have more visibility or input? How were you able to get it?

There was a problem, if we look back two or three years. IS very much decided what the priorities were.

Griffiths: More visibility and more input. The example we always give is of a jam jar. You can keep putting rocks into a jam jar, but in the end, it becomes full. Unless you allow something to come out of that, nothing happens. So you’ve got to be able to allow things to finish and give you some capacity.

The other thing that I talked about was looking at the business benefits of everything we were doing and deciding the nice-to-haves probably weren't going to get prioritized at this stage.

We're using [the tube map] outside the department to make people realize that we are working to an operational framework. As such, we have them stuck up round the department. And in the rooms where we have project meetings, they exist as well. As to vocabulary, we have senior staff using the phrase "the gate," where approval has to be given. The business has to be involved in the approval and deciding what priorities it has at that stage.

Gardner: Ian is describing being able to double their innovation budget, cut their project numbers in half, get buy-in from leadership, a sense of cooperation across the organizational boundaries. Is this typical? How would you describe this in terms of the industry at large?

Typical situation

Garrett: It's a typical situation that we see in a lot of organizations, even in very mature, even global and enterprise organizations that struggle with these challenges of organizational alignment and processes to support that. Project selection identification and transitioning to survey is the common problem we see.

With Nottingham Trent, we regulated it very quickly through that organizational design, then into the process to support that, and then working out what are the catalog and services that they offer. How do we then build that into projects and programs and then manage that into service transition?

It's very common. We see it in a lot of places. More mature organizations believe they do this very effectively. Nottingham Trent acknowledged that they needed help. It probably put them ahead of a lot of other organizations, especially in university space, which is a fast moving sector in the U.K., to be able to do something that many other large organizations just can't do.

If you build the right organizational relationship and engagement model, you take the workshop approach that we have up front and take your organization through that, right through to something tangible that’s delivering the real outcome in the business that’s very visible and usable. I think that’s very different than having different organizations do different types of consulting.

There aren’t many organizations that have that breadth and scope of capability to take someone from conceptual situation right through to practical implementation of technology to support that problem.

Gardner: We've come back to this workshop concept several times in discussion, I think that it's called the Transformation Experience Workshop. Why is that so powerful?

Garrett: It's something we've used for a few years now, something we developed in-house and we see as a really effective mechanism. It starts off in a fairly classic way of where are we, the current state, looking at future state, and workshop of the organization through that. But it's done in a very live, interactive way.

So it's not a classic style workshop. We walk people around the room. We take them on a journey, and we bring them together through that process. As Ian said, if you didn’t attend the early workshop process, then you struggle sometimes to buy into it. It takes more time, and we end up reiterating things later on. The Transformation Experience Workshop is a way of bringing people together and bringing them around their own problems in a very active physical way.

We can do it in a small period of time, but usually people dedicate a day or so to that process. What they get out of it is that they bring themselves together around the challenges, the problems, and as Ian said, the quick wins, the things we can then go and address quickly. So it has a very different feel and a very different outcome than a classic workshop approach that many consulting firms have.

Gardner: And Ian, is this something now that you’re building on?

Griffiths: That's correct. We produced a lot of what we call Level 3 processes from this and we looked at what our customers felt. We found that we’re having regular discussions about how we can tweak the diagrams and the systems that we’ve got in place. We see it very much as a live document, a live methodology and we’re looking at ways we can improve as time goes on.

It's important that you have all your senior staff together designing the system from the start. We found that if people miss the early workshop, we tended to go back around the loop again. So I would say get your staff together and devote enough energy to it.

Feeling ownership

But don’t go into all the detail. Leave your staff on the ground, who’ve got more knowledge of the details inner workings of some elements of it, to do some work so they feel some ownership. And very quickly get an appreciation with your senior staff within your organization, not within IS, but from outside the IS department, of what you're doing and what you're trying to achieve.

But in the end, you need a few quick wins. In other words, if you can get a couple of projects working through the scheme quickly, people begin to think it's going to work.
Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod. Read a full transcript or download a copy. Sponsor: HP.

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Oracle fills another gap in its big data offering

This guest post comes courtesy of Tony Baer’s OnStrategies blog. Tony is a senior analyst at Ovum.

By Tony Baer

When we last left Oracle’s big data plans, there was definitely a missing piece. Oracle’s Big Data Appliance as initially disclosed at last fall’s OpenWorld was a vague plan that appeared to be positioned primarily as an appliance that would accompany and feed data to Exadata. Oracle did specify some utilities, such as an enterprise version of the open source R statistical processing program that was designed for multithreaded execution, plus a distribution of a NoSQL database based on Oracle’s BerkeleyDB as an alternative to Apache Hive. But the emphasis appeared to be extraction and transformation of data for Exadata via Oracle’s own utilities that were optimized for its platform.

With Oracle’s announcement of general availability of the big data appliance, it is filling in the blanks.

As such, Oracle’s plan for Hadoop was competition, not for Cloudera (or Hortonworks), which featured a full Apache Hadoop platform, but EMC, which offered a comparable, appliance-based strategy that pairs Hadoop with an Advanced SQL data store; and IBM, which took a different approach by emphasizing Hadoop as an analytics platform destination enhanced with text and predictive analytics engines, and other features such as unique query languages and file systems.

Oracle’s initial Hadoop blueprint lacked explicit support of many pieces of the Hadoop stack such as HBase, Hive, Pig, Zookeeper, and Avro. No more. With Oracle’s announcement of general availability of the big data appliance, it is filling in the blanks by disclosing that it is OEM’ing Cloudera’s CDH Hadoop distribution, and more importantly, the management tooling that is key to its revenue stream. For Oracle, OEM’ing Cloudera’s Hadoop offering fully fleshes out its Hadoop distribution and positions it as a full-fledged analytic platform in its own right; for Cloudera, the deal is a coup that will help establish its distribution as the reference. It is fully consistent with Cloudera’s goal to become the Red Hat of Hadoop as it does not aspire to spread its footprint into applications or frameworks.

Question of acquisition

Of course, whenever you put Oracle in the same sentence as OEM deal, the question of acquisition inevitably pops up. There are several reasons why an Oracle acquisition of Cloudera is unlikely.

  1. Little upside for Oracle. While Oracle likes to assert maximum control of the stack, from software to hardware, its foray into productizing its own support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux has been strictly defensive; its offering has not weakened Red Hat.

  2. Scant leverage. Compare Hadoop to MySQL and you have a Tale of Two Open Source projects. One is hosted and controlled by Apache, the other is hosted and controlled by Oracle. As a result, while Oracle can change licensing terms for MySQL, which it owns, it has no such control over Hadoop. Were Oracle to buy Cloudera, another provider could easily move in to fill the vacuum. The same would happen to Cloudera if, as a prelude to such a deal, it began forking from the Apache project with its own proprietary adds-ons or substitutions.

OEMs deals are a major stage of building the market. Cloudera has used its first mover advantage with Hadoop well with deals Dell, and now Oracle. Microsoft in turn has decided to keep the “competition” honest by signing up Hortonworks to (eventually) deliver the Hadoop engine for Azure.

The final piece of the trifecta will be commitments from the Accentures and Deloittes of the world to develop practices based on specific Hadoop platforms.

OEM deals are important for attaining another key goal in developing the Hadoop market: defining the core stack – as we’ve ranted about previously. Just as Linux took off once a robust kernel was defined, the script will be identical for Hadoop. With IBM and EMC/MapR forking the Apache stack at the core file system level, and with niche providers like Hadapt offering replacement for HBase and Hive, there is growing variability in the Hadoop stack. However, to develop the third party ecosystem that will be vital to the development of Hadoop, a common target (and APIs for where the forks occur) must emerge. A year from now, the outlines of the market’s decision on what makes Hadoop Hadoop will become clear.

The final piece of the trifecta will be commitments from the Accentures and Deloittes of the world to develop practices based on specific Hadoop platforms. For now they are still keeping their cards close to their vests.

This guest post comes courtesy of Tony Baer’s OnStrategies blog. Tony is a senior analyst at Ovum.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

MIT's Ross on how enterprise architecture and IT more than ever lead to business transformation

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod. Read a full transcript or download a copy. Sponsor: The Open Group.

This BriefingsDirect thought leadership interview comes in conjunction with The Open Group Conference this month in San Francisco.

The conference will focus on how IT and enterprise architecture support enterprise transformation. Speakers in conference events will also explore the latest in service oriented architecture (SOA), cloud computing, and security.

We’re now joined by one of the main speakers, Jeanne Ross, Director and Principal Research Scientist at the MIT Center for Information Systems Research. Jeanne studies how firms develop competitive advantage through the implementation and reuse of digitized platforms.

She is also the co-author of three books: IT Governance: How Top Performers Manage IT Decision Rights for Superior Results, Enterprise Architecture As Strategy: Creating a Foundation for Business Execution, and IT Savvy: What Top Executives Must Know to Go from Pain to Gain.

As a lead-in to her Open Group presentation on how adoption of enterprise architecture (EA) leads to greater efficiencies and better business agility, Ross explains how enterprise architects have helped lead the way to successful business transformations. The interview is moderated by Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions. [Disclosure: The Open Group is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

Here are some excerpts:

Gardner: How you measure or determine that enterprise architects and their practices are intrinsic to successful business transformations?

Ross: That’s a great question. Today, there remains kind of a leap of faith in recognizing that companies that are well-architected will, in fact, perform better, partly because you can be well-architected and perform badly. Or if we look at companies that are very young and have no competitors, they can be very poorly architected and achieve quite remarkably in the marketplace.

But what we can ascribe to architecture is that when companies have competition, then they can establish any kind of performance target they want, whether it’s faster revenue growth or better profitability, and then architect themselves so they can achieve their goals. Then, we can monitor that.

We do have evidence in repeated case studies of companies that set goals, defined an architecture, started to build the capabilities associated with that architecture, and did indeed improve their performance. We have wonderful case study results that should be very reaffirming. I accept that they are not conclusive.

Architectural maturity

We also have statistical support in some of the work we've done that shows that high performers in our sample of 102 companies, in fact, had greater architecture maturity. They had deployed a number of practices associated with good architecture.

Gardner: Is there something that’s new about this, rather than just trying to reengineer something?

Ross: Yes, the thing we're learning about enterprise architecture is that there's a cultural shift that takes place in an organization, when it commits to doing business in a new way, and that cultural shift starts with abandoning a culture of heroes and accepting a culture of discipline.

Nobody wants to get rid of the heroes in their company. Heroes are people who see a problem and solve it. But we do want to get past heroes sub-optimizing. What companies traditionally did before they started thinking about what architecture would mean, is they relied on individuals to do what seemed best and that clearly can sub-optimize in an environment that increasingly is global and requires things like a single face to the customer.
Nobody wants to get rid of the heroes in their company. Heroes are people who see a problem and solve it.

What we're trying to do is adopt a culture of discipline, where there are certain things that people throughout an enterprise understand are the way things need to be done, so that we actually can operate as an enterprise, not as individuals all trying to do the best thing based on our own experience.

The fundamental difference of being an architected firm is that there is some underlying discipline. I'll caution you that what tends to happen is great architects really embrace the discipline. They love the discipline. They understand the discipline, and there is a reluctance to accept that that’s not the only thing we need in our organization. There are times when ad hoc behaviors enable us to be much more innovative and much more responsive and they are exactly what we need to be doing.

So there is a cultural shift that is critical to understanding what it is to be architected. That’s the difference between a successful firm that’s successful because it hasn’t gotten into a world of really tough competition or restrictions on spending and things like that and an organization that is trying to compete in a global economy.

Gardner: What then is the proper role of the architect?

Ross: The architect plays a really critical role in representing the need for this discipline, for some standards in the organization, and for understanding the importance of shared definitions for data. The architect should be able to create a very constructive tension in the organization, and that’s the tension between individuality, innovation, local responsiveness, and the need for enterprise thinking, standardization, and discipline.

Normally, in most companies, the architect’s role will be the enforcer of discipline, standardization and enterprise thinking. ... We want to be architected enough to be efficient, to be able to reuse those things we need to reuse, to be agile, but we don’t want to start embracing architecture for architecture’s sake or discipline for discipline’s sake.
We don’t want to be a tightly architected organization, because tomorrow we're going to wake up and the world is going to change, and we have to be ready for that.

We really just need architecture to pull out unnecessary cost and to enable desirable reusability. And the architect is typically going to be the person representing that enterprise view and helping everyone understand the benefits of understanding that enterprise view, so that everybody who can easily or more easily see the local view is constantly working with architects to balance those two requirements.

Gardner: Is this a particularly good time, from your vantage point, to undertake enterprise architecture?

Ross: It’s a great time for most companies. There will be exceptions that I'll talk about in a minute. One thing we learned early on in the research is that companies who were best at adopting architecture and implementing it effectively had cost pressures. What happens when you have cost pressures is that you're forced to make tough decisions.

If you have all the money in the world, you're not forced to make tough decisions. Architecture is all about making tough decisions, understanding your tradeoffs, and recognizing that you're going to get some things that you want and you are going to sacrifice others.

If you don't see that, if you just say, "We're going to solve that by spending more money," it becomes nearly impossible to become architected. This is why investment banks are invariably very badly architected, and most people in investment banks are very aware of that. It’s just very hard to do anything other than say, "If that’s important to us, let’s spend more money and let’s get it." One thing you can't get by spending more money is discipline, and architecture is very tightly related to discipline.
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Tough decisions

In a tough economy, when competition is increasingly global and marketplaces are shifting, this ability to make tough decisions is going to be essential. Opportunities to save costs are going to be really valued, and architecture invariably helps companies save money. The ability to reuse, and thus rapidly seize the next related business opportunity, is also going to be highly valued.

The thing you have to be careful of is that if you see your markets disappearing, if your product is outdated, or your whole industry is being redefined, as we have seen in things like media, you have to be ready to innovate. Architecture can restrict your innovative gene, by saying, "Wait, wait, wait. We want to slow down. We want to do things on our platform." That can be very dangerous, if you are really facing disruptive technology or market changes.

So you always have to have that eye out there that says, "When is what we built that’s stable actually constraining us too much? When is it preventing important innovation?" For a lot of architects, that’s going to be tough, because you start to love the architecture, the standards, and the discipline. You love what you've created, but if it isn’t right for the market you're facing, you have to be ready to let it go and go seize the next opportunity.

Gardner: Perhaps this environment is the best of all worlds, because we have that discipline on the costs which forces hard decisions, as you say. We also have a lot of these innovative IT trends that would almost force you to look at doing things differently. I'm thinking again of cloud, mobile, the big data issues, and even social-media types of effects.

Ross: Absolutely. We should all look at it that way and say, "What a wonderful world we live in." One of the companies that I find quite remarkable in their ability to, on the one hand, embrace discipline and architecture, and on the other hand, constantly innovate, is USAA. I'm sure I'll talk about them a little bit at the conference.
This is a company that just totally understands the importance of discipline around customer service. They're off the charts in their customer satisfaction.

This is a company that just totally understands the importance of discipline around customer service. They're off the charts in their customer satisfaction.

They're a financial services institution. Most financial services institutions just drool over USAA’s customer satisfaction ratings, but they've done this by combining this idea of discipline around the customer. We have a single customer file. We have an enterprise view of that customer. We constantly standardize those practices and processes that will ensure that we understand the customer and we deliver the products and services they need. They have enormous discipline around these things.

Simultaneously, they have people working constantly around innovation. They were the first company to see the need for this deposit with your iPhone. Take a picture of your check and it’s automatically deposited into your account. They were nearly a year ahead of the next company that came up with that service.

The way they see it is that for any new technology that comes out, our customer will want to use it. We've got to be there the day after the technology comes out. They obviously haven't been able to achieve that, but that’s their goal. If they can make deals with R&D companies that are coming up with new technologies, they're going to make them, so that they can be ready with their product when the thing actually becomes commercial.

So it's certainly possible for a company to be both innovative and responsive to what’s going on in the technology world and disciplined and cost effective around customer service, order-to-cash, and those other underlying critical requirements in your organization. But it's not easy, and that's why USAA is quite remarkable. They've pulled it off and they are a lesson for many other companies.

Gardner: Is The Open Group a good forum for your message and your research, and if so, why?

Ross: The Open Group is great for me, because there is so much serious thinking in The Open Group about what architecture is, how it adds value, and how we do it well. For me to touch base with people in The Open Group is really valuable, and for me to touch base to share my research and hear the push back, the debate, or the value add is perfect, because these are people who are living it every day.

Major themes
Gardner: Are there any other major themes that you'll be discussing at the conference coming up that you might want to share with us?

Ross: One thing we have observed in our cases that is more and more important to architects is that the companies are struggling more than we realized with using their platforms well.

I'm not sure that architects or people in IT always see this. You build something that’s phenomenally good and appropriate for the business and then you just assume, that if you give them a little training, they'll use it well.

That’s actually been a remarkable struggle for organizations. One of our research projects right now is called "Working Smarter on Your Digitized Platform." When we go out, we find there aren't very many companies that have come anywhere close to leveraging their platforms the way they might have imagined and certainly the way an architect would have imagined.

It's harder than we thought. It requires persistent coaching. It's not about training, but persistent coaching. It requires enormous clarity of what the organization is trying to do, and organizations change fast. Clarity is a lot harder to achieve than we think it ought to be.
We find there aren't very many companies that have come anywhere close to leveraging their platforms the way they might have imagined and certainly the way an architect would have imagined.

The message for architects would be: here you are trying to get really good at being a great architect. To add value to your organization, you actually have to understand one more thing: how effectively are people in your company adopting the capabilities and leveraging them effectively? At some point, the value add of the architecture is diminished by the fact that people don't get it. They don’t understand what they should be able to do.

We're going to see architects spending a little more time understanding what their leadership is capable of and what capabilities they'll be able to leverage in the organization, as opposed to which on a rational basis seem like a really good idea.

Getting started

Gardner: When you're an organization and you've decided that you do want to transform and take advantage of unique opportunities for either technical disruption or market discipline, how do you go about getting more structure, more of an architecture?

Ross: That's idiosyncratic to some extent, because in your dream world, what happens is that the CEO announces, "This is what we are going to be five years from now. This is how we are going to operate and I expect everyone to get on board." The vision is clear and the commitment is clear. Then the architects can just say, and most architects are totally capable of this, "Oh, well then, here are the capabilities we need to build. Let’s just go build them and then we'll live happily ever after."

The problem is that’s rarely the way you get to start. Invariably, the CEO is looking at the need for some acquisitions, some new markets, and all kinds of pressures. The last thing you're getting is some clarity around the vision of an operating model that would define your critical architectural capabilities.

What ends up happening instead is architects recognize key business leaders who understand the need for, reused standardization, process discipline, whatever it is, and they're very pragmatic about it. They say, "What do you need here to develop an enterprise view of the customer, or what’s limiting your ability to move into the next market?"

And they have to pragmatically develop what the organization can use, as opposed to defining the organizational vision and then the big picture view of the enterprise architecture.
When they see real demand and real leadership around certain enterprise capabilities, they focus their attention on addressing those.

So in practice, it's a much more pragmatic process than what we would imagine when we, for example, write books on how to do enterprise architecture. The best architects are listening very hard to who is asking for what kind of capability. When they see real demand and real leadership around certain enterprise capabilities, they focus their attention on addressing those, in the context of what they realize will be a bigger picture over time.

They can already see the unfolding bigger picture, but there’s no management commitment yet. So they stick to the capabilities that they are confident the organization will use. That’s the way they get the momentum to build. That is more art than science and it really distinguishes the most successful architects.
Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod. Read a full transcript or download a copy. Sponsor: The Open Group.
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Jan. 30 - Feb. 3 in San Francisco.
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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Genuitec's MobiOne eases way for Windows development of iOS apps

Genuitec, LLC has revamped its MobiOne development tool to allow Windows operating system users to design and build App Store-ready iOS apps -- native apps for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch -- without using a Mac. This means there is no longer an additional expense to buy a Mac machine or learn Objective-C to design apps that operate natively on iOS devices.

Previously, the Flower Mound, Tex. company's MobiOne supported a webapp-only model that allowed design of webapps that run on iOS devices. Now, users can design native apps or webapps with the same design files, using AppCenter, a cloud technology that Genuitec engineered, that allows app designers to test their native and webapps in a private Genuitec cloud. [Disclosure: Genuitec is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

“By removing the barriers to entry for iOS app design and building, MobiOne is truly at the forefront of making mobile technologies accessible to the masses," said Wayne Parrott, vice president of product development. "If a Windows users has enough skill to design a PowerPoint slide, they can design and build iPhone and iPad apps with ease. Web developers with HTML5 and CSS3 skills will see even greater productivity.”

MobiOne is truly at the forefront of making mobile technologies accessible to the masses.

MobiOne is designed for web developers, marketing departments, business consultants, and anyone who wants to create and build App Store-ready iOS applications and webapps. MobiOne uses drag-and-drop functionality similar to stringing together a PowerPoint presentation, but has a powerful engine that allows users to build iOS apps or webapps from the same code base.

That engine is the AppCenter technology, which allows for easy testing of apps and webapps over the air using iOS 4+ or through iTunes. Testing links can be shared via email or SMS for multiple device testing and previews.

To learn more about the MobiOne Studio, go to A 15-day free trial is available at: After the free trial, the cost is $99 per license.

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