Open Group Enterprise Architecture Conference – Day 3

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Keynotes

Unfortunately I missed a good portion of the first keynote and then had other business that needed to be taken care of at the time of the last three keynotes.

  • Of the three keynotes that I got to see today one really stood out to me. The "Unanswered Questions about the Enterprise Architect"
  • Len Fehskens, walked us through the role of an EA similar to the whitepaper I wrote on MSDN, A Day in the Life of an Enterprise Architect
  • One thing he pointed out that I agree with is that of hierarchy. Len asked the question if EA’s should be at higher authority than other architects
  • If do not thinks so, EA’s have a role. Domain Architects have a role. Each play a key role in the greater mission. I will say that to be an architect of any flavor is an acquired skill that is based on a combination of knowledge and experience.

Wrap-up

I am heading back to Seattle later this afternoon and I would like to share my final thoughts on today’s speakers and the overall conference.

  • The customer case studies were great! I love to hear how people are dealing with EA and SOA challenges
  • I enjoyed the other sessions I went to. The only request would be, less theory and more practice. I would love to see pattern overlays over the crop circle diagram to help guide EA’s in common situations. It was mentioned that you could do it (and I have in the past) but it wasn’t really shown. Maybe that would be a great working group…
  • Overall as a Microsoft representative I was welcomed with arms wide open
  • I had some great conversations with folks at the conference, defiantly an interactive crowd
  • Met up with the ACORD guys and had some good technology discussions in the insurance space. Since ACORD was there it shows us that Open Group has ties into all manners of standards bodies.

 

Tags: Enterprise Architecture

OpenGroup Conference – Day 2

First, a big thanks to everyone that attended my session yesterday. It was a great crowd, even though I was the last presentation of the first day and was the only thing between the audience and the evening entertainment. So thank you for your attention and great questions afterwards. Additionally, thanks to David Linthicum on the "Plug" to my blog on his site. It’s good to sync up with like minded architects.

Points of Note in Day 2

Keynote Overview

  • There were two keynotes that real stood out. The first was more comedic  but provided some real good content. He made a funny "EA Jeopardy" parody.
  • The second was from CGI. This session was one of the best of the day. He was able to clearly identify the close relationships between EA practices.
  • There was a roundtable again today as well and this was very valuable. It has validated thoughts and also generated some new ones.

Advancements and Lessons of TOGAF Implementation

  • Robert walk us through how enterprise processes are related to established industry standardized processes.

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  • This model really shows us how TOGAF is technology independent
  • What is interesting here is that this is very similar to the Microsoft Operations Framework wheel. See below:

     

  • He walked through a matrix of architect skills that has mappings to career paths, required skills and clearly defined roles and responsibilities. Keep an eye out for his presentation if OpenGroup publishes it.
  • One thing that isn’t commonly understood is that TOGAF is a generic architecture framework that defines the "How" (at the process level define how to apply the information that you gathered by providing a reusable process) rather than the "What" (the right questions to ask with a matrix style data capture). We have a lot of frameworks define the "What" such as: Zachman, DoDAF, TEAF, FEAF, etc.

 

TOGAF Customer Roundtable

  • John Bell from Marriott and Chris Forde from American Express are both Enterprise Architects that walk through some of their challenges and how they address them in their organization.
  • I’m not going to go through the entire conversation as some of it I have already talked about on my blog.
  • What stands out for me out of the conversation is the very big differences between the EA models between American Express and Marriott.
    • This is a common question. I get this a lot from within Microsoft. It usually starts something like this: "Mike, EA is broken… There isn’t even a constant way to do it. Look at X and Y company they have separate operation models and execution models"
    • I would assert that this is actually a very good thing. This came out indirectly in the session today

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    • As you see above I would say that the majority of the EA organizations use very similar base process and methods, however…. They execute on those core EA capabilities in a way that is appropriate for their business.
      • For example: A Bank has specific constraints and business concerns. So for EA’s in the Banking space Risk management will be a critical pivot point in the decision making processes.
      • For a Manufacturing company the higher order bit is agility
      • For a software company like Microsoft, enabling and fostering innovation is a key concern for EA’s.
    • These companies could have the same technology problems but how these architectures are orchestrated are different entirely. This is very similar to the examples given in the Jean Ross book where she compares FedEx vs. UPS and shows how the business has dramatic effects on what the technology implementation looks like. This is the same for non-technology aspects such as governance and process.
  • I mentioned validation earlier and that is in terms that I am still in touch with the ongoing issues in the EA space. Some of the continuous challenges that EA’s are facing:
    • Organizational Challenges – It’s still about the people rather than the technology
    • Application Portfolio Mgmt – There has been a great deal of discussion both directly and indirectly. There seems to be a surge of people ramping up this activity.
    • Building EA Organizations and Solution Architectures – There is a great deal of success by starting small and iterating to the future state. This is similar to my talk on SOA about the "Middle Out Approach" an SOA approach that supports this concept.

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Afternoon Sessions

There are some great customer case studies in the afternoon from the Automotive industry, Canadian Government and Micron. These were some great session to see past the theory and into the practice. I may provide some additional information on these at a later time.

 

Tags: Enterprise Architecture

Open Group Enterprise Architecture Conference – Day 1

I thought I would share with you a few of my notes from the Open Group conference. I have also added some of my thoughts on the topics.I will cover the Keynotes and Roundtables primarily and add some thoughts where appropriate on other sessions.

Keynote Highlights – Real World SOA (David Linthicum)

imageOverview

  • Dave suggests to start with ROI first rather than architecture. I think that this is easier said then done, but I agree at a high level. I do agree that this should happen but as many architects know we are hindered by technology / strict business requirements, cost and deadlines.
  • Start the Business case right away! Yes, yes yes!!! Ideally focus first on the capability and then figure out the downstream processes you want to enable to build that business case.
  • Dave asserts that "the business" is not happy with IT. I agree and this is a perception that we need to change.
  • Dave provides a simple cost calculator and suggests us to use our own if we have one
  • He also talks indirectly about the importance of Application Portfolio Mgmt, but doesn’t directly call it out. Rather he speaks of the value of having a catalog of SOA assets that provide iterative value
  • BTW – I love the quotes:
    • "Managing SOA by Magazine" – Referring to what I lovingly call E-Weeker’s that take the guidance from the trade publications to heart and build systems accordingly.
    • "Vendor Driven Architecture" – Organizations that have bought into one SOA stack and allows that vendor to drive their SOA strategy rather than their business concerns.

Dave’s tips for getting things done:

  • Get a champion
  • Build a case
  • Show the ROI

I couldn’t agree more on these points. These very points are what I heard five years ago at the META Enterprise Architecture conference. 

Challenges

  • Lack of data – I translate this to the failure to define the rights metrics and then ultimately create the mechanisms to capture. 
  • Organizational barriers
  • Organizations build SOA solutions when business requirements are not stable

 

Roundtable Interesting Tid-Bits

Below are some statements and questions discussed at the roundtable.

  1. What is the biggest challenge to SOA?
    1. Organizational – Too many barriers, Lack of CxO support, etc.
  2. The hype is over, now the world is focused on how to pragmatically implement.
  3. How do I solve these organizational issues?
    1. No meta-data tools, vendors are dropping the ball. I agree we have some work to do here but I think the bigger issue here is architects that have the skill set to be change agents, there is a great need for EA’s to have a tremendous amount of leadership abilities.
  4. How real is SaaS?
    1. Look at SaaS when it makes sense, not an answer for everything. There is a very clear subset of solutions that are SaaS-able. The term – internal SaaS, behind the firewall. My former boss and Microsoft thought leader, John DeVadoss was referenced about his "My Cloud" concepts.
  5. Do you think SOA and EA Tools will merge?
    1. Dave L. responded: Who has a real SOA tool, besides Visio??? I had a bit of a chuckle on that as it is the reality and glad to see someone actually say those words aloud!
  6. What about BPM?
    1. There is a clear disconnect in the industry between these functions. This needs to be fixed

Tags: Enterprise Architecture

I will be presenting at the Open Group EA Conference

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If you are at the conference I would love to see you at my session (http://www.opengroup.org/sf2008/walker.html) on Monday at 5:00pm.

A Practitioners Guide to SOA

In this session you will learn how Microsoft technologies enable enterprise architecture practices to be successful in Service Oriented Architecture. We will explore both the technologies that enable SOA and the tooling to govern the complexity in the enterprise. Introduced in the session is the flurry of new technologies released that integrate governance, reduce the complexities of integration and unify the workflow across all Windows applications. This session will demonstrate how Microsoft plays in today’s more practical SOA world.