Archive for the ‘Enterprise Architecture_IT’ Category


BPM and Mobility, Unified Approach

October 17, 2012

The mobile enabled work revolution and Cloud migration is creating an environment in which enterprise IT departments will  have to rethink their service distribution and support models to meet the needs of mobile workers, customer anytime-anywhere-access, and how the organization manages its resources. This revolution will take a little more than just virtualization, increased data storage, server-side controls, and authentication and authorization, etc. to make mobile access a reality. Organizations contemplating or implementing mobile will need a unified approach to process management that will govern architectural changes with reinforced processes and operational controls. The whole idea behind mobility is to provide information access to decision makers, knowledge workers and customers anytime on any device. Providing access to back-end system information, enterprise data and process infrastructure is essential to increasing competitiveness, productivity and efficiency. The role of BPM in this shift in technology consumption is not only more robust process automation, but control to make “access anywhere” efficient for the user and provide safeguards for organizational assets and to minimize risk.  How does an organization manage the mobile access revolution?

You begin with a process driven strategy for implementing mobile enabled work/access that will guide the organization including the IT department in the delivery of services. A targeted framework will include the processes needed to deliver anytime access and safeguard investments.  Regardless if the organization implements BYOD, invests in mobile devices, or if the mobile deployment is customer centric, governance and controls are important.

The principles of a mobile technology governance framework is not limited to the IT department, but is inclusive, it has to be developed in the light of risks associated with a mobile deployment and the management  of  those risks, to include collaboration with business units as the owners of processes that fit a mobile usage criteria. Strategic direction and proper planning are necessary, understanding the process landscape, what the users require, user needs and application expectations along with KPIs need defining and assessing for a review at a later time. Mobile technology devices such as smart phones, mp3 players and tablets that feature video calling and integration with Social Networks for the always on people presents big data challenges that will require a management and control strategy as part of the mobile governance framework.

Initiating a mobile center of excellence designed to optimize the use of corporate resources will smooth the progress towards the best chance of success. The Center should have the responsibility for developing standards, communication, planning and performing quality assurance for mobile application development. It should consist of representation from business units, IT and operations.

As we have seen in our personal mobile life, mobile is a rapidly evolving technology, it is important to plan for obsolescence. Organizations should adopt the same replacement plan for mobile as for server and desktop and vendor selections, with dedicated resources for rapid mobile application development.  Not to forget mergers and acquisitions in the vendor space will impact mobile deployment and use.

A strong policy is essential for governing the use of mobile technology and devices, whether BYOD or corporate investments. Out-of-the-office-by-design access is nothing new; resources have changed as well as the hosting platform – the Cloud, which presents a change in how technology is used. Other than the usual policy content describing  proper behavior and stipulating what may and may not be done and for when people leave the organization, mobile policy should address where a device containing sensitive data can be used, as-need-usage, cost and reimbursements, types of devices supported by the organization and those that can be connected to enterprise information sources to retrieve information through controlled ports, exceptions, unsupported devices and if data is stored on the device or server side, etc. As a part of policy it should include where in the IT department support will be provided.

Establish a comprehensive security policy to include a strong identity model. The risk of unauthorized tapping into wireless networks is higher with the borderless Cloud, stolen or lost devices is a high risk area, leak of sensitive company data creates legal liability or an employee is injured using a supported device. We have heard or read that cell phones can cause cancer or damage to the brain, do not think for one minute that a disgruntle employee will not try to take advantage.

A policy must be enforceable and either eliminate use or force compliance. As part of governance the policy must clearly communicate the organization’s stance on mobility; permissible use, sourcing, charge-back, standards for devices and usage, support and service levels and security, etc.

Deploying new technologies are always a challenge, managing and controlling are a greater challenge.  Mobile devices are literally moving targets, making control a potential nightmare. Having a guiding framework and operational policy are jump-offs for developing a control process. A control process has a continuous flow between measuring, comparing, and action, with key result areas and success indicators, also known as KPIs. The four steps in a control process are establishing performance standards, measuring actual performance, comparing measured performance against established standards, and taking corrective action. The mobile deployment just as any other service has to be monitored regularly to ensure effective utilization of resources and return on investment.


What does it mean for a company to journey to the Cloud, culture and processes

October 6, 2012

Business environments are faced with rapid change to better adapt to evolving market conditions and operational costs. These challenges most often requires the company to change the way business is done. BPM has become a critical function in many companies and is expected to grow even further with the journey to the Cloud.

Enabling IT operations and workflow over the cloud is a concept that many organizations are embracing and this service is growing in popularity among other companies that have yet to transition IT operations over to the Cloud. Shifting IT operations to the Cloud will fundamentally change the way that technology is exploited and the value that it can bring. Using cloud solutions to manage a business’s operations is a shift in technology that offers great value, with an increase in complexity and challenge to traditional IT operations. According to Gartner, by 2016 20% of all the “shadow business processes” will be supported by BPM cloud platforms, such as spreadsheets, routing of emails, collaboration apps, etc. As applications mature, performance requirements, regulatory requirements, or specific business drivers change the organization will explore other Cloud solutions that will continue to present process and cultural challenges.

The journey to the Cloud will need a re-inventing of the traditional IT model of plan, build and manage. Traditionally 100% demand for IT services has gone to the IT department. Cloud solutions are changing that model. With traditional  IT services transitioning to the Cloud Service Provider (CSP) the waterfall of activities  associated with the traditional IT model for delivery and management of services such as security, governance, capacity planning and budgets will pose a challenge for the CIO and CTO. Cloud providers are usurping the CIO and going directly to the business to sell their line of business solutions, such a shift in strategy causes a disruption in IT service delivery. Along with providing the business units with a consumption model, something the traditional IT department does not do, the business unit is able to keep an eye on their budget and the direct relationship offers project visibility. For the business unit these are added value for doing business with the CSP. Such shifts will force the hand of the enterprise to look at change of culture, operational processes, infrastructure and architecture as part of a new model for IT operations.

In a July SAP Cloud Computing post Sina Moatamed, Ding, Dong, The Suite is Dead! (as we know it)  proposed the following architectural components for a new IT model. Such changes will transform organizational culture and the way we traditionally think of the IT department. Creating a Process-as-a-Service model will revolutionize the IT department from traditional plan, build, manage to Service Provider. In this role the IT department is the “gatekeeper” of company assets, representing the business before CSP. Business units no longer have the need to go directly to the CSP.

Integration-as-a-Service would give process integration between SaaS solutions and with existing internal application services.  It would also provide for Master Data Management.  If the enterprise is journeying to a Public cloud offering which is without borders, the security issues so many companies wrestle with, Sina suggest the only way to properly secure organizational assets is to tightly manage the identities that have access.  So IT will need to use an Identity-as-a-Service provider to manage identities across all SaaS services. A centralized  Platform-as-a-Service environment. The normalization of data will allow for developing point solutions and workflows.  He states this is significant change to the traditional model.  Because now the PaaS is the center of the universe with many SaaS services surrounding the PaaS. The PaaS concept as being “the center of the universe” causes me to think of BPM PaaS.

This model not only transitions IT from overseer to an actual service provider, it offers solutions to some of the challenges and concerns expressed by companies with regard to moving to the Cloud. This is a frontward architecture for other shifts in technology consumption such as mobility and social networking.


Can technology improve agility?

October 16, 2011

Daily question in ebizQ forum.


Agility is a conceptual framework that can improve IT architecture and the enterprise architecture.  If applied as designed, agility can facilitate an iterative approach in development and strategic planning, promoting collaboration while encouraging rapid and flexible response to change which is critical in the current business climate.


How can businesses benefit from or better use Business Process Management (BPM) software?

October 4, 2011

Only through acceptance and sound BPM structure can businesses benefit from or better use Business Process Management software (BPMS). BPM is a management attitude aligning business processes with the goals of the organization. Business Process Management System is just that – a system or application, regardless how robust, it’s a resource that should enable the holistic approach to process management – add value to stratagem. When the discussion is BPM my colleagues respond with BPMS, falling into the old scenario of putting the cart before the horse.

Let’s flip the question, how can BPMS benefit businesses? The very first prerequisite is there has to be organizational acceptance of BPM as a valued discipline focused on change. The organization as a whole, C-Suite, knowledge workers, partners, stakeholders, etc., have to understand that BPM is about visibility, understanding the value stream, collaboration, transformation and governance of processes; integrating silos in the effort to support business decisions. The BPMS as an organizational resource should facilitate the effort. The second prerequisite to achieve the latter is defining structure – rules, controls and matrices for business processes outside of the BPMS, automation of the right processes and effective change and information management. Like any other IT infrastructure resource its interoperability has to be seamless. Organizational goals and system expectations have to be clear, synchronized and manageable before benefit is gained.


End-to-End Processes Challenges the Best of Us

January 27, 2011

Scrolling through threads in a BP discussion group about end-to-end processes it was clear that we all had a different take on what is really end-to-end. Can you imagine what would go on in the mind of a prospect looking to make some changes in processes if he were to speak with at least three us?

If he were to speak with a software engineer he would more than likely tell him end-to-end processing is input of data, capture data, data processing and generating output. If the question is put to a department manager the answer would be end-to-end involves a sequence of defined business processes entering his department or owned by the department, performing all the necessary steps until finished or an event triggers passing the next step in the process to another department. Now a COO or CEO would more than likely say end-to-end processing is all business processes that are performed within the enterprise.

End-to-end processing refers to coordination in performing a sequence of defined steps, also known as processes, to achieve business objectives, from the beginning to the end. Keeping this in mind, end-to- end process improvement projects can be as wide as the enterprise or as narrow as within a department.


Improving Processes, Virtualized Infrastructure

December 26, 2010

Excerpts from Drive Even Greater Efficiency with Virtualization, Forrester Consulting

What is virtualization? The simple answer is multiple instances of an OS on a single server. Virtualization is another slant to server consolidation taken to the next level.

Server virtualization is a method of using untapped server computing potential by running multiple server programs on one physical server. This is done by ‘tricking’ the one physical server into believing it is actually multiple servers, so that there will be no unwanted interaction between programs running on the same physical server. (Appropedia)

Why virtualize your servers? To achieve efficiency savings through consolidation that lowers capital expenditures and server space, cut time in deploying applications and delivering services while lowering power consumption. It takes rethinking server management and the processes associated with a consolidated deployment infrastructure to achieve these results. Virtualization is perfect for those organizations or data centers that are short on IT staff.

In the study conducted by Forrester it is noted that “utilization can be ratcheted up further and operational efficiencies can be dramatically improved by adapting your processes and adopting new ones…”

There will be apparent savings and benefits with the implementation of virtualization also known as virtual machines or VM due to the latter reasons why an organization would virtualized. VMs will increase efficiency in the overall management of the data center and lower the cost of advance disaster recovery due to the immediate and long-term benefits of consolidating servers ( Introducing a new architecture into the operational environment requires reviewing current operational processes with changes and more than likely developing new ones. Take a phased implementation approach to make sure virtualization provides value to the organization and no detriment is done during transition. Forrester discovered during the study the SMBs that deployed VMs in a structured and consistent manner had average resource use double 40% to 60% vs. 20% to 40% for the less mature shops, and were considered the most efficient environments due to more stable, consistent deployment platform and more mature management processes. Some of these operational processes included VM life-cycle management, VM templates, and VM staging.

Forrester has four stages for infrastructure maturity; the third is Process Improvement which is the focus of this blog. By the time the organization gets to Step 3, they have evolved from the nuance of virtualization to the actual management of the VM environment. During this phase the focus is on determining what’s different, optimizing the infrastructure, driving up consistency of operations, automating routine tasks, rightsizing the environment and implementing operational and management processes developed during the early phases of implementation and use. This is the phase for replicating the virtualized servers for dedicated disaster recovery.

Adapting traditional server management processes can be used in the VM environment. Life-cycle management, cloning or mirroring and capacity management are process that are not used heavily in the physical server world, but are indispensable for managing the virtual environment. A virtualized environment means more workloads to manage on a smaller pool of resources that can be simplified with sever management tools permitting remote access, power and thermal optimization, plus embedded health monitoring. VM is a pool of resources that should be managed as a whole. It is imperative that consistency take the forefront.

A few management processes to adapt according to Forrester

  • Policy bases automation. VMs are dynamic workloads that increase or decrease according to use patterns and changes in the patterns. Managing and optimizing these dynamic workload patterns and the planning involved to ensure continued utilization goals requires a disproportionate amount of an Administrator’s time. Automated workload management software that uses mathematics to optimize the placement of VMs based on historical performance and actual resource consumption is a tool for policy based automation. This tool can also trigger live-migration when a conflict is apparent. The key to taking full advantage of automation requires consistency in the deployment infrastructure.
  • Tetris thinking. Not all VMs consume the same amount of resources, nor do their consumption patterns uniformly vary during the workday. Take the lessons learned in the popular tile stacking game Tetris and apply them to your virtual environment. A simple example is filling up a server with a pair of highly consumptive, business-critical VMs and myriad low-consumption, noncritical VMs. The available headroom will be ample for the most consumptive applications and in the event that they need even more resources, policy-based automation can live-migrate the smaller VMs away from the system to free up the necessary resources.
  • Standardize configuration management and software distribution. Managing OS configuration, patching, and auditing absorbs a lot of administrators’ time. You can simplify management tasks by standardizing on fewer variants of the software stacks you use and enforcing the use of VM templates. Rather than building configurations from scratch, start with a known good VM (also known as a Golden Master template) and simply clone and modify that base design. In many virtual infrastructures, clones can be linked to their original templates, meaning that changes to the original template — like patches — will propagate to all derived VMs.

Enterprise Architecture and IT Enterprise Architecture what is the difference?

March 24, 2010

Enterprise Architecture is a description of the processes, people, business functions, systems, and the external environment to include clients, vendors, stakeholders and business information, noting how each unit interconnects to meet the purpose of the enterprise. The EA is designed according to the mission, vision and principles of the enterprise. Enterprise Architecture is not technical; it looks at the whole organization and all the pieces that are required to meet strategic goals.

EA is not technical – there in lies the difference between the two…IT Enterprise Architecture is all technical. IT EA assess the very same components of the EA, but with a slightly different agenda – its goal is to give the enterprise the right technology design and resources that will help the enterprise in meeting its goals effectively and efficiently, to include management of information.  As IT is a functional part of the organization it has to provide the applications, data repositories and information security protocols and structure to manage the business information, provide the resources that allow people to process information quickly, safely and accurately while co-authoring a recursive relationship between business and IT. At the core of the IT EA design are the guiding principles and stratagem of the enterprise. The IT Enterprise Architecture is architecture within architecture.