Monthly Archives: January 2008

Traditional music at dinner

We had traditional Chinese and Mongolian music at dinner. It was really cool. I won’t guess at the instruments other than to say, there were three musicians: a woman playing something that looks like a hammered dulcimer, a guy who played bowed stringed instruments and guy who played flutes.

I was listening to one song and thinking, “It sounds like it is about a river”. One of the bus/wait people went buy singing along. I stopped him (Kenny) on his way past again and asked him, “What is this song about”. He told me it is a great song, a beautiful song. “It is about the moon and the river.” Then he hustled back to his job. Amazing that those kinds of things can come through music regardless of the culture.

I really wanted to Kenny to sit down and sing and tell me about the songs. Unfortunately (for me), he had a day job he needed to keep.

I’ll post pictures and maybe movies when I get home.

It was really great. I was tempted to stay and listen until they quit.

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EA Practitioners – EA Best Practice Management

Several speakers this afternoon.

Seven Traits of Effective Enterprise Architecture (EA)
Speaker number 1: Mark Denne, Partner, Accenture
Business Alignment – Must define its value in terms of the business measured in the business’ currency. You must show that there are savings when you do EA.

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EA Practitioners – SOA Reality Check Panel

The panel is reitteratng that you cannot buy SOA in a box. It is an architecture, a long term process and transformation of the enterprise. It is beyond the scope and capability of the I.T. folks but really has to come from business leaders – the C-Level executives.

What impact with the economic downturn have on these SOA projects? Those companies that are thinking tactically and quarter-to-quarter will be at greatest risk of failure. Those that are more strategic thinking will see the value and move through the downturn.

Standards – missing standards. The vendors need to fix it. The standards actually come out of the marketing arm not the R&D of the vendor’s shop. There are 156 standards that I’m tracking.

REST: Tom on RESTful services. Chose the RESTful services because the WS standards weren’t really ready.

Enterprise Mash-Ups: Doing real applications of value in rapid iterations is a way to demonstrate the value of SOA. Mash-ups as an orchestration and integration layer. Google maps as a service provider for mapping and real-time traffic information. Mash that with delivery systems inside the enterprise and delivered to a web browser inside the truck. Can save a company $15-20K a month by missing traffic issues.

Business Process Modeling:

“There is a marriage that everyone keeps talking about but they have yet to go on their first date.” The business process people think that they should own the BPM/BPEL layer. The I.T. folks think that they know what it takes to actually implement the process so they are uncomfortable with giving complete control to the business people. There are the BMP Tribe, The SOA Tribe and the EA Tribe and they aren’t talking even though they are completely intertwined.

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Keynote from EA Practitioners: SOA and EA – in the real world

David Linthicum of Zapthink is speaking. http://theopengroup.org/sf2008/linthicum.html
Conference materials live at http://www.opengroup.org/conference-live

David Linthicum wrote, “Enterprise Application Integration”

Dysfunctional architectures that are currently deployed have led to enterprise that are locked up and unable to really improve because of the complexity. The activities ahave all be driven by tactical needs not strategic needs.

Enterprise Architecture are raising their hands and saying we need a “master city plan” but they don’t get the budgets or support so they end up acting tactically also.

Need to convince people that the SOA technology and strategic planning are important. Need to start with the business case. The business drivers: Reduction of integration expense, increase in reuse, greater visibility, business empowerment and increase in business agility.

“Think big, start small, succeed often”.

Building support:

Need to find a champion, a LOB manager, CIO, management-level architect or other architect.
Need to build the business case and show ROI though the calculation can be difficult because there is no historical data (SOA implementations), it is difficult to differentiate between a well-architected SOA vs. non-SOA architecture and what do you gain from agility.

We are trying to decompose the enterprise into functional primitive behaviors that we can then re-orchistrate as we need to. We don’t do code level re-use, that has never work. We deal with behaviors that are put behind a neutral dial-tone that lots of different technologies can take advantage of.

Business Intelligence: Visibility into data, business processes and into levels of compliance. Once we have these services that are communicating outside of their technology stack, then we can peer into the interactions and information. We can then deliver that information in any number of ways: a spreadsheet, a dashboard on a blackberry. This is “sex-in-the-screen kind of stuff” the C-levels love.

Agility: Need to identify the need for agility for the business itself.

When not to apply SOA: when business requirements are stable, when the IT environment is homogeneous, when current tools provide sufficient visibility, when performance requirements call for efficiency over flexibility. Don’t be led by VDA – Vendor Driven Architecture.

JBOWS – Just a Bunch Of Web Services – nothing is solved when all you do is build a bunch of web services. Service enabling is not where you gain from SOA. It is the consumption and re-use where the gains come. You must design for re-use.

Start with the business requirements and architectural planning, then back the technology into the problem domain. You cannot buy SOA, it is something you do not something you buy. If you buy and ESB and a bolt it onto the enterprise, you will just make things worse. Note that governance and security are systemic as is performance engineering.

Architecture should be: implementation-independent so that is it stable as technology changes, business process-indpendent so it stays stable as business changes.

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Enterprise Architecture as an Academic Study

From the Open Group’s Enterprise Architecture Practitioners Conference in San Francisco.

I had breakfast with David Jackson from Boston university. David is working on building a consortium of business schools who will offer something like an Executive Master’s of Enterprise Architecture degree. This would be similar to Executive MBA programs in that students would be coming in with real life experience.

Two parts of this are interesting to me.

The first is the tools and techniques that end up codified as part of the curriculum. What they teach will lead the students towards being certified (via the Open Group’s EA Certification program) Enterprise Architect. That certification requires at least two years of real-life experience. The certification also includes demonstrated proficiencies in a variety of tools and techniques.

When people start entering the market who are certified with these skills and knowledge of these tools, that will drive the adoption of the standards. Hopefully, rigorous yet simple tools will grow out of this market.

The second will be the “blow-back” force to the ERP vendors. These ERP vendors will need to demonstrate how their products fit in multiple architectures rather than provide a complete architecture in and of themselves. At least that’s what I hope.

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Dinner out at a local restaurant ups my belief in humanity

Last night I ate dinner a local Japanese restaurant. I was walking from the hotel down to North Beach. It was nasty, windy, raining so I was thinking that maybe I should turn around and eat at the hotel. I went past this little Japanese restaurant – Hotaru (1059 Powell St, Google Street View helped me find the name) Hotaro or something like that. It was nasty so I decided to forgo my usual rule for restaurant selection (learned from a colleague – find the first restaurant that looks good enough then go to the next better looking restaurant) and dive back in.

A little four year-old girl, Rosemary, brought me my menu. Roy, a 15 month old, toddled around holding onto an elderly woman’s hands. A younger woman sat braiding another older woman’s hair. The woman with Roy said, “look at my Sister’s hair”. Everyone looked up and cooed appreciation. There was much discussion of how the young lady did her hair and the fact that she did it without a rubber band.

A man walked it and the elderly woman with Roy asked, “are you Willard’s brother? I’ve seen you at the library.” “Yes. This is Willard’s niece, Christine” he answered pointing out the young lady that he entered with. “Where is Willard?” ‘He is parking the car.’ “We haven’t seen Willard for a while.” ‘He usually comes early after work.’

Willard walked in a couple of minutes later. Everyone said hi. WIllard took up Roy and played with him. He introduced Rosemary to Christine. Others diners came in and said hi. Everyone moved around from table to table, chatting and catching up. I was quickly brought into the conversation.

It was a wonderful neighborhood hang out for these China town people. They walk over drive in from around the city to meet up and chat on evenings when they don’t want to cook. Everyone listened patiently to the elderly woman describe how she was just laid off from her job. They jointly watched the owners children while she ran the restaurant.

It was really a wonderful step into a welcoming local scene.

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Etsy – On-line store for hand-made items

Etsy (http://www.etsy.com) is a store where crafters can sell their objects to the public. Etsy also supports spaces for the crafters to work and share their skills and ideas.

The Etsy website also has cool navigation methods for finding objects. There is a color search system that lets you pick a color to start with. You can then throw and move the objects around to view and sort them. There is a geo-locater for you to search for crafters near you. Very clever web design as well as fun stuff.

Below is a video that describes Etsy. I know that I’ll be doing shopping at their store – it is too much fun.

http://blip.tv/scripts/flash/showplayer.swf?enablejs=true&feedurl=http%3A%2F%2Fetsy%2Eblip%2Etv%2Frss&file=http%3A%2F%2Fblip%2Etv%2Frss%2Fflash%2F408975&showplayerpath=http%3A%2F%2Fblip%2Etv%2Fscripts%2Fflash%2Fshowplayer%2Eswf

From Laughing Squid.