I was struck by a line out of a Burton Group document that I’m reading.
>… the creation of user groups… are the human equivalent of a technology integration strategy.
In Service Oriented Architecture, I.T. Portfolio Management and Model Driven Architecture; Center’s of Excellent (CoE) are a key part of the infrastructure. A key to the CoE is that it has broad representation and derives its expertise from both technical and business experts. A key outcome of forming CoEs is that you begin to form integration points between the PEOPLE in various parts of the enterprise. The CoE should bring in end-users and business experts and connect them with the correct technical experts.
DoIT (the Division of Information Technology at UW-Madison) spends 62% of our budget on interfaces and integration according to our Deputy CIO who handles finances. I wonder what part of our budget is spent on integration and interfacing the people within the enterprise?
One of the key things that I.T. Architecture does is to help form these integration and interfaces. We try to gather input from across the enterprise. We form groups with representatives from business, end-user and technical areas to formulate road-maps and gather requirements.
I guess this quote made me realize the importance of this activity and the importance of the various Centers of Excellence that we are working towards.
I gave a talk at the Common Solutions Group meeting on Social Software, Web2.0 and Folksonomies a couple of weeks ago. What followed was a very interesting discussion about the implications, possibilities and difficulties in dealing with social software in an academic (or enterprise setting).
I have discussed with several people the need for a group of peers that would meet regularly. This group of peers (GOP – nah, already in use) would focus on the practice on the I.T. Architecture in Academia
At the highest level, they would:
* Define I.T. Architecture and Enterprise Architecture within Academia (and government) which does have a different flavor than in business
* Define the role(s) of the I.T. Architect and Enterprise Architect
The next level down:
* Talk about the processes that are used, what works, what doesn’t work
* Define various artifacts that we all could use in our jobs (frameworks, etc)
At the lowest level:
* They might work on a common Framework, suite of models or roles and functions for a given area (like I.T. Portfolio or Integration Competency Centers).
I have been contacted several times recently from people at Universities who are looking to become an I.T. Architect or who have recently been anointed I.T. Architect. Others have asked that I speak about what we do and our role in the enterprise.
Universities are interested in developing a core Architecture group and they will need a group of peers from which to draw expertise and to send new Architects to learn the ropes.
The next question, is how to start? Is there a national meeting which would be a logical and easy place to attach ourselves? Should we have a dedicated set of meetings to get started? Who would fund the meetings (pay for rooms, et al)? Who should organize them?
Presentation on Web2.0, Social Software and Folksonomies for the Common Solution Group in May 2006. Here is the link to the PowerPoint slides
The links that I used for the demo are below.
Burton Group talks about the distinction between Channels and Workspaces in Collaboration. Channels are routes where information flows. Workspaces are areas where collaborators gather. Examples of Workspaces are Wikis, shared document repositories, group calendar software.
Channels are things like email, chat, VoIP, video conferencing and telephony. The problem with Channels is that we have to be protocol centric. We have to think – I want to communicate with Keith. Let see if the Chat protocol will work (e.g. is he on-line in chat?) if not I’ll send an email but maybe I’ll call too. I want to be person centric: I want to communicate with Keith.
In my ideal scenario, I would select Keith as a contact and I would then see communication options TEXT, VOICE, VIDEO. I could then select that I want to do VOICE. I would pick up my headset and my computer would establish a connection. On Keith’s end, he would choose to have VOICE channeled to Skype or iChatAV or to his cell phone or home phone number. He might even have a priority list (if Skype is running, use Skype otherwise send to Cell Phone). He might send VOICE directly to an MP3 (to voicemail) that he can listen to later.
On the TEXT side, I would select TEXT and either be connected to IM or asked to form an email depending on KEITH’s availability setting in IM.
The IM logs should flow into a repository that is similar to my (if not the same as my) email repository.
There are times when I would like to pick the protocol, when I would send and email even though Keith is on IM.
On the receiver end, I would need better presence management. I would need a unified presence control – a central place where I could manage the flow of information into my channels. I would have to swap managing protocols for managing presence.
Ben Teitelbaum of Internet2 pushes his availability to his web site from his calendar application. He “takes Apple iCal’s iCalendar file and strips out the subject, location and agenda for each item, leaving only an availability mask” which he feeds to PHP iCalendar. This makes scheduling time for a phone call with Ben very easy.
Calendar applications should provide a configurable feed for this data that could easily be picked up by another person or by a blog plugin to do what Ben has done with slick scripts.
Oracle Calendar allows for searching of resources and people but you have to anchor the search with the correct starting characters. Example: I can search for the DoIT ARCH LCD PROJECTOR with DoIT ARCH and find the item but not with ARCH LCD PROJECTOR.
Name aliases: Oracle Calendar doesn’t understand (in LDAP lookups as we have it configured at least) that Jim might equal James.
This link is a pdf version the Best Practices and General Requirements for Collaboration Tools document the Enterprise Collaboration Tools team developed about a year ago.