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#eavoices – Page 289 – EA Voices
8 years, 3 months ago

Event Distribution and Event Processing

I have recently been involved in several discussions (sales opportunities perhaps), where the answer seems to be, “We need a CEP engine”. Of course if one chooses solutions based on products there’s something wrong. And then working with the sales forc…

8 years, 3 months ago

Event Distribution and Event Processing

I have recently been involved in several discussions (sales opportunities perhaps), where the answer seems to be, “We need a CEP engine”. Of course if one chooses solutions based on products there’s something wrong. And then working with the sales forc…

8 years, 3 months ago

EA Heuristics #1: Looking for gaps? Push from top, guide from bottom.

A police helicopter.  Police helicopter helps police gets a big picture of the city, so that the police knows what to focus on.  The police still need to rely on people on the ground for details.  A situation similar to the heuristic described in this article.
photo credit: metropolitan police
(this article is part of the series “12 Heuristics for Enterprise Architecting“)

When looking for gaps in the current stage architecture, a useful approach is start by “pushing from the top”—start with the enterprise’s strategic objectives, then use the objectives’ linkages with other views to assess if there are any gaps, and then gradually move down through views level by level.

It is important to start the search for gaps from the top, as gaps more closely related to enterprises’ strategic objectives would be uncovered first. This approach decreases the likelihood of missing important gaps or being distracted by less important ones.

While pushing from the top, it is useful to “guide from bottom”—use anecdotal evidence to focus the search for gaps. During our EA exercise, we gathered a number of pain points through conversations with the organization’s employees and reviewing customer satisfaction survey results. However, when we did the analysis by “pushing from the top”, we were puzzled as we could not find those pain points. We analyzed the issue further, focusing on areas where the anecdotal pain points should have shown up, and finally realized that it was because there were missing metrics, and this discovery helped us uncover a second issue—the metrics were not granular enough.  If not for the knowledge of the pain points from “the bottom”, our “push from the top” analysis would have yielded nothing.

8 years, 3 months ago

12 Heuristics for Enterprise Architecting

Photo of a compass.  The heuristics that I present in this articles will be like a compass for my future enterprise architecture exercises, guiding me in what to focus on.
photo credits: i k o

Lessons learnt as I reflect on a recent four-month Enterprise Architecting (EA) exercise.   In the exercise, a 4-person team helped an organization map out where the organization was at, where it wanted to be and how it could get there.

Each lesson is captured as a heuristic, a rule of thumb that I want to remember so that I can use it to guide me for future projects.  They are not truths, and will get refined with more experience and insight.  I definitely hope to hear your experiences that relate to these heuristics, regardless of whether they support or invalidate a heuristic.

What made this EA exercise interesting is that, though it is not my first EA exercise, it is the first one I took a lead role in.  Also, this exercise made use of a methodology new to me, from MIT course “Enterprise Architecting” taught by Professor Deborah Nightingale and Dr. Donna Rhodes. In addition, ideas from the book “Enterprise Architecture as Strategy” also crept into the EA exercise, as I was concurrently attending a class by the book’s co-author Dr. Jeanne Ross. 
8 years, 3 months ago

What platforms has social media created for us, and how should we use them?

Complexity of networks and the opportunities they bring
Photo Credit: GustavoG

There is no doubt that social media has made a significant impact on our lives. Consumers get their information socially via articles and videos recommended by their friends, they buy things based on their friends’ recommendations but also often based on “strangers’ recommendation” like on Yelp and Tripadvisor, and some even offer products and services on sites like getaround, airbnb and prosper, but here again more to strangers than to people in they know.

From the earlier description, we can see two types of social network. One that is made up of people we know (simplistically referred to here as friends), while the other is made up mostly of people we don’t know (referred here as strangers). The key values of friends networks are trust and relationship. These are people that we know, so we are more trusting of the truthfulness of their recommendations. Note though we might not believe in their suitability at making particular recommendations, for example we would not trust computer advice given by our technology-challenged friends. Friends networks also hold people we care about. We want to know how they have been recently; we are interested in their photos, etc. and we want to share highs and lows of our lives with them.

The key values of stranger networks are size and diversity. When we need advice on a niche topic, it might be hard to find someone in our friends network who can help us but because of comparably much large size of the stranger network, it is likely that we can find someone there who can help us. Moreover, if we need help from a lot of people, say to complete the one million pixel project, the stranger network is more right-sized for the job compared to our friends networks.

Are there other types of networks? There are professional networks, now championed by linked-in. There are also interest-based networks, like customer networks. What values do these networks offer? The article “Social media? Get serious! Understanding the functional building blocks of social media[1]” seems to offer a good framework for analyzing different types of social media. Hopefully I will get to reading it and then I can share my thoughts.

What are the implications of these networks and how should we make the best use of them? I think every individual and organisaton need to be more aware of these different types of networks, their functions and values, and then think about how best to use them. For example, recently I have grown to see more of the value of LinkedIn, as it is a better platform than Facebook for building a community of practice around my expertise. I can join in discussions related to my professional interest area and also build my reputation, something that is harder to do on Facebook as the content there is more informal and I might not be connected to colleagues that I am connected with on LinkedIn (and for many relationships I want to keep it that way). What are other networks I can tap into? What are the opportunities there?


[1]Social media? Get serious! Understanding the functional building blocks of social media  – Jan H. Kietzmann *, Kristopher Hermkens, Ian P. McCarthy, Bruno S. Silvestre 

8 years, 3 months ago

Process Architecture and Information Architecture – The Missing Link

Maximizing the effectiveness of your business architecture and business capabilities, requires you to develop your process architecture and information architecture together in lock step. Most will agree that processes and information are intricately linked. For example, the effectiveness of process decisions depends on quality information and the quality of information depends on the processes that

The post Process Architecture and Information Architecture – The Missing Link appeared first on Louise A Harris on Enterprise Business Architecture.

8 years, 3 months ago

Looking back on the first year of my EA role at Bristol

Presentation to the JISC Transformations Programme A couple of weeks ago I presented some thoughts on what I’ve learned through doing Enterprise Architecture in my new role at the University of Bristol this last year. The event was the JISC “Doing Enterprise Architecture workshop” and the slides to my presentation can be found here: Slide […]

8 years, 4 months ago

Design Thinking

I have just finished reading Roger Martin’s book “The Design of Business”. He is describing and promoting the use of “design thinking” in developing products and services. Basically he is writing about the balance of creative design and analytical design, which is a key principle behind successful business architecture. The purpose and challenge of the business architect is

The post Design Thinking appeared first on Louise A Harris on Enterprise Business Architecture.

8 years, 4 months ago

End of "High Street Retail" As We Know It…..

More than 2,000 UK jobs were axed yesterday, as Game Group closed hundreds of shops after the company collapsed into administration. The beleaguered video games retailer, which had 610 UK stores, was unable to meet a £21m second-quarter rental payment due on Sunday and appointed the accountancy firm PwC as administrator. Is this the end of “High Street Retail” as we know it? Is it the beginning of the end? 

The writing was on the wall for Game for some time now. Earlier this month,the struggling video games retailer had confirmed that a number of its suppliers were refusing to do business with the company, sending its shares down 63% to 1.29p. Back then Game said that while it was trying to resolve the matter “as quickly as possible”, it was unsure if its efforts would be successful.

The Game is not the only retail business struggling for the past few years. Almost all high-street retailers have recorded reduced operating margins and profits, if at all they were there. The difficulties at Game are testament to the current squeeze on living costs coupled with a change in shopping habits and games technology. The group has also been battered by competition from cheaper rivals on the internet, such as Amazon and Play.com, and the major supermarkets. Separately, many people now download game Apps direct to tablets or smart phones, rather than buying software to be loaded in to consoles like the PlayStation, xBox on Nintendo Wii.

What the Game story tells us however is something unique where a Technology brand is being eaten by fast evolving technology business models. As Matthew Warman states in the Telegraph, “the story of Game is simply the first taste of what the web is doing to global retail – its products happen to be bought by users who migrated quickly to the web. All other specialist retailers are being challenged online: Whittards, to take just one example, is under pressure from specialist tea and coffee retailers such as Teahorse and Kopi, who will send subscribers superb selections every month, and cater to profitable, premium niches yet don’t have the overheads of high street rents and other associated costs. Many consumers simply see that they don’t have the inconvenience of shopping. Where Game led, even the most aromatic of products is set to surely follow.” 



It was not so long ago that another high-profile retail venture went bust in the UK. It was in November 2011 that, Carphone Warehouse announced that it was to close all of its 11 Best Buy stores across the UK. The first Best Buy store in the UK only opened in April of last year. But the outlets failed to make a profit. Carphone Warehouse and Best Buy initially planned to open 200 Best Buy stores across the UK and continental Europe. But clearly they had to abandon those plans well and truly before they could take-off. Is there market left for technology shopping on UK high-street? Probably there is and there will be always that small niche segment of shoppers who prefer to touch their electronic goods, CDs, Games and likes before they buy them. But that segment is shrinking all the time and internet players will certainly be calling the shots in this segment of Retail market.

8 years, 4 months ago

Discipline Is Not a Curse

For those of us in the Enterprise Architecture, impressing the value of discipline on the world that is incentivized to ignore it, is par for the course.  Whether it’s due to great expectations, unrealistic timelines, lack of coherent planning, or all of the above, ensuring and enabling others to follow a method or process with trust that success will not come from taking shortcuts is a Herculean task.

So when we transitioned to a Capability-Driven Startup Incubator model, we essentially doubled down on the belief that if done in a disciplined way, we can help entrepreneurs launch companies that are successful, profitable, and not hampered by capability debt (debt of suboptimal decisions made for expediency or based on incomplete information, or by wrong people in wrong positions.)  You’ll see the results of that bet start appearing in the public light next quarter so you can judge whether our bet is paying off.

It is from a discipline perspective that I ran into a very curious piece on Chicago digital startup community that appeared in PandoDaily.  It centers around defining the “Midwest Mentality” of pragmatism, as follows:

Pragmatism is defined as dealing with issues on a practical level, rather than a theoretical one. What does this mean in the context of startups? Well, it means that there is no “let’s build a cool tool and then figure out the business model”. No. In fact, if you do that here, you don’t belong. That’s a plain fact that I have found very few people disagree with.

And while the author (Trevor Gilbert) goes on to provide both pros and cons of pragmatism, he spends the majority of the article blasting pragmatism in context of digital startups.  He delves into working hours, missing the point that amount of work doesn’t usually correlate to success.  Those of us with kids don’t just stop working once we go home – I see many of my married with kids counterparts firing up the laptop after their kids are in bed.  But we can debate whether parents working 9pm to midnight is more productive than their single counterparts spending that time having fun at a bar – either is simply anecdotal and should be taken with several grains of salt.  It’d just be nice if Trevor thought to research his arguments a bit more.

And in that failure of discipline, he makes and then fails to expound on the major point of why Chicago startup community is so different from Boston or Silicon Valley:

Without hot startups, you are left with the problem of attracting investment and talent with names observers don’t truly know.

Here Trevor inverts the causality in support of his argument.  That is shoddy at best, sensationalist at heart, and substandard thinking at worst.  The cause of few “hot startups” is not our pragmatism.  It’s the fact that there is a “problem of attracting investment and talent with names observers don’t truly know.”

If Trevor actually listened to the Chicago VC community, their investment dollars usually go to people they have built a relationship with – over several years.  It’s not that talent, intelligence, adaptability, and stick-to-it-itiveness of the idea don’t play a role.  It’s that in order to be rated on these measures, the prospective entrepreneur has to clear a very high barrier to entry of building a relationship with the prospective funders.  Perhaps it’s a throwback to the old Chicago politics paradigm of “we don’t want nobody nobody sent.”  But perhaps it’s not strictly a Chicago issue (here’s a WSJ article bemoaning that fact nationwide), just more pronounced here.  Regardless of cause, this state of affairs limits our city to be the backwater of seed investment dollars.  Either way, I’m not sure that “Midwestern Mentality” has much to do with it.

AAB