7 years, 7 months ago

Framework for Service Oriented Ecosystem

I note interesting debates about the need for a next generation EA framework. However I am disappointed by the less than radical nature of debate that, at least I, have observed. I submit a good place to start is with the fundamental nature of business and how it is evolving and to consider what the enterprise of the future looks like. There are many indicators that we are entering a new phase of IT exploitation that will represent a real paradigm shift. Paul Krugman suggests IT is at last becoming significant, enabling a technology revolution to rival previous technology revolutions. Krugman cites driverless cars as an example of the technology moving into the physical world that has the potential to power growth. I will also instance a wave of disruptive technology delivering high bandwith always on connectivity for billions of workers and consumers, mobility, BYOD, social networks, big data and next generation analytics, robotics and Cloud. And the widespread adoption of Agile methods is also highly significant.

This stream of disruptive technologies is having a major impact on enterprises and the way they work. A Gartner report released this week predicts that by 2017, 25 per cent of enterprises will have enterprise app stores where workers can browse and download apps to their computers and mobile devices. I think that prediction will turn out to be conservative. It’s striking that many if not most enterprises are already being run as a continuous stream of initiatives, driven by business competitive pressures which in many cases are triggered by the disruptive technologies mentioned. And strategic innovation is typically being delivered in Agile projects which will increasingly combine business and IT expertise in defining the architecture and requirements.

But this is still a conventional view, doing what we do today, faster, better cheaper. What’s more importantly is to look at how the technology will enable profound change that spans existing enterprise boundaries. Consider Krugman’s Driverless Cars. This revolution is set to change the shape of personal transport in the relatively near term and will involve capabilities such as telematics, insurance, road tolling, mapping, navigation, vehicle recognition, which span car manufacturers, the financial industry, local or state government, emergency services and so on. This is a new ecosystem in the making which will require near real time, collaborative services spanning multiple business sectors.

Is this driverless cars ecosystem an isolated revolution? I don’t think so; consider smart shopping which is already taking off like a rocket with showrooming, or the extension of mobile devices to sector specific applications such as drug testing, health monitoring. I could go on. The future is going to look like many, many ecosystems, rapidly evolving usually not in the control of a single enterprise.

So returning to the question about a next generation EA framework, we might put a few stakes in the ground:
1. The pace of change is increasing so fast that conventional approaches (frameworks) for modelling will be left behind.
2. Ecosystem architecture should be primarily about identifying how an enterprise leverages an ecosystem by providing capabilities and their business services that collaborate and evolve along with the wider landscape.
3. The future is “business service” oriented. The application is dead. Business Service Implementation would be a better term.
4. The Capability and Service architecture will be a strategic business asset.
5. Capabilities as highly independent units of business function will be the way the business is organized.
6. The primary task of enterprise architects will be to develop the Capability and Service architectures as part of the business design.
7. Enterprise architects will probably be renamed Capability and Business Service Architects and report to the CMO.
8. The framework scope must span the entire Agile life cycle. Architecture is no longer a top down precursor to delivery, it must be an evolving set of deliverables and inherently implementable. The framework therefore needs to support concurrent development of business requirements, ecosystem, service and solution architecture, modernization, plus service and solution specification and delivery.

What’s needed is a new framework that recognizes the enterprise itself is a series of overlapping business ecosystems that are in turn part of a series of ecosystems that transcend the scope of the enterprise itself. A new framework should be focused on the capabilities and their inter-connections and manage the development of the business ecosystem(s) to the advantage of the enterprise.

While Capability is a widely used concept, notwithstanding some significant divergence of definition, the missing link is the realization of the Capability. In our work we use the Business Service concept – which delivers the capability in a context free manner. It’s extraordinary that our business vocabulary doesn’t include the formal Business Service concept in the same way that we are able to talk unequivocally about Business Process and know we will be understood.

The core model underlying the framework for future business needs to be service oriented, but it’s essential that the model is fully integrated with business concerns, and enables an implementable architecture in a way that current EA models manifestly do not. The new framework is also highly supporting of Agile methods in the entire life cycle being lightweight, twin track, narrow scope based on the Capability and Business Service, and contract based dependencies.
We will be running a workshop that explores these ideas in London in April in conjunction with the IASA UK Summit. If you can’t make the London event, (for geographic of schedule reasons) talk to me about how we can accommodate.

Paul Krugman: We Are On The Brink Of A Technology Revolution That WillTransform Our Economy


8 years, 4 months ago

The Next Big Leap: Everything is a Business Service

Since the 1970s, authors like Alvin Toffler[1], Daniel Bell[2] and John Naisbitt[3] have predicted the post-industrial society. They forecast the end of the industrial era and the dominance of services and information. This is not a new message[6]; the entire service provider industry has reformed around this idea, and in the USA today non-manufacturing industries account for almost 90 percent of the economy. Virtually every product today has a service component to it and many products have been transformed into services.

One of the most interesting examples of this is the Amazon Kindle service which provides an integrated front end to a wide range of Amazon services. The Kindle service optimizes purchases of books plus access to library and new services and automatically synchronizes all the devices the user may use to access the services including the Kindle reader, smart phone and browser.

Amazon was a pioneer in use of Web services. They are well known for their internal policy of mandating that all Amazon systems functionality should be created as externalized services – that is ready for use directly by customers, and this has clearly been at the heart of their considerable success.

However few large enterprises are able to operate in such an agile manner. Amazon was built from the ground up to be an IT enabled business. In larger enterprises generally there is weaker connection between business and IT, plus the challenges of legacy application and infrastructure base and typically immature (application) service portfolios. And we can all observe the archetypical enterprise is becoming even more complex with pressing demands to respond to major market trends including mobile device based processes, analytics and real time business intelligence driven process behaviour. In this frenetic environment, how can we avoid purely tactical responses which simply generate more complexity and legacy?

CBDI suggested the answer to this problem over ten years ago. The basic service model provides an efficient and effective architecture that enables reusable capabilities that limit complexity and enable continuous change through separation of concerns. However to be truly effective the service model needs to be integrated into the entire business ecosystem where EVERYTHING IS A BUSINESS SERVICE where, like Amazon, all business capabilities are published as integral components of product and service delivery. To achieve this, the service model must be expanded way beyond the prevailing technology centric SOA approach and become an holistic business service centric model subsuming PEOPLE, PROCESS AND TECHNOLOGY.

Of course there will be decoupling between business services and software services; it will be vital that business services are formed from reusable, common software services that can be rapidly assembled into new business processes to allow rapid response to changing business needs.

Of course this all sounds very fine, but most readers will ask the key question “how do we manage the transformation to a service based enterprise?”  There are so many cultural, political, budgetary and legacy challenges that will stop such an endeavour in its tracks. Most business managers have already dismissed SOA as a technical exercise and remain focused on delivery of urgent business programs. Frankly this is THE CHALLENGE. We all read fine statements from F500 CIOs and CEOs who boast about their transformations, but in practice business as usual perpetuates conventional separation of business and IT.  We have to communicate this from the rooftops!

Some ten years ago CBDI defined a maturity model and roadmap approach that showed how SOA capability maturity moves through the stages of Early Learning, Applied, Integration, Enterprise and Ecosystem. Since then this methodology has been used by many large corporations worldwide, including notably Intel Corp[4]. In the Ecosystem maturity stage the service portfolio is integrated with business concepts and federated both internally and externally. However few enterprises have achieved this level of maturity. Amazon is a rare exception.

Many enterprises are embracing Cloud computing recognizing this architecture can introduce a critical level of virtualization and agility. In recent months there has been much interest in moving Cloud to the next level referred to as Everything as a Service (EaaS or XaaS).  HP, just one of the service providers making moves in this space defines this as Through the cloud, everything will be delivered as a service, from computing power to business processes to personal interactions[5].” This is a very significant advance, however we need to emphasize that Cloud EaaS is a technology centric model, and there’s considerable effort required to integrate with the broader business and IT to avoid yet more legacy.

 

A first step in making this level of transformation is to establish a reference architecture that is entirely service based, spanning business and IT. Frankly existing reference architecture efforts such as TOGAF, OASIS, Zachman etc are not helpful in this area. Rather the service reference architecture needs to provide a mapping to a multiplicity of (stakeholder) views identifying key elements of pattern, standard and policy to ensure appropriate levels of consistency and governance.
Each of the views should also be documented in reference architecture, enterprise architecture, solution architecture and analytics levels of abstraction. You may be wondering why analytics? This represents a further level of cross cutting solution abstraction.
As discussed the reference and enterprise architecture views should be developed to achieve the minimum necessary level of consistency relevant to the business strategy context. 

Everything is a Business Service is the next big leap. Enterprises who have established effective SOA environments will be well positioned to make this move, but recognize it’s going to be yet more steps along a much longer journey than we CBDI articulated in our research 15 years ago.

  [1] Future Shock

  [2] The Coming of Post-Industrial Society

  [3] Megatrends

  [4] Service Oriented Architecture Demystified, Intel Press 2007

  [5] http://www.hp.com/hpinfo/initiatives/eaas/index.html