4 months, 7 days ago

An Architecture for Creating an Ultra-secure Network and Datastore

The Problem
According to United States records, from 2006 cyber attacks to 2016, (crimes, intelligence gathering, and warfare) have gone up 1300 percent.  Other reports identified in Forbes Magazine indicate that between 2015 and 2016 there was a 200 to 450 percent increase in attacks.  I suspect that though the numbers vastly underestimate the total number of attacks.  I know that in the late 1980s, one company was averaging 10,000 attacks per day on its website and access points to the internet; of which 4000 originated in Russia (then the USSR), China, North Korea, and the like
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There are two goals for attacks, to disrupt the entire IT infrastructure or to gather or change protected data for various nefarious purposes.  There is a multiplicity of reasons for these attack, monetary gain, political change, and so on; the “so on” is too long to enumerate.
The cost for preventing and mitigating the effects of these attacks has spawned a new multi-billion dollar industry.  Consequently, the need is for an entirely new system (network and datastore) that completely defeats all attack vectors.  That is what I’m proposing here.

The Solution A Disruptive Architecture: The Once and Future System

The Goal

The goal of the architecture presented here is to define a highly secure system for the transmission and storage of data.
The architecture is for a fundamentally different “new” network and datastore.  I put “new” in quotes because I based the architecture on a number of concepts and standards from the late 1970s to the mid-1990s.  For reasons of economies and business politics these concepts and standards were abandoned.  When I submitted the architecture for a patent and even though the architecture uses old concepts and standard in a new way, I was told that since it was based on well known concepts and standards the architecture it is unpatentable. 
Consequently, I’m presenting it in this post in the hope that someone will take serious look at it and communicate with me so that I can present the details and we can build a secure network and datastore.

The Architecture

My fundamental idea is to create a separate “data only” network and datastore.  While initially, having a worldwide network for the storage and transmission of data separate from the Internet “of everything” may seem as a ludicrous idea for those looking at the “short-term” costs for an organization; what the cost of having data stolen, corrupted, or destroyed would be for an organization?  And remember that there are  initial and recurring costs for data security on a cloud or across the internet.
This new architecture has five components.  One of them has evolved over the past twenty years.  One of them was declared obsolete thirty years ago.  One of them is based on petrified standards of the 1980s.  And one uses a new twist on current hardware and software.  The fifth is a particular form of governance.

New User Interface Security

The base technology of the new user interface has been evolving over the past twenty years at least.  It is a combination of three functional technologies.  The first is biometric recognition.  Any secure system requires some form of authentication; that you are who you say you are.  Various forms of biometric authentication, facial recognition, fingerprint identification, retinal pattern recognition, and so on, are currently the least likely forms of identification to be broken by cyber attacks.
The second security technology is a version of the smartcard.  These are credit-card-like with a data storage computer chip embedded.  Under this new function the card reader would communicate the location, time of day, and date, whereupon the card would generate a pass code based on those parameters.
 
At the same time the reader would generate a pass code also based on those parameters.  The system would accept the identification if and only if they matched.  Since any secure system requires at least to factor authentication, a user would need both the smart card (which additionally could store the biometric data) and their own body.
Finally, authorization and access control are both static for a given user interface to the system.  This means that the user of a given device (be it a terminal, PC, smart phone, etc.) can only gain access to the set of data, records, or summaries to which their entitled. 
So a contract specialist has no access to engineering data for the contract or only a limited set.  If the contract specialist attempted to sign on to another device, to which he was not preapproved, he could not get to the data to which he is entitled. The reason is that an individual must be preapproved of every terminal the individual wants to use. 
Or a doctor may not see a patient’s complete medical history without the patient’s permission. This would be a two step process.  The doctor would have to sign in on his or her device using the two-factor authentication, described above.  Then the patient would have to sign on to the same device using the same two-factor authentication to give the doctor permission to access his or her medical record.
The security meta-data and parameters are stored on the ultra-secure data network (USDN).  Any updates or changes must be made and approved through the system’s security governance function.  No dynamic changes can be made until the changes are approved.  In a political/cultural context, this governance process will be the most difficult to secure since users expect changes to be made “NOW” and the process doesn’t allow “NOW” to happen.

The Bridge

The second architectural component is the bridge from the Internet to the USDN.  This is really the key component securing the USDN from attacks.  And this is the component that was declared obsolete thirty years ago.  In the early 1980s there were many proprietary data networks.  To communicate data from one network to another required a network bridge.
The following diagram is from the patent that I applied for.  It shows an example of how changing the protocol layers or stacks creates a portcullis in the bridge that provides the ultra-security.  On the left side of the bridge are the standard Internet protocols.  Other than the top layer (called the Application Layer in the OSI model) and the bottom layer (the Physical Layer in the OSI model), all layers link and guide the communications between the sender and receiver.
Notice that the functional protocols on each side of the bridge, with the exception of the physical layer are different.  On the left side all protocols are current Internet standards.  However, on the right side the bridge uses protocols from the Open Systems Interconnect (OSI) suite.  These protocols were abandoned in the 1990s in favor of the earlier TCP/IP suite, that at the time were less expensive and much less capable. [Sidebar: “The first example of a superior principle is always less capable than a mature example of an inferior principle”].


What this means is that the entire USDN will use these OSI protocols.  Any cyber attack software developed for Internet protocols would have to be redesigned for the OSI protocols.
Even if the hackers of whatever stripe did develop software capable of exploiting vulnerabilities in the OSI protocol stack they would still need to get it onto the network.  But the design of the bridge includes a portcullis in the middle of the bridge.
This portcullis is designed to allow only data and records in well defined formats to pass.  This means that no documents can move across the bridge.  In this case “documents” includes e-mail, documents, unformatted text, files, or other unformatted data.
This stringent requirement eliminates nearly every attack vector by hackers.  For example, there is no way that a Trojan horse attachment can get into the system because e-mail, let along e-mail with attachments, is allowed access across the bridge.
As shown in the diagram, only data in specific and static XML formats is allowed to move through the portcullis.  The XML data structures are installed in the portcullis only after approval using one of the governance processes.
So, for example, medical data would use an XML version of the international medical standards, engineering data would use an XML version of STEP, and so on.  Only data exactly following those standards to which the user is entitled would get through the portcullis.. This would initially have a very large overburden in meta-security and access control data about all individuals.

The Network

The third architectural component is the network.  The network is based on petrified standards of the 1980s.  Inside the portcullis-bridge data would be free to move among the various nodes of the network using the same OSI protocol stack that is used on the right side of the portcullis-bridge shown in the diagram.
Additionally, it would use improved versions of the Directory Service (X.500) standard.  This would include using static routing meta-data (which many network analysts would say is not an improvement).  However, static routing meta-data means that if an unauthorized node magically appeared on the USDN (because some hacker tapped one of the USDN lines) the node would be recognized as a threat immediately.  Consequently, any attempt to breach the security imposed by the portcullis-bridge by directly attacking the network would fail, as long as good governance is in place.

Datastores

The last technical function is data storage.  This datastore function uses a new twist on current hardware and software design for the storage of data and information.  The twist is that only specific data and records are store, not files from outside the network. 
An organization using an USDN-like system would have its data file structures created by authorized personnel inside the USDN.  These file structures would follow the various authorized XML data structures.  No freeform data like e-mail or documents would be allowed.  [Sidebar: remember its much much simpler to create documents from data than to glean data from documents.] 
The only applications that are authorized to run on the USDN and its datastore computers are those that create, read, update, or delete records or data elements.  Reading data would include reading for transfer, and for summarization. 
For example, suppose the medical profession of a state or of the United States adopts the USDN to protect patients’ medical records.  A medical researcher may be granted access to summaries of certain data elements of patients’ record that have a particular medical problem.  This access would be granted through an approval process—part of governance—prior to obtaining the summaries.
The advantage is that the medical researcher has access to a complete set of data for the population of an area.  The downside for the researcher is that they need to have a well formulated and defensible hypothesis to work from, in order to obtain the data, and that the governance processes take time.

Governance

The Governance processes function of the system’s architecture is most critically important of the five functions because it is the only one where humans are involved—Big Time.  As discussed above there are many security functions that are static and require administrative functions to change the parameters and meta-data.  While I expect that actually changing the meta-data and parameters will be automated, the various decision making processes will not.
One obvious example is in banking.  Some financial data must be secure within a financial institution and only shared with a client.  Other data, in the form of transactions must be shared between and among banks and other financial institutions.
The USDN security meta-data would determine which data could be sent to another financial organization, what data can be sent, and other characteristics of transaction.  It would be within the USDN and not across any portion of the Internet.  It can then be retrieved by the destination organization.
For example, if all defense contractors were on the USDN then when teams formed to respond to a DoD Request For Proposal (RFP), the various teams of contractors and subcontractors could share requirements and other data within their team.  When the DoD chose the winning team, program/project, risk, and design data could be shared and shared with the customer without fear a cyber attack on one of the sub-contractors leading to the capture or corruption of the program or mission critical data.  [Sidebar: frequently a third or fourth tier sub-contractor has more vulnerabilities than the prime contractor.]

Issues

Again,”The first instance of a superior principle is always inferior to a mature example of an inferior principle.”
There are three issues with the creation of such a system. 
The first is cost; creating an entire nationwide or worldwide network is very expensive in the startup phase.  Creating (or really resurrecting in many cases) software to support the functions of the USDN will be very expensive.  There is the cost of implementing software services to interface with existing organizational applications.  Acquiring the physical cabling for the system will be expensive.  
Modifying routers to use the new protocols will be expensive. Designing, constructing, and testing the new portcullis-bridge will be very expensive.  Most of this investment will need to be done before one data element is protected.
The cost is more than a straight financial issue of building the system.  It will threaten much of the multi-billion dollar cyber security industry’s income stream.  This industry will market and lobby against building out the system.
The second issue may be used by that industry as an argument against the USDN.  The issue that the system only protects data and not other types of information like e-mail and documents.  This is true.  However, the core of any organization is its data.  Documents can be easily constructed from data, but not the other was around.
The third issue, at least initially, is the response time of the system.  Currently applications and users have come to expect nanosecond response times to dynamic requests.  Initially, at least, I predict that the response time to requests will be in terms of seconds; maybe many.  I saw this with Microsoft DOS—until version 3.1 it was bad—other products from Microsoft, Apple, and Oracle [Sidebar: I worked with Oracle 4.1] and many other hardware and software products.]  So it will be a rocky start, but ultimately it will cost much less than the recover, rebuild, patch, upgrade, and get hacked again systems of today.

Summary

While the USDN does not protect an organization from cyber attacks, it does make an organization’s mission critical data nearly invulnerable an organization will be able to recover from an attack and will make it nearly impossible for terrorists, cyber criminals, etc. to get a personal data or its mission critical data protected.

For anyone who is interested, please comment on this post.  I have much of knowledge of the processes, technology, and construction process involved than I can put in a post, but would be happy to discuss it.
9 months, 30 days ago

Organizational Economics and the Enterprise Architecture of a Religious Organization

The Question

A reader of my blog, who is a minister in the Methodist Church, commented on one of my posts, (this is my paraphrase of the question)”How do you measure the benefits of a religious organization, like a local church?”  Or, “How would I apply Enterprise Architecture to religious organization”, since I posit that all organizations can benefit from Enterprise Architecture, as I’ve discussed in several previous posts.
This post is written with a slant toward the Methodist tradition, of which I am a part, but will apply equally well to all religious organizations.

An Organization’s Enterprise Architecture

Within Organizational Economics, any organization’s Enterprise Architecture has three sub-components, Mission, Governance, and infrastructure.
·         Mission: What the organization is supposed to do; it’s goal, target, or objective.
·         Governance: Within what parameters or rules it can perform its mission.
·         Infrastructure: What personnel, intellectual, physical, and financial support it has for achieving its mission.
To support the Missionof an organization, its leadership chooses Strategies(approaches or plans) for going from where it is to where it wants to be.  It implements these strategies using tactics, plans that account for the organization’s Governance and Infrastructure (its rules and talents/abilities/support).  Management then executes the tactics in operations(the actions of the organization).  The operations have two components, processes and tooling.
Additionally, the leadership and management of the organization is responsible for legislating, enforcing, and adjudicating some or all of the laws, rules, and/or regulations the make up the organization’s Governance[Sidebar: For an individual Methodist churches this would be called Administration.]
Finally, the organization must provide for its Infrastructure, “the tools and talents” it needs to perform the operations.  These tools include financial, physical, and intellectual.  For a religious organization this would be the money, time, talents of the adherents and the buildings, property and assets of the organization.

Processes and the OODA Loop

All processessupporting the mission or infrastructure of any organization fall into the OODA model of Col. John Boyd.  The OODA, as discussed in several previous posts includes four step: Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act.

Observe

Initially, data is gathered by observing some aspect of the current state of the Universe.  This includes data about the results of their previous actions.  In point of fact,
Datum—some observation about the Universe at a particular point in four dimensions
Data—a set consistent datum

Orient

The Orient step in the process is an individual’s model of how the world (Universe) works (descriptive) or should work (prescriptive).  These models are sometimes called paradigms. 
Rules from Governance enable and support the Orient step, by structuring the data within the individual’s or organization’s model.
Information—patterns abstracted from the data.  This is the start of orienting the observations, the data and information.  The pattern analysis to convert data into information is derived from the organization’s model of its environment or Universe.  For religious organizations this is found in its “bible” and its organizationally related texts like the “Book of Discipline” of the Methodist Church.
Knowledge—identified or abstracted patterns in the information.  Using the same paradigm, environmental model, or model Universe, people analyze and abstract patterns within the information.  This is their knowledge within the paradigm.  When they can’t fit information into their model, they often discard as aberrant, an outlier, or as an anomaly.  When enough information doesn’t conveniently fit into their model the adherents have a crisis.  In science, at least, this is the point of a paradigm shift.  In religion this is a reformation (the reforming of the “bible” and/or the “book of discipline”, that is the rules of governance.  While in science some conservative adherents to the old model lose their reputations after a time, in religion people on both sides of the model’s discontinuity lose their lives.

Decide

Once the organization or individual has the knowledge, he or she uses input their knowledge within their models of the Universe to make decisions.
Wisdom—is the understanding of the consequences of the application of knowledge.  
This is the hard part of the OODA Loop because it’s difficult to understand both the consequences and the unintended consequences of a decision.  If your paradigm, environment, or Universe model is good, or relatively complete, then you’re more likely to make a good decision.  More frequently than not people, even religious people, make decisions that are “Short term smart and long term dumb.”  Part of the reason is that they are working with a poor, incomplete or just plain wrong paradigm (view of the world or universe).  This is where the Risk/Reward balance comes in.  When choosing a path forward, what are the risks and rewards with each path?  [Sidebar:  A risk is an unknown and it is wise to understand that “you don’t know what you don’t know”.]

Act

Once the decision is made people act on those decisions by planning a mission, strategies, and so on within their paradigm.

Religious Organization’s Orienting Model

Joseph Campbell’s four categories of functions of religions: include: the metaphysical, the cosmological, sociological, and pedagogical.  While there may be much quibbling with some of what Mr. Campbell writes, the four functions of religion (and perhaps culture) ring true.

The Metaphysical Function

Awakening a sense of awe before the mystery of being
“According to Campbell, the absolute mystery of life, what he called transcendent reality, cannot be captured directly in words or images. Symbols and mythic metaphors on the other hand point outside themselves and into that reality. They are what Campbell called “being statements” and their enactment through ritual can give to the participant a sense of that ultimate mystery as an experience. ‘Mythological symbols touch and exhilarate centers of life beyond the reach of reason and coercion…. The first function of mythology is to reconcile waking consciousness to the mysterium tremendum et fascinans of this universe as it is.’”
This is truly the “religious function of the four; the other three tending to be more cultural than religious.

The Cosmological Function

Explaining the shape of the universe
“For pre-modern societies, myth also functioned as a proto-science, offering explanations for the physical phenomena that surrounded and affected their lives, such as the change of seasons and the life cycles of animals and plants.”
While there still is much proto-science, science is serving the cosmological function in today’s culture and has identified many patterns in information and knowledge, and clarified many previously fuzzy concepts and theories.  Still, at this time, religion plays a significant role in many “ultimate” questions.  These include: What was there before the Big Bang (if there was one), what architected “the laws” of the Universe (e.g., the speed of light), why am I here, and what happens to me after I lose consciousness in the process of dying?

The Sociological Function

Validate and support the existing social order
“Ancient societies had to conform to an existing social order if they were to survive at all. This is because they evolved under “pressure” from necessities much more intense than the ones encountered in our modern world. Mythology confirmed that order, and enforced it by reflecting it into the stories themselves, often describing how the order arrived from divine intervention. Campbell often referred to these “conformity” myths as the “Right Hand Path” to reflect the brain’s left hemisphere’s abilities for logic, order and linearity. Together with these myths however, he observed the existence of the “Left Hand Path”, mythic patterns like the “Hero’s Journey” which are revolutionary in character in that they demand from the individual a surpassing of social norms and sometimes even of morality.”
More than any other the sociological function of religions leads to culture, to cultural conflict, and religious wars.  This is the key reason for the incessant wars among the three great monotheistic religions—especially when “the authorities” in each want to hold the political power that comes with the cosmological function (the function of how the Universe and God work).

The Pedagogical Function

Guide the individual through the stages of life
“As a person goes through life, many psychological challenges will be encountered. Myth may serve as a guide for successful passage through the stages of one’s life.”
Within the context of a given combined metaphysical, cosmological, and sociological model or paradigm, teaching the paradigm becomes important so that members of the organization can navigate in an orderly manner through the model.  Order reduces risk and increases cost efficiency, while creativity increases risk but may increase effectiveness.  All religious/cultural models work to decrease risk for its adherents and teaching the adherents the cultural behaviors is seminally important for the religious organization to last.

The Methodist Denomination; an Example

All religions create prescriptive paradigm or orienting model that include all four functions (or dimensions) as discussed by Campbell.
All religious orienting models are based on religious authority; either priests, shaman, etc., “Holy” texts, or both.

The Catholic Church before 1500

The Catholic Church before Luther and the Reformation and before Guttenberg and printing used both written text and Clerical Authority, with the latter being far more important.  Clerical Authority caused the burning and killing of the faculty or the library and museum (university) at Alexandria, the extermination of the Templers, the near extermination of the Huguenots, and Inquisitions killed hundreds of people and attempted to rewrite science (see the biographies of Galileo, Copernicus and others).  A big part of this was that the Catholic Church’s hierarchy believed their paradigm that they were the final authority on knowledge and wisdom.  They’re model included an Earth centered Universe with the Pope or Jerusalem at the very center.  This meant that they were always right and competing models damned the heretics to Hell.  To this was added a major dose of politics; e.g., “The ends justifies the means” inferred to the Jesuits.    

Strategies (Based on the Christian Protestant Paradigm)

Enter, initially, Luther and Guttenberg.  In 1455 Guttenberg has perfected the printing press and began to print the Bible so that by 1500 there were a comparatively large number floating around, as well as many other books with both ancient and “modern” ideas.  In 1507, Professor Dr. Luther challenged the authority of the Catholic Church hierarchy, saying that the scriptures, not the Pope and his minions held the core to the Christian paradigm or prescriptive model of how the Universe should work and that all people should be allowed to read these and interpret them for themselves.  This change or shift in strategy was greatly facilitated by the increasing number of printed scriptures.
This meant that people had to learn to read, which meant they learned to write.  The ability to write meant that many more people had the ability to express concepts, ideas, and theories across space and time.  Learning was not just for the clerics and clergy.
One consequence for the Catholic Church was that science took on the cosmological functions, reducing the church hierarchy’s political authority.  Another was the increased risk of “Christians” against “Christians”.  And finally there was the blossoming of intellectual and economic wealth; since knowledge is the root of all wealth.

John Wesley, Adam Smith, and the United States

In 1783, John Wesley had his epiphany; he called it his “heart-warming” experience.  He continued his work among the poor and ostracized, attempting to bring them into the church.  These people had been tenet farmers and owners and workers in “cottage industry” manufacturing that supported the farmers and the estates on which they worked.  These people were being displaced by the new and very controversial mass production using powered tools; that is, the nascent industrial revolution of the early and middle 1700s. 
These people migrated to towns and cities in search of work.  Many that migrated had no skills that were needed in the new industrial economy.  With the debtor laws then in place, they ended up in prison or worse.  By 1811, the displaced workers formed radical groups, called Luddites, who destroyed machinery, especially in cotton and woolen mills, that they believed was threatening their jobs; which the machines were.  These were the people that Wesley sought out and these were the people he reached.
As his “cult”, the Methodists, continued to grow, he a) had to have help; additional “clergy” to preach, teach, and comfort the cultists, b) these people needed to read but many couldn’t, and c) most of the rest of the very early Methodists couldn’t either.  Wesley set about educating his clergy and many of the cult members by teaching them to read.  In turn, reading and other skills taught in Sunday school were used by these “Methodists” to compete for jobs and to become entrepreneurs in their own right; that is, the Church of disciplined learning, demonstrated that there was a “Method” to John Wesley’s heretical madness. The Methodist Sunday School (A real school teaching reading, riting, and rithmtic) enabled Methodists to compete for better paying jobs and join the “Middle Class”.  This follows Wesley’s admonition, “Earn all you can, save all you can, give all you can”.  This is really the credo for the knowledge-based Enlightened Capitalism as espoused by Adam Smith.
As espoused by Smith, Enlightened Capitalism is really about ensuring that there is an even economic and regulatory platform for all individuals to start from; no one individual being favored in an economic or political sense or even perceived as such.  This means that all individuals feel they have a chance to succeed to the full measure of their God (or nature) given talents.
In 1789, the framers of the United States Constitution used many of the concepts from the An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations.  These include:
·         Defense of the country
·         Support of the country’s infrastructure through creation and maintenance of standards that cross state boundaries and support of intra-country communications.
Everything else was left to the states and the people.  The Methodist church and other religious organizations noticed there was a need for, what is now called, “a social safety net”.  This was initially for its members.  So they constructed and supported hospitals, orphanages, old folks’ homes, and so on.  Many of the most prestigious hospitals still include the name of a domination or religious organization.  Many modest sized towns ended up with a Catholic and a Protestant hospital, while cities might have two or three of each plus a Jewish hospital.
In the 1880s and 90s, most Christian churches recognized the need for kids to have physical activity, since fewer of them were “working the farm”.  So, along with Sunday School to teach them to read, the churches built gyms for them to play in.

The Changed Mission

Politically correct, social liberal cultists in the Methodist denomination have turned the strategies of this denomination from a focus on religious activities to forcing societal change through political action (tactics).  They no longer give any weight to the other religious functions discussed by Campbell.
In my opinion, in doing so, they have lost focus.  The consequence is that young adults (gen X and Y) see no difference between the Methodist Church and the Democratic or socialist parties, other than possibly this is the organization to belong to, if you want to earn your way into heaven, (but more about Heaven and Hell in my other blog).  So they see no reason to join the Methodist Church.  Those that are looking for a religious organization head to fundamentalist churches, even religious cults, like James Jones’ Jonestown.  But defining social injustice is even harder and religious organizations have three other functions.  “Wicked Clowns lives matter” is an organization for “social justice”, but does that serve all four functions of a religion?
Remember while “Social Justice” is easy to proclaim, it’s hard to remember the individual as embodied in the song “Easy To Be Hard”
Especially people who care about strangers
Who care about evil and social injustice
Do you only care about the bleeding crowd
How about a needy friend
I need a friend

Choosing a Mission, the Governance, and Infrastructure to Support a Religious Institution

The Three Great Principles

For a Christian church community any mission should be founded on the three great principles of Christianity. 
·         Love and respect God no matter what
·         Treat all others as you would want to be treated
·         Try to be your ownself at your very best all the time.
The first, in the Christian Bible is that, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.”  If a religious institution forgets this principle, it is no longer a religious organization, but possibly a civic or political one.  Additionally, from any serious reading of history, it is the principle all people find most difficult to inculcate into their being and also the one that has caused more wars and more massacres than any other.  The reason is that many religions believe they have a lock on God will and how to please him/her/it.  Their mighty God has given them the right to enslave or kill anyone that espouses any variation from their orthodoxy.  This is true of all closed religions.
However, any Christian denomination must have this as their chief goal and guiding principle.
“The second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”  This is the chief principle of all civic and political organizations, as well as a secondary principle of religious organizations (at least this is what most religious organizations espouse).  This principle is the basis for all laws internal to a culture.  Most people, even those espousing religion, follow the law rather than inculcating the principle into their lives.  My mother said most followers of a particular Christian domination followed the principle of “sowing their wild oats six days a week and praying for a drought on Sunday.”  Hundreds of laws are needed to ensure that not too many “wild oats” are sown.
There is a significant problem with “loving your neighbor as yourself” and that is, many (most) people hate themselves in one way or another.  This may be caused by poor brain wiring, by bad experiences, or both.  This is the reason that I include the third principle.  People, especially young people, try to distance themselves by drink and drugs, and destruction of anything that might be beautiful. Why; because they can’t stand or understand themselves and act out on those feelings.  That is, “I’m entitled and if I can’t…then I’m being disrespected.”
So any local church mission statement must include teaching “my own self at my very best all the time.” (Which is impossible for any human but should be the goal of all humans).

Organizational Architecture and the Protestant Church

A Mission Statement and the Strategies

There are four dimensions of “my own self”: mental, physical, social, and religious (notice these fit well with Campbell’s functions).  As discussed earlier, John Wesley intuitively understood that the Methodists had to address all of these within the organization that he created.  First and foremost, it addresses the religious needs of its adherents.  Second, from the history of Methodism, it is plain his “methods” and governance created a secure internal environment for his adherents and that their openness combined with discipline continued to attract more.  Third, his Sunday school addressed their mental dimension, while including gyms, etc., addressed the physical.  And like his mentor, Jesus of Nazareth, the people of early Methodism “…grew stature (the physical), wisdom (the mental), and in favor with God (the religious), and man (the social).”
Any mission statementor goal and the strategies for achieving the goal should include a balance of all four religious functions, rather than a great emphasis on just one.   Having said, there need to be a set of strategies for meeting the goal.  These should encompass all four dimensions.  Once these are decided on, the church organization must decide on processes (ordered sets of activities or “methods”) that move the organization toward the goal. 

Processes and Governance

However, the strategies and processes must be limited to those that can function within governance of the organization.  If the mission simply cannot be met within the rules and regulations of organization then either: 1) the governance should change, 2) the strategies should change, or 3) the processes.  The simplest to change are the processes; the most difficult is the governance.  One other thing, the mission or goal should not be changed.

Infrastructure

These follow the practices of organizational architecture.  Finally, the religious organization has to work within the limits of its infrastructure and support systems (even though with the right blessing these may greatly multiple to feed the “my own self” of all members).
10 months, 21 days ago

If You Want to Create an Enterprise Architecture; Don’t!

One of the last presentations I made as an Enterprise Architect for a major DoD contractor was to the Chief Architect of the US Veterans Administration.  I walked in with a fully prepared presentation that was to take about 10 minutes of the time allotted to our team only to find the Chief Architect cutting the presentation off with a question, “How do we go about creating an IT architecture for the VA?”  Even though I had a very good answer and had applied it on a couple of occasion, my mind blanked.  I want to share with you his problem and the answer I should have given.


The Problem

The problem that the Chief Architect of the VA has is the same problem that plagues CA’s of all large organization and most of medium and smaller organizations.  That question is base on the very logical idea very much the analog of the idea that before you start changing the plumbing, you should know design of the current plumbing; that is, before you can create a “to be” or “next step” architecture you need to have a “current architecture”.  Obviously, if you don’t know which pipes connect where and start making changes to the plumbing you could end up with some very interesting and exciting results for which you may need to call your insurance company.  Likewise, if you want to improve the effectiveness and/or the cost efficiency of the organizational processes and information systems, most Enterprise Architects assume they must first define and delimit the “as-is” processes and information systems for the organization.


The conundrum is that, in today’s technological environment, by the time an IT architecture team has mapped out (structured and ordered) an “as is” architecture, some, most, or all of the elements and data of the architecture will be obsolete and out of date.  For something as large as a major corporation, a department within a state or the federal government, the cost and effort involved would require a tour de force on a very large perhaps unprecedented scale.  This cost and level of effort would be such that the senior management would cut funding to the effort as a waste of time and money, since having an “as-is” architecture by itself produces little in value to the organization.


As can be found in the literature, there are many ways to “solve” or at least ameliorate the problem of creating an “as-is” architecture.  For example, one of the best, that almost works, is to chop the organization into its components and create an “as-is” architecture for each component separately.  Then try to stitch the architectures together.  I’ve tried this and it works up to a point.


There is a truism in Systems Engineering, Systems Architecture, and Enterprise Architecture, “Optimizing the sub-systems will sub-optimize the system”.  I have demonstrated this to many people many times and experienced it several times.  But this is crux of the problem for those that try to create an Enterprise Architecture for a large organization.


The Solution

The simple answer is “Don’t”.  That is, “Don’t attempt to create an “as is” architecture for an organization, especially a large organization, because it will create itself with the proper procedures in place.  So how would I do it?


1.
 Define, delimited, and structured an initial set of classes and attributes for the Organization’s Enterprise Architecture.  These should include:

  • Its Charter, Mission, Goal

  • Its Strategies for achieving its charter, mission, or goal

  • Its Processes supporting its strategies

  • Its Tooling and infrastructure

  • Its Governance that affects any of the above, including:

  • Internal Policies and Standards

  • External Regulations and Standards

I worked with one Enterprise Architecture database that had over fifty classes, each class with ten or more attributes.  This was a fairly mature architecture.  My recommendation, don’t try to think of all the classes you may need or all of the attributes for each class; that’s way over thinking.  Instead, start simple and add through the cycles

2. Once you have designed and structured the initial set of classed and attributes, create a data base structured according to the design.


3.
 Here is the key to creating an “As-Is” Architecture by not creating it…Huh?  Design and implement processes to capture the current state of strategies, processes, and tooling/infrastructure as part of review of funding for revision and upgrades to the current systems and processes.  


4.
 When personnel in the organization propose a project insist that these personnel demonstrate the value of the process or procedure that they intend to update or upgrade. The “value” would include demonstrating which of and how the current product, system, or service enables the processes, strategies, and charter, mission, or goal of the organization. My experience has been that the initial attempts will be fuzzy and incomplete, but that as the number of proposed projects in the database (which is generally called the Asset Management System and on which the “as-is” architecture is built) increases both the completeness and clarity of the current enterprise architecture will increase.


The reason I say “Don’t” try to create an “as-is” architecture is that
 every 3 to 7 years every component of the organization’s information system will need replacement.  This means that within 3 to 5 years simply by documenting and structuring the inputs from all of the efforts the organization’s “as-is” architecture will be synergistically created (and at minimal cost) [Sidebar: There will be some cost because the project proposers will need to think through how their current charter, mission, or goal and the strategies they support links to and supports the overall charter, mission, or goal of the organization.  This is not necessarily a bad thing.]  For large organizations, no matter how much time or effort is put into attempting to create an “As-Is” Enterprise Architecture, it will take a minimum of a year and a great deal of funding; so it simply makes no sense.


As this Enterprise Architecture evolves you will begin to see a number of things that managers want to obfuscate or hide completely.  For example, a number of processes and component or sub-organizations will be demonstrated to be obsolete.  In this case obsolete means that the process or component organization no longer supports any of the organization’s strategies or its goal.  Since managers want to build or at least keep their fiefdoms they will not appreciate this much.  Additionally, it will demonstrate which internal policies, regulations, and standards help the organization and which hurt it in meeting its goal.  Again, the gatekeepers of these policies, regulations, and standards will object–strenuously.  


But there are two more insidious problems that a good “As-Is” Enterprise Architecture will reveal, nepotism and the famous “Catch-22s”.  


Nepotism

Nepotism in this case is more broadly defined than what most people think of as “nepotism”.  In the sense I mean, nepotism can include creating a non-level economic playing field. In all large organizations, but especially in the U.S. Federal government (probably in all governments) the type of nepotism I’m identifying is rampant.  In fact a December 2016 report from the Department of Defense highlights what most federal employees and DoD contractors have known for years, because representatives and senators will only vote for a large program if their district or state gets a part of it, the DoD estimates that the cost of the program increases approximately 20 percent.  This is “jobs welfare” on a massive scale.  Some major defense contractors have plants in every state for just this reason, not because it make any sense from a cost efficiency perspective.  Further, Congress had passed laws to ensure that minority and female owned businesses.  The reason is that minorities and women scream that the good old boy network doesn’t allow them to compete for sub-contracts [Sidebar: Actually the reason for the “good ole boy” network is that the prime contractors have sub-contractors that actually know what their doing.  In my experience, many times primes will “encourage”–read subsidize–inexperienced and frequently incompetent minority and female owned businesses in order to meet these regulations imposed on their proposals.]  Again, this is a form of social welfare to ensure all political constituents that scream loudly are appeased.  This adds up to the DoD being one of the larger governmental welfare organizations. [Sidebar: While, seemingly, I’ve picked on government organizations, especially the U.S. DoD, and while I have found that all governmental organizations in a democracy will have this type of nepotism.  This is what lobbing is all about.  Only when it goes so far that it’s plain to all and when it’s not openly enacted into law that we call it graft and corruption.]  And it’s not only governments that suffer from this type of nepotism, all large organizations have the same problems, though generally on a smaller scale.  For example, sometimes the nepotism is written into union contracts.  Along with finance engineering, the auto industry in Detroit suffered a near collapse due to contractual nepotism.

This presents a problem for any Enterprise Architect.  The as-is architecture will highlight the nepotism of this type more clearly than any report.  The Enterprise Architect won’t need to report it to the management, it will be self-evident.  I’ve experienced a situation, as I suspect many of you have, where the management kills the messenger in order to not address the problem.  In my case, three times I’ve been chased off programs when I reported that the effort was subsidizing silliness.


Catch-22

The second significant problem that policies, regulations, and standards become contradictory to each other or in combination make it impossible for the organization to achieve its goal.  Again, a good enterprise architecture will highlight these, though frequently, when management from one generation of technology with its set of policies and standards, finds the next upon them, they will refuse to resend or modify the existing regulations, preferring instead, again, to kill the messenger.  So like Systems Engineers, I’ve found that enterprise architects are only respected by other enterprise architects.


5.
 When the development and implementation team completes a project, and once it goes into operation, then as a final step in their effort, they should review the data they gave to the enterprise architect, revising the data to accurately reflect the “as-built” instead of the “as-proposed”.  The as-built documentation must include all component, assembly or functional, and customer acceptance testing, and all post production required changes.  This documentation will inevitably lead to additional class attributes of the Asset Management System and structure in the enterprise architecture.


6.
 As the Asset Management System and the Enterprise Architecture matures, management should prepare for a paradigm shift in the way projects and other efforts are proposed.  This is where Enterprise Architecture really demonstrates how it can make the organization both more effective and cost efficient.


A mature enterprise architecture can serve as the basis for a dynamic business or organizational process model for the organization.  Management can use this model to identify obsolete processes, (and as discussed) policies, regulations, and standards; ones that the organization should eliminate.  Additionally, with the help of the Enterprise Architect, management can identify missing or inhibiting processes and tools, and identify bottlenecks and dams in process flows.


Further, they can model what happens when the missing and inhibiting processes and tools are added or when the bottlenecks are eliminated or reduced.  This modeling will then indicate where there is a need for new efforts and to some degree the effectiveness and cost efficiency of such efforts.  It’s a paradigm shift in that no longer to component or sub-units of the organization propose changes.  Instead, senior management working with the Enterprise Architect and the component or sub-units will identify and fund efforts.  They now have a way to measure the potential of the change in meeting the organizational goal, which means senior management has a better way of managing organizational change.


Finally, once management has identified targets for change or upgrade, the enterprise architect together with a system architect can define alternatives to meet the effort’s requirements.  They can model alternative process and tooling changes to forecast which has the lowest potential risk, the highest potential return, the least disruption of current activities, lowest initial cost, lowest lifecycle cost, the most adaptable or agile, or any number of other targets defined by the senior management.  This will make the organization much more cost efficient, and perhaps more cost effective; and this is the purpose of Enterprise Architecture,


To sum up, using this six step, high-level process is an effective way to create both an Asset Management System (an “As-Is” Architecture) and an effective Enterprise Architecture process; perhaps the only way.  

5 years, 10 months ago

Enterprise Portfolio Management and Enterprise Architecture Paper Available

I have added another paper to my list of papers.  This one is on the central role of the Enterprise Architect in the Enterprise Portfolio Management Process and how Systems Engineering, System Architecture, and Enterprise Architecture are inter-re…

6 years, 1 day ago

Changing the Congressional Budget Office to the Congressional Enterprise Architecture Office

The Current Mission of the CBO
Currently, the mission of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO):

is to provide Congress with objective, timely, nonpartisan analyses needed for economic and budget decisions and the information and estimates required for the Congressional budget process” [from CBO TESTIMONY Statement of Robert D. Reischauer Director Congressional Budget Office before the Joint Committee on the Organization of Congress,[the] Congress of the United States]
The director broke that into three operating strategies:
1. Helping the Congress formulate a budget plan;
2. Helping the Congress stay within that plan; and,
3. Helping the Congress consider policy issues related to the budget and the economy.
The Problem with the Current Mission
This Mission and Strategies is part of the economic, political, and social problems currently facing the United States, and, potentially, a source for the solution of those problems. The reason that the CBO is part of the problem is that finance engineering has influenced Congress to emphasize the “financial” part of an overall Enterprise Architecture. That is, Congress proposes functional and component changes to the US Federal Government and the CBO responds with an analysis, which Congress can choose to spin-doctor to its political purposes. Consequently, Congress can choose to support any industry; examples include agriculture (subsidies) and housing (mortgage deductions, etc.), gambling (gambling deductions), and so on.
A Solution the Congressional Enterprise Architecture Office
As I demonstrate in my book, Organizational Economics: The Formation of Wealth, the body performing the controlling (see IDEF0 post) and governing functions of any organization has three Missions, Security, Standards, and Infrastructure.  This is particularly true of any organization that has a spatial domain.  These missions appear in the Preamble of the US Constitution and throughout that document.
Given these three high-level missions, and my discussion of the role and responsibilities of the Enterprise Architect (as a sub-discipline of Systems Engineering), what the US Federal Government needs is a real implementation of the FEA Framework and a formal Enterprise Architecture process.  This process aligns the departments’, agencies’, and other organizations’ of the Federal Government with the three high-level missions of government. 

Additionally, Enterprise Architecture proposes where develop, transform, reform, end or otherwise change the organizations’ missions, strategies, processes, and tooling.  For the US Federal Government, (or any other organization of this scope and size), the EA process must be recursive, but traceable and integratable.  The CBO is in the position with some of the responsibilities for doing this. 

Why not have Congress empower them as the Congressional Enterprise Architecture Offiice?

6 years, 9 days ago

Housing, Finance, and Government: Three "industries" that produce Minimal Value

The thesis of this post is that it is pretty silly to base an economy, like that of the United States, on housing, finance, and government, which is what Wall St. and Pennsylvania Ave. seem to want to do.

Types of Industries

All organizations are constructed from three types of sub-organizations, which are within their domain.  The Domains would normally be considered as political unit as per example, a city, county, state, or country.  However, even in private organizations, these types of organizations exist, within the organization’s functions and departments.  These organizational categories[i] are:
·         Primary Industry – Organizations that are in an industry that creates a product or service that is exported beyond the boundaries of the domain within which it is produced. 
·         Secondary Industry – Organizations that are in an industry that enables and supports one or more of the processes of the primary industry within the domain it operates.
·         Tertiary Industry – Organizations that in an industry that enable and supports both the primary and secondary industries by providing services that support the environment in the domain within which the primary and secondary industries operate.
As I demonstrate in my book, Organizational Economics: The Formation of Wealth, the primary industry (or industries) is the economic engine that forms the value of the organization for other organizations. Hamel and Prahalad called the turbine of this engine, the organization’s core competence.[ii] It produces the value for the organization.  All other “industries” enable and support this engine.  For example, the economic engine and primary industry for Detroit Michigan, has been and continues to be the automotive industry; in “silicon valley” it’s information technology, the State of Iowa is agriculture, and so on.
Secondary industries are sub-contractors and suppliers of hardware, software, and services to the primary industries.  These industries would include auto parts suppliers, tool manufacturers, transportation within the organizational domain, and other organizations directly supporting the primary industry or industries.
Tertiary industries are organizations that enable and support the personnel, or the domain’s infrastructure.  Schools, colleges, and universities, banks and other financial services, municipal services (e.g., electric, communications, roads and bridges, sewer, water, and so on), food stores, and other stores, hospitals and other medical services, restaurants, fast food outlets, and so on.  In other words, the majority of economic activities within an organizational domain.  Additionally, tertiary industries includes all types of construction.  It also includes the defense (see   Security a Mission of Government).  These industries are where most of the economic activity of an organization occurs.
Some organizational theoreticians include quaternary industries as a category.  These activities include standards and policies (see Standards a Mission of Government) and infrastructure (see Infrastructure a Mission of Government and Organizational Control).

Types of Value

In the first chapter of Organizational Economics, I describe three types values, knowledge value, capacity value, and political value. 
Knowledge value (see Knowledge Value) is value created by an increasing knowledge-base and includes research and development (invention and innovation), and knowledge transfer (education). Products based on new scientific discoveries and transferred into production are the most high valued.  Unique user interface designs like the iPhone or innovative medicines are examples of knowledge value. 
Capacity value (see Capacity Value) is “more of the same” value.  Once a product has been perfected and competitors have brought out versions, then what Adam Smith called “the invisible hand” starts to force reduction in cost of the product.  Many economists refer to the as commoditization of a product, but its value is in capacity production—which produces capacity value.
Political value (see Political Value) is of two types, mediating and exploitive.
·         Mediating (or mediated) political value is created by reducing the organization’s internal process friction.  Examples of mediating political value include contracts, laws, customs, codes, standards, policies, and so on.  In the military, mediating political value (reduction in process friction) comes from “the rules of engagement” (e.g., don’t shoot your fellow military).  The reduction in process friction is very often the difference between a process adding value and a process absorbing value.  The regulation of markets (and the processes of markets, themselves) is such an example.
·         Exploitive political value is indirect or “siphoned” value.  It is caused by someone in the position of responsibility or authority using the position for the reaping of value to their own benefit; “The Lord of the Manor” is the archetypal example, those these include dictators, lobbyists, bankers, day traders, and many judges and legislators.  Further, as I describe in my book, in many cases it includes various religious authorities.

Housing, Finance, and Government as Value creators

My thesis is  that housing, finance, and government either do not create value or very little value.  I base this on the understanding on how these fit within the dimensions described in the previous sections.

Housing

A house is worth a house.  While that seems to be a tautology (and it is), too many people forgot that during “the housing bubble”.  What that saying means is that the value of the house is only what value it imparts to the consumer of the house’s value.  The house is never worth more than when it was built, unless it is maintained and upgraded.  And even when it is upgraded the value of house begins to decrease as it is used (what’s being used, at the most abstract is its value).  The problem, recently, has been that governments tend to inflate their money supply—money being a reserve of value.  With the inflation of money (that is, the decrease in the value of money) the price of a house to increases—though its value remains the same; it’s worth one house.  Likewise, when the housing market “goes down”, the price of the house goes down, but the value remains the same; one house.
House construction and remodeling is a tertiary economic activity.  It produces some capacity value (more of the same value) for the builder and construction workers, but once completed and purchased, it starts loosing value.  In giving the people of the organization a place to live, a house supports the secondary and primary industries of the organization.
Obviously, this is not an activity that enables and supports the formation of wealth for an organization.  Consequently, basing an economy on housing, or at least a significant portion of an economy is foolish and silly.  Yet, in the period from 1995 to 2007, that is what many Americans built the perceived wealth on, and what the United States did.

Finance

Finance includes two subtypes; banks and markets.  The Wall Streeters, (e.g., bankers, hedge fund managers, stockbrokers, pension fund managers and so on) have forgotten that a bank is a value battery and “a market” is the transfer point for the value.
Banks dilute stored value of money through investments that increases risk and potentially increases the amount value through the implementation of discoveries and inventions as new products, systems, or services.  In and of itself, investing cannot increase the amount of value only reduces it.  Only when the money is invested in innovative ideas or the production capability (seeROI Vs VOI) does the value increase, so that, for example, loaning money for a house does not increase the value of the house or create value of any sort.   However, if a bank loans money to a farmer to buy seed or farming implements, the bank has made an investment that does create capacity value—food.  Consequently, banks are tertiary activities that do not produce an increase value, but they loan their repository of potential value (Money) to primary and secondary activities that do.
In the process of each transaction, the bankers siphon off some of the value as a “transaction” fee.  This siphoning is converting potential value into exploitive political value; and exploitive political value is value that is quickly destroyed.
Markets have two missions.  The first is to measure the value of a material, product, or organization. The second is to transform value from real to potential and back; that is trade materials or stocks for money (potential value) or money for materials and stocks.  “Making a market” does both of these; and in this Internet age, anyone can do this.  That is, the person can buy commodities, hold them, and sell them.  In the process, the price of the commodity (be it materials, products, or stocks) converges on a price.
Again, market are tertiary activities that can convert knowledge and capacity value into potential value and the reverse.  And, again, the “market makers” and “stock brokers” that siphon a percentage off, because they are “providing a service” (which to some degree they are), are converting some of the value and potential value into exploitive political value.  Unfortunately, a good many Wall Streeters have turned the markets into legal mega-slot machines, gaming them through “day trading” and even “micro-second trading” to siphon off a much value as possible as quickly as possible, converting it into exploitive political value.

Government

According to my Book, Organizational Economics: The Formation of Wealth, and as note above in this post, a government has three  missions—security, standards, and infrastructure (see. Internal and External security, standards, and infrastructure are mediating political value and all three are tertiary activities, that is, necessary but not sufficient conditions for the growth of value within the domain of the organization.  Further, the second and third activity can be Quaternary.  That is activities, like the enactment of laws and determination of regulations, policies, and standards that enable the standards and infrastructure activities.  These activities are very susceptible to manipulation for personal gain.  The personnel that enact or fund the activities can enjoy an extreme amount of exploitive political value, as I describe in my book.  In the past, it has been the lord of the manor, dictator, duke, king, emir,  priest, shaman, rabbi, Imam, or other religious leader.  Today, lobbyists must be included as they encourage the lawmakers to create uneven economic playing fields that favor one activity or one industry over another; this includes unions and other “not for profit” organizations as well as economic organizations. Consequently, mediated political value is at best much more easily converted into exploitive than either knowledge or capacity value, and is the catalyst for the conversion of these.
In this age, “Entitlements” are the single biggest place that creates exploitive political value.  These safety nets drain value from the infrastructure portion of government.  They are popular because the exploitive value goes into the pockets of the many rather than the few and popular with politicians because Entitlements buy votes.  But, entitlements are unsustainable for any organization as Greece and Italy have proven, and like the United States is likely to prove, now that the population is addicted to Entitlements.  For example, the occupy Wall St. movement feels that all college graduates are “entitled” to jobs (so what value is art history or black studies to an economic organization?).

The Net Result

Too much “unearned income” in too few wallets; too much “Entitlement income” in too many wallets.  I think what I’ve shown is that having an economy based on housing, finance, and government, like that toward which the United States is heading, is a sure recipe for going out of business.
We still have time, but do we have the leadership?

[i]These categories of industries were generally accepted in the 1920s onward, as primary: mining, and agriculture, secondary, manufacturing, and tertiary, services—these definitions are outdated and don’t get at the underlying concepts.  Therefore, I’ve redefined them for a more general meaning of the concepts.
[ii]G. Hamel and C. Prahalad, Competing for the Future: Breakthrough Strategies for Seizing Control of Your Industry and Creating the Markets of Tomorrow, (Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 1994).

6 years, 5 months ago

Governance, and Policy Management Processes: the Linkage with SOA

Business Rules and Process FlowIn a recent post, A Model of an Organization’s Control Function using IDEF0 Model, The OODA Loop, and Enterprise Architecture, I briefly described the Governance and the Policy Management processes within the context of t…