1 month, 11 days ago

A Tale of Two Tweets

Serendipity is a wonderful (and sometimes entertaining) thing. Monday afternoon, two tweets wound up one after the other in my timeline, one interesting and one “interesting” (I’ll leave it as an exercise for the reader to determine which is which): and My favorite definition for the word “innovation” comes from Scott Berkun: If you must […]

2 months, 10 days ago

This Is Winter Too, (This is Nature Too)

This started out as a photo essay on winter. And then I read an article that disturbed me. I’m a strong supporter of rewilding. I think organizations like Rewilding Britain do great work, so it may seem strange that I was unhappy with this article about them. Near the beginning there’s a quote from George Monbiot […]

4 months, 10 days ago

Ordinary Things

One of the side effects of illness and injury (in my case a slipped disk) can be that your world becomes smaller. You don’t travel for your work. Your chance of being somewhere new is small. You move more slowly and aren’t up to long trips. It’s not feasible to go to all those special places, where […]

5 months, 8 days ago

Defense Against the Dark Art of Disruption

My first post for 2016 was titled “Is 2016 the Year for Customer-Focused IT?”. The closing line was “If 2016 isn’t the year for customer-focused IT, I wonder just what kind of year it will be for IT?”. I am so sorry for jinxing so many things for so many people.🙂 So far, the year […]

9 months, 25 days ago

Building a Legacy

  Over the last few weeks, I’ve run across a flurry of articles dealing with the issue of legacy systems used by the U.S. government. An Associated Press story on the findings from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued in May reported that roughly three-fourths of the $80 billion IT budget was used to maintain […]

10 months, 30 days ago

Dealing with Technical Debt Like We Mean it

What’s the biggest problem with technical debt? In my opinion, the biggest problem is that it works. Just like the electrical outlet pictured above, systems with technical debt get the job done, even when there’s a hidden surprise or two waiting to make life interesting for us at some later date. If it flat-out failed, […]

11 months, 14 days ago

What’s Innovation Worth?

What does an old World War II tank have to do with innovation? I’ve mentioned it before, but it bears repeating – one of benefits of having a blog is the ability to interact with and learn from people all over the world. For example, Greger Wikstrand and I have been trading blog posts on […]

1 year, 13 days ago

Innovation – What’s Old can be New Again

There’s an old rhyme about what a bride should wear for luck on her wedding day: “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue…”. While reading an article on the origins of the US highway system, I thought about this rhyme in relation to the concept of innovation. Part of that article related the US […]

1 year, 1 month ago

A few thoughts on (re)enchantment

Several people reacted to my last blog with the reasonable question of how we can maintain/retain the sensation of enchantment on the bleak, depressing days when everything seems to be wrong with the world (or at least our own bit of it). I have no easy answer to this (if there were one, it probably […]

1 year, 1 month ago

“Want Fries with That?”

Greger Wikstrand and I have been trading posts about architecture, innovation, and organizations as systems (a list of previous posts can be found at the bottom of the page) for quite a while now. His latest, “Technology permeats innovation”, touches on an important point – the need for IT to add value and not just […]

1 year, 3 months ago

Solving the Polyglot Persistence Puzzle – Defining the Information Value Lifecycle

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I believe an Information Architect’s primary purpose is
to increase the value of the information assets belonging to an
organization. Securing and making
information available is no longer sufficient to grow the competitive
capabilities of an organization. Information architects must get:

  • the right information
  • to the right person

  • at the right time
  • in the right format
  • so the best decisions can be made at all levels of the
    organization.

To assist Information Architects in understanding and
defining a process to increase the value of information assets, I have created
an Information Value Lifecycle map. This
is the first step in understanding the characteristics of information on the
way to building Polyglot Persistent Architectures.

Building an Information Value Lifecycle map is done in 7
steps.

Step 1 – Build the Information Value Lifecycle map
layout.Each organization has multiple levels of decision
making. For each level of decision
making, there are Information Usage patterns and the Information Structures
needed to support the usages. The
example below starts with the Transaction Owners, the staff that create,
maintain and own the transactions required to run the business. At the highest level are the CEO and Board of
Directors (BoD). Maps will differ to
reflect each organization’s hierarchical process of decision making.

Step 2 – Define the Information Usage patterns and the
Information Structures needed to support the Information Usage pattern.

Typically different levels of decision making require
different levels of aggregation and summarization of information – from simple
transaction reporting to cross line of business and industry aggregations, analytics and predictive analysis. Information architectures over the years have
evolved well know sets of information structures (most commonly 3rd
Normal Form, Star, Snowflake and Cube schemas) needed to support these Usage
Patterns.

Step 3 – Define the processes needed to transform and
aggregate information from transactions to the highest level of the decision
making process.

Extract, transform and load (ETL) processes move
information from one level of decision making to the next based on the
information usage patterns. Mapping
these ETL process at a high level ensures data linage is understood and
information accuracy is guaranteed. Some
applications provide capabilities ‘jump’ the information past some levels to
the highest levels of the decision making process. Oracle Hyperion is an example.

Step 4 – Record Master Data Management usage patterns

Understanding Master Data usage patterns gives insights
into which types of information are most important to an organization. They also indicate the level of information
management maturity – more usage of master data reflects an understanding of
the value of master data and a willingness to invest to realize that value.

Step 5 – Identify Big Data usage patterns

Most organizations have begun the process of deploying
and realizing the value of Big Data. Recording
Big Data usage patterns shows the maturity of an organization in relationship
to their ability to adopt and deploy new technologies.

Step 6 – Identify the ‘Gold Nuggets’ in Big Data

Identify where Big Data data mining and analytics has
increased the quality and/or quantity of information inputted into the Information
Value Lifecycle. These processes are
commonly referred to as finding the ‘Gold Nuggets’ of information that were previously
not known. It’s important to understand
the value of the ‘Gold Nuggets’ in the decision making process of an
organization to justify the level of effort and expense of deploying Big Data
architectures.

Step 7 – Identify new Big Data information value
opportunities

The low cost of some Big Data architectures has allowed
organization to capture new sources of data that have lead to new ways of doing
business. Many of these use cases
include social media as a way of judging the success of marketing campaigns and
new product lunches. Capturing these Big
Data opportunities shows the agility and innovativeness of an organization.

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1 year, 5 months ago

Let’s Talk Value (Who Needs Architects?)

Value is a term that’s heard often these days, but I wonder how well it’s understood. Too often, it seems, value is taken to mean raw benefit rather than its actual meaning, benefit after cost (i.e. “bang for the buck”). An even better understanding of the concept can be had from Tom Cagley’s “Breaking Down […]