|By Douglas Allen||
|October 21, 2011 10:00 AM EDT||
Now is the time to invest. As organizations enter the planning stages for their key 2012 initiatives, it is time to invest in the ingenuity that enables companies to continuously strive for the ever-elusive competitive edge. It is time to invest in innovative processes and insight that creates lasting business value for customers and shareholders. It is time to invest in the advanced technology that provides the foundation and tools for the people and processes to meet their true potential. This means investing in the organizational construct known as a business technology Center of Excellence (CoE).
The general concept of a business technology CoE has occasionally been incorporated into everything from a skunkworks-oriented IT research & development team to a full-fledged enterprise architecture organization. Corporate enterprise IT R&D teams are typically assigned a mission to constantly assess trends in business technology and make recommendations regarding their usage. These teams can serve a vital purpose in some companies, but are often challenged in making the connection between the new technologies and their immediate benefit to the business’ bottom line. Similarly, enterprise architecture teams have been very successful in documenting and establishing governance over the existing business, organizational, and technical constructs of a corporation, but have been challenged in delivering ongoing, proactive, and immediate strategic value to the business. A well-defined CoE with a specific mission addresses both the tactical and strategic issues associated with implementing new business technology solutions while remaining focused on the value the technology provides to the business.
Begin by considering how the CoE will be staffed. The core team should consist of experienced professionals who have an understanding of many technology domains as well as a solid grasp of the business. As with any high profile transformational initiative, it should be staffed by high performers with a proven track record of success. This initial team will morph into the internal consultants in the organization who will be charged with driving change, so they need to have credibility and influence with both the business and IT departments. From a practical standpoint, the enterprise architecture team is likely to have the most qualified candidates. Suggestions for staffing additional roles and responsibilities beyond the CoE leadership will be discussed later.
The graphic below demonstrates both an organizational construct as well as the functional considerations that need to be addressed when introducing new business technology into the enterprise. As with any enterprise initiative, it all begins with an examination of the business priorities. This enables the team to understand where the greatest opportunities lie for technology to play a transformative role. This understanding will then drive the situations, scenarios, and business problems to which the new technology can be applied. For example, a business initiative focused on expansion into emerging markets with minimal technical expertise can drive the need for rapid provisioning of IT solutions and/or private cloud solutions. Depending on the technology in question, these two CoE elements can actually drive each other. For example, an understanding of business analytics technology and the role it can play in transforming organizational decision making can become the foundation that drives ideas for new business initiatives. It may be considered blasphemous in some organizations, but there is nothing wrong with an emerging technology solution looking for a critical business problem to solve. The business initiative and technology domain decisions will in effect become the organizational charter for the CoE and therefore define its mission.
Once the mission is established, there are four areas of consideration that the CoE must address in order for a solution to become enterprise class. From a timing perspective, some areas must be addressed prior to others, but all must be taken into consideration from the beginning. Although there is minimal overlap in terms of purpose of any of these, they are complementary and are all required in order to deliver an enterprise class business solution. The first area is Architecture. As the saying goes, Architecture establishes the proverbial “rules of the road” that guide decision making and link the actual technical solution back to the business priorities. Architecture includes the organizational thought leadership and evangelism that will drive adoption of the technology across the enterprise. Techniques will include proofs of concept and prototypes that address specific business problems, the selection of the technology best suited for the organization, and a detailed understanding of the business value derived from the investment in the technology. This function should be executed by the CoE leadership described earlier. A combination of business leaders and architects set the overall direction of the CoE and lead execution.
The second area of consideration is Solution Development. Even if the bulk of the solution is acquired from vendors rather than built in house, attention has to be paid to ensure that the implementation of the business functionality is done in a consistent and repeatable fashion. These areas would typically be addressed by the development leads responsible for understanding the deep technical details of the technology, the optimal methods and nuances involved in deploying and reusing its components, and ensuring that the solution is well tested and exercised before it is used by the organization. If, for example, the CoE is focused on the business process management (BPM) technology domain, these individuals would understand how to use the BPM tooling to map business processes, pass the appropriate business information between systems and humans, and all of the application integration details (service definitions, etc.).
The third area of consideration focuses on the Infrastructure components. This includes everything that ensures the establishment of an enterprise class environment upon which the solution can be hosted. It includes defining and deploying installation and configuration procedures for the hardware and software to provide a highly available, scalable, recoverable, and secure environment. These responsibilities would be executed by individuals such as systems administrators or engineers who understand capacity planning and all aspects of infrastructure management. They would ensure that the solution adheres to established enterprise IT standards and reuses existing corporate hardware (servers, network, storage, etc.) and middleware (databases, application servers, etc.) to the greatest extent possible.
The fourth and final area of consideration focuses on post implementation Solution Support. As critical as the solution is to the achievement of business priorities, systems and personnel need to be in place to ensure that it is functioning optimally. This includes the ability to monitor the solution from a performance, availability, and functionality perspective as well as ensuring the proactive escalation and resolution of any issues. Depending on the organization, this function may be performed by the same professionals responsible for the Infrastructure area of concern mentioned previously. Similarly, any monitoring, service request management, and escalation systems already in place for the existing enterprise IT environment would be utilized for the new technology as well.
Although the graphic does not represent it, there is a cycle involved in each of these areas of consideration. As the team and the solution evolves, new experiences are introduced that can iteratively drive more business value and efficiency. However, once the CoE has achieved its initial mission and the solution has been rolled out, the teams focused on Architecture and Solution Development would remain in place and continue to act as internal consultants and evangelists to spread the technology and its business benefits across the enterprise. The professionals focused on Infrastructure and Solution Support will have successfully integrated the new technology into the enterprise and would take on less of a role in driving further adoption.
As has been proven time and time again, technology itself cannot transform a business nor take it to the next level of success. As Jim Collins articulates in his perennial best seller, “Good To Great”, however, technology can become the "accelerator" that enables the transformation. Establishing a Center of Excellence that enables dedicated professionals to focus on applying a specific technology domain to a business problem will better enable the organization to reap greater benefits from its investment in the technology.
SYS-CON Events announced today that BMC Software has been named "Siver Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. BMC is a global leader in innovative software solutions that help businesses transform into digital enterprises for the ultimate competitive advantage. BMC Digital Enterprise Management is a set of innovative IT solutions designed to make digital business fast, seamless, and optimized from mainframe to mo...
May. 26, 2016 04:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,024
SYS-CON Events announced today that AppNeta, the leader in performance insight for business-critical web applications, will exhibit and present at SYS-CON's @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo New York, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. AppNeta is the only application performance monitoring (APM) company to provide solutions for all applications – applications you develop internally, business-critical SaaS applications you use and the networks that deli...
May. 26, 2016 03:45 PM EDT Reads: 2,274
IoT generates lots of temporal data. But how do you unlock its value? How do you coordinate the diverse moving parts that must come together when developing your IoT product? What are the key challenges addressed by Data as a Service? How does cloud computing underlie and connect the notions of Digital and DevOps What is the impact of the API economy? What is the business imperative for Cognitive Computing? Get all these questions and hundreds more like them answered at the 18th Cloud Expo...
May. 26, 2016 03:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,186
SYS-CON Events announced today the How to Create Angular 2 Clients for the Cloud Workshop, being held June 7, 2016, in conjunction with 18th Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Angular 2 is a complete re-write of the popular framework AngularJS. Programming in Angular 2 is greatly simplified. Now it’s a component-based well-performing framework. The immersive one-day workshop led by Yakov Fain, a Java Champion and a co-founder of the IT consultancy Farata Systems and...
May. 26, 2016 03:30 PM EDT Reads: 3,929
SYS-CON Events announced today that Isomorphic Software will exhibit at SYS-CON's [email protected] at Cloud Expo New York, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Isomorphic Software provides the SmartClient HTML5/AJAX platform, the most advanced technology for building rich, high-productivity enterprise web applications for any device. SmartClient couples the industry’s broadest, deepest UI component set with a java server framework to deliver an end-...
May. 26, 2016 03:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,002
Join us at Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo 2016 – June 7-9 at the Javits Center in New York City and November 1-3 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – and deliver your unique message in a way that is striking and unforgettable by taking advantage of SYS-CON's unmatched high-impact, result-driven event / media packages.
May. 26, 2016 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,242
In the rush to compete in the digital age, a successful digital transformation is essential, but many organizations are setting themselves up for failure. There’s a common misconception that the process is just about technology, but it’s not. It’s about your business. It shouldn’t be treated as an isolated IT project; it should be driven by business needs with the committed involvement of a range of stakeholders.
May. 26, 2016 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,210
SYS-CON Events announced today that EastBanc Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. EastBanc Technologies has been working at the frontier of technology since 1999. Today, the firm provides full-lifecycle software development delivering flexible technology solutions that seamlessly integrate with existing systems – whether on premise or cloud. EastBanc Technologies partners with p...
May. 26, 2016 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,052
18th Cloud Expo, taking place June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterprises are using some...
May. 26, 2016 02:45 PM EDT Reads: 3,033
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
May. 26, 2016 01:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,961
SoftLayer operates a global cloud infrastructure platform built for Internet scale. With a global footprint of data centers and network points of presence, SoftLayer provides infrastructure as a service to leading-edge customers ranging from Web startups to global enterprises. SoftLayer's modular architecture, full-featured API, and sophisticated automation provide unparalleled performance and control. Its flexible unified platform seamlessly spans physical and virtual devices linked via a world...
May. 26, 2016 12:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,993
SYS-CON Events announced today that Tintri Inc., a leading producer of VM-aware storage (VAS) for virtualization and cloud environments, will exhibit at the 18th International CloudExpo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
May. 26, 2016 11:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,201
SYS-CON Events announced today the Docker Meets Kubernetes – Intro into the Kubernetes World, being held June 9, 2016, in conjunction with 18th Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Register for 'Docker Meets Kubernetes Workshop' Here! This workshop led by Sebastian Scheele, co-founder of Loodse, introduces participants to Kubernetes (container orchestration). Through a combination of instructor-led presentations, demonstrations, and hands-on labs, participants learn ...
May. 26, 2016 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,883
Just last week a senior Hybris consultant shared the story of a customer engagement on which he was working. This customer had problems, serious problems. We’re talking about response times far beyond the most liberal acceptable standard. They were unable to solve the issue in their eCommerce platform – specifically Hybris. Although the eCommerce project was delivered by a system integrator / implementation partner, the vendor still gets involved when things go really wrong. After all, the vendo...
May. 26, 2016 10:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,404
The initial debate is over: Any enterprise with a serious commitment to IT is migrating to the cloud. But things are not so simple. There is a complex mix of on-premises, colocated, and public-cloud deployments. In this power panel at 18th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will look at the present state of cloud from the C-level view, and how great companies and rock star executives can use cloud computing to meet their most ambitious and disruptive business ...
May. 26, 2016 09:30 AM EDT Reads: 2,141
Many banks and financial institutions are experimenting with containers in development environments, but when will they move into production? Containers are seen as the key to achieving the ultimate in information technology flexibility and agility. Containers work on both public and private clouds, and make it easy to build and deploy applications. The challenge for regulated industries is the cost and complexity of container security compliance. VM security compliance is already challenging, ...
May. 26, 2016 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,167
Agile teams report the lowest rate of measuring non-functional requirements. What does this mean for the evolution of quality in this era of Continuous Everything? To explore how the rise of SDLC acceleration trends such as Agile, DevOps, and Continuous Delivery are impacting software quality, Parasoft conducted a survey about measuring and monitoring non-functional requirements (NFRs). Here's a glimpse at what we discovered and what it means for the evolution of quality in this era of Continuo...
May. 26, 2016 08:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,491
Last week I had the pleasure of speaking on a panel at Sapphire Ventures Next-Gen Tech Stack Forum in San Francisco. Obviously, I was excited to join the discussion, but as a participant the event crystallized not only where the larger software development market is relative to microservices, container technologies (like Docker), continuous integration and deployment; but also provided insight into where DevOps is heading in the coming years.
May. 26, 2016 08:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,460
You might already know them from theagileadmin.com, but let me introduce you to two of the leading minds in the Rugged DevOps movement: James Wickett and Ernest Mueller. Both James and Ernest are active leaders in the DevOps space, in addition to helping organize events such as DevOpsDays Austinand LASCON. Our conversation covered a lot of bases from the founding of Rugged DevOps to aligning organizational silos to lessons learned from W. Edwards Demings.
May. 26, 2016 07:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,390
As AT&Ts VP of Domain 2.0 architecture writes one aspect of their Domain 2.0 strategy is a goal to embrace a Microservices Application Architecture. One page 9 they describe how these envisage them fitting into the ECOMP architecture: "The initial steps of the recipes include a homing and placement task using constraints specified in the requests. ‘Homing and Placement' are micro-services involving orchestration, inventory, and controllers responsible for infrastructure, network, and applicati...
May. 26, 2016 06:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,726