Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Liz McMillan, Carmen Gonzalez, Elizabeth White, XebiaLabs Blog, Pat Romanski

Blog Feed Post

What We Really Mean by Digital Transformation

Want to know a secret? I loathe the phrase Digital Transformation. Not only is the word Digital silly and misleading, but Transformation ain’t much better. The mere act of naming a business initiative Digital Transformation suggests to people that once the transformation is complete, we’ll be done. Look at us! We’re Digitally Transformed!

Hogwash. A single transformation is better than nothing, but what we really want is the ability to transform our business as needed. Furthermore, we need to be agile with our transformation initiative itself. The last thing we want is to institute, say, a three-year transformation effort, only to find at the end of the three years that the world changed a year into the initiative, rendering it a useless waste of money and effort.

So, who are the right people in the organization to address this sorry state of affairs? Driving the change needed to make our organizations more successful at such ongoing transformation should ideally fall to the Enterprise Architects. Unfortunately, the way Enterprise Architecture (EA) is done today falls well short of this mark.

Traditional EA starts with documenting the initial state of an enterprise. Then Enterprise Architects document the final state as required by the business. Finally, they help the organization plan how to get from one state to the other.

There are only three things wrong with this way to think about EA: The initial state. The final state. And yes, the plan to get from one to the other. It’s no wonder most organizations who were fool enough to sink money into EA believe EA is completely broken. Even EAs think EA is broken, and they do it for a living!

But no matter how fun it is to bemoan this sorry state of affairs, this Cortex must help point the direction to a better way of thinking about – and doing – Enterprise Architecture. The success of any Digital Transformation effort hangs in the balance.

What’s Wrong with Point A to Point B?

It seems so intuitive that the way to solve a problem is first, understand the problem, second, understand the solution, and third, solve the problem. Unfortunately, many EA initiatives don’t get past step one. Documenting the initial state of an enterprise – or even simply documenting the initial state of an enterprise’s IT environment, which is usually where EAs focus their efforts – is an exercise in futility. There are simply way too many bits and pieces, moving parts made of people and technology, for such an activity to ever complete, let alone provide sufficient detail to add clarity to the situation. Remember, the organization is always in flux. Even if you could take a snapshot of everything, it would be out of date a moment later.

What about the final state? That’s the nirvana situation where all your problems are solved, right? OK, raise your hand if there was ever a time in your career where all the problems were solved, all the bugs were fixed, all the projects were complete. Anybody? Sounds rather unrealistic, wouldn’t you say? Even if you narrow your scope to a single aspect of your business or even a single project, there is nothing final about a final state, if you could even refer to such an implausible scenario as a state, which is asking a lot. Remember, everything is connected to everything else, and everything is always changing. The notion of a “final state” is an unrealistic simplification that misleads people into thinking the approach they’re taking will actually solve problems.

Very well, let’s say you’ve still reading, in spite of thinking my comments on initial and final state are a bunch of hogwash. Certainly, you may ask, the EAs can at least concoct some kind of plan for getting from point A to point B? Sorry to disappoint. If what you mean by a “plan” is a description of the steps you must take that you can put together before you take those steps, then no. You’ll never come up with such a plan that ends up having any relationship to reality by even the halfway mark. There are simply too many unknowns, and too many things can change along the way.

Moving Up a Level

The core problem with this traditional approach to architecture is that it is simply too literal. It deals with things as they are and things as you desire them to be, without dealing with the fact that everything is subject to change. But the good news is, we architects have a wonderful tool in our box of tricks for dealing with excess literalness: the tool of abstraction. If we move up a level of abstraction, we’re no longer thinking about initial and final state. Instead, we’re thinking about moving from being less agile to being more agile.

Literal-minded thinkers (and I know you’re out there) will be protesting at this point that “being less agile” is our initial state and “being more agile” is our final state, so we’re just playing word games. And if you squint and hold your nose, there is a minuscule portion of truth in that overly literal perspective – but you’re missing the point here. “Being less agile” describes any number of possible initial states we may find ourselves in, and “being more agile” means being able to deal with change better, no matter which state we started at or where we happened to end up.

Put another way: moving from A to B describes a change (or actually, a set of changes) in the organization. Moving from less agile to more agile describes a change in how the organization deals with change, from being less able to deal with change to being more able to deal with change. In other words, we’re now thinking at the Meta level. We’re not doing architecture any more, oh no. We’re doing meta-architecture: we’re architecting our architecture.

Introducing the Bloomberg Agile Architecture™ Maturity Metamodel

Time to put some meat on these bones. As I’ve explained before, the Bloomberg Agile Architecture (BAA) Technique is a particular approach to implementing EA that is business agility driven. It’s not a framework you need to subtract from but a technique that complements other architectural efforts. Today I’m rolling out a core BAA artifact: the BAA Maturity Metamodel.

Try as I might, I couldn’t fit the entire chart into this article, so instead, I’ve linked to a pdf version of the Metamodel. Click here or the image below to download the pdf.

BAA Maturity Metamodel

Unfortunately, there isn’t room in this Cortex to fully explain the BAA Maturity Metamodel (for that, take one of our classes to learn all the details, or drop me a line). But there is room here for a few of the highlights.

First, notice the four levels: Chaotic State, First-Gen SOA/Centralized, Next-Gen SOA/Cloud-Centric, and Agile Architecture. These designations refer to the organization’s context for architecture as it matures from less agile to more agile. In other words, it maps how your architecture is evolving – and thus the chart represents an aspect of your meta-architecture.

Second, note the twelve dimensions (rows), sorted neatly into four areas: Organization, Process, Information, and Technology. This organization of dimensions is more a matter of convenience than anything else. Feel free to rearrange the dimensions as you see fit.

In fact, feel free to change anything in the metamodel you see fit, based upon your situation – and always be willing to change it as your architecture evolves. Remember, there are two sides to being agile: the core driver of business agility (increasing in the metamodel from left to right) and the fact that BAA is Agile in approach (in other words, generally follows the principles of the Agile Manifesto). And as ye old Manifesto sayeth, thou shalt respond to change over following a plan. Even if the plan is to be Agile!

Finally, never forget what this diagram is for. It’s for helping architects coordinate change across the organization as driven by business needs. The metamodel – or any other aspect of the architecture – never tells the business what it should do. In the immortal words of a well-known sage: “business needs drive the architecture, and architecture drives the technology. Never let technology drive the architecture or the architecture drive the business.” Couldn’t have said it better myself.

The Intellyx Take

I know that many of you who took the time to download the Maturity Metamodel will have many questions about it – and over time, I’ll get to the answers. But just to whet your appetite a wee bit further, let’s take a moment to discuss the first dimension: Business Transformation.

The starting point for business transformation, of course, must be “no transformation.” As the organization gets a handle on their architecture and moves to first-generation SOA, IT moves into the role of service provider – not simply IT services, but also Web Services that automate the interaction with existing systems of record. Instead of simply integrating those systems, now the IT organization publishes interfaces that can be consumed as needed, transforming the relationship between IT and the business (which was always easier said than done, hence the relegation of first-generation SOA to Level One).

As the architecture matures to next-generation, Cloud-friendly SOA (which in many cases loses the “SOA” name, but is Service-oriented nevertheless), the transformation story centers on the move to the Cloud. Cloud Computing, you see, is far more than a change in technology deployment. It represents a force for transforming the business.

But even Cloud-driven transformation isn’t the end of the story. The move to Agile Architecture is a move to continuous business transformation – where the organization is as agile as it wants to be, and is able to deal with change as a routine part of how it does business. Continuous business transformation, of course, has always been the center of the Agile Architecture story – and is what we really mean when we say we want Digital Transformation.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Jason Bloomberg

Jason Bloomberg is the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise. As president of Intellyx, Mr. Bloomberg brings his years of thought leadership in the areas of Cloud Computing, Enterprise Architecture, and Service-Oriented Architecture to a global clientele of business executives, architects, software vendors, and Cloud service providers looking to achieve technology-enabled business agility across their organizations and for their customers. His latest book, The Agile Architecture Revolution (John Wiley & Sons, 2013), sets the stage for Mr. Bloomberg’s groundbreaking Agile Architecture vision.

Mr. Bloomberg is perhaps best known for his twelve years at ZapThink, where he created and delivered the Licensed ZapThink Architect (LZA) SOA course and associated credential, certifying over 1,700 professionals worldwide. He is one of the original Managing Partners of ZapThink LLC, the leading SOA advisory and analysis firm, which was acquired by Dovel Technologies in 2011. He now runs the successor to the LZA program, the Bloomberg Agile Architecture Course, around the world.

Mr. Bloomberg is a frequent conference speaker and prolific writer. He has published over 500 articles, spoken at over 300 conferences, Webinars, and other events, and has been quoted in the press over 1,400 times as the leading expert on agile approaches to architecture in the enterprise.

Mr. Bloomberg’s previous book, Service Orient or Be Doomed! How Service Orientation Will Change Your Business (John Wiley & Sons, 2006, coauthored with Ron Schmelzer), is recognized as the leading business book on Service Orientation. He also co-authored the books XML and Web Services Unleashed (SAMS Publishing, 2002), and Web Page Scripting Techniques (Hayden Books, 1996).

Prior to ZapThink, Mr. Bloomberg built a diverse background in eBusiness technology management and industry analysis, including serving as a senior analyst in IDC’s eBusiness Advisory group, as well as holding eBusiness management positions at USWeb/CKS (later marchFIRST) and WaveBend Solutions (now Hitachi Consulting).

@MicroservicesExpo Stories
Financial Technology has become a topic of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities. Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 20th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York, June 6-8, 2017, will find fresh new content in a new track called FinTech.
Information technology is an industry that has always experienced change, and the dramatic change sweeping across the industry today could not be truthfully described as the first time we've seen such widespread change impacting customer investments. However, the rate of the change, and the potential outcomes from today's digital transformation has the distinct potential to separate the industry into two camps: Organizations that see the change coming, embrace it, and successful leverage it; and...
"Dice has been around for the last 20 years. We have been helping tech professionals find new jobs and career opportunities," explained Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Get deep visibility into the performance of your databases and expert advice for performance optimization and tuning. You can't get application performance without database performance. Give everyone on the team a comprehensive view of how every aspect of the system affects performance across SQL database operations, host server and OS, virtualization resources and storage I/O. Quickly find bottlenecks and troubleshoot complex problems.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Dataloop.IO, an innovator in cloud IT-monitoring whose products help organizations save time and money, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Dataloop.IO is an emerging software company on the cutting edge of major IT-infrastructure trends including cloud computing and microservices. The company, founded in the UK but now based in San Fran...
Rapid innovation, changing business landscapes, and new IT demands force businesses to make changes quickly. In the eyes of many, containers are at the brink of becoming a pervasive technology in enterprise IT to accelerate application delivery. In this presentation, attendees learned about the: The transformation of IT to a DevOps, microservices, and container-based architecture What are containers and how DevOps practices can operate in a container-based environment A demonstration of how ...
SYS-CON Events has announced today that Roger Strukhoff has been named conference chair of Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo 2017 New York. The 20th Cloud Expo and 7th @ThingsExpo will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. "The Internet of Things brings trillions of dollars of opportunity to developers and enterprise IT, no matter how you measure it," stated Roger Strukhoff. "More importantly, it leverages the power of devices and the Internet to enable us all to im...
Cloud Expo, Inc. has announced today that Andi Mann returns to 'DevOps at Cloud Expo 2017' as Conference Chair The @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. "DevOps is set to be one of the most profound disruptions to hit IT in decades," said Andi Mann. "It is a natural extension of cloud computing, and I have seen both firsthand and in independent research the fantastic results DevOps delivers. So I am excited to help the great t...
Application transformation and DevOps practices are two sides of the same coin. Enterprises that want to capture value faster, need to deliver value faster – time value of money principle. To do that enterprises need to build cloud-native apps as microservices by empowering teams to build, ship, and run in production. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 19th Cloud Expo, Neil Gehani, senior product manager at HPE, discussed what every business should plan for how to structure their teams to delive...
Without lifecycle traceability and visibility across the tool chain, stakeholders from Planning-to-Ops have limited insight and answers to who, what, when, why and how across the DevOps lifecycle. This impacts the ability to deliver high quality software at the needed velocity to drive positive business outcomes. In his general session at @DevOpsSummit at 19th Cloud Expo, Phil Hombledal, Solution Architect at CollabNet, discussed how customers are able to achieve a level of transparency that e...
Much of the value of DevOps comes from a (renewed) focus on measurement, sharing, and continuous feedback loops. In increasingly complex DevOps workflows and environments, and especially in larger, regulated, or more crystallized organizations, these core concepts become even more critical. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, Andi Mann, Chief Technology Advocate at Splunk, showed how, by focusing on 'metrics that matter,' you can provide objective, transparent, and meaningful f...
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain. In this power panel at @...
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud taking place June 6-8, 2017, at Javits Center, New York City, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long developm...
Kubernetes is a new and revolutionary open-sourced system for managing containers across multiple hosts in a cluster. Ansible is a simple IT automation tool for just about any requirement for reproducible environments. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, Patrick Galbraith, a principal engineer at HPE, discussed how to build a fully functional Kubernetes cluster on a number of virtual machines or bare-metal hosts. Also included will be a brief demonstration of running a Galera MyS...
IT leaders face a monumental challenge. They must figure out how to sort through the cacophony of new technologies, buzzwords, and industry hype to find the right digital path forward for their organizations. And they simply cannot afford to fail. Those organizations that are fastest to the right digital path will be the ones that win. The path forward, however, is strewn with the legacy of decisions made long ago — often before any of the current leadership team assumed their roles. While it’s ...
As we enter the final week before the 19th International Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo in Santa Clara, CA, it's time for me to reflect on six big topics that will be important during the show. Hybrid Cloud: This general-purpose term seems to provide a comfort zone for many enterprise IT managers. It sounds reassuring to be able to work with one of the major public-cloud providers like AWS or Microsoft Azure while still maintaining an on-site presence.
Between 2005 and 2020, data volumes will grow by a factor of 300 – enough data to stack CDs from the earth to the moon 162 times. This has come to be known as the ‘big data’ phenomenon. Unfortunately, traditional approaches to handling, storing and analyzing data aren’t adequate at this scale: they’re too costly, slow and physically cumbersome to keep up. Fortunately, in response a new breed of technology has emerged that is cheaper, faster and more scalable. Yet, in meeting these new needs they...
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
Without lifecycle traceability and visibility across the tool chain, stakeholders from Planning-to-Ops have limited insight and answers to who, what, when, why and how across the DevOps lifecycle. This impacts the ability to deliver high quality software at the needed velocity to drive positive business outcomes. In his session at @DevOpsSummit 19th Cloud Expo, Eric Robertson, General Manager at CollabNet, showed how customers are able to achieve a level of transparency that enables everyone fro...
In IT, we sometimes coin terms for things before we know exactly what they are and how they’ll be used. The resulting terms may capture a common set of aspirations and goals – as “cloud” did broadly for on-demand, self-service, and flexible computing. But such a term can also lump together diverse and even competing practices, technologies, and priorities to the point where important distinctions are glossed over and lost.