Click here to close now.

Welcome!

Microservices Journal Authors: Roger Strukhoff, Carmen Gonzalez, Alena Prokharchyk, Liz McMillan, Jayaram Krishnaswamy

Related Topics: Microservices Journal, Java

Microservices Journal: Article

Business Technology Centers of Excellence - Investing in Your Future

Ensuring the business value of your technology

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.

More Stories By Douglas Allen

Douglas W. Allen is a husband and father from Des Moines, IA and the owner of the winningtechnicalsales.com blog, dedicated to the sales engineering profession. As a technical sales manager at IBM, his team is dedicated to helping customers design and deploy enterprise-class business technology solutions that enable those customers to make money, save money, or mitigate risk. He is currently on a campaign to convince the world that the past, present, and future of rock and roll recently came out of New Jersey in the form of The Gaslight Anthem. He can be reached at www.linkedin.com/in/douglaswallen.

@MicroservicesExpo Stories
Containers and microservices have become topics of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities. Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 16th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York June 9-11 will find fresh new content in a new track called PaaS | Containers & Microservices Containers are not being considered for the first time by the cloud community, but a current era of re-consideration has pushed them to the top of the cloud agenda. With the launch ...
So I guess we’ve officially entered a new era of lean and mean. I say this with the announcement of Ubuntu Snappy Core, “designed for lightweight cloud container hosts running Docker and for smart devices,” according to Canonical. “Snappy Ubuntu Core is the smallest Ubuntu available, designed for security and efficiency in devices or on the cloud.” This first version of Snappy Ubuntu Core features secure app containment and Docker 1.6 (1.5 in main release), is available on public clouds, ...
SYS-CON Events announced today the IoT Bootcamp – Jumpstart Your IoT Strategy, being held June 9–10, 2015, in conjunction with 16th Cloud Expo and Internet of @ThingsExpo at the Javits Center in New York City. This is your chance to jumpstart your IoT strategy. Combined with real-world scenarios and use cases, the IoT Bootcamp is not just based on presentations but includes hands-on demos and walkthroughs. We will introduce you to a variety of Do-It-Yourself IoT platforms including Arduino, Ras...
SYS-CON Events announced today the DevOps Foundation Certification Course, being held June ?, 2015, in conjunction with DevOps Summit and 16th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. This sixteen (16) hour course provides an introduction to DevOps – the cultural and professional movement that stresses communication, collaboration, integration and automation in order to improve the flow of work between software developers and IT operations professionals. Improved workflows will res...
One of the most frequently requested Rancher features, load balancers are used to distribute traffic between docker containers. Now Rancher users can configure, update and scale up an integrated load balancing service to meet their application needs, using either Rancher's UI or API. To implement our load balancing functionality we decided to use HAproxy, which is deployed as a contianer, and managed by the Rancher orchestration functionality. With Rancher's Load Balancing capability, users ...
The stack is the hack, Jack. That's my takeaway from several events I attended over the past few weeks in Silicon Valley and Southeast Asia. I listened to and participated in discussions about everything from large datacenter management (think Facebook Open Compute) to enterprise-level cyberfraud (at a seminar in Manila attended by the US State Dept. and Philippine National Police) to the world of entrepreneurial startups, app deployment, and mobility (in a series of meetups and talks in bot...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Vicom Computer Services, Inc., a provider of technology and service solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. They are located at booth #427. Vicom Computer Services, Inc. is a progressive leader in the technology industry for over 30 years. Headquartered in the NY Metropolitan area. Vicom provides products and services based on today’s requirements...
Public Cloud IaaS started it's life in the developer and startup communities and has grown rapidly to a $20B+ industry, but it still pales in comparison to how much is spent worldwide on IT: $3.6 trillion. In fact, there are 8.6 million data centers worldwide, the reality is many small and medium sized business have server closets and colocation footprints filled with servers and storage gear. While on-premise environment virtualization may have peaked at 75%, the Public Cloud has lagged in ado...
Dave will share his insights on how Internet of Things for Enterprises are transforming and making more productive and efficient operations and maintenance (O&M) procedures in the cleantech industry and beyond. Speaker Bio: Dave Landa is chief operating officer of Cybozu Corp (kintone US). Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Dave has been on the forefront of the Cloud revolution driving strategic business development on the executive teams of multiple leading Software as a Services (SaaS) ap...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Soha will exhibit at SYS-CON's DevOps Summit New York, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Soha delivers enterprise-grade application security, on any device, as agile as the cloud. This turnkey, cloud-based service enables customers to solve secure application access and delivery challenges that traditional or virtualized network solutions cannot solve because they are too expensive, inflexible and operational...
Microsoft is releasing in the near future Azure Service Fabric as a preview beta. Azure Service Fabric is built to run microservices - a complex application consisting of smaller, interlocked components that enables updating components without disrupting service. Microsoft has used this over the past few years internally for many of its own applications and the new release is for general use, a new product. OSIsoft is an early adopter of this system and run with it to expand into the explo...
ProfitBricks, the provider of painless cloud infrastructure IaaS, today released its SDK for Ruby, written against the company's new RESTful API. The new SDK joins ProfitBricks' previously announced support for the popular multi-cloud open-source Fog project. This new Ruby SDK, which exposes advanced functionality to take advantage of ProfitBricks' simplicity and productivity, aligns with ProfitBricks' mission to provide a painless way to automate infrastructure in the cloud. Ruby is a genera...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ciqada will exhibit at SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Ciqada™ makes it easy to connect your products to the Internet. By integrating key components - hardware, servers, dashboards, and mobile apps - into an easy-to-use, configurable system, your products can quickly and securely join the internet of things. With remote monitoring, control, and alert messaging capability, you will mee...
of cloud, colocation, managed services and disaster recovery solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. TierPoint, LLC, is a leading national provider of information technology and data center services, including cloud, colocation, disaster recovery and managed IT services, with corporate headquarters in St. Louis, MO. TierPoint was formed through the strategic combination of some of t...
ProfitBricks, the provider of painless cloud infrastructure for IaaS, today announced the release of a Node.js SDK written against its recently launched REST API. This new JavaScript based library provides coverage for all existing ProfitBricks REST API functions. With additional libraries set to release this month, ProfitBricks continues to prove its dedication to the DevOps community and commitment to making cloud migrations and cloud management painless. Node.js is an open source, cross-pl...
The 17th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. 17th International Cloud Expo, to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Microservices, Security, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding bu...
There is no quick way to learn Jython API but to experiment with it. The easiest way is to start with Jytutor extension for XL Deploy. Now you can also use the code snippet for exposing jython/python context in XL Deploy environment by running it directly in Jytutor Here’s how you can go ahead with that Download the Jytutor extension referring to the Jytutor Blog or from the following link https://github.com/xebialabs-community/xld-jytutor-plugin/releases Shutdown your XL Deploy server...
ProfitBricks has launched its new DevOps Central and REST API, along with support for three multi-cloud libraries and a Python SDK. This, combined with its already existing SOAP API and its new RESTful API, moves ProfitBricks into a position to better serve the DevOps community and provide the ability to automate cloud infrastructure in a multi-cloud world. Following this momentum, ProfitBricks has also introduced several libraries that enable developers to use their favorite language to code ...
ProfitBricks, the provider of painless cloud infrastructure IaaS, announced the launch of its new DevOps Central and REST API, along with support for three multi-cloud libraries and a Python SDK. This, combined with its already existing SOAP API and its new RESTful API, moves ProfitBricks into a position to better serve the DevOps community and provide the ability to automate cloud infrastructure in a multi-cloud world. Following this momentum, ProfitBricks is also today introducing several l...
What exactly is a cognitive application? In her session at 16th Cloud Expo, Ashley Hathaway, Product Manager at IBM Watson, will look at the services being offered by the IBM Watson Developer Cloud and what that means for developers and Big Data. She'll explore how IBM Watson and its partnerships will continue to grow and help define what it means to be a cognitive service, as well as take a look at the offerings on Bluemix. She will also check out how Watson and the Alchemy API team up to off...