Posted in Uncategorized

SOA and Hypecycle

Recent Gartner Hype Cycle and Infoworld’s Top 10 emerging technologies have provided enough evidence that companies had enough with their SOA investments and have moved on to embrace technologies which address their needs.  SOA based development, Products ruled last few years of market share.  Now there are less heard.  What happened to SOA.  Did the Hype die or did companies back out

Based on my recent client interactions and consulting engagements I have noticed that customers have simple business needs which is have their business process or function published. For them SOA turned out to be a Goliath.  More than what they could bite or chew on.  Product companies and their System Integrators started wooing customers with innumerable benefits of SOA

In short Companies were oversold about the over arching benefits of this SOA.  Though all this has been true the evolution of products, skilled resources and overall sustainability of SOA projects made it very difficult for a quick implementation.   Companies could not see the benefits or ROI of SOA projects similar to other development projects.  The downward trend or drop in importance to SOA in Gartner Hype Cycle is just because of reflection of above issues.

Posted in Uncategorized

Serving Right Content on your Portal

Choosing a Content system will be a mammoth task to any Organization.   A additional requirement of Portal can make things much more difficult.   To make matters worse there have been buyouts, consolidation of the products.   CMS Comparison papers and websites  may leave IT manager confused on where and how to start.

Some Companies have been successful in implementing portals for personalization and content management systems to store their content.  Until now the above came with huge cost and effort. New products and improvements in Portal and Content Systems provide every IT manager look for different options.  Listed below are some tips

  • Make sure what your Company or Client wants.  Whether its a Content system or Portal or  a simple web application.  Of late several Portals have built in some features of Content Management and vise-verca.
  • Do not make huge investments.  With new standards and API’s ( JSR’s and JCR) it will not be difficult to migrate content.  Try open source alternatives first in a small way and then narrow down to a product
  • With in content system make sure whether the requirement is to store Web Content or Documents (Enterprise Content).  There are leaders in each of this category

There are great open source alternatives such as Alfresco for ECM, Magnolia / Droopal for WCM and LifeRay for Portals.  If the company is thin on IT go with simple easy to use products such as MOSS.   Either way start something small and do a small proof of concept or a mini project before taking a plunge into world of CMS and Portals.

    Posted in SOA

    SOA Methodology for Dummies

    SOA projects are no easy ones, it involves complex integrating complex business process, defining a road map on how organization should execute, choose a right product and finally implement it.

    While starting SOA implementations Project Managers have no simple thing to look for to draw out a plan on what next.  Currently very few companies implement project using SOA Methodology.  The reason is its quite non-trivial to understand and branches out into several sub activities which the manager finds hard to track it.

    Listed below are some simple steps of SOA methodology.  These steps are synonymous with a SDLC

    SOA Methodology

    Now each of these high level activities have tasks which can guide the teams.  Please follow the blog for details

    Posted in Portfolio Management

    Is it Green or Red

    Its common for every CIO / IT CEO to see a dashboard of

    • Project status
    • Portfolio performance
    • Resource Utilization

    All these needs a good Program Management Office and IT Governance Process.  Several companies have different ways of handling this.  IT companies / System Integrators make sure that there organization is categorized based on verticals or horizontals to account for their Portfolio performance.

    Other ways to resolve is a simple Portfolio Management System.  The system should have basic functionality

    • Organizing Projects under a portfolio, be it a domain , vertical or horizontal
    • Overall status of Portfolio should be reflected from the % of Projects with no schedule and cost variance.
    • Each project should have a combination of schedule and cost variance to denote whether its on schedule with right cost
    • Over and above each resource should be accounted in any one of the projects.  This will make sure that everyone in an Organization is accountable.

    Organizations get lost trying to use Products.   This can be avoided by starting small or using simple products.   A small team of focused individuals who can work with Project Managers can assimilate this information in no time and provide the CIO or CEO required information.

    Posted in Uncategorized

    Team Work at best – Cool Runnings

    Several of us would have sat through a seminar or meeting which HR has organized about Team Work.  We would have a renowned speaker or a Management consultant walk us through slides and exercises about Team building.  Lot of these might help the way we perceive the team and how we work, I still feel we could do something better where things remain engraved in our minds.

    I was recently watching an old movie “Cool Runnings”.   It’s a fictional comedy and I have watched this movie quite a few times.   The movie  depicts several facets of Team Work.    The movie is about a relatively unknown Jamaican Team  participating  in Winter Olympics at Canada.   

    The movie revolves on Team bonding and motivation.   Similar to a project which has a an architect, QA, Driving of bobsled involves 4 individuals a pilot, a brakeman and 2 pushers.  As in projects small errors have significant impact on the course and the time taken.  The movie also dwells on motivation.  How the team members motivate each other to make sure they are part of the Winter Olympics.   Above all the team makes sure that they reach the end point with their broken sledge.

    Though this is a fictional movie, I guess making it part of HR Seminar or team building exercises would go a long way.  Personally it would be engraved in each team members mind on how when they work together they can achieve impossible odds such as a Jamaican team in Winter Olympics

    Posted in Strategy

    Strategy – Steps for Future

    Strategy is a long term plan to achieve a particular goal — Wikipedia.

    Every company needs a Strategy in place to make sure that they survive threats from their competitors, shield themselves from economic crisis.  For example   some US Car makers knew the dependence of their automobiles on oil, they still went on with usual course of manufacturing  huge cars and trucks.  Only to realize that there is no future for their automobiles.    Toyota & Honda were smart enough to explore alternate ways of reducing dependency.   The US car makers either failed to strategize or implement the strategy they had drawn up.  Other example is demise of walkman’s, CD Players.  Only Apple stands out of the rest of the crowd who started these products.  Though Sony started the revolution it did not innovate enough to stand out as a leader.

    Every Organization should think on following lines

    • What should we do to make sure we stand ahead of the curve.  In short Where are we going
    • How will we get there and track if the strategy we designed is being implemented.

    Listed below are some of the high level steps for developing and implementing a strategy

    strategy-steps3

    Please follow this post for detailed steps

    Posted in Enterprise Architecture

    Role of CTO in a Consulting Organization ?

    CTO’s are business savvy technologists,  responsible for Technical Strategy and identifying technologies that provide competitive advantage for their Organization.  

    Each Consulting Organization percieves CTO role in a different way.    CTO’s are hired to head their R&D office and competencies.   CTO’s are appointed based on Organization structure and investments in areas of Research.  The focus of these organizations are to make sure they have competencies in new technologies,  their investments are in line with the vision.   

     Having CTO in an System Integrator / Consulting Organization has its own drawbacks.

    • Most of  the clients have their own CTO’s and they drive the strategic direction with regards to their projects.  
    • Consulting Organization having  Research wing at departmental level which report to their Delivery arm.  In that case CTO role just becomes a namesake
    • Setting up of CTO office comes with a price tag, so it should be a carefully thought out strategic decision. 

    When does a Consulting Organization / System Integrator need a CTO?

    • When the vision of the Organization is forward looking with respect to Technology and Clients requirements
    • The Company has definitive ideas on what CTO is supposed to do.
    • Alignment of all R&D and Competency under one office or person.  This might require an Organizational change.
    • CTO Office should not be counted as money makers this might hamper the R&D
    • Sufficient investments to make sure that the set vision is realized.