Business Agility Starts With Your People: Keynote At Forrester London Forum

Craig Le Clair

The ability to sense and execute on change are essential qualities of a digital business in today’s marketplace.

Don’t believe me? Consider this: 70% of the companies that were on the Global 500 list a mere 10 years ago have now vanished – unable to adapt. In those 10 years we’ve seen digital disruption change the business landscape. We’ve watched the Internet become pervasive, embraced cloud-based applications that update multiple times a year, acquired mobile devices that connect everywhere in the neighborhood and around the globe, and embraced information workers who use their own tools to do corporate work on their own time.

We recently surveyed 300 global businesses to dig deeply into how prepared – in the sense of being agile – they are for types of events and business changes that the new digital age will bring. And, our findings were not surprising. High performing organizations are flattening to deal with rapid change. They are using knowledge creation and dissemination to drive decisions lower in the organization, and redefining  the role of the CEO. Organizational agility, characterized by high awareness and execution in knowledge dissemination, change management and digital psychology agility dimensions, drives significant performance for enterprises.  

My keynote session at our Forum for Technology Management Leaders in London (June 12-13) on the topic will highlight organizations that have made market, organizational, and process changes based on digital strategies to become more agile, more productive, and grow revenues. I hope to see you there.

Artificial Intelligence Needs More Than A Name, It Needs Personality

Michele Goetz

IBM's acquisition of Cognea, a startup that creates virtual assistants of multiple personalities, further reinforces that voice is not enough for artificial intelligence.  You need personality.

I for one cheer IBM's investment, because to be honest, IBM Watson's Jeopardy voice was a bit creepy.  What has made Apple's Siri intriguing and personable, even if not always an effective capability, is the sultry sound of her voice and at times the hilarity of Siri's responses.  However, if you were like me and changed from the female to male voice because you were curious, the personality of male Siri was disturbing (the first time I heard it I jumped).  Personality is what you relate to. 

The impression of intelligence is a factor of what is said and how it is delivered.  Think about how accents influence our perception of people.  It is why news media personalities work hard to refine and master a Mid-west accent.  And, how one presents themselves in professional situations says a lot about whether you can trust their judgment.  As much as I love my home town of Boston, our native accent and sometimes cold personalities have much to be desired by the rest of the country.  And we have Harvard and MIT!  Oh so smart maybe, but some feel we are not always easy to connect with. 

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How Will The Data Economy Impact Enterprise Architects?

Gene Leganza
No self-respecting EA professional would enter into planning discussions with business or tech management execs without a solid grasp of the technologies available to the enterprise, right? But what about the data available to the enterprise? Given the shift towards data-driven decision-making and the clear advantages from advanced analytics capabilities, architecture professionals should be coming to the planning table with not only an understanding of enterprise data, but a working knowledge of the available third-party data that could have significant impact on your approach to customer engagement or your B2B partner strategy.
 
 
Data discussions can't be simply about internal information flow, master data, and business glossaries any more. Enterprise architects, business architects, and information architects working with business execs on tech-enabled strategies need to bring third-party data know-how to their brainstorming and planning discussions. As the data economy is still in its relatively early stages and, more to the point, as organizational responsibilities for sourcing, managing, and governing third-party data are still in their formative states, it behooves architects to take the lead in understanding the data economy in some detail. By doing so, architects can help their organizations find innovative approaches to data and analytics that have direct business impact by improving the customer experience, making your partner ecosystem more effective, or finding new revenue from data-driven products.
 
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Lexmark To Buy Readsoft - Consolidation Continues In Capture And Content Management Market

Craig Le Clair

Lexmark’s acquisition of Readsoft is part of a continued effort at Lexmark to balance mature and stable printer HW revenues with faster  growing software and services businesses.  This acquisition is one of many in the last two years, and is consistent with consolidation in the mature capture and content market.  And it works for me.

Readsoft provides more software depth in Europe then Lexmark has, and is stronger than Lexmark in financial process automation (purchase –to-pay and order-to cash although mostly the former) with strong integration with SAP and other ERP vendors. Perceptive Software, the core technology within  Lexmark’s software division, is  more content then transaction oriented, a strength that  Readsoft adds.  

There is also synergy across analytics.  For example, Brainware, acquired by Lexmark, is very strong in analytics for forms processing – one of these being invoices.  This should add smarts to ReadSofts front end. 

As always, success is determined by how integration talks place over time and whether an integrated platform can emerge with minimal customer disruption.  It would be good to see acquisiions in the services area to more quickly balance revenue with the tradition business. 

Welcome To The Future Of Data Management

Michele Goetz

 The demand for data has never been greater.  The expectations are even grander.  On the other hand, what the business wants has never been more ambiguous.  

Welcome to the future of data management.  

According to recent Forrester research, most of us are ill prepared.

  • The business is placing the ownership on data professionals for data needs they don't have the full knowledge to enable: security, quality, business intelligence, and data strategy. 
  • Pressure to contain cost causes data professionals to focus on bottom line efficiency goals and de-emphasize top line business growth goals.
  • Investment in data  is still grounded in bespoke systems that lack scale, flexibility, and agility
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Big Data Quality: Certify or Govern?

Michele Goetz

We've been having an intersting conversation with clients and internally about the baggage associated with Data Governance.  As much as we (the data people) try, the business thinks it is a necessary, but the commitment, participation, and application of it is considered a burden worth avoiding.  They wonder, "Is this really helping me?"  Even CIOs roll their eyes and have to be chased down when the data governance topic comes up.  They can't even sell it to the business.  

So, the question came up - Do we need to rebrand this? Or worse, do you abandon data governance?

Well, I don't know that I'm convinced that Data Governance needs a new name or brand.  And, with regulatory and security risks it can't be abandoned.  However, what organizaitons need is a framework that is business oriented, not data oriented.  Today, Data Governance is still stuck in the data, even with strong business participation.

Big data is the catalyst.  If you thought your data was challenging before, chaos and messiness takes on a whole other meaning with big data.  Scale now forces us to rethink what we govern, how we govern, and yes, if we govern.  This is to both better manage and govern process-wise, but it also drives us to ask the questions we didn't ask before. Questions about meeting expectations for data over meeting expectations to fit data into systems.

What this means...orient data governance toward data certification.

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Federal Government Releases Health Care Provider Reference Architecture

Skip Snow

On April 3rd 2014, the federal mandate to publish an IT Risk framework for Healthcare IT was fulfilled with the publication of the "FDASIA Health IT Report: Proposed Strategy and Recommendations for a Risk Based Framework."

As per the FDA press release "the diverse and rapidly developing industry of health information technology requires a thoughtful, flexible approach,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “This proposed strategy is designed to promote innovation and provide technology to consumers and health care providers while maintaining patient safety. Innovative health IT products present tremendous potential benefits, including: greater prevention of medical errors; reductions in unnecessary tests; increased patient engagement; and faster identifications of and response to public health threats and emergencies. However, if health IT products are not designed, implemented or maintained properly, they can pose varying degrees of risk to the patients who use them. The safety of health IT relies not only on how a product is designed and developed, but on how it is customized, implemented, integrated and used" 

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Why Every Data Architect Should Be An Analyst First

Michele Goetz

“Context” is the new buzz-word for data.  Jeffery Hammond talks about it in Systems Of Automation Will Enrich Customer Engagement, Robert Scoble and Shel Israel talk about it in their book “Age of Context”, and you can’t ignore it when it comes to a discussion for Cognitive Computing and the Internet of Things.  We’ve live in a world where data was rationalized, structured, and put into standardized single definition models.  The world was logical.  Today, we live in a world where the digital revolution has introduced context, the semantic language of data, and it has disrupted how we manage data. 

Big data technologies were created not because of volume and cost.  They were created to manage the multi-faceted model that data takes on when you have to link it to how regular consumers and business people see the world.  Performance and cost are only factors that had to be considered to scale in order to support the objective.  Search, recommendations, personalized web experiences, and next best action could not be possible in a structured single definition environment.  Why we know this is that the sculpted purpose built environments that supporting business applications collapsed when analytics to discover causation in relationships and correlations at scale was applied.

That is the tipping point for data architects.

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Microsoft Leads The China Cloud War Into Episode II

Charlie Dai

Microsoft is officially launching the commercial operations of its cloud offerings in China today. It’s been only nine months since Steve Ballmer, the former CEO of Microsoft, made the announcement in Shanghai that Windows Azure — now renamed Microsoft Azure — would be available for preview in the Chinese market.

I call that Episode I of the China Cloud War. In the report that I published at the time, “PaaS Market Dynamics in China, 2012 To 2017”, I made three predictions — predictions that are now being fulfilled. More global players are joining the war; customers have gotten familiar with cloud concepts and are planning hybrid cloud implementations for their businesses; and traditional IT service providers have started to transform themselves into cloud service providers.

I talked with Microsoft and Citrix last week, and I strongly believe that Episode I has ended and Episode II has just begun. In the battle for partner ecosystems and real customer business, here are the three major plots that enterprise architects and CIOs in China should watch unfold:

  • The thrree kingdoms will fight with the gloves off. In my blog post last year, I described three kingdoms of global vendors in Chinese cloud market: Microsoft, Amazon, and vendors behind open source technology like OpenStack and CloudStack.
    •  Microsoft is leading the market as the first company in China to provide unified solutions for public cloud, private cloud, and hybrid cloud across infrastructure (IaaS) and middleware (PaaS). This builds on its deep understanding of enterprise requirements, its massive developer base, and the ease of use on the Windows platform.
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Engagement is the theme for Enterprise Architecture today

Alex Cullen

I’m seeing many signs of an evolving role and recognition for enterprise architecture.  This is changing how we ourselves see the practice of EA.

For example, one of the more frequent inquiries I get from EA leaders is around customer experience and the customer lifecycle - where our clients want to know how EA should help translate business customer experience goals into architecture.  Our inquiries around mobile are less around the technology and more around shaping an enterprise digital strategy.  The questions we get around Big Data have shifted from technology towards how gain better insights on a company’s markets.  

‘Engagement’ is the underlying theme of this evolution.  Companies need to build Systems of Engagement - and EAs are at the front-lines of decisions.  But also, EAs are stepping  up their engagement with their business leaders to provide the value their busness needs. 

If you also see this evolution, and are successfully addressing engagement of either form in your EA program, I’d like to invite you to submit your story for the 2014 Enterprise Architecture Award, sponsored by Forrester Research, InfoWorld and Penn State University’s Center for Enterprise Architecture.

As with previous years, we are recognizing leading EA programs, not a specific project.  We’d like to hear from programs that:

  • Have re-shaped how their business plans and governs business technology strategy
  • Have  helped their organization move from ‘mobile as a project’ to ‘mobile as an enterprise strategy’
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