Contrary to popular belief, the term “information architecture” is not synonymous with designing and structuring websites or developing an Internet-based information base. The phrase was first introduced in 1975 by Richard Saul Wurman, who is probably best known for founding TED Conferences and TEDTalks. When he introduced this concept, Wurman was thinking of information in a broad sense. He was one of the first to recognize that modern technologies were likely to produce “a stream of bytes that leaves us inundated with data but starved for the tools & patterns that give them meaning. In reality there has not been an information explosion, but rather an explosion of noninformation, or data that simply doesn’t inform” (Information Read more
Thoughts on developing a strategic plan for implementing EA programs, how to provide your teams with the technical skills needed to implement a service-oriented architecture, understanding what’s involved in creating a business architecture, and more.
Global competition, increasing customer power, and quantum advances in technology have combined to demand a new and more adaptive approach to managing the business. In spite of significant advances in methods to improve business performance, such as TQM, Six Sigma, Lean, BPR, ERP, CRM, SaaS, and the cloud, many organizations continue to struggle in executing improvements to business performance. In many cases, the culprit is a traditional functional view of the business, where organizations develop plans, budgets, and even reward systems mainly in a functional or departmental context, paying little attention to the “critical few” measures of performance that matter to customers and failing to gain clarity on the type of cross-departmental collaboration needed to Read more
The analogy between the evolution of the electric energy industry and cloud computing is oftentimes used, and for good reason. It’s likely the most applicable predictor of where this industry is heading over the next 10-20 years. Although slight regional variances exist, it’s generally the case that I, as a consumer of electric power, can plug in my appliance anywhere in the world and expect it to work efficiently, safely, and reliably. Standards for voltage regulation, plug/outlet design, and circuit protection are mature and widely embraced, and the electric appliance industry can compete, and innovate, on a level playing field for the benefit of consumers worldwide. The clock radio in my office is one of Read more
Change at an architectural level is always transformational. But too often architects have struggled to demonstrate or realize this potential for making a significant, positive difference at the enterprise level. Instead, big changes are more frequently driven by the architectural opportunities from new technologies. This is starting to change, and leading enterprises are planning architectural change that genuinely combines the organizational, business, and technology perspectives. Enterprise transformation that successfully unites all three viewpoints requires a new technique to raise the architectural debate to the level of senior decision makers. Enterprise Patterns elevate the debate by: * Providing a means for aggregating viewpoints and lower level patterns into a holistic visualization of architectural possibilities. * Focusing Read more
Last week I wrote an Advisor for our Business & Enterprise Architecture practice about the role of the solution architect. I thought I’d share my overview of how that role compares to the enterprise architect’s. Is this how the roles are delineated in your company? Topic Solution Architecture Enterprise Architecture Scope Single solution or set of related solutions All current and future solutions and COTS Primary Goals Ensure that the solution fits within the enterprise context Define the enterprise context including business, information, application, and technology Responsibility Translates nonfunctional and functional requirements into design, within enterprise context Translates strategies into target architectures and roadmaps Tradeoffs Enterprisestrategy and goals vs. solution tactical and delivery requirements Prioritization and rationalization Read more
On that long list of venerable institutions primed for a high-tech overhaul, higher education is near the top. Its shortcomings are much discussed: universities are expensive, inaccessible, inflexible, and out of touch with the needs of students and the world economy. A diploma that demands four (or more) years on campus, long lectures, fend-for-yourself homework, and massive final exams seems as much a relic of the 19th century as of the 20th. Educating the millions of people that our future depends on will require not just a productivity boost but something fundamentally different. These days “something fundamentally different” usually involves the Internet. Decades of desultory experiments with “computer-aided education” have now yielded exciting, scalable, measurably Read more
Products and processes are two of the most vital components of a successful business. Useful, relevant, or innovative products are important for attracting and keeping customers. Efficient and effective processes are crucial to making the customer experience enjoyable and worthwhile. Product and process should therefore be included as key components in any business architecture. But, too often, product and process are not given the architectural priority they deserve. While physical products such as cars or planes are highly engineered, enterprise architects tend to overlook the architecture of information-based products and view them instead as the domain of business managers. (Note that physical products, such as the engineering of cars or computers, are more likely to Read more