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A value stream depicts how “a business delivers end-to-end stakeholder value.” Because a value stream envisions value delivery across business units, product lines, and even organizational boundaries, value streams provide a way for all stakeholders to perform situation analysis, craft a common strategy, and implement that strategy based on a consensus-based solution. This is an essential planning concept when multiple, fragmented processes slow or hinder the delivery of stakeholder value. Consider, for example, a customer of one set of products or services requesting information about, or help with, a different set of products or services. It is not uncommon to find no recognition that an individual or organization is already a valued customer. Parallel, fragmented …

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  My friend Annie Shum has drawn my attention to prosumers and their effect on the value chain. According to Annie, three things are happening in an interlinked manner: Consumers become prosumers – they both consume and produce; consequently, The value chain becomes composite; hence, The whole product is transformed. Consider, for example, a keep-the-memories photo storing, sharing, processing and printing service like Snapfish. The company must have hundreds of millions of customers, many of which are obviously creative. A creative customer who prepares a photo album of her son’s wedding, might design a template she will use to produce the album. This template could be posted and sold on the Snapfish web site for …

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In the past year, business architecture crossed a major threshold in terms of industry awareness and acceptance. Business architecture is now viewed as an important business discipline that executives should pursue and is being used to enable a variety of business solutions that range from ongoing operational improvements to major transformation scenarios. What about you? Do you have a business architecture story to share? The November 2011 Cutter IT Journal, with Guest Editor William Ulrich, will examine business architecture experiences from the trenches. Proposals of interest are due 9 September 2011. To respond, please visit http://www.cutter.com/content-and-analysis/journals-and-reports/cutter-it-journal/callforpapers03.html

 
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Cloud computing is truly one of the major technology shifts of our era. It’s natural for a technology solution as pervasive and beneficial as cloud computing to be oversold to users with inflated expectations. Industry observers have consistently highlighted the rapid adoption of cloud computing and cloud services by end users, which is driving an explosion of interest within the vendor community.1 Given the conservative growth rates for most software and hardware in our current economy, it’s understandable that the huge growth rate forecast for cloud attracts almost every high-tech vendor. That pervasiveness is hype, but it’s a “good” hype in that critical technologies do emerge as legitimate offerings. Unfortunately, that pervasiveness also means that …

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Aug 212011
 
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San Francisco, CA Aging Israelis like me are very fond of the song San Francisco on the Water [1]. We actually melt when we hear Arik Einstein sing it. His golden voice brings back to our hearts precious memories of what we call Good Old Israel: being in harmony with ourselves, with one another and with the mission. In our youth we did not need the inspiring words of JFK – we were really really really asking what we could do for our country. I am literally sitting at this very moment on the water in San Francisco. I am sure I look absolutely lost to the world. I did not have the time to …

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San Francisco, CA. Believe you me – they don’t come any better than that. A morning to die for, or, even better, to live for. I have spent the better part of this gorgeous morning on the phone trying to reason with various Orbitz and JetBlue service/sales reps. Each one of them was courteous, professional and really really really trying to help me.  However, things did not add up between these service representatives, the numerous systems they use (“Please wait one minute, Sir – I need to access another system”) and, may I say, my “legitimate” travel needs.  Actually, I am under a fairly stern warning from one of the JetBlue service reps that I …

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Bob Dylan’s words certainly are an understatement in the IT world. The speed at which technologies and concepts move from novel to mainstream is staggering. But of course, that’s part of what makes the business technology field so intriguing: it’s never the same. How do you keep up? Well, for one thing, you need to be agile. That’s our mantra at Cutter. Yes, Agile is one of our thriving practice areas. But it’s also a way of life for us. Since 1986 we’ve been adapting to market changes, reorganizing content, adding new products, altering formats, etc. Here’s an example: when I first came to Cutter, our Object-Oriented Strategies newsletter (16 pages in print) was one …

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Aug 102011
 
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Check out Cutter’s Patrick Debois (@patrickdebois) and Julian Simpson on Thursday morning at Agile2011 (9:30 – 10:30). They believe that organizations can greatly benefit from agile infrastructure and have built a demo just for this conference to prove that the concept of ‘”infrastructure as code” can help. This session is part of the New Horizons stage, so you can be certain you’ll be discovering something you hadn’t really thought about in this way before! At the same time (unfortunately!) Cutter’s Mark Levison and Roger Brown are presenting a refinement of their Agile2009 presentation, Creativity for Agile Teams. They focus on how to support, enable and enhance the creative abilities of Agile teams. Next, Scott Ambler, …

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Aug 092011
 
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Gil Broza is an amazing coach. He’s also a really terrific trainer, focused on agile engineering practices. His specialties include techniques for increasing quality and reducing time-to-market, how to be a good Agile Customer, and Pragmatic Scrum. Tomorrow at 1:30 at Agile2011, he’s turning to Refactoring Conversation Smells. In his back pocket, he’s holding a simple set of patterns and questions that will help you tackle and get your conversations unstuck. Also in that pocket are a couple of decks of Cutter Planning Poker cards. Ask him for one!  

Aug 092011
 
Defining Social Media

“Social media” is one of these phrases that has emerged in recent years for which there is still not a single, broadly accepted definition. Thus, every author tends to propose his or her own. This is not just vanity; it is also the sign of an immature and rapidly evolving field. In a recent Executive Update, Cutter Fellow Steve Andriole and Cutter Senior Consultant Vince Schiavone define social media by extension, listing the following components (with my examples added in parentheses):[1] Social networks (LinkedIn) Blogs and microblogs (WordPress and Twitter) Forums and message boards (Yammer and Google Groups) Multimedia sites (YouTube and Flickr) A definition made up of a list has some drawbacks: it does not …

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