Dec 202011
Business Architecture Becomes Mainstream

Over the past few years, the field of Business Architecture (BA) has been evolving rapidly. It used to be the exception that an EA program had business architects, but now it is the rule. A consensus is emerging about what BA is, what it produces, who practices it, and how. Professional organizations such as the Business Architecture Guild are creating communities of architects and developing best practices. Now, BA is delivering results that are impacting the business and getting attention for doing so. And finally, the critical mass of successful results, best practices, skilled professionals, resources, tools, has reached the point where Business Architecture is a mainstream capability within most advanced organizations. What is the Read more

Dec 192011
Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

Last year, my colleagues and I predicted various changes: an increase in this, a let-up in that. I finally understand why I have been struggling to come up with my 2012 prediction: I am just not seeing any changes. Let me elaborate on this for my specialty — Agile/Lean software development. I predict that many organizations worldwide will continue to adopt Agile. Most of them will do so with no expert guidance, with ho-hum results, and with little understanding of why they got those results. People will continue to get their Agile skills certified while others rail against the value and implication of those certificates. Companies will still rely on head hunters to hire Agile Read more

Dec 192011
Catastrophic Failure on the Horizon

My prediction is short, but maybe not so sweet: In 2012 a major enterprise will have a catastrophic or near catastrophic outage due to poor Service Management. [Editor’s Note: This post is part of the annual “Cutter Predicts …” series, compiled at the Cutter Consortium website.]

Dec 172011
Hype Drives the Cloud into the Trough of Disillusionment

Sometimes my favorite thing about the cloud is that it is garnishing all of the media hype these days, in place of SOA. Finally, I can stop trying to meet overblown expectations about when SOA will deliver benefits, and get down to the business of implementing valuable SOA solutions. Don’t worry, the cloud will get to this point too, but it has a few years of growing pains to go through. This year, it will pass through the inevitable “Trough of Disillusionment” part of its lifecycle. Now don’t get me wrong. There’s plenty to like about the cloud, and over time it will become a standard part of enterprise platforms, but for now it has Read more

Dec 162011
The Enterprise Begins to Dance

In 2011, and with increasing speed in 2012, Enterprises are embracing the whole-system view of themselves. This means they will take an increasingly strategic view of improvement, coordinating change across divisions and functions to achieve a higher overall level of performance. This trend is reversing the short-term, every-division-for-itself fractionalization that many organizations adopted during the financial pressure years 2008 – 2010. In the coming year we will see more of the team mindset (with some “taking one for the team” while others seemingly gain) than the “spread the pain” approach. The most successful organizations will compensate those groups which bear the greater pain so the whole can prosper. The systems-wholistic trend will continue even if Read more

Dec 152011
It's About Customer Service

Year of the App Redux It’s another “year of the app” for 2012 as more and more clients will expect any of the goods and services we offer to be available on their iPhones and Droids. A failure to include those elements in the tool set will invariably lead to charges that the provider lacks “true” customer service. More Face Time in 2012 While technology will play a greater role, it’s also evident that there will be a greater level of “touch” required for some clients who will see the advent of e-options as the surrender of personal contact. They will push back and demand true face time as well as on-site commitments. Coupled with Read more

Dec 152011

CIOs and their management teams are facing a leadership crises – with the emphasis on MORE – be more productive, more efficient, more creative, more collaborative, more customer focused and more business savvy. How can leaders inspire their teams to produce technical innovation in a timely, efficient manner? What approaches – or maybe even a science – can help leaders meet these increasing demands? The March 2012 Cutter IT Journal, with Guest Editor Lynne Ellyn, will address these questions. Please send us your ideas – proposals of interest are due 28 December 2011. To respond, please visit

Dec 152011
The Rise of the Professional Contract Manager

Now that approximately half the IT shop is outsourced (on average) either on, near, or offshore, the transaction itself is hardly novel. What remains difficult, however, is getting the results one wanted when the deal was set up. Both academia and the commercial world have started to recognize the importance of the individuals that get those results, not just those who put the deals together. With regard to sourcing, I see 2012 as the year of the contract manager. More universities will offer contract management as a degree (not just a module), yet it will take some time for the students to enter the marketplace. The professional contract management associations will have a boom in Read more

Dec 142011
William Ulrich Added to Summit Agenda

This past summer, William Ulrich led a Q&A for Cutter clients on Business Capability Mapping. It was so popular he did it twice! So what’s next? He’s going to build on the topic at Summit 2012: Executive Education+, April 2-4.  In the interactive work session, you’ll get to try your hand at identifying capabilities, completing a value stream and designing actionable solutions through the lens of business architecture. Practicing these skills with Bill’s guidance at the Summit will clarify why and how your organization can leverage business architecture to streamline mergers, shift to customer centric business models, deploy horizontal business solutions and pursue a growing range of transformational opportunities.

Dec 142011
A Healthy Skepticism of "Named" Approaches

I see the demand for actual performance results over declarative symbolic victories (e.g., certifications) taking a significant bend upwards. I’ve already begun to see the more forward-thinking companies maturing in their thinking about how they use “named” business, technology, and management concepts, e.g., Scrum, Lean, Kanban, CMMI, ISO 9000, ITIL, COBIT, Devops, etc. There’s growing skepticism in the efficacy of popularized approaches. Executives are less likely to rush into using new ideas just because they’ve heard “the name”. Whether they’re skeptical for the right reasons or not, their cautious approach offers a better have a chance of implementing these “named” initiatives effectively, keeping them off their list of failures – a list that contributes to Read more