Archive for March, 2007

Let’s Legitimise Rogue Behaviour.

Wednesday, March 28th, 2007

In my short time in the blogosphere I’ve noticed a common theme around CIOs, IT Architects and others in the IT community concerned with “Rogue” behaviour.

I say rogue behaviour because some posts refer to rogue users, others to rogue solutions, rogue IT etc.

The common point is that if the IT function does not serve the business with what it needs, then you can absolutely guarantee that some rogue behaviour will emanate from the business.  Usually the IT function doesn’t even know about it, until the rogue solution falls over and the business calls in the IT guys who are suddenly landed with a mission critical “system” to mend and support.

So how do we square the circle here?

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SOA and ROI

Wednesday, March 28th, 2007

Back in 1998, I was doing a Masters degree at Leeds University.  An IT Module on my course posed a question something like “What is the case for transactional websites in UK retail banking?”

Do you remember 1998?  It was the year Netscape announced they were going open source.  Home broadband did not exist in the UK. The vast majority of people did not have a home internet connection of any type and probably almost no-one over the age of 25 regularly used the internet or had a personal email ID.  There was not one single UK bank offering meaningful transactional capabilities on their website.  The internet (or should I say Web 0.1) was only just taking off.

Polls at that time were concluding that only about a third of the British public expected to have online retail banking within 5 years with some really tech savvy people (13% of the population) wanting it within 2 years!  Wow!

About 3,000 words (on paper) later I concluded that there was no current short term ROI case for fully transactional internet banking but it was blatantly obvious that it would take off and any bank that didn’t take the leap of faith and invest, would get left behind both in customer service and cost per transaction.

This unremarkable conclusion somehow managed to get me a good mark for that paper – it seems even more unremarkable today.

So is SOA in the same boat then today, being blatantly obvious but needing a leap of faith?  I don’t think so.

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30 years of progress

Monday, March 26th, 2007

I had to smile when I read Antique Software by Jason Kolb.

It brought back memories of my schooldays when my mate Paul Bryce (where are you now?) and I tried to get the best from a ZX80 with (I think) 1KB of RAM and a cassette tape recorder attached.  The “PC” (I am pretty sure that term had not yet been coined) was linked to my dad’s black and white portable telly.

We thought we were so cutting edge!

On the one hand it would be a laugh to go back to those days, but imagine no mobile phones, no digital TV, no internet (aggghhhh!) – I guess it would make us realise what a stunning technological revolution my generation has been privileged to witness in the last 30 years!

March 27th – someone at Blue Prism has just pointed out that I am still using technology from the dark ages.  Despite having a super light laptop and a mobile phone, I still find room on my desk for a Casio folding calculator from circa 1985.  Some things just continue to give you good service and a feeling of comfort, and the soft pad of calculator buttons does it for me.

Bathgate’s trusty desktop toolset

Coca-Cola and Big Bangs

Friday, March 23rd, 2007

I must be one of the few people in the world who can’t stand the taste of Coke.  Certain developers where I work could potentially survive only on Coke but that’s just not me.

However, I don’t hold a grudge against any organisation just because I don’t like their main product.  So I was pleased and impressed to read CIO Interview: Big changes come from small steps in this week’s UK Computer Weekly where the interviewee was Tania Howarth, CIO of Coca-Cola Europe.

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Agile Software Development and the Agile Enterprise

Thursday, March 22nd, 2007

At the risk of looking like agile processes are the only interest in my life, I just wanted to drop a quick post about the principles behind the agile manifesto drawn up by the much feted “pioneers” of agile software development.

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Government Driving Need for Agile Computing?

Monday, March 19th, 2007

I read with interest that strategic BPM company Handysoft published a survey showing that 2/3 of European Banks are set to miss the MiFID deadline.

Could this be because the regulators have still not finalised the detailed MiFID requirements?

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IT vs Building Architecture…

Friday, March 16th, 2007

Michael Stal makes an interesting point regarding the dissimilarities between IT architecture and traditional disciplines like building architecture.

He suggests that people have unreasonable expectations of software architecture – I quote from his blog “For instance, when building a house no one would ever come up with proposals such as adding additional rooms or floors after construction is completed. But people tend to think software engineering should support exactly that kind of flexibility.”

In a sense I agree.  But as someone with a previous life in Facilities Management I also know that businesses DO request additional rooms and additional floors after construction is complete.  No major business I know has a static property portfolio, and anyone who has worked in a major business for more than a year will almost certainly have moved desks, or even buildings at some point.

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Rules Engines – Power to the Users!

Tuesday, March 13th, 2007

I was reading Business Rules the Software Reuse Debate by Rajgo.  I bow to his technical knowledge which is far superior to mine, but I want to take the business end of his argument and see if I can violently agree with him.

In my world, business rules enable loose coupling of enterprise applications and services.  So a typical enterprise application might be the CRM system and a typical service (in a retail bank for example) might be to select a customer using the customer reference and return the portfolio of products held by that customer with the bank.

A number of services can be linked to form a business process, but a business process must follow rules.  These rules can be hard-coded or configurable by the user community using some sort of rules engine.

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What Value an Automated Apology?

Monday, March 12th, 2007

In an effort to reduce global warming, I often get on my carbon tippy toes and take the train across the Pennines to work.

On one such occasion last week, whilst waiting at my local station I heard a digitised voice from the tannoy “We…are…sorry…to…announce…that the………O…Seven………twenty…three is delayed by approximately…………six………minutes.”

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Between “Rogue” and “Pure” IT

Tuesday, March 6th, 2007

An interesting blog post landed in my in-tray this morning: The verdict is in: ‘rogue’ IT is cool by ZDNet‘s Joe McKendrick.

I agree wholeheartedly with Joe although the term “rogue” IT is perhaps a little (no doubt deliberately) provocative.

What is certainly true is that IT Architects are often faced with situations where compromises have to be made.  This could be due to budget constraints, the need to deliver very quickly, or the demands of users who have found their own way of solving the problems, albeit not using “pure” IT.

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