Archive for June, 2007

Should tactical solutions have an expiry date?

Wednesday, June 27th, 2007

Todd Biske raises an interesting point about tactical solutions.

Tactical solutions often become permanent because once a problem is off the radar, the importance of allocating budget and resource to the longer term strategic solution drops right down the priority list.

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32% of IT Managers say “Stamp out Rogue IT”

Wednesday, June 27th, 2007

My final sneak preview of the results of the Blue Prism Rogue IT Survey measures IT attitudes towards Rogue IT.

I was a little surprised at the 32% who agreed with the statement “Don’t allow it: Users should be restricted to only the tools the IT department gives them”.

However I was encouraged that these “enforcers” were more than balanced by the 52% of “pragmatists” who chose the option “Sometimes it’s OK: IT governance is important but business users need to have some local control and influence”.

The final 5% (let’s call them the “liberals”) suggested that “The IT department is just another supplier: Users should have the freedom to implement any solutions they want.”

What are your experiences of Rogue IT?  Do you encourage or restrict its use?  Do you take the laissez-faire approach or the draconian guard’s view?

The full survey is out next week.

Is SOA success down to the business/IT relationship?

Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

Clive Longbottom writing at The Register asks is SOA dead or alive?

Clive contrasts successes in Scandinavia against failures and lack of adoption in the UK and puts this down to the difference in the IT/Business relationship.  In Scandinavia the relationship is more aligned and this has resulted in an incremental approach to SOA based on solving one business problem at a time within the context of an overall long term aim.  In the UK, the IT function has seen SOA as a massive corporate wide infrastructure upgrade which leaves the first local project with disproportionate upfront costs to swallow into its business case.  This often results in the business choosing to go for cheaper packaged solutions or worse still, the oxymoronic (and plain moronic) “tightly coupled” SOA implementation.

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Enterprise 2.0 – is missing something?

Thursday, June 21st, 2007

I really like the idea of bringing the concepts of Web 2.0 into the enterprise.  Giving this the badge of Enterprise 2.0 may be helpful (although most people I know who work on the business side of the enterprise would not understand the term Web 2.0 so maybe it’s only helpful to the IT community).

Anyway, Ross Mayfield has an interesting transcription from the Enterprise 2.0 Conference which leads on collaboration (via wikis, social networks, blogs etc) as the big idea replacing the concept us old hacks might call Knowledge Management (KM).

All the talk I have seen from the conference is about harnessing corporate knowledge and combining the efforts of human beings.  In the Web 2.0 world, collaboration via wikis, blogs, RSS, social networking tools, bookmarking etc, have been great for individuals. But I think the enterprise is more complex than a group of social individuals in control of their own destiny. 

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What is Rogue IT?

Tuesday, June 19th, 2007

In another sneak preview from the Blue Prism Rogue IT survey, respondents working in enterprise IT were asked what they considered to be “Rogue IT”.

I thought it would be fun to put it into a league table.  Again there were some results that I found surprising, for example the relatively high number who thought complex Excel spreadsheets were Rogue.  I would have expected more people to consider locally written VB scripts as rogue.  I also might have expected more IT people to put SaaS in the Rogue category but I guess that probably boils down to whether the SaaS is being used with the knowledge and consent of IT.

So here is the Rogue’s Gallery League Table with the percentage of “votes” for each one.

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Small ISV takes on the enterprise……

Friday, June 15th, 2007

…….and loses (more often than not).

Why is it so hard for small companies to sell to enterprise customers?  Ed French has an interesting insight in relation to vendor financial stability, and the high failure rate of enterprise implementations generally, pointing out that:

“A vendor that’s still around for a project that failed is perhaps no more useful than having a successful implementation where the vendor has gone out of business!”

However, financial risk is only one of many buying criteria and, whilst this is largely outside the control of the vendor, other criteria are more addressable.

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IT vs The Business – The IT View (and it’s grisly)

Thursday, June 14th, 2007

Blue Prism recently sponsored a survey on the use of Rogue IT in the enterprise (the results and conclusions are still being compiled).  I would like to thank the readers of this blog who contributed responses.  All respondents who left their name will get a copy of the results hopefully before the end of June.

In the meantime I have seen some sneak previews which I can selectively leak.  One series of questions dealt with the perceived expectations of the business – bear in mind that all respondents worked in enterprise IT – so this is the IT view.

Respondents were asked to agree/neutral/disagree with a set of statements.  Some highlights that surprised (or depressed) me:

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ROI of Application Development

Wednesday, June 13th, 2007

Just read an interesting piece from Sunjay Pandey arguing that ROI measurement for application development is too soft.

This is of interest to me on two counts.  As the head of a software vendor, I have to argue for and demonstrate ROI to my customers.  Conversely, as the head of a software vendor, my technical team needs to demonstrate ROI to me for any new developments in our product.

In both scenarios I have been guilty of not paying sufficient attention to the importance of ROI.  Whilst I don’t claim I have learnt every lesson, I would like to propose one addition to the list of 5 ingredients suggested by Sunjay for successfully evaluating and subsequently delivering the best ROI.

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More on enterprise mashups

Tuesday, June 12th, 2007

Following my last post on enterprise mash-ups where I looked at some of the companies integrating enterprise apps to automate business processes, I was thinking a bit more and doing a bit of Googling and came across a few more companies of interest.

You may recall I highlighted Blue Prism, Openspan, Seagull and Jacada as using mashup type integration to automate business processes.

But my traditional view of composite apps was that they were more about data aggregation, a sort of Google Mashup Editor creating a Google Home Page for enterprise data, allowing users (or user roles) to access and manipulate a personalised set of data sources relevant to the needs of their job.

Weaving in my last post on IBM’s view of the links between SOA and BPM where the business side of the enterprise is seen as people, processes and information, perhaps the different types of mashup tools are defined by how they link those three elements.  So if Blue Prism et al primarily extract data and turn this into information to execute business processes without human intervention, here are a few companies that seem to be good at turning data into information for human beings via the UI.

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Jeux Sans Frontières from IBM

Saturday, June 2nd, 2007

According to Wikipedia, Jeux Sans Frontières was a game devised by Général Charles de Gaulle to encourage better relations between French and German youths.  In the 1960s there was still presumably a slight legacy of post-war frostiness between the occupier and the occupied country but at the same time a renewed optimism about European Union having signed the Treaty of Rome in 1957,

Following the Enterprise Software wars of the 1990’s and 2000’s a frostiness and lack of understanding developed between the Business and IT.  So in the post war optimism of the Software Optimised for Agreement (SOA) era, can IBM help repair the damage with their new Innov8 game?

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