Saturday, December 31, 2011

The 14th China Guangzhou "Oversea Scholars Exchange Convention"

I just came back from a Chinese government sponsored trip for the winners of their hosted innovation and entrepreneurship competition (co-hosted by the Dept. of Science and Technology and the Dept. of Education). It is part of the 14th Oversea Scholars Exchange event hosted in Guangzhou. In this event, I'm also recognized with "Leadership Talent" together with other 100+ folks from oversea (all over the world working in various fields) among about 2200 oversea scholars and experts attended the conference with 1200+ having Ph.D degree.

The convention web site:

Monday, November 21, 2011

Enterprise Architecture .vs. Collection of Architectures in Enterprise

Enterprise Architecture is becoming popular in private enterprises due to the practical needs in this era of IT, after its noticeable fading in public sectors. At this stage, the lessons learned from public sectors could be very helpful to the EA practice in private sectors.

One thing I noticed is that there is still no unified answer regarding to what is EA and what should be in it. It is not rare to see that so called “EA” is to use EA tools and/or an EA repository to collect all type of “architecture” artifacts inside enterprise. These “architecture” artifacts are developed in different timeframes, cover different level of content details, and are created from different perspectives for different purpose. While a real EA should consist of “architecture” artifacts in concert by planning ahead with a designated purpose for each view. The level of details is good enough to convey intent and to serve the purpose, no more and no less.

For the questions of “what is EA?” and “what should be in it?”, the recap of EA purpose could be useful. It is generally accepted that EA is to create a blueprint for enterprise, so to have development guidance for long-term. It includes “as-is” and “to-be” architectures and a roadmap for transition. As a best practice, we do the “as-is” architectures just as much as necessary for “to-be” without excessive efforts in exploring “forest”. Since EA focuses on long-term guidance, it should be flexible enough to evolve along technology advancement with physical implementation decisions to be made during each initiative execution. In this regards, the EA scope of focus is illustrated in the following figure in the context of Zachman framework.
As a matter of fact, the Zachman Framework is actually “A Collection of Architectures in Enterprise”. To be successful in EA and in its adoptions in solutions, initiatives, programs, and projects, the clear scope of focus in each phase and stage is important. The Federal Enterprise Architecture Framework is a variation from the Zachman Framework. One reason it could be the diverse focus and content in EA efforts causing difficulties in EA practice. By the way, the Zachman Framework is still very useful in categorize all the architecture artifacts and products inside an enterprise.

Monday, October 31, 2011

“Being Measurable” as an Architecture Principle

Performance-driven and being measurable are becoming current trend for business planning and operations. We have seen more enterprises aiming at performance-based, goal-driven and result-oriented continuous organization improvement. Enterprise Architecture is an integral effort in this direction. Therefore, being measurable is naturally considered as an architecture principle. It requires architects to think about the possible performance measures regarding to the architecture components they are working on.


The popularity of enterprise architecture started from Federal Government via legislation mandate, and then grows into private sectors.  The crucial historical event in Federal Enterprise Architecture [1] was the passing of the Information Technology Management Reform Act (now called the Clinger-Cohen Act) [3] in 1996. This act mandated architecture best practices for government agencies. It pointed the Chief Information Officers (CIO) in federal departments and agencies being responsible. A CIO Council was established to encourage collaboration across agencies.

The President's Management Agenda [5] (PMA, FY 2002) recognizes the significance of information management as a core mission of government, and thus gave an impetus to the development of the Federal Enterprise Architecture.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Leadership .vs. Management

After experienced several big programs/initiatives in big enterprises, it makes me think about what’s their most critical success factor. The answer is the “Leadership”. Quite often, the management role is confused with leadership, and coordination is confused with guidance.

There are management positions in each organization or program/initiative. However, this doesn’t mean there is a leadership. I’ve seen quite often that new organizations or new programs/initiatives are put in place with people and management structure, and then it is expected right things to happen. It doesn’t unfortunately. It doesn’t work without clear vision, plan, understanding the subject matters, identifying the roles and responsibilities. We can compare this with starting a play in a theater: we collected all the actors, and organized them for scenes, but we don’t have a manuscript, the director doesn’t really have the play story figured out and designed for scenes, and he expects the actors to create by themselves, the actors don’t have a clear picture about the whole story, so don't really have unified or consistent ideas on how to play their roles in the context. When the curtain opened, and the real show started. What can you expect?

A leader is the play director who should have a manuscript in hand and have the whole story in mind. He should know the subject matters of the “show” and can provide guidance to the “actors”, not only “manage”.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Enterprise Architecture for Real

Got a chance to revamp a big EA program recently, a good opportunity to do things right. It seems most EA programs were started with “mechanical” components and processes, while lacking of real “meat” or expertise to develop the architectural content. Many “architects” involved in EA don’t really know what “architecture” means, how the architecture can be effectively described, or had experience to accomplish a working architecture. There are not many opportunities for such kind of training neither in school nor at work. All TOGAF, DoDAF, and Zachman Framework have suggested some best practice references, however, you have to know how to abstract and describe architecture at the 1st place, as a fundamental skill.

I’m starting from architecture guidelines and reference architectures across EA sub-domains to enable an effective, disciplined, and cohesive architecture description mechanism across organizations. The governance practice will be consolidated after. Guidance before governance, like legislation before judiciary.

Will see how it goes.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

SOA as a Real Case in China

Just came back from China. I have visited several cities that have newly developed “high-tech gardens” in them, e.g. Shanghai, Su Zhou, Wuxi, Changshu, Luoyang … … Those high-tech gardens are quite modern, usually built in a new part of a city combined with a city development plan for the new areas. There is a combination of working and living areas in these new developments, where I saw the real good cases for SOA, i.e. service sharing and resource sharing, especially in infrastructure establishment. The concept of Inter-Enterprise Architecture (IEA) does apply as well, though they have executed partially without knowing what IEA is.
Also, it demonstrated that the strong government position make such service sharing happen, which established a governance body above each individual enterprises or companies.

Is this a good reference?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

SOA Best Practice, Governance, and Lifecycle Management

Just finalized the content for the training next week:

Day One: SOA Best Practice with Business and IT AlignmentBEST PRACTICE
Build a foundation for SOA practice understanding and provide a practical guidance with comprehensive content coverage and case studies to address the popular issues and confusions during SOA practice.

·        SOA Conceptual Model
·        What SOA Means
·        SOA Major Benefits and ROI Estimate
Alignment of Business and IT
·        SOA Vision Reference
·        SOA Relationship with Enterprise Architecture
·        Service Oriented Enterprise (SOE)
·        Service Oriented Infrastructure

Case Study: "Why business model and cost model are important”
SOA Practice Model
·        Service Structure: Layered Service Structure
·        Service Oriented Business Architecture: Business as a Service
·        Service Oriented Application Architecture: Composite Applications
·        Service Oriented Data Architecture: Data as a Service
·        Service Oriented Infrastructure: Framework, Cloud Computing, and ITIL
Case Study: "How to create SOA strategy and model for enterprise: Example Reviews and Lessons Learned"

SOA Practice Approach
·        Service Planning for Enterprise View
·        Segmentation and Federation Approaches
·        Service Componentization
·        Iterative and Incremental

Day Two: SOA Governance and Lifecycle Management

Provide a comprehensive coverage in governance concept, model, content, and SOA governance practice references. It’ll demonstrate how service lifecycle can be managed effectively with the help of SOA governance practice. Also, it’ll demonstrate how SOA practice can be evolved towards higher maturity with a roadmap. Finally, we’ll discuss where SOA is heading to.
§  Governance
§  Governance domains
§  Governance model
§  A governance structure
§  SOA Governance
§  SOA governance definition
§  SOA governance model
§  SOA governance structure
§  SOA governance process
§  SOA governance rule and regulations
§  SOA governance guidance
§  SOA governance technologies
§  SOA Lifecycle Management
§  SOA lifecycle components
§  SOA lifecycle management with governance
§  Two Case Studies:
§  Governance practice in two different organizations

§  SOA Maturity Model and Roadmap
§  Enterprise architecture maturity model
§  Service architecture maturity model
§  Service maturity model
§  SOA adoption roadmap
§  Where SOA Is Heading To

§  Curent state and trend
§  Business evolution associated with IT
§  Collaboration environment and cloud computing
§  Enterprise landscape evolution
§  The challenges enterprises are facing
§  How various efforts can work together cohesively
§  Content Summary and Discussion

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Foundation-Based Approach for the Evolution of IT Enabled Business

Big change is ahead of us after the current economic downturn. Businesses and governments are adopting SOA and cloud computing, which implies a paradigm shift in how IT can impact business opportunities, performance, processes, and organization dynamics.  Businesses increasingly rely upon IT to achieve its goals and to implement its strategies. With technologies and products of many generations, and with stove-piped implementations, current IT complexity is growing faster than ever in replying to the required changes and integrations. IT costs are increasing exponentially.  Enterprise architecture, SOA, and Cloud Computing are aimed at meeting these challenges. Our service is to use a Foundation-Based Approach with an Enterprise Foundation Framework© to provide a cohesive practice of EA, SOA, and Cloud. This solution will be essential in providing a disciplined and systematical way to achieve the modernization and evolution objectives for IT enables businesses.
For instance, cloud computing will contribute to the content of Enterprise Architecture, but will not change the way how enterprise architecture should be approached and adopted.  Cloud computing is not a new technology, but suitable new technologies can help cloud computing to be more effective and efficient. While cloud computing may be over stated with its indirect influences during the hype, it is a practical implementation mechanism for Service Oriented Infrastructure, which is a subset for Service Oriented Architecture adoption.  Business advantages are gained mainly via Service Orientation, i.e. common service sharing in many different ways. Our service will clear the road, and enable our clients to move forward in a more effective and efficient manner.
Please contact us if you are interested:

Monday, March 28, 2011

About Master Data Management

Got an email from a friend, talking about the Master Data Management (MDM) is a growing popular topic now. I believe there is no doubt about that, with the velocity of data we are producing and the tendency of increased data production. However, I think the key for the solution is beyond MDM domain. It is about how and what data should be collected.
I still remembered the raw data collection from web sites for data preservation. The amount of data growing makes me wonder even we can store them, how we can catch up in processing them to make them meaningful, e.g. to transform the data into information, let alone transform information into useful knowledge.  If data processing speeds continue leg behind data collection speeds, the data collected will not be useful, but add burden to the slow process. If more meaningless data involved, it’ll add more burden to the process. Therefore, we need to improve the data collection process, to collect the data with purpose, e.g. a Service Oriented Data Collection and Management Process, and collect the data cleanly.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Thoughts during OMG Business Ecology Initiative Day

I went to the OMG Business Ecology Initiative Day yesterday, and involved in very interesting discussions. Also, there are many other OMG meetings happening in the same venue.

Here I have some thoughts:

The term of Business Ecology sounds like to address business environment not limited to inside organizational boundaries. It indeed would be more meaningful in such extended business scope, due to the collaboration environment introduced by Internet, and even more by cloud computing, common service commoditization, social networking, etc.

Also, it would be good to address the challenges in business strategies, such as the pursue of process-driven, maturity, evidence-based management that lead to high productivity and cost reduction contradicts to the culture of innovation. We can see that innovation is increasingly moving to small businesses, and being acquired by the big ones after getting mature. At the meantime, common service providers are forming another separate line of business. This is becoming an ecosystem. Businesses are more correlated than before and with more mutual dependencies as well. The Inter-Enterprise Architecture I mentioned earlier was trying to describe this picture.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Enterprise Architects are Domain Dependent or Not

There is a discussion on: Can you apply sound EA practices across any domain or market?
One analogy I can think of is that a great landmark architect can accept architecture projects in different environment with different requirements, and do a good job in each case. The critical trait he/she has is the creativity combined with well-trained skills to come with a unique architecture solution that meets the requirements and fit the environment well. I believe this is the trait we need to have to accomplish any type of architectures successfully.
If we can handle an architecture assignment successfully or not, either in enterprise scope, a solution domain, or in architecture sub-domains, depends on if we can understand the requirements well for the required domain, scope, and environment. As we know, enterprise architecture has many components (or sub-domains), e.g. business, applications, information/data, infrastructure, technologies. How much each enterprise architect can handle depends on his/her background knowledge, experience, and skills let alone the creativity trait.
The easy acceptance of Big 5 is the repeatable processes (I don’t want to comment on if they are really the best practices or not) they tend to use with replaceable resources, which create similar results with less risk. This is a productivity-driven approach. The analogy is that the experienced architects produced “model home” architectures, while others go out to build many of those for their customers. However in reality, the production level “home building” approach does not fit everyone, which is one major reason for lacking of success stories. Each individual architect does make difference. In software industry, it tends to say, behind each successful product, there is a superstar architect. I believe this applies to architecture in any domain and any level.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Evolution associated with IPv6 in China

It seems a new development associated with IPv6 is growing rapidly in China, which is 物联网(Internet of Things). It was drafted into national plan about two years ago, as one of the five focused new strategic development areas, which are prospering. This is another concept being hyped in China now, along with Cloud Computing. The concept of "Internet of Things" was originally published by Sean Dodson in 2003 based in MIT. However, it neither works well in IPv4 environment, nor in the combination environment of IPv4 and IPv6. It'll be very interesting to see new opportunities and potential applications in this area. We should act on this now, and increase IPv6 adoption speed. The major impacts of both Cloud Computing and IPv6 are not on IT infrastructure and service operations, but the new generation applications associated with them.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

IEA - Architecting Cloud by Intention, not by Accident

The IEA can guide enterprise transition to the new paradigm, which enables inter-enterprise architecture to be formed by intention instead of by accident from stove-piped implementations bounded inside each organization. It can make cloud computing and social media adoptions more effectively by identifying inter-business solutions and adapting to new inter-business relationships and dynamics by design and by the effective usage of social media.

The examples of IEA for cross-enterprise cloud service adoption include: Shopping Mall on Cloud for cross-retailers efforts and Library on Cloud for cross-libraries efforts. Also, it can guide the solutions for business domain oriented cloud. A public cloud implementation should be guided by an IEA, not other way around.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

SOA Best Practice, Governance, and Lifecycle Management

A two-days training session is scheduled in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with focus on an extended SOA practice. The tentative content of coverage is as the following. If anyone has the similar needs, please let me know.
Day One:
·        SOA Best Practice: Establish a foundation for SOA practice understanding, and provide a practical guidance with comprehensive content coverage and case studies to address the popular issues and confusions during SOA practice.
  SOA Concept and Benefit Review
o   SOA conceptual model
o   What SOA means
o   SOA major benefits and ROI estimate
  SOA Vision and Alignment with Enterprise Architecture
o   SOA vision reference
o   SOA relationship with Enterprise Architecture
  SOA Practice Model
o   Service structure: Layered service structure
o   Service oriented business architecture: Service oriented enterprise
o   Service oriented application architecture: Composite applications
o   Service oriented data architecture: Data as a service
o   Service oriented infrastructure: Framework, cloud computing, and ITIL
  SOA Practice Approach

Day Two:
·        SOA Governance: Provide a comprehensive coverage in governance concept, model, content, and practice references. It’ll illustrate how the difference pieces and stages will work together as a cohesive system.
  SOA governance definition
  SOA governance model
  SOA governance structure
  SOA governance process
  SOA governance rule and regulations
  SOA governance guidance
  SOA governance technologies
  SOA Life Cycle and Governance

·        SOA Lifecycle Management: It’ll demonstrate how service lifecycle can be managed effectively with the help of SOA governance practice. Also, it’ll demonstrate how SOA practice can be evolved through lifecycles towards higher maturity.
  SOA lifecycle components
  SOA lifecycle management with governance
  SOA maturity model and roadmap
·        Where SOA Is Heading To
·        Content summary and discussion

Attending these Practical and Effective Session Allows you to:

Establish a solid foundation of SOA concepts, which include service oriented applications, service oriented enterprise, and service oriented infrastructure, as well as the relationships with enterprise architecture and cloud computing
Gain a cohesive view of SOA landscape; see how the different SOA efforts in an organization can fit together
Understand SOA best practice that applies practical approaches and effective mechanisms to achieve intended SOA value
Establish SOA practice guidance, as a base for SOA governance to be applied
Understand governance model and governance domains for business, IT, and SOA based services
Learn how to apply governance across the complete service lifecycle, from design time to run-time, to ensure service lifecycle execution. Be able to define and apply practical guidelines and policies
Monitor and report results and decisions for effective communication and for governance enforcement

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Inter-Enterprise Architecture Relates to Other Concepts and Efforts

The relationship of IEA with other popular concepts and efforts is illustrated as following:

The IEA is constructed above each individual Enterprise Architecture (EA), while SOA is an architecture style and approach that can be applied to EA and IEA where appropriate [5]. By applying SOA to EA, we have Service Oriented Enterprise Architecture (SOEA) [3][4][5]. To implement a SOEA, we can partition it into: Service Oriented Infrastructure (SOI), Service Oriented Applications (SOA), and Service Oriented Enterprise (SOE). The Cloud Computing enables SOI from the technical point of view, while ITIL enables SOI from the management point of view. Under Cloud Computing, we have Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS). The IaaS can be implemented by the combinations of virtualized and physical computing environment, though the trend is moving towards virtualization to maximize the benefits.
[1]     Y. Zhao, Cloud Computing and SOA from Enterprise Perspective, ArchiTech Consulting LLC, 2010,
[2]     Y. Zhao, Service Oriented Infrastructure Framework, 2008 IEEE Congress on Services - Part I, 2008.
[3]     Y. Zhao, EA and SOA: A Partnership, Perspectives of IASA Special Issues: Enterprise Architecture – A 20Years Retrospective, International Association of Software Architects, April 2007.
[4]     Y. Zhao, Enterprise Service Oriented Architecture (ESOA) Adoption Reference, Proceedings of 2006 IEEE International Conference on Services Computing, Sept. 2006.
[5]   Y. Zhao, Service Oriented Enterprise Architecture and Service Oriented Enterprise, Open Group Conference 2009 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Business Landscape Evolution

We can see that the inter-enterprise re-structuring is happening to fit the new economy and the changing paradigm. The roles and responsibilities for the players are evolving. The focuses for good-sized enterprises are more on productivity, process-driven, maturity, and industrialization with replaceable components and resources, while the tasks of innovation are moving to small companies that will likely be acquired by large companies when getting matured. The infrastructure service is forming and separating from enterprise business, becoming a business of itself to provide common commodity services.  The Inter-Enterprise Architecture (IEA) is helpful in providing such description for businesses, both large and small, to have a clearer picture for effective business propositions and game plans. IEA is helpful in being aware of business context, environment, mutual dependencies, collaboration and partnership opportunities.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Inter-Enterprise Architecture for Cloud and Service Adoption

My presentation in Open Group Conference, San Diego:
The introduction of Inter-Enterprise Architecture (IEA) is a response to the current evolution of business landscape and environment change associated with common service commoditization, cloud computing adoption, and social network popularization. The IEA describes context, business environment, collaboration channels, partnership opportunities, influential components and relationships across enterprises and business organizations in selected business domain or service domain for the targeted enterprise or business organization(s). The IEA enables enterprises or business organizations to understand its position in currently connected and networked business world. Also, the dynamic nature of collaborations and the autonomy of current enterprise structure, culture, and operation environment create challenges. It is necessary to explore how business should be architected to take advantage from these collaborative environments, since it is becoming essential for business to be agile and collaborative across organization boundaries. If enterprise architecture is like a city plan, the IEA is more like a plan for a metropolitan.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Inter-Enterprise Architecture

I'll give a presentation in Open Group Conference, San Diego:

This presentation will introduce the notion of Inter-Enterprise Architecture, as a response to the growing trend of service collaboration and social networking. The public cloud provides technical means for businesses to achieve inter-enterprise service sharing and collaborations. Also, we can see the forming trend in the enterprise adoption of social networking platforms: LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, etc. However, the dynamic nature of collaborations and the autonomy of current enterprise structure, culture, and operation environment create challenges. It is necessary to explore how business should be architected to take advantage from these collaborative environments, since it is becoming essential for business to be agile and collaborative across organization boundaries.

This presentation will discuss the possible subjects for the Inter-Enterprise Architecture to address. Also, it will discuss the impacts to enterprises from public cloud and social networking media. It will also discuss the challenges, the possible transitions, and examples.