Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Lessons Learned from the Federal Health-Exchange

I received a phone call recently asking for my opinion regarding to the lessons learned from the Federal Health Exchange (healthcare.gov). It is really on the spotlight recently, for both political and practical reasons. What I can say is that this is not a big surprise. Many IT projects are implemented this way today, just not being caught in the big stress test under spotlight like this one. One of the important lessons learned is the importance of overall planning, architecture, and leadership. Actually, the federal government has well recognized the importance of such matters, and made legislation requirement for enterprise architecture across departments and agencies. The key, however, is How to Do It Effectively 

In other words, we can say: this is an un-accomplished IT paradigm shift meets a practical challenge. The demands are moving fast then IT shifting in action. A very good alert! It also revealed how important IT is today in order to achieve business goals.
We need a good plan for the project like this one, and need a good leader with vision and subject matter expertise, as the major stakeholder.
We need good overall architecture to serve as guidance for not only the planning and development, but also for test and verification. This is the typical short fall in current practice, and this one just happened to be in the spotlight and experienced a practical stress test. Piecemeal and ad hoc don't work anymore for current big and widely connected systems. The quality of architecture products makes big difference.
We also need inter-enterprise architecture, as I proposed earlier, to guide the collaboration across organizational boundaries. The architecture products are not only for compliance or showcase, but also for real usages as its real and ultimate purpose. We need the architecture leader (i.e. the chief architect) as the expert in the subject domain, not only the coordinator and manager.

Monday, October 7, 2013

The New Generation Leadership Model

In my previous articles, it has been discussed that the new enterprise structure and culture should evolve continuously towards collaboration with horizontal connections instead of in hierarchical structure with stovepipes and territory divide. This is to fit the nature of Internet Eva with connected and flattened world. During such evolution, the leadership model should be an integral part as well. The old command and control leadership style will be lessened, and the new collaborative and motivational style will be increased. It is interesting to see that the new leadership style suits the nature of woman better than man.

It is noticeable that a happy family usually has a good leadership team, father and mother. They work well together collaboratively to lead and manage the family. How well they work together is critical for the successfulness of the family. We all know the importance of the “mom” role at home. She takes care, manages, and supports the family members. She gets respect due to her established authoritative role by doing, and that glue the family together. This model could be extended to work place as well. Yes, the new leadership model needs a balance of Yin-Yang.

Naturally, woman tends to be more collaborative and compassionate, can be better in gluing the team together, while less in command and control. The new generation leadership model is a model with “Yin-Yang” balance, i.e. the balance of male and female, as in nature. What happening in Capitol Hill is a good example in lacking of “Yin-Yang” balance. We need more woman leaders, especially in Capitol Hill!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Innovation with Social Responsibility

I just received an interesting invitation to an event for an award entitled "Innovations with Social Responsibility" to me as an entrepreneur and to my company

It is very true that by starting the ArchiTech Consulting LLC, I am more into enabling social advancement and benefit, as well as for the professional domain development and maturity. Current ongoing projects include:
   1) An Education Platform on Cloud
   2) New Generation IT Operating Model
   3) Common Service Platform for Inter-Enterprise Business Domains (with Inter-Enterprise Architecture)
   4) Information Technology for Smart City (involving above three)

I hope eventually we can achieve desirable results.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Vision and Strategy

There is a discussion on Forbes CEO Network "Which is more difficult to develop - the vision or the strategy?"
I should say we usually need to "have" a vision instead of "developing" it (otherwise will be struggling with a vision), and then "develop" the strategy. Vision is something you have it or not (difficult to one person but not necessarily to another), while strategy development has some discipline to follow. The true architecture involves both.  

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Business Domain Based Common Service Platform

It is a natural step moving forward to have Business Domain Based Common Service Platforms, where my project of A Cloud Platform for Education on Demand is only one example. My recent visit to Beijing, China let me recognize that the efforts are embarked globally.

This is where Service Oriented Architecture meets Cloud Computing with Enterprise Architecture and Inter-Enterprise Architecture being quite useful guidance. I’d be glad to help and to see how SOA, Cloud Computing, EA, and IEA can work together cohesively to make the new Common Service Platforms being more open, long-term focused, disciplined, and efficient than we have had experienced so far.

This is a new paradigm with comprehensive talent, knowledge, and skill demands to the Chief Architects. Yes, this type of efforts need great Chief Architects indeed, instead of being pieced together by business and engineering teams only.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Predictive Analysis and Big Data

Predictive analysis is a hot topic today, especially when it is associated with big data. The research and development on the effective predictive mathematical model should be the essential part of this effort. It makes me thinking about my old days in multi-dimensional geometric modeling, especially in data interpolation and differential geometry, which creates mathematical models based on sampling data as reference or control points, with different degrees of continuities (smoothness). More data can help to make the degree of continuity higher, so that the model being more accurate. The similar mathematical models can definitely be applied to predictive analysis, using big data to tone the mathematical/computational models.  Mathematics is mathematics; it’s up to us how and where to use it.

BTW: I got my Ph.D in this area J

Monday, May 6, 2013

Cloud Computing Model - My Open Group Presentation in July 2013

Cloud Computing Model as Service Oriented Architecture

Yan Zhao, President, ArchiTech Consulting LLC, US

This presentation will discuss cloud computing from the evolution of service orientation point of view. It will discuss cloud computing models, the prior-arts, and the evolution path in federal government from Federal Enterprise Architecture, Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), and Service Oriented Infrastructure (SOI) or Federal Infrastructure Optimization Initiative, to Cloud Computing. It will also discuss the current trend of the new generation IT operating model, as well as the related business impact. While cloud computing is contributing to the enterprise evolution towards service orientation and shared services, appropriate business management and operation mechanisms must be in place in order to practice successfully, e.g. suitable business models, service models, service structure, funding models, operation models, operation structure, as well as lifecycle and governance. This presentation intends to provide a holistic view for the cloud computing evolution and shared service adoption in Federal Government.Key takeaways:

1. Cloud computing is an effort of continuous evolution in Federal Government towards service orientation and shared services, with efforts from Federal Enterprise Architecture, Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), and Federal Infrastructure Optimization Initiative.

 2. Cloud computing is a conceptual evolution from many of our past efforts, such as grid computing, utility computing, virtualization, distributed computing, SOA, SOI, Web Service, Application Service Provider (ASP), Internet Service Provider (ISP), etc. New technologies and solutions will add more efficiency during marching in the direction.

 3. Appropriate business management and operation mechanisms (e.g. suitable business models, service models, funding models, operation models) must be in place in order to practice cloud computing and shared services successfully.

 4. Shared service domain is a sub-domain in an enterprise, which should be appropriately identified and implemented


Monday, March 11, 2013

Solution for Enterprise System Modernization

The demands for enterprise system modernization are driven by mainly two reasons: 1) many systems are aging, and cannot meet current e-business and e-government requirements; and 2) most enterprise architecture (EA) products are created in the business layer and at a high-level in the system and technology layers, which need to be carried over to system implementation. Gaps exist in most organizations between enterprise architecture and system level modernization efforts. Our Enterprise System Modernization service is to help organizations in developing solutions to close the gaps between bottom-up system modernization efforts and top-down EA endeavors.

Relationship to Enterprise Architecture
Enterprise system modernization is a continuation of enterprise architecture development. It is also complementary to enterprise architecture development in terms of scope refinement, more detail coverage, and carry through conceptual models to practical implementation in a continuous operation environment. The combined efforts of enterprise architecture development and legacy system modernization can assist an organization to reach its new-age enterprise modernization goals with high efficiency and high productivity, and in a practical manner.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Architecture .vs. Engineering

During my recent conversations with many folks, this topic keeps coming: architect .vs. engineer, or architecture .vs. engineering. I think I’d like to share some of my views in this topic, and to make it clear and simple. My views presented here is also consistent with my other writings and presentations.

Engineering usually follows certain established disciplines, methodologies, and workflow, which is repeatable and process driven. With a mature process in place, the difference an engineer make can be minimized, which is good for production purpose, and is also the motivation for the popular CMMI adoption.

Architecture is a creative art for operation; it is more conceptual oriented, with emphasis on vision, insight, and creativity. Therefore, the difference made by architects can be enormous, while engineering is the next step to follow. I am not ignoring that the architecture creation/development process also need discipline and skills that can be trained to support the talent and creativity that generate ideas and concepts.

In my old days working for high-tech companies in Silicon Valley, there is a saying: behind each successful product, there is a super-star architect. I believe this is applicable to architects in any other arenas as well, e.g. the famous architects for buildings. The architect hiring should not be a “body shopping”.

Monday, January 7, 2013

A Platform on Cloud for Education on Demand

– A R&D Project from the ArchiTech Consulting LLC

This project is a cloud computing based common service platform for Distance Learning and Online Learning on Demand. It will shift the technical implementation and operation burden from individual education organizations to a common high-quality professional service place, so to reduce the duplicated efforts and costs and to achieve better performance. The education service providers, either organizations (e.g. professional education institutions, the corporate training organizations, universities, colleges, secondary education organizations) or individuals, can open their teaching service on the platform, and can select and customize their services based on their specific needs. The user selectable services will be implemented in the form of multi-tenant enabled Software as a Service (SaaS), instead of stand-along applications that we have today.