Monday, April 28, 2014

Architecture for Modern Enterprise

I am invited to publish on LinkedIn. This is the first article I published there:

As a witness of computer and Internet evolution in the past thirty years, I’m truly impressed about the difference Internet has made to businesses and to our lives. The world is connected, businesses are connected, and components inside businesses are connected, as well as our daily lives. These connections and free information flow form a new ecosystem that breaks the traditional man-made boundaries, and are re-establishing relationships and reforming people behaviors in an intended and not intended way.

Business meets technologies in an ever closely intertwined manner. We are continuously trying to use new technologies to advance business operations. In order to deal with the complex business environment and the ever changing business requirements, the technologies and engineering practices are getting more and more complicated. Due to the difference between business and technology in nature, complex .vs. complicated, the gap cannot be closed without the help from architectures that provide simplified views of the complex to enable disciplined adoption of complicated technologies and engineering processes, without increasing the complication level beyond human capabilities. Therefore, architecture for digital and IT-enabled businesses is increasingly important in order to take advantages from the technology evolution instead of being hindered by inflexible legacies. In other words, the businesses are reforming, you can let it reform based on architectural guidance, or it will reform itself in an unexpected way.

First, I’d like to clarify the concept of Architecture and the Architecture for Modern Enterprise in this context. The original definition of Architecture by Sir Henry Watton in The Elements of Architecture stated “In architecture as in all other operative arts, the end must direct the operation. The end is to build well. Well building has three conditions: Commodity, Firmness and Delight”. This definition is applicable to our context as well, where the position of architecture for modern enterprise is similar to the position of architecture for a building construction. The purpose of the architecture for modern enterprise is for the effective and efficient operations of the enterprise. The architecture should serve all its relevant audience and stakeholders in the enterprise, should be understandable by them via various views (commodity). The architectural products has to be solid and practicable for implementation (firmness), and it has to be well accepted and appreciated (delight) to be adopted and be effective in guiding enterprise operation.

More precisely, the architecture for modern enterprise, or digital and IT-enabled business, is to provide vision and plan via comprehensive yet simplified views as a blueprint for business to evolve. It is to ensure business competence and operation optimization by effective usage of digital technology and IT during its evolution. It helps businesses to achieve high performance with reduced complexity and cost, and to achieve dynamics by design. Its concepts, value proposition, creation mechanisms, and usages must be well understood by practitioners, stakeholders, and broad audience in order to serve the purpose.

The core of architecture is its vision, insight, concepts presented, and implementation guidance. It is a practical art, a result of creation, which is not a result of engineering or process in a mechanical production manner, but it guides engineering process for implementation. The architecture for modern enterprise is in a complex domain of people, systems, and culture; and in a constantly changing environment. For such architecture development, it is important to balance discipline and control with flexibility and freedom for organic growth, due to the limitation of human capability in predicting the future and in handling complex matters.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Updated Service Portfolio

ArchiTech Consulting LLC is a boutique digital world architecture firm that provides consulting, R&D, and training services to IT and digital enabled enterprises and businesses. Our updated service portfolio is summarized as the following:

1)     Shared Service Platform with Cloud Computing: It is a natural step forward to have Business Domain Based Common Service Platforms for business service on demand implementations, where our project of A Platform on Cloud for Education on Demand is one example. This is where Service Oriented Architecture meets Cloud Computing with Enterprise Architecture and Inter-Enterprise Architecture as useful guidance for a cohesive, open, long-term focused, disciplined, and efficient service on demand platform. There are three major innovation aspects:
  1. A new generation Service on Demand conceptual model based on Internet for the selected business domain
  2. The cloud service implementation model, which involves multi-tenant based multi-media digital content management system. It will evolve from Software as a Service (SaaS) to Platform as a Service (PaaS)
  3. The associated business model, service model, and operation model
This new paradigm common service platform demands comprehensive talent, knowledge, and skills to its Architects, where is the service we offer.

2)     The New Generation IT Operating Model: Businesses and governments are experiencing a paradigm shift in how IT, Internet, and digital technologies 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 New Generation IT Operating Model is to use a Foundation-Based Approach with a guidance framework to provide a cohesive solution involving EA, SOA, and Cloud efforts. A white paper can be found in our website.

3)     Big Data and Knowledge Management with Enterprise Architecture: Information can be obtained through data processing, and knowledge can be obtained through information processing. The conversion from data to information usually doesn’t need to consider the information receivers. However, the conversion from information to knowledge has to consider the knowledge receivers. Knowledge to one person can be only information to another, because another person cannot comprehend it. In other words, information is target less, while knowledge has target and beholder. Therefore, for information to become knowledge, we have to organize them for its targeted audience. We help enterprise in integrating a successful enterprise architecture development process with a process that transforms data to information, and transforms information to knowledge for its targeted audience via various views. We also offer a cohesive management approach for knowledge, information and data with the help of enterprise architecture.

4)     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 in digital age; and 2) most enterprise architecture (EA) are created in business layer and at a high-level with limited coverage in systems and technologies, which need to be completed for 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. We use a Foundation-Based Approach for this effort with a Foundation-Based Framework as guidance, which providing a disciplined and systematical way to achieve Information Technology Management expectations.

5)     Enterprise Mobile Solutions: In post PC era, we live in a world with great mobility facilitated by smart phones, tablets, laptop, etc. with wireless connections. We are living in a big Cyber Human Social System now, thanks to Internet. The impacts from this ecosystem to our lives are tremendous, across both of our work life and personal life; it is actually merging the line between them. The workforce productivity improvement from the usages of mobile computing is well recognized. The enterprise mobile solution is an integral part of the current changing paradigm in IT. The transformations can be considered from the following aspects:
  • Enterprise Culture Transformation
  • Enterprise Structure Transformation
  • Communication Mechanism Transformation
  • Enterprise Mobile Technology Transformation
Our enterprise mobile solution will address the above aspects to provide a comprehensive solution roadmap.