Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Integration’

Welcome Gar Mac Criosta to the inTHiNKers!

December 21, 2010 1 comment

It’s a delight to have Gar Mac Criosta join the band of inTHiNKers bringing a great set of experiences on IT Architecture.

Gar_Mac_Criosta

Gar has worked in Ireland, UK and Australia for policing, financial services, insurance,  public sector bodies and systems integrators including An Garda Síochána, Cap Gemini, An Post, Anglo Irish Bank, Compaq, GE and others.

Gar became one of the first IASA Certified IT Architects (CITA-P) certifying in May 2010. In addition, Gar is current president of IASA Ireland the professional association for IT Architects.  Gar is a member of the IASA Europe leadership team and a member of the IASA Board of Education Certification Committee which is currently working to deliver IASA Certification programs globally.

Gar is actively involved in the technology community and has a real ‘grá’ for technology. Gar is currently pondering touch based & device based applications will change our work world.

For more on Gar and the rest of the inTHiNKers click here!

inTHiNK! it’s official!

October 13, 2010 2 comments

After 5 great years of fun at Microsoft UK it’s time for me to say so long as I move on to new things although I fully expect to remain part of the Microsoft ecosystem and still haunt the corridors of the UK Campus from time to time!

So what does a Microsoft Architect do after Microsoft? Well more architecture it seems from the business through to its people and the systems the use. There are actually three main strands to my post-Microsoft strategy that I’ll summarise below:

iasa

As you may know I’ve had a long history with IASA, especially here in the UK where I founded and have chaired the UK chapter for around 6 years now. During this time we’ve been developing a credible and sustainable education and certification program for IT architects and now, along with my colleagues at IASA, I want to bring this to Europe. We’re holding our next UK certification boards this November but the plans for IASA Europe are much bigger than just this.

inthink

inTHiNK! is the name of my new professional services practice www.inthink.co.uk. inTHiNK! will offer services from business & technology strategy, architecture practice and guidance through to cloud readiness and enablement. This will scale out through an extensive associate network of solid top-level IT professionals. Contact info@inthink.co.uk if you want to follow up.

image

As a brand new bizspark partner I will be seeking to exploit the value of the Azure platform delivering a new breed of SaaS enablers and business offerings to the market!

 

Here’s my new contact details if you wish to stay in touch

Matt Deacon
CEO, inTHiNK! Ltd
www.inthink.co.uk
mattdeacon.wordpress.com
www.twitter.com/mattdeacon

SOA: A square peg in a round hole?

September 15, 2010 1 comment

It is really interesting when you look back on your blogs over the years and reflect on how your views have changed, and whether anything still remains true given what you know now. Over the past few months I’ve been researching the state of SOA today; well over a decade since .NET Web Services arrived on the scene and the term SOA first came to popular attention.

One blog I’ve referred to time and time again in talking about SOA is the one I wrote on SOA Anti-patterns back in 2005. I use these anti-patterns regularly when talking to people and had come to think that their value had never been more significant than they are today given the emergence of the so-called “cloud”. However, I had noticed that they resonated less well with those where SOA was being “successful”. It therefore came as quite a shock when I actually re-read the blog only to find that the core tenet on which these anti-patterns were based was actually proving to be itself one of the core anti-patterns of SOA and why in so many cases SOA has proved unsuccessful.

The anti-pattern was actually described in the opening section where I suggest that the decentralised nature of SOA “left unchecked” could lead to the occurrence of a number of the anti-patterns that I went on on to describe. Unwittingly, I had hit upon one of the core anti-patterns for SOA; the square-peg anti-pattern, it was just that at the time I didn’t realise it.

The square-peg anti-pattern

As I noted back in 2005, SOA is a “decentralised” pattern for integrating distributed systems, but what I didn’t realise at the time and where the true problem turns out to be, is that we insist on trying to fit SOA (the peg) into a “centralised” model of IT (the round hole). This is like holding the same poles of two magnets end to end, they repulse each other, we are simply trying to put two incompatible models of operation together as one.

From a centralised perspective of IT these anti-patterns make sense, but turn the problem on the head and they become less significant and maybe cease to exist. The reality of the problem turns out, not to be one of fitting a square peg into a round hole, but that there are simply no square holes!

For IT and let’s face it, for the really important part; the business, to really take advantage of SOA it needs to give up being the monopoly, it needs to decentralise and devolve control to the services themselves. The result is smaller IT, encapsulated within the service, focused almost entirely on delivering business value for that service, rather than having to pay a high tax to conform to the demands of a centralised IT function.

The three Cs!

So if this is the major problem, then why do it? Why not drop SOA and retain the centralised model for IT? Of course this is an option, but let’s look at it through the lens of the three Cs that Hammer and Champy raised in re-engineering the corporation:

  • Customers take charge
  • Competition intensifies
  • Change becomes constant

IT is subject to the same pressures and has to deliver the service that is required by the business. Your customer demands the ability to be more in control, dynamic, they have choice and increasingly have the potential to ‘shop elsewhere’. The competition from others who can provide the service, faster, cheaper and to order is increasing. The rate of change required by your customer grows daily and the need for IT to move from reactive to proactive and part of driving business.

Specialised Units of Business Capability

In looking at the trends within the business itself, one can see it is differentiating into often finer units of specialism. the benefit being, to take advantage of market leading innovation quicker, cheaper and at lower risk. IT needs to power these new capabilities, but can’t do so through a rigid model of centralised command and control. These new capabilities need to move fast, grow fast and evolve quickly in response to change. The IT needs to be as close to that business innovation as possible and be part of the solution rather than a problem that slows down their time to react.

The rise of the Central IS function?

So what now for IT? Is it the end of IT department? Well may be it is, as we know it today. Decentralisation is inevitable for Business as it is for IT, as the technology layers commoditise there is less need for many of the old functions of IT, but given all these moving parts, these increasing units of specialised business capabilities, the increasing number of sourcing choices for services of all shapes and sizes, it is clear that there is a need for:

  • co-ordination
  • governance
  • compliance
  • innovation management

These, then become the watch words for the future of the centralised IT function, but it is perhaps the name that needs a change, it is less about the technology but still about the information and management and certainly needs to nurture innovation and of course it’s all about the service.

Welcome to the:

Corporate Information and Innovation Management Service.

The Economics of Cloud Integration

I met up with an integration partner the other day and we talked about how cloud could impact their business. He talked about the typical integration project and that it was quite an investment for the customer.

  • Phase 1: Partner builds out integration solution
  • Phase 2: Initiates technical training for customer IT staff
  • Phase 3: Handover management of integration solution
  • Phase 4: Work on joint second wave project
  • Phase 5: Full handover to customer.

In talking about cloud he suggested that it wouldn’t make sense when dealing with a simple EAI scenario of integrating two in-house systems. Why would you consider going outside the firewall to achieve this integration? The partner thought not, but I’m not so sure and suggested that if I offered to run the service for say a few £100 a month with strong guarantees I think the customer would have to think about it seriously. This is after all what the AppFabric in Azure is all about! At the time my mind was simply focused on the operational savings, but in going back to the phased delivery model above, there were also skilling and software licensing costs that needed to be factored into the equation.

So let’s imagine the cost of this simple EAI project from a traditional integration project and a cloud service perspective.

Traditional integration   Cloud Service  
Initial Development Project £45,000 Initial Development Project (50% up front remainder deferred over 5 years) £22,500
Training (x 3 people) £15,000   £0
Assisted Development Project £25,000 50% up front with remained deferred over 5 years £12,500
Software costs £25,000   £0
Support & Maintenance/year (10%) £7,000 Development cost recovery (divided 5 years)
Support & Maintenance/year (10%)
Hosting support (10%)
£7,000
+ £7,000
+ £7,000
Internal operations expenditure (FTE @ 50%) £30,000   £0
Total Cost over 5 years £320,000   £140,000

In this scenario the customer saves around 60% costs over 5 years – why wouldn’t the customer be interested? Also, the partner earns an additional £35k over the 5 years too, plus they still retain a close relationship and ongoing revenue.

Ok, so the model is overly simplified and probably missing a 1,001 things but offers an indication of a more balanced economic and innovation based model that aligns much better to the customer’s needs than the old model of software delivery and maintenance. Besides the obvious savings what is far more powerful is the effect this has on cashflow over time …

image

Not only are the initial cost reduced and spread over the 5 years, but so too are the ongoing maintenance/management costs.