When Do We Get The Replicators

Good advertisement piece for a 3D Printing Class. 

Not sure that we’re nearly there yet in terms of the Star Trek vision for the Replicators that could make food and other items on demand. 

But things are slowly taking shape. 

Someone wake me up when I can order up a pizza from this thing.  😉

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Fashionistas Oh Mista

I found this gorgeous picture on Facebook. 

I believe this model on the runway is wearing Armani. 

The green dress is overflowing with beautiful ruffles, accented only by a black belt. 

As the model walks down the black and white runway, the whole outfit just seems to pop with soft texture and sheer eloquence.

I showed it to my daughter and she was hesitant about it, thinking that the green color made her look like a tree and surrounding foliage. 

I can see her point–maybe a nice sky blue or candy pink would be better…I think all three on stage would be amazing! 😉

>Business Process Management and Enterprise Architecture


Modeling business processes, information flows, and the systems that serve up that information is core to developing enterprise architecture

DM Review Magazine, February 2008 reports that Business Process Management (BPM) changes the game for business performance through process innovation, creating a process-managed enterprise that is able to respond to changing market, customer, and regulatory demands faster than its competitors.”

How does BPM enable enterprise efficiency?

“It acts as the glue that ties together and optimizes existing attempts at employee collaboration, workflow, and integration. It drives efforts in quality improvement, cost reductions, efficiencies, and bottom-line revenue growth.”

BPM drives “the ability to design, manage, and optimize critical business processes.”

Essentially the decomposition of functions into processes, tasks, and activities along with linkages to the information required to perform those and the systems that provide the information enable the enterprise architect to identify gaps, redundancies, inefficiencies, and opportunities for business process improvement, reengineering, and the introduction of new technologies.

Business, data, and systems models are an important tool for architects to integrate and streamline operations.

How effective is BPM?

The Aberdeen Group reports “more than 50% of companies surveyed were expected to turn to BPM in 2007 to get the process right at the line-of-business level without having to throw out their expensive enterprise resource planning (ERP) or custom back-end applications investments.”

Similarly, Gartner reports that “organizations deploying BPM initiatives have seen more than 90 percent success rates on those projects.”

What are some critical success factors in BPM?

  1. Usability—“intuitive and flexible user interfaces.”
  2. Process analysis—“knowledge management, analytics, reporting, and integration functionality.”
  3. Collaborative—“portals, attached discussion threads, document management capabilities, and configurable task views.”
  4. Self-optimization—“ability to ‘self-optimize’ the process.”
  5. Focus on high-value areas first—“initial BPM project should include areas of medium-to-high business value combined with low process complexity…choose processes or business areas that have high visibility.”

From a User-centric EA perspective, modeling business, data, and systems is a key element at the segment and solutions architectures. These models enable the development of business requirements, information flows, and technology needs that help determine the ultimate solution design and line of business projects. These in turn feed the enterprise architecture target architecture and transition plan. So the food chain often starts with core modeling initiatives.

>HSPD-12 and Enterprise Architecture


Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12, 27 August 2004, is a “Policy for a Common Identification Standard for Federal Employees and Contractors.”

HSPD-12 establishes a mandatory, Government-wide standard for secure and reliable forms of identification issued by the Federal Government to its employees and contractors (including contractor employees).

The policy mandates promulgation and implementation of secure, reliable identification that covers Federally controlled facilities, Federally controlled information systems, and other Federal applications that are important for security. “Secure and reliable forms of identification” for purposes of this directive means identification that (a) is issued based on sound criteria for verifying an individual employee’s identity; (b) is strongly resistant to identity fraud, tampering, counterfeiting, and terrorist exploitation; (c) can be rapidly authenticated electronically; and (d) is issued only by providers whose reliability has been established by an official accreditation process. The Standard will include graduated criteria, from least secure to most secure, to ensure flexibility in selecting the appropriate level of security for each application.”

In Government Computer News, 27 October 2007, Jack Jones, the CIO of the National Institute of Health (and Warren Suss, contractor) discuss how NIH leveraged the mandates of HSPD-12 to not only implement the common identification standard for more than 18,000 federal employees [and another 18,000 part time employees, contractors, fellows, and grant reviewers] on its main campus in Bethesda, Md., and at satellite sites nationwide,” but also modified and improved it’s business processes to ensure a holistic and successful architectural implementation.

What business modifications were involved?

HSPD-12 was a catalyst for change at the institutes. The NIH Enterprise Directory (NED), which automated the process for registering and distributing badges to new NIH employees, needed to be revised to comply with HSPD-12…the conversation led to a re-examination of the broader set of processes involved in bringing a new employee onboard. In addition to registering new employees and issuing badges, NIH, like other federal agencies, must assign e-mail addresses, add new employees to multiple agency mailing lists, order new phones, assign new phone numbers and update the phone directory.”

How did NIH address this using enterprise architecture?

NIH changed its enterprise architecture through a formal, facilitated business modeling process that involved all NIH stakeholder groups. The results included clarifications in the policies and procedures for processing new employees along with the transformation of NED into a significantly improved tool to support better communication and collaboration in the broad NIH community.”

From a User-centric EA perspective, this is a great example of EA supporting successful organizational change. NIH, like other federal agencies, was faced with the mandates of HSPD-12, and rather than just go out and procure a new system to meet the requirement, NIH used EA as a tool to look at its entire process for provisioning for new employees including policy. NIT EA modeled it business processes and made necessary modifications, and ensured a successful implementation of the identification system that is supported by sound business process and policy. Additionally, the CIO and the EA did not do this in some ivory tower, but rather in a collaborative “workshops with NIH stakeholder groups”. This collaboration with stakeholders hits on the essence of what User-centric EA is all about and how powerful it can be.

>Gestalt Theory and Enterprise Architecture


“Gestalt theory is a theory…that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts…This is in contrast to the “atomistic” principle of operation of the digital computer, where every computation is broken down into a sequence of simple steps, each of which is computed independently of the problem as a whole.” (Wikipedia)

Gestalt theory and the atomistic principle are important lenses with which to understand User-centric EA. Both gestalt and atomistic views are used to build the enterprise architecture.

  • Modeling—“A model is a pattern, plan, representation, or description designed to show the structure or workings of an object, system, or concept.”(Wikipedia) Enterprise decompose the business and IT of the enterprise to view functions and activities, information and data, and manual and automated solutions for supporting those. In modeling the organization and decomposing it into its foundational elements, we view both the distinct parts as well as the relationship between those; this is the atomistic principle is at work. architects develop business, data, and systems models to show the elements and relationships in the enterprise, identify the business processes, information requirements, and technology solutions. To perform this modeling the architects
  • Planning and Governance—EA develops the baseline, target, and transition plan, and develops or supports the IT strategic and tactical plans. Further, EA facilitates the IT governance process by conducting IT projects, product, and standard reviews and providing finding and recommendations to ensure business and technical alignment and architecture assessment for the organization. Both of these functions of EA require the synthesis of “boat loads” of business and technical information to develop realistic plans and valuable reviews in support of sound investment and portfolio management. In developing the plans and managing the IT governance for the organization, we are synthesizing information to create a holistic view of where we are, where we going, and how we will get there. This involves bringing together the multiple perspectives of the architecture (performance, business, information, service, technology, security, and hopefully soon to be added human capital) to get a view of the organization that is larger than the sum of its parts. The architecture is more than just a federation of these perspectives, and incorporates the analysis of gaps, redundancies, inefficiencies, and opportunities used to drive business process and technical reengineering and improvement in the organization. This is the gestalt theory at work.

Together, the gestalt theory and atomistic principle show us how enterprise architects decompose or break down the organization into its parts and then synthesize or build it back together again, such that the whole is now greater than the sum of its parts. The ability to do this is the marking of a true enterprise architect master!

>EA Modeling is Key to Business Process Improvement

>Modeling & simulation has been hailed as a national critical technology and vital to national economic leadership (Source: Congressional Modeling and Simulation Caucus).

Models are representations of real world phenomenon and are static (while simulations are dynamic).

In EA, models are used to represent business processes, data and information entities, and IT systems. These models can be unified into representations that detail all the following:

  • Business processes required for mission execution;
  • Information requirements to supports these business processes; and
  • IT systems that serve up the needed information.

In user-centric EA, models are done not just for the sake of representing these realities but are done to improve organizational performance and results by the end users. Models are central in analyzing problem areas and identifying gaps, redundancies, inefficiencies, and opportunities. The desired outcome is business process reengineering and improvement, ensuring vital information flows to end-users when and where they need it, and to support these with information technology solutions that helps us perform better, faster, and cheaper.

User-centric EA acknowledges that models are static. However, EA models need to result in dynamic corrective actions to an organization.

To really get the benefit of these modeling efforts, they must be conducted throughout the organization, in all lines of business. Unfortunately the reality is that this is a heavy lift and requires extensive commitment of resources and resolve.

Are models critical in your EA efforts? How do you use them?