Wig and Taped Mouth

Thought this was a pretty scary mannequin. 


Aside from the disheveled hair covering her head and half her face. 


You can see that her mouth and nose is taped over with clear masking tape!


Clearly she looks like she has been abused or worse, and the image is that she can’t even scream for help. 


Why anyone would advertise women’s fashion in this misogynist way should be beyond all of us. 


There are a lot of crazy nuts out there.


This photo is a small reminder of what we face in terms of ugliness in this world. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Integrated Hat

Even a hat can get a A+ for integration and this one does. 

It comes as a nice straw hat with eye slots and a sunglass effect built in–just roll the front lid up and down to adjust the coverage. 

Takes a little of its strong look from Batwoman and a lot from the runway models of Fashion Week. 

I like it for its creativity and coy looks–not so much for it’s functionality, I am sure. 

So Apple may have a lock-up on integration when it comes hardware and software these days, but Kate Spade has it hats-off in the fashion arena.  

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

>Making Something Out of Nothing

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At the Gartner Enterprise Architecture Summit this past week (October 7-9, 2009), I heard about this new math for value creation:

Nothing + Nothing = Something

At first, you sort of go, WHAT?

Then, it starts to make a lot of sense.

Seemingly nothings can be combined (for example, through mashups) to become something significant.

When you really think about it, doesn’t this really happen all the time.

INFORMATION: You can have tens or thousands of data points, but it’s not till you connect the dots that you have meaningful information or business intelligence.

PEOPLE: Similarly, you can have individuals, but it’s not until you put them together—professionally or personally—that you really get sparks flying.

Harvard Business Review, October 2009, put it this way:

Ants aren’t smart…ant colonies are…under the right conditions, groups—whether ant colonies, markets, or corporations—can be smarter than any of their members.” This is the “wisdom of crowds and swarm intelligence.”

PROCESS: We can have a workable process, but a single process alone may not produce diddly. However, when you string processes together—for example, in an assembly line—you can produce a complex product or service. Think of a car or a plane or a intricate surgical procedure.

TECHNOLOGY: I am sure you have all experienced the purchase of hardware or software technologies that in and of themselves are basically useless to the organization. It’s only when we combine them into a workable application system that we have something technologically valuable to the end-user.

Whatever, the combination, we don’t always know in advance what we are going to get when we make new connections—this is the process of ideation, innovation, and transformation.

Think of the chemist or engineer or artist that combines chemicals, building blocks elements, or colors, textures, and styles in new ways and gets something previously unimaginable or not anticipated.

In a sense, organization and personal value creation is very much about creating relationships and associations between things. And a good leader knows how to make these combinations work:

Getting people and organizations to work together productively.

Generating new ideas for innovative business products or better ways of serving the customer.

Linking people, process, and technology in ever expanding ways to execute more effectively and efficiently than ever before.

Enterprise architecture shares this principle of identifying and optimizing relationships and associations between architectural entities such as business processes, data elements, and application systems. Typically, we perform these associations in architectural models, such as business process, data, and system models. Moreover, when we combine these models, we really advance the cause by determining what our processes are/should be, what information is needed to perform these, and what are the systems that serve up this information. Models help architects to identify gaps, redundancies, inefficiencies, and opportunities between the nothings to improve the greater whole of the something.

The real enterprise architect will make the leap from just describing many of these elements to making the real connections and providing a future direction (aka a target architecture) or at least recommending some viable options for one.

Nothing + Nothing (can) = Something. This will happen when we have the following:

  • The right touch of leadership skills to encourage, motivate and facilitate value creation.
  • The allocation of talented people to the task of combining things in new ways.
  • And the special sauce—which is everyone’s commitment, creativity, and hard work to make something new and wonderful emerge.

>Andy Blumenthal Presents User-centric Enterprise Architecture

>Check out this SlideShare Presentation:

>Classification Schema and Enterprise Architecture

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User-centric Enterprise architecture captures organizational information, analyzes it, and classifies it, and serves it up to the end user in useful and usable ways to enhance decision-making.

I came across a helpful article in DM Review, May 2008, called “Ontology and Taxonomy” that clarified the classification schemas used in EA.

First of all what the heck is a classification schema?

Simply put, a classification schema is a way of organizing information by putting things into categories. This helps us make sense of the information by being able to relate items to one another. For example, is an item, part of a larger supertype? Does an item has subtypes? Are items part of a common set? Is there a one to one relationship, a one to many, or a many to many? An understanding of these relationships between information helps us to understand the information and better use it for sound decision making.

Here are the two classification schema:

  1. Ontology—“includes putting things into categories and relating these categories to each other…an ontology is a model…’ontology concerns itself with the organization of knowledge’…the body of knowledge includes both class and instance.” Ontologies define relationships. In ontologies, we identify the intersection of different items with each other, so for example a man intersects with “person,” “male,” and “adult.”
  2. Taxonomy—“A taxonomy is an ontology in the form of a hierarchy.” Typically, taxonomy takes the form of a tree diagram, with parent (class) and child relationships. Taxonomies are decompositions. “For example, a parent may be automobiles and the children may be trucks, SUVS, sedans, compacts, and so on. Then the children for trucks may be pick-ups, vans, refrigerated, etc.

One of the problems with taxonomies is that you cannot easily define everything neatly into categories and subcategories, such as in cataloging a body of knowledge. For example, in the Dewey decimal system, “Where do you put a book about the history of mathematics in the Islamic world? History? Mathematics? Religion? That points out the problem with most taxonomies. Most of our knowledge is not hierarchical.”

The limitation of taxonomies is why we need to use more sophisticated ontologies such as business, data, and system models in enterprise architecture to understand the complexity of the relationship between business processes, information required to perform those, and the systems that serve those up.

>Business Process Management and Enterprise Architecture

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Business process management is part of enterprise architecture. Enterprise architecture is often equated with IT architecture. This is incorrect; they are not the same. IT architecture is focused on IT solutions. Enterprise architecture is broader and encompasses engineering both business and IT sides of the organization.

There are two primary ways that enterprise architecture modernizes and transforms the organization. From the technology side, you can introduce new technologies to enable mission. From the business side, you can reengineer or improve existing business processes.

“Business process management (BPM) is a method of efficiently aligning an organization with the wants and needs of clients. It is a holistic management approach that promotes business effectiveness and efficiency while striving for innovation, flexibility and integration with technology.” (Wikipedia)

Where does BPM fit in with enterprise architecture?

To answer this we can look at guidance from The Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Particularly Circular A-11 provides guidance on the submission of federal budgets; Part 7 (Planning, Budgeting, Acquisition, and Management of Capital Assets) spells out the requirement that an Exhibit 300 be completed for all major investments.

Aside from extensive questions for justifying your budget in the Exhibit 300, there are what’s commonly called the “Three Pesky Questions.” The 3rd of the three pesky questions is as follows:

  • “Does the investment support work processes that have been simplified or otherwise redesigned to reduce costs, improve effectiveness, and make maximum use of commercial, off-the-shelf technology? If not, management should reengineer business processes first, then search for alternatives, or the agency may issue a very broad statement of the requirements in a solicitation to the private sector and allow the private sector to do the reengineering in proposed solutions. Management should also improve internal process through cutting red tape, empowering employees, revising or pooling existing assets within the agency or with other agencies, redeploying resources, or offering training opportunities.”

What’s key here is the requirements that before planning to acquire capital assets, such as new IT, we first look to reengineer the underlying business processes. Only once we have addressed the BPM, do we look to enable these processes with IT.

How do we reengineer our business processes?

DM Review, 18 April 2008, reports that “BPM includes the modeling, implementation, measurement and monitoring of business processes.”

Here is the way I see it:

  • Three types of models: Business process (or activity) models are the first step, supported by data models and systems models.
  • Decomposition and relationships: In these models, we decompose the business functions, processes, activities, and tasks; identify the relationships to the information required to perform the business processes, and the systems (manual or automated) that serve up the information.
  • Areas for Improvement/Reengineering: Through this decomposition and identification of relationship between business/data/systems, we are able to identify gaps, redundancies, roadblocks, and opportunities in doing our business efficiently and effectively. Once identified, we can then tweak or wholly reengineer the business processes, fill in gaps, eliminate unnecessary redundancies, and so on.

Similar to the OMB Exhibit 300 “Three Pesky Questions,” DM Review reminds us that we cannot just focus on systems to fix what’s wrong in our organizations.

  • “Keep in mind that for almost every process evolution exercise, there will be more than just systems change (IT change) required. Organizational needs and personnel skills must be accounted for. It the organizational dimension is ignored, there will be another story about failure in process management and business change.”

Business Process Management is essential to organizational change management.

  • If a business is to be responsive to change and remain competitive, its ammunition will come from its ability to inspect, analyze and forward-engineer its processes and its business…before its competition!

So whenever you think of enterprise architecture remember business + IT, and the business comes first!