All American Chair

All American Chair.jpeg

Got to love this all American chair. 

Red, white, and blue. 

And stars and stripes everywhere. 

The only thing that I seriously wonder about is whether this chair was manufactured in the U.S. 

With the U.S. losing 35% of it’s manufacturing employment between 1998 and 2010 (from 17.6M to 11.5M), due in large part to outsourcing, there is a good chance this chair was made overseas. 

Now manufacturing makes up less than 9% of total U.S. employment

Also noteworthy is the loss of 51,000 manufacturing plants or 12.5% between 1998-2008.  

Together, agriculture and industry make up only approximately 20% of the entire U.S. economy

Manufacturing are agriculture are strategic capabilities for this country and any country. 

It’s not just what you know, but what you make!

Sure we can make things faster and easier with automation, but at this point there is a serious skills shortage (with millions of jobs going unfilled), and we need to safeguard the strategic knowledge, skills, capability, and capacity to make things vital to our thriving existence.

We need to be a more self-sufficient nation again and not a one-trick service pony. 

We need to use information to be better innovators, creators, developers, and builders. 

Information is great, but you can’t live by information alone. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Goods AND Services –> AMAZON

Really like what I read yesterday…Amazon is expanding from selling goods to also adding services.

Amazon is the #1 stop for just about any daily purchase (except things like cars and houses, which I think Amazon will eventually consider for an acquisition in the future as well). 
With their nearly effortless shopping experience, free shipping (for “Prime” customers), and easy returns, it is eCommerce as it was meant to be!
Now according to the Wall Street Journal, Amazon is adding local service providers from plumbers to electricians.
The cross-selling possibilities are luring–so that as you purchase a household item, up pops local services providers for someone to install or service the item–it’s all integrated.
Moreover, Amazon will do background checks on these service partners, determine if they have liability insurance, and offer a money-back guarantee on the services rendered (Oy vey to Craigslist and Angie’s List).
Amazon is a brilliant retailer, once they have holodeck like virtual reality experience where you can simulate actually being next the goods to look at them, feel them, even try them (on), then we will achieve shopping nirvana and will never have to enter a Best Buy or other then useless and obsolete bricks and mortar retailer again. 😉
(Source Photo: here with attribution to Yo Mostro)

>Yin and Yang and Enterprise Architecture


Yin and Yang describe two primal opposing but complementary principles or cosmic forces said to be found in all non-static objects and processes in the universe.

The outer circle represents the entirety of perceivable phenomena, while the black and white shapes within the circle represent the interaction of two principles or aspects, called “yin” (black) and “yang” (white), which cause the phenomena to appear in their peculiar way. Each of them contains an element or seed of the other, and they cannot exist without each other.

Yin is passive, dark, feminine, downward-seeking, and corresponds to the night. Yang is active, light, masculine, upward-seeking and corresponds to the daytime.

All forces in nature can be seen as having yin and yang states, and the two are in constant movement rather than held in absolute stasis.

Yin and yang is a process of harmonization ensuring a constant, dynamic balance of all things. Excessive yin or yang state is often viewed to be unbalanced and undesirable.

User-centric EA applies the concepts of Yin and Yang—in terms of balance and harmony─to the way the chief enterprise architect relates to and works with users, the way products and services are developed, and the way architecture plans are formulated. Some examples:

  • Working with users: The chief enterprise architect needs to recognize that in planning for the future state of the organization, there are going to be different points of views, diversity of aims and aspirations, and general conflict. The architect can use the principles of Yin and Yang to understand that opposing points of view are complementary and in fact necessary to vet issues and achieve better decision on behalf of the enterprise. The architect works to listen to all viewpoints and reconcile these to achieve a harmonized and optimal way ahead for the organization.
  • Developing products and services: User-centric EA provides useful and useable products and services to the end-user. The philosophy of Yin and Yang helps guide the architect to develop information products that are dynamic (actively pushing out information to the end user), balanced (evenhanded, reasonable, and objective,) and where the information flows clearly and concisely. The point is to effectively communicate with users, so that they can access and use the EA knowledge base to make better decisions. EA communicates up, down, and across the organization as well as with outside entity stakeholders, such as customers, suppliers, partners, and oversight authorities. In all cases clear and balanced communication is a key ingredient to building and maintaining the architecture and leveraging use for all parties.
  • Formulating architecture plans: In developing a User-centric EA plan, the concepts of Yin and Yang help to develop plans that are neither black nor white (absolute) and that are not static (but rather fluid). For architecture plans to be effective, they need to provide “wiggle room” to the organization to adjust to changing needs and environment factors (i.e. plans should not be “black and white”, but should take into account shades of gray or in the case of the Yin and Yang, there is a little Yang in every Yin and vice versa). Additionally, as the flowing symbol of the Yin and Yang indicate, plans need to be fluid and move the organization in phases. You don’t just jump to the next big technology or slice and dice your business processes, but rather you evolve in a careful, planned, and incremental course—flowing from one state to the next and so on.

>SOA Best Practices

>I came across these Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) best practices and thought they aligned well with User-centric EA and were worth sharing:

(adapted from Naval Post Graduate School, Monterey, CA, Masters Thesis—SOA for Coast Guard Command and Control by Dash and Creigh, March 2007 — approved for public release):

  • Know when to use services – Explicitly define the extent to which we will and will not use services; services are selected with intent and do not randomly spring up.
  • Think big, start small – This allows us to validate the architecture, while giving the organization value, realized as usable services.
  • Build on what you have – Reuse legacy application functionality and data wherever possible.
  • Use SOA to streamline business processes – SOA is an inherently flexible and interoperable model for hosting application functionality; this provides an opportunity to rethink and improve business processes.
  • Incorporate standards – Use industry web service standards for navigation, application logic, integration, data stores, and enterprise infrastructure.
  • Build around a security model – Functional design needs to be built around security, and not vice versa (security cannot be added as an afterthought).
  • Design with quality in mind – Quality must be designed into the product, and not inspected into it.
  • Organize development resources – Group development team around logical business tasks, and not around technologies.
  • Train developers – Ensure designers and developers have the skills to implement SOA properly.

Basic definitions:

SOA is a software design methodology that uses loosely coupled services to perform business functions and processes.

A service is an implementation of a well-defined piece of business functionality, with a published interface that is discoverable and can be used by service consumers when building different applications and business processes.

In general, I think SOA is a great fit with User-centric EA, because the focus is on providing functional business services to the end-user, as opposed to developing monolithic, stove-piped, and redundant applications. The end-user should not have to use countless non-integrated applications systems (or even computers) to get their information, but rather the information should be technically transparent and readily accessible based on their business requirements.