Displaying articles for: 08-01-2010 - 08-07-2010
My daughter is just finishing up her internship at Moody Gardens in Galveston, Texas. She’s studying marine biology at the University of South Carolina. When she took us on a tour of where she worked one of the elements of the Moody Gardens’ aquarium that surprised me was a robotic camera system in the South Pacific exhibit that the patrons could control (for a small fee). As my daughter was feeding the fish, this foot long robot was swimming around in there right with the fish, so the child who was running it could get the best view.
Moody gardens does quite a bit with live webcams (in the Penguin exhibit for example).
This is an example of an organization that is “rethinking the edge”, allowing the patrons to have an on-going relationships (with the webcams) or a very interactive fish-like interaction via the camera. Like many other facilities of this type they also have IMAX, virtual rides and other interaction techniques.
The use of a robot that kids could control was taking interaction a step further than I’ve seen elsewhere. Organizational Edge activities will be a differentiator in the future.
With the use of underwater UAVs being in the news so much lately, this experience may come in handy.
On Irving Wladawsky-Berger’s blog there was a piece about IT, Productivity and Organizational Capital that I found interesting - it also paralleled some of the information I’ve been reading in IT Savvy (a short book by Peter Weill and Jeanne Ross). They both focus on the fact that strategic value of technology to a business doesn’t happen by accident and it is something where a business can create an environment that makes it happen. So yes, the effective use of information technology can be strategic and can improve productivity.
I sat in on a presentation by Jeanne Ross a few weeks ago at the Open Group meeting in Boston. She made a presentation on the value of enterprise architecture that included some excerpts from the IT Savvy book as well as others she has written on Enterprise Architecture. She recently wrote an article in the MIT Sloan Management Review Supplement to the June 15th CIO magazine. This article was called Why Heros are Bad.
In the article, she claims that it is the focus on technology instead of the business that is causing IT organizations to loose are way. CIOs need to become “business engineers”, engineering the support environment for the business. A behavior change is needed across IT. Information Technology organizations need a repeatable, designed approach rather than a heroic one. Our past behavior created a culture where IT people would perform heroic feats to get things done. That will not work anymore “Because we need things that work across the enterprise, and heroism is too unpredictable”.
It’s a team approach between the business and IT that will deliver strategic value in the end.
Just as I was about to close this post up, I had second thoughts. It is great to have heros. We just can't count on them to do the day to day tasks that need to be done. As Will Rogers said: "We can't all be heroes because somebody has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by."
Each quarter, Akamai publishes a quarterly "State of the Internet report. This report includes data gathered across Akamai's global server network about attack traffic, average & maximum connection speeds, Internet penetration and broadband adoption, and mobile usage, as well as trends seen in this data over time. You can download the July 2010 version of the State of the Internet here.
This document includes profiles of Internet attacks, with analysis like “Port 445 continued to be
the most highly targeted port for observed attacks, again both overall and for attack traffic originating in known mobile networks.
It also looks at the change in the number of IP addressed actually passing through Akamai’s network as well the network bandwidth by country and in some locations by city and access type.
There are some interesting graphics and perspectives on the use of the Internet and how it is being used to generate value.
A couple of times over the past week I’ve been in discussions with people about the limitations of enterprise architecture tools and their inability to support the kind of referential integrity between models that everyone would like to have. I wonder if it is really a tool issue or more of an organizational change management issue.
One fault that many engineers and architects fall into is that if I can document an organization and its IT interrelationships at a level of N, N+1 must be even better. Unfortunately, every new level of depth of understanding comes at an order of magnitude increase in cost, not only of creation but of on-going maintenance as well.
No tool that I know of can handle this order of magnitude increase in complexity. Unfortunately, you don’t know that you’ve tried to tackle that next unrealistic level until you have invested quite a significant amount of effort. By this time, your original sponsors are frustrated and abandon support. I can think of numerous teams that have used various tools for 1, 2 or maybe 3 years, but at the end of that time have abandoned the entire effort and moved back to something much more comprehensible and maintainable. This may be one of the reasons that Visio, Word, Excel and PowerPoint remain the foundational tools for much architecture work. Unfortunately, that leaves the integration of models in the mind of the architect. This is also an unrealistic solution.
As we move to a more complicated relationship and service based approach, cloud may shift the enterprise architecture requirements significantly. Although some components of architecture will have been outsourced, a whole other set will need to be developed in another area. This may make some of our current models simpler, a whole new crop of architectural issues will need to be modeled.