The Next Big Thing
Posts about next generation technologies and their effect on business.

Modeling and simulation being applied to enterprise architecture

futureplanning.pngFor a long time I’ve been saying that modeling and simulation will be the “killer application” of cloud computing – All the way back to when we used to talk about the “agile enterprise”. I was sent an article about how simulation will be change the whole approach to enterprise architecture, IT management and the computing environment itself, titled: Escaping Legacy IT systems.

 

The article describes how “Information technology (IT) managers are thus reluctant to make changes that could have unforeseen consequences for network stability; as a result, they often end up saddled with obsolete software and inefficient network designs.”  and how large-scale simulators can be used for global data infrastructure optimization.

 

By allowing organizations to adjust their environment via models and then simulation performance, the risks to the business can be significantly reduced. We’ll see much more of this type of approach within IT and throughout the businesses of the future enabled by IT’s world of abundance. The change to models and simulation will also affect the workforce. I usually describe this kind of change as a change in the nature of change itself.

 

As an example to drive home the shift in skills required, I’ll use the example of you being a realtor or builder and I am a home buyer. First you’d want to know the information related to the first three laws of real estate: location, location, location. Then we might talk about the floor plan or energy efficiency…

But wait – I want something that is more flexible. I’m really talking about a motor coach not a traditional home. Location is not your problem it is my problem, I’ll drive it to where I want to live. The floor plan is flexible. I can push out the walls to have the kind of living environment I need and reconfigure it to drive down the road.

I need mechanical engineering skills that can understand movement and the stress placed on the structure much more than static structural or civil engineering skills. It is a house built for continuous change.

 

These are exactly the kinds of issues that businesses are facing as they move to a more instant-on approach.

IT services-focused podcast

HP WW Enterprise Services Product Marketing, together with Intel, launched an executive engagement program on CIO Talk Radio. It’s format is relatively information, talk show format.

 

I hadn’t heard about this effort so I thought I’d pass along the info. The program began on June 22, 2011 and will continue until the end of October 2011. There have been two shows so far:

There are HP leaders featured alongside executives from enterprises such as: US Dept. of Energy, Flextronics, Revlon and Black & Veatch. Maybe if there is enough interest, it will extend beyond 2011.

HP’s new Support Center

One trend that business has been addressing for a number of years is aggregating interfaces and services so that customers have one place to go to address their needs. The days of specialists or specialist sites seem to be the decline, at least in the consumer space. HP recently updated its approach to its Support Center:

 

HP Support Center.png

 

Today, we live in a world increasingly filled with more and more complexity, an instant-on world. We’re lucky if we can even find the telephone number to call for support, much less actually speak to a real person. That’s why HP redesigned its Support Center. It’s online so it can be easily accessed. It supports many languages and dialects (36 when I checked), has active chatting and it is open 24x7, so it’s convenient.

 

The whole issue of ease of use and operation is being viewed as a more important component of the lifecycle costs of almost any product. As quality increases, their lifespan increases and the likelihood of configuration support for devices like computers goes up eventually. Old and sometimes bad things will build up over time. There are numerous products in our lives that could use this kind of on-line support system.

There are numerous features on the Support Center, some of which are:

  • My Support – Manage support contacts, HP Care Pack Services and warranties in one location
  • Support Case Manager –Updates from HP support agents, track progress from the time a case is created until it is resolved and closed
  • Search Support Knowledge – Search for answers to support questions
  • Always On Support Community HP Forums – Interact with peers and learn how others have solved problems. Ask questions, share your solutions
  • Product Pages – Find product-specific support information fast – from top issues and solutions to most viewed documents, support pages and advisories
  • Guided Troubleshooting – Find solutions to common problems with step-by-step troubleshooting tools
  • Get Help – Direct access to support experts via chat or email; or locate an HP repair center
  • Drivers, software and firmware – download updates, firmware, drivers and patches

World of Chaos

I was helping out with a client discussion last week and we were discussing the changing business world that organizations need to operate within. They were focused mainly on situation analysis and understanding the extent and impact of disasters on the organization. One of the things that was clear: with all the rapid changes and increased information (in real time) that we didn’t have access to before – we’re living in a world of chaos. It is the norm, not the exception. The same techniques that can be applied to a disaster should be applied to take latency out of decisions. The disaster is just a bigger version of what’s happening every day.

 

It doesn’t take big transformational events like an earthquake or a tornado to shift how organizations need to respond. We need continuous insight, information and action to be agile, instant-on enterprises.

 

I started off my discussion with a few into Megatrends, those industry independent trends forcing organizations to change, and then delved more deeply into the abundance of capabilities available. Then we walked through some examples of the analysis organizations can do today, to determine what is important to them going forward.

 

World of Chaos 2011.png

 

The types of decisions and information required are different for every organization and the level of tolerance for change varies as well. What is conistant? We all have more information than ever and yet relatively the same decision making capabilities in our brains. Getting the information in a form that can be understood and responded to in a timely fashion will be key to organizations taking action and getting value from their expenditures in cloud, analytics and the variety of new capabilities available to us.

Are legacy systems a drag on your recovery?

In a recent HP survey of 700 IT and application leaders, more than two-thirds said that their company’s IT technology strategy is constrained by their current applications portfolio.

brittle applications.png

 

This is a case of drowning in one’s own success, since all the application in the portfolio added value back when they were created. Businesses and technology change and the value generated may no longer exist. There are just too many apps and too little value. After a while it can be difficult to understand if an application still adds more value than it costs and even more difficult to “pull the plug” without an external mandate.

 

A few things happened in recent years that should have made organizations reach to yank the cord, like the downturn of the economy but some of the same responses to the downturn like removing “excess personnel” have made organizations fragile and unable to move out of the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” mode.

 

Instant-On pressures are developing within organizations, as they look at cloud and other flexible business models. The time to “leave it alone” is coming to an end. Interfaces between systems are an expectation and master data management approaches will require organizations to look at:

  • the kind of data being held in systems,
  • how the data is being maintained,
  • what decisions are being made from the data by whom.

The slow recovery is going to require more flexible and integrated systems -- after all technology has not stopped its advances during the downturn. There are new customers and they have different expectations. There are also new automation techniques available that increase the quality while lowering costs.

 

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About the Author(s)
  • Steve Simske is an HP Fellow and Director in the Printing and Content Delivery Lab in Hewlett-Packard Labs, and is the Director and Chief Technologist for the HP Labs Security Printing and Imaging program.
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