all bits considered data to information to knowledge


Ask not what your Framework can do for you…

FrankenFrameworks by  Chris Lockhart:

My experience tells me the best approach is to know of and leverage many frameworks. Sometimes together.

I hear you! 🙂


Oracle EA Master Class: afterthoughts

Recently I have spent three days in Oracle Enterprise Architecture Training, and - somewhat to my surprise - found it rather useful! Oracle Enterprise Architecture Framework is an interesting perspective on TOGAF with a healthy doze of Gartner (more about it later)

As a lifelong data aficionado, I was heartened to see that a distinction has been made between "Data" and "Information". I have long advocated this distinction, and even had expressed it as a formula in my blog some time ago:  data + context = information. Oracle also adds metadata to the equation (data + metadata + context). I think this takes the above formula to a different level as it implies structure and data governance.

Since the Oracle Enterprise Architecture Framework was announced in 2009 at Open World conference, it did not make it into the great comparison article by Roger Sessions of ObjectWatch,Inc.; high-level white paper describing OEAF can be found here.

The article "A Comparison of the Top Four Enterprise-Architecture Methodologies"  represents a very worthwhile reading for anyone interested in Enterprise Architecture; presently, I am entertaining an idea to apply Roger Sessions' methodology to add OEAF to the comparison matrix 🙂


Metaphorical modeling

I am a big proponent of modeling - data modeling, business process modeling, system modeling… Reducing complex systems and behaviors to the most important attributes for a given context facilitates better understanding, and helps to architect better solutions. Metaphor follows the same pattern - while not a full blown model, it highlights but a few features, magnifying them, and stripping of unnecessary details; by providing analogies in a different context it helps to break patterns of conventional thinking - often resulting in an innovative solution.

It had occurred to me that IT/Business uneasy symbiosis could be represented as a two-sided mirror erected at the border between the respective domains - IT and Business. Each looks at the other side convinced that “this is how they look!”… but each sees only reflection of its own.

NB: This is a variation of a proverbial “hammer and nail” metaphor: IT is looking for IT solutions for business problems (shelfware?), while Business is busy inventing business solution for IT woes (outsourcing, anyone?)

The domain of an Enterprise Architect (not to be confused with Enterprise IT Architect) spans entire enterprise, including both IT and Business; to offer a solution, an EA must have dual citizenship in both worlds.


Incredible disappearing CIO

I can't help but think that the business love affair with CIO is over... I mean, they disappear faster than snowflakes on a hot plate: the first ever federal CIO - Vivek Kundra -  is leaving the federal government in mid-August to accept a fellowship at Harvard University.

Just two years after being appointed. Given that at the core of CIO office lay long-term enterprise-wide strategies, this raises questions about how these initiatives will survive the departure.  Will a new CIO be appointed? Would the new CIO continue the course? Is a short-term CIO beneficial or detrimental to an organization? (the latter seem to be more likely)...



Forest behind trees: Story of Enterprise Architecture

I was listening to Story of Human Language audio course the other day. Dr. John McWhorter was explaining how European languages came up with the idea of gender for inanimate objects. The example he was using was silverware in German, with spoon being “he” (der Löffel), fork being “she” (die Gabel), and knife being of neuter gender (das Messer). The current theory maintains that this is the result of gradual changes, small steps taken one at the time that lead to the situation as we see it now. And each of the steps made perfect sense to the people at the time. Yet, the notion of gender in a language, left alone attribution of a specific gender to an object, appears manifestly arbitrary to non-native speakers.

It had occurred to me that this could be a perfect metaphor for ad-hoc Enterprise Architecture without roadmaps: a series of decisions that were a good idea at the time leading to a sorry state of chaos because there was no life-line stretching from "as-is" into the future state

The second distinction made by the professor was that of a language complexity inversely reflecting advancement of a society. Despite popular notion that the more evolved society would have more complex languages, in fact the opposite is true. A language used in a fast paced society loses many accoutrements considered necessary in less advanced societies (e.g. compare the etiquette of a French Royal court of Louis XIV with that of modern France) .

Applied to Enterprise Architecture this would imply that in the organizations with evolved EA programs the IT systems landscape will be less – not more – complex, and more efficient at the same time.