Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Are Social Networks Working for Businesses?

Social networks definitely get their fair share of hype but are they actually providing any true business value?

Assessing the business value of Web 2.0 is similar to assessing the business value of an analytical (OLAP) database in that the real value of an OLAP is not in the database itself but rather in the "knowledge" gained by analyzing the "patterns" of data within the database. Web 2.0 is the philosophy and associated web-based tools (such as twitter, linkedin, facebook, myspace, orkut, etc.) of creating a more "personalized", "humanizing" web experience. Just as in the case of an OLAP database, the real business value of Web 2.0 is neither in the philosophy nor in the toolset but in the "relationships" and personal information captured about the users that was previously unavailable in Web 1.0. Companies across the world are burning midnight oil trying to decode all of this new data about online relationships hoping to strike gold with profitable insights. Companies such as Facebook have grandiose visions about changing the way people interact over the web and even displacing Google as the "search engine" of choice. Decoding these online relationships in the sea of data within the depths of Web 2.0 could be just the keys needed to unlock unheard of riches!

* Originally posted on ebizQ Forum on June 30, 2009

Friday, June 26, 2009

Is There Such a Thing as "SOA-in-a-Box"?

Given that SOA is an architectural style rather than a product, SOA-in-a-box might be an extreme but an SOA framework can come very close to a "box" if it meets the following criteria:

  1. Provide a comprehensive methodology from inception to retirement. The methodology should describe the method for defining an SOA in terms of a set of building blocks and
    show how the building blocks fit together.
  2. Provide a common vocabulary
  3. Include a list of recommended standards
  4. Provide guidance on implementation patterns
  5. Provide a comprehensive set of "starter" models, templates, samples, best practices, and project management related artifacts.
  6. Contain a prescriptive recommendation of a set of tools and compliant products that can be used to implement the building blocks.

* Originally posted on ebizQ's SOA Forum on June 26, 2009

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Is SOA Being Employed as a Tool for Streamlining or Cutting Budgets, or is SOA a Victim of the Budget Knife Itself?

My opinion: "SOA is not even a factor in the larger discussion of budgets."

Budget decisions are made based on strategic, operational, and tactical objectives - in that order of preference. SOA really should not play a role in that decision as it is the means to an end. That is, SOA is the means to achieving IT alignment with the business with the end goal being becoming more "agile" in meeting the business objectives. So, the budget decision might be to marginalize the priority of a certain set of business objectives, which in turn might nix an SOA initiative. Contrarily, as other business objectives gain priority, SOA should be a consideration in the implementation of those objectives. So, the nutshell is that whether or not SOA gets used as a tool to stream operations or gets the knife itself is really a "side effect" of business level decisions related to long-term goals and objectives.

* Originally posted on ebizQ's SOA Forum on June 21, 2009

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Hot off the Press... Silver Line Your Cloud with 6 Strategic Considerations

"Entrusting your company data to the cloud is a serious commitment. Here are six considerations to keep in mind when deciding if a cloud vendor is worthy of that commitment."

Silver Line Your Cloud with 6 Strategic Considerations

Friday, June 5, 2009

What's Killing BI in the Enterprise?

My answer to this question is one that would apply equally to many other enterprise level initiatives such as SOA -- an obsessive focus on technology. Yes, technology is ultimately the vehicle through which the initiative such as SOA or BI is delivered and made available but it is certainly not the end goal. In fact, I would contend that BI and SOA are not end goals either! Rather, the end goal driving at the need for BI is the ability of an organization to be more responsive, proactive, and agile in an ever more competitive marketplace. Having said that, I have seen many an organization where BI and SOA initiatives are driven by technologists, who are much more focused on tools and technologies (and the related concerns of scalability, availabilty, etc.). The end goals are almost forgotten and the desired benefits never materialize. So, technology-based "tunnel vision" is what I think is the leading cause of death for BI projects in the Enterprise.

* Originally posted on ebizQ's SaaS Forum on June 5, 2009

Monday, June 1, 2009

Should SaaS Vendors Offer On-Premise Options?

The answer to the question as posted, in my opinion, is "Why not?" It's like asking "Should Ford's Model T have been made available in colors other than black?" I think the real question here is "Can the SaaS Vendor Offer On-Premise Options?" The answer to this question is much more involved as it depends on the vendor's business model and long-term vision/strategy, what exactly the SaaS vendor is offering, the variability and configurability of the offering, and so forth. But even if the SaaS vendor could somehow package up an "on site" version of its offering, could the client "afford" it with the required initial capital investment, ongoing support expenses, and appropriately skilled resources?

* Originally posted on ebizQ's SaaS Forum on June 1, 2009