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In Part 3 of the Enterprise Architecture for Business Model Innovation Series, an enterprise operating model will be selected based on the business model design described in Part 2, Using Design Thinking to Design Business Models.

Identifying an Operating Model

An operating model is the first layer in the foundation for execution in an enterprise architecture.  The operating model is the business process standardization and integration necessary to deliver value to Customer Segments.  It is the conceptual component in the organizing logic that defines an enterprise architecture.  In this sense, the operating model is the initial manifestation of the business model when it is deployed as it indicates how value is created, delivered and captured by the business units in the enterprise.  Research conducted by MIT’s Center for Information Systems Research found that enterprises implementing an operating model reported the following:

  • 17% greater strategic effectiveness,
  • 31% higher operational efficiencies,
  • 33% more customer intimacy,
  • 34% higher product leadership, and
  • 29% greater strategic agility than those companies that did not.4

Based on survey and case study research at more than 200 companies in the United States and Europe, MIT’s CISR developed a quadrant based on the two dimensions of business process standardization and integration in which high performing enterprises that had implemented an operating model could be classified.

Operating Model Quadrant (Enterprise Architecture as Strategy, Ross et al, 2006)

Coordination Operating Model

The Coordination Operating Model is characterized by shared customer, product or supplier data but operationally unique business units that can impact each other’s transactions.  These autonomous business units have a high degree of control over business process design to adapt to its specific operations.  Visually a Coordination Operating Model is represented in the following diagram.

Coordination Operating Model

image-1Operating Model Quadrant (Enterprise Architecture as Strategy, Ross et al, 2006)

Unification Operating Model

The Unification Operating Model is based on a globally integrated set of business processes where customers and suppliers are distributed geographically.  Business units have similar operations where process and data are designed centrally so they can be shared.  Centralized management of these processes typically leverages a matrix approach to keep track of the business unit composition.  Although the business units have distinct operations, high-level business process owners work to standardize business processes across the business units.  Essentially, Unification is based on a canonical set of processes and data that can be dynamically configured to execute within each business unit’s operations.

Unification Operating Model

image-2


Diversification Operating Model

Diversification is based on the fact that business units have few, if any, shared customers or suppliers.  These business units also are operationally unique and have transactions that are independent.  There is minimal business process standardization and integration in a Diversification Operating Model.  Most IT decisions and business process design are made at each business unit.  However, these business units do leverage a common set of shared services that can be integrated into their specific environment.

Diversification Operating Model

image-3

Replication Operating Model

The Replication Operating Model also has few, if any, shared customers or suppliers.  The autonomous business units in a Replication Operating Model leverage a federated approach to business process integration and standardization.  Business process design is centrally managed as are IT services.  The information architecture is standardized with canonical data definitions but the actual data is locally owned with some aggregation to the enterprise.  From an operations perspective, the business units are very similar in execution.

Replication Operating Model

image-4

Mapping Business Model to Operating Model

The next step in the process is to identify an operating model that is well-suited for the business model characteristics.  The process is defined by evaluating standardization and integration necessary in certain elements in the business model.  Elements in the business model that play a significant role in determine the operating model include Customer Segments, Key Activities, Key Resources and Key Partners.  The mapping presented here provides insight into the rational for selecting an operating model as well as a structured matrix for organizing the logic in the process.

The mapping activity should be conducted in a session including the intrapreneurs and enterprise architects.  The intrapreneurs can provide data and characteristics from the business model to the mapping matrix.  Enterprise architects can analyze the business processes, system linkages, and data necessary to support that aspect of the business model to lead to a choice for the operating model.  The mapping process and criteria can be adapted to suit the enterprise’s particular business model innovation parameters.


Mapping Matrix

Designing an Ecosystem to Support the Operating Model

 

In order to begin implementing an enterprise architecture to support a foundation for execution, it is important to consider the composition of the types of architectural practices, standardized technologies, and platforms in the ecosystem.  Technology standardization is part of the evolution of the enterprise system landscape toward an optimized, agile ecosystem that provides the responsiveness needed to enable strategic initiatives to be implemented at higher velocities.  Identifying the set of services and platform capabilities in a holistic manner allows a systems thinking approach to support design initiatives for the enterprise architecture.  The cost benefits are also significant as it gives enterprise architects a roadmap to perform technology and platform evaluations that are compliant with the ecosystem governance model to avoid redundant deployments and wasted resources.

Architecture Principles

Enterprise architecture principles that inform program portfolios related to the core operating model and new ventures can serve as valuable guides to building out the ecosystem in a cohesive, consistent manner.  These principles also facilitate increasing organization capability to design, develop, test, and deploy solutions with higher quality and high velocities.  Establishing a set of architectural principles for enterprise architecture development underscores the important consideration that process is just as important as technology for creating world class solutions.  Besides agility, economies of scale and scope can be achieved by leveraging or extending existing architectural components and subsystems to deliver new solutions required to support a new venture.  These architectural principles specifically help address the challenges needed to succeed in the global connected economy.

Architecture Principle Objectives
Responsive Mobile First Design Responsive Mobile First Design is the principle to design interfaces as if they were targeting a mobile audience that may be using various types of devices such as smart phones or tablets.  The objectives of this principle are: 

·        Personalized content, capabilities, context delivery

·        Enhanced customer relationships

·        Support for ambient awareness

·        Optimized omni-channel distribution for demand generation or service delivery

OODA Loop5 The Observe-Orient-Decide-Act Loop principle is a paradigm that informs designing analytical and event-processing capabilities into the operating core as well as new ventures.  The OODA Loop includes components for decision modeling.  Some of the objectives driving this architectural principle include: 

·        Open world decision support for consumers

·        Real-time data insights

·        Complex event processing

·        Distributed enterprise collaboration and decision support

Cloud First Design Cloud First Design is the principle to design all services with business modularity and cloud computing capability to maximize utility of network effects.  The principle helps to achieve these objectives: 

·        Global class integration

·        Partner and supplier plug-n-play

·        Supply chain agility

·        On-demand scale and elasticity

Ecosystem Architecture Principles

image-5

Ecosystem Architecture

Technology and Platform Capabilities

In addition to standardizing the process for designing the ecosystem, the technology infrastructure and platform capabilities also need to be classified to facilitate deployment decisions.  These categories are essentially the toolbox for the enterprise architect to use to create solutions to power new ventures launched from business model innovation initiatives.  The categories have been defined as they help address specific aspects of the types of capabilities needed to succeed in the global connected economy.  It should be noted, however, that the ontology presented in the table below is not exhaustive.  Enterprise architects should develop a more comprehensive catalog of the technology and platform capabilities needed to support the operating model and any extensions for new ventures.

Technology/Platform Objectives/Candidates
Mobile Mobile platforms produce responsive interfaces for consumers using smart phones or tablets.  Platforms should facilitate deploying context-aware, personalized content and capabilities in the various relationships, channels, and revenue streams the consumer is engaged. 

Candidate platforms include:

·        Apple iOS, Google Android

·        Xamarin, Apache Cordova, Appcelerator

·        Bootstrap, Skeleton

Ubiquitous Computing Ubiquitous computing is driven by need to capture more open world contextual data via sensors to develop enhanced situational awareness to empower the decision modeling in the enterprise. 

Candidate platforms include:

·        Arduino, Rasberry Pi, Intel Edison, Intel IoT Gateway

·        RFID, Energy sensors, Manufacturing sensors, Agriculture sensors, Retail beacons

·        Smart products, smart vehicles, smart buildings

·        Ayla Networks, ThingWorx, Amazon IoT, Microsot Azure IoT Suite, IBM Watson IoT

Big Data and Machine Learning Big Data is the collection of large volumes of data from diverse sources at high velocities.  Big Data can enable business context insights to move with high velocities across business units and/or partners in the operating models as well serve as the source for shared data. 

Candidate platforms include:

·        Microsoft Azure HDInsight, Azure Machine Learning

·        IBM Watson

·        Apache Hadoop, Apache Spark

To unlock value from vast amounts of data over large numbers of dimensions, machine learning platforms can provide the numerical analysis to develop insights based on classification, regression, and predictive analytics.  As such, these platforms can also drive personalization for products and services and facilitate open world decision modeling in the consumer customer segments.

 

 

 

Technology/Platform Objectives/Candidates
Cloud Computing Cloud computing provides elastic computing resources for scalability and also relay mechanisms for enabling linkages between business units and enterprises.  This platform capability is especially valuable for business model innovation since these services can be used in an on-demand basis and can be disconnected if the new business model does not perform well.  These connections can be made as part of a new venture or in response to market feedback or competition. 

Candidate platforms include:

·        Microsoft Azure Cloud Services

·        Amazon EC2

·        IBM Bluemix

·        OpenStack

Complex Event Processing Complex event processing is necessary to capture rich context information in real-time.  Events occurring in the consumer’s open world or in the collaborative distributed enterprise contains contextual data that should be incorporated into decision modeling for determining how to respond. 

Candidate technologies include:

·        Microsoft Azure Streaming Analytics

·        Amazon Kinesis

·        TIBCO BusinessEvents & Streambase

Enterprise Service Bus In modern enterprise architectures that have successfully evolved to support composite services and applications, an enterprise service bus is often a key enabler for reaching the data velocities required for business agility.  An enterprise service bus provides key capabilities to support high data velocity at the operating core such as message routing, service brokering, mediation, and message processing including transformation and enrichment, operations management, as well as quality of service. 

Candidate platforms include:

·        Windows Azure Service Bus

·        Mulesoft Anypoint

·        Neudesic ESB

·        Microsoft BizTalk Server

Enterprise Collaboration Portals Enterprise collaboration portals are the interface for group collaboration within and across business units in the enterprise.  These platforms include social network and virtual teaming capabilities to support standardized business processes and accessing shared data. 

Candidate platforms include:

·        Slack

·        Microsoft SharePoint

 

Ecosystem Technology and Platforms

 

With the operating model identified, Part 4 will introduce a design language via the Core Diagram.  A Core Diagram is a visual representation of the organizing logic for the digital ecosystem that enables the enterprise architecture.  Part 4 will present a design process of the Core Diagrams for each class of Operating Model.  The Core Diagram answers the question, “What does the enterprise architecture look like?”

 

Sergio Compean AUTHOR: Sergio Compean
Sergio Compean comes to Sogeti USA with extensive technology consulting and leadership experience in the areas of distributed systems software engineering and enterprise solutions. Sergio has been successful in building culture of innovation and entrepreneurship to develop high performing teams that deliver significant value to clients across market segments and project portfolios. Sergio has a consistent track record for delivering high-touch client services with deep insights to realize positive outcomes from business strategy and technology vision. In addition to participating in go-to-market initiatives and influencing application platform strategy across R+D, sales and execution, Sergio has collaborated with executive management teams and strategic channel partners to achieve significant market development and increased revenue streams. His thought leadership work has been included in Gartner industry analyst presentations and organizational technology readiness initiatives. Sergio’s leading edge work has also been featured by the Microsoft Platform Architecture Group at Microsoft global conferences. He has served on industry standards organizations such as WS-I (now part of OASIS) developing services interoperability specifications. Sergio has produced highly-rated webinars, blog articles, client seminars, and publications covering advanced topics on emerging technologies like Windows Azure. Sergio was the founder of Connected Systems Group, part of the Haiti Rewired initiative, chartered with applying a systems thinking approach to delivering aid to Haiti after a devastating earthquake in 2010. He led the effort for developing ways to deploy mobile technology and cloud services to define a roadmap for economic recovery. Some of his publications related to this work include SWARM – Twitter Messaging Metadata Language for Disaster and Crisis Management, Empowering the New Haiti with Cloud Computing Technology, and Rewiring the Haiti Job Market with Mobile Crowdsourcing. Sergio is an Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering graduate from Rice University. He has also completed advanced courses on machine learning, artificial intelligence and HCI taught by industry thought leaders and professors at Stanford University. Sergio is a voracious reader of business strategy and design books, loves painting in acrylic, and enjoys riding his mountain bike on beautiful sunny days. He is the author of the whitepaper entitled Enterprise Architecture for Business Model Innovation in a Connected Economy.

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Picture of a row of cupcakes

Relative weighting

In Part 1Part 2 and Part 3,  I explained Theme Screening and Theme Scoring. In Theme Screening we added a weight and made the scoring more relative.

Relative weighting takes the weight factor of Theme Screening to another level and adds the teams estimate to the equation to make a new ranking within the Product Backlog.

Consider the Backlog we have been working with so far:

1 Cinnamon Apple Cupcake
2 Liquorice Mint Cupcake
3 Green Tea, Honey Cupcake
4 Pecan Salty Caramel Cupcake
5 Lemon White Chocolate Cupcake

In Relative Weighting we look at the following per theme:

  • What is the impact of implementing this theme scored from 1 to 9.
  • What is the impact of not implementing this theme scored from 1 to 9

We add these two values together per theme and this is the “Value” of the theme.

Then we determine the relative estimation per theme. This is the “cost” of the theme.

Both these need to be normalised to make it usable in the future. After all, a backlog is not a fixed list. We can do this by making the “Value” and “Cost” variables into percentages. Add up all the values and all the costs and determine per value-variable and cost-variable what this represents as a percentage of the whole.

Then we divide the Value percentage by the Cost percentage. This represents a very pure ROI number of the theme. This ROI number we can use to rank the Theme in the full list.

What I like about this way of determining value is that it actually relates it with the costs as well. Mind you, this does mean that you have to have sessions with your development team to discuss the Theme before you can rank it in your list. To be honest, I expect the Product Owner to involve the team anyway in the Backlog Refinement sessions every week.

Let’s look at the Matrix again:

Cupcake =>
Theme
V
Benefit Penalty Value
(benefit +
penalty)
Value % Estimation
(totals of
PBI’s)
Estimation % ROI
(Value%
/Est.%)
Liquorice Mint 3 2 5 8.33 54 27.69 0.30
Green Tea, Honey 8 4 12 20.00 43 22.05 0.91
Cinnamon Apple 9 8 17 28.33 35 17.94 1.58
Pecan Salty Caramel 8 8 16 26.67 25 12.82 2.08
Lemon White Chocolate 5 5 10 16.67 38 19.48 0.86
Totals 60 100 195 100

Considering the highest ROI gives the following ranking:

Rank Theme Relative Weight
1 Pecan Salty Caramel Cupcake 2.08
2 Cinnamon Apple Cupcake 1.58
3 Green Tea, Honey Cupcake 0.91
4 Lemon White Chocolate Cupcake 0.86
5 Liquorice Mint Cupcake 0.30

Looking back at the different methods to calculate value I have a slight preference for Relative Weighting when I consider the full ROI focus I expect a Product Owner to have. It is still a tool and Agile considers tools to be important only if they support interaction.

What tool you choose is up to you as “value optimizer”. Make sure that it matches your environment and product.

You could also use more than one tool. I can imagine that the first setup of a Product Backlog when you have not selected a development team yet is best helped by Theme Screening or Scoring. Without the estimations of the team the ROI calculated in Relative Weighting is too unsure. At least determine with your stakeholders what is important to get ready for the new team first. But involve existing or new to form development teams in your determination of Product Backlog items.

For this technique there is also a tool on Mike Cohn’s site

In the past 4 blogs I have given you some tools. I would like to remind you of the first value of Agile:

We value: Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
agilemanifesto.org

The use of tools should not interfere with your work as Product Owner with your team(s).

You as Product Owner are accountable for Return of Investment, most of the time with the research that you do and the stakeholders you work with you get a feeling of what is value for you and your product. With the tools I have given you it is easier to quantify this feeling. Don’t ignore your feelings though. The best result from Agile product development comes from focusing on the outcome as opposed to the output. Outcome is usually user satisfaction not short term profit.

 

Julya van Berkel AUTHOR: Julya van Berkel
Julya van Berkel is an Agile adept and coach and has been championing Agile and Scrum since 2007. In her role as Agile Coach Julya has helped numerous clients and colleagues in getting better at Agile and as teaches she has set up and taught hundreds of Agile and Scrum training and courses. For Sogeti in the Netherlands she helps set the direction in Agile and is involved in many groups within Sogeti and outside in the Agile community.

Posted in: Innovation, IT strategy, Quality Assurance, Research, test framework, Test Tools, Testing and innovation, Transformation, User Experience      
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Sogeti launches a new book today called the “IoTMap – Testing in an IoT environment” and has been written by Sogeti Labs authors Tom van de Ven (Sogeti NL),  Jaap Bloem and Jean-Pascal Duniau (Sogeti High Tech).

The Internet of Things (IoT) gives us solutions made of a mix of expertise such as High Tech “Things”, mobile solutions and business intelligence. Not only do we need a wide range of test expertise for IoT testing but with “Things” we introduce sensors, actors, electronics and other hardware to the test scope. “IoTMap” gives insight in testing an Internet of Things solution.
Setting up an IoT test approach is explained in five clear steps. Using a simple IoT model, each step is described and put into IoT context. The authors put existing building blocks from the TMap Suite in IoT perspective and added some new ones. The book gives you all the handles you need to cope with the trend that less functional testing is asked and more “IoT-experience-testing” needs to be put in place.

An exciting future
Mapping out the Internet of Things is essentially a matter of testing. Take Google’s self-driving car. The vehicles have travelled a few million miles since the project started in 2009 but every day they drive twice as far in the lab. Before the rubber of new software hits the road, every single change is thoroughly tested in the simulator by virtually driving the total mileage history of the fleet. Autonomously and manually that is!

You may think this is typical of today’s nascent state the Internet of Things is in but continuously checking behavior and delivering software updates is already the norm during the entire life cycle of systems. From thermostats to smartwatches, turbines, toothbrushes, connected cars, and complete production plants. IoT simply means automation to the max.
The road to success for Internet of Things applications and systems is paved with continuous testing. That much is clear. IDC estimates there are currently 13 billion connected things. Over forty percent of worldwide IoT revenue currently comes from manufacturing, transportation, smart cities, and consumer applications. This is gradually changing.

Ongoing disruption
The ongoing disruption of value chains via machine-to-machine communication is forcing organizations to completely rethink and retool their business. The Internet of Things and the Industrial Internet of Things have started to reshape product design, customer engagement, decision making, marketing strategies and after sales.
Within five years all industries will have IoTified their business models. The transformation towards mature IoT ecosystems delivering secure services will consist of connectivity, platforms, applications, and devices, blended together in so-called “cyber-physical systems of systems.”

Analytics, which is at the core of continuous testing, will drive intelligent services related to consumer, government, and enterprise oriented domains, ranging from shopping and vehicles to healthcare, energy, manufacturing, entertainment, and more.The enabler for increased growth is pervasive wireless connectivity to the Internet from every location. As much as ninety percent of all IoT data will eventually be hosted on cloud based service platforms. The question is not whether companies will be ready – there is no way of escaping this Innovation of Technology that is already developing.

Cover IoTMap-red-1200x900

The future belongs to those who create it, so start testing now! Sogeti’s IoTMap will help you map out your journey.
The book can be downloaded in our global online bookstore starting April 21st.

 

Sogeti Labs AUTHOR: Sogeti Labs
SogetiLabs gathers distinguished technology leaders from around the Sogeti world. It is an initiative explaining not how IT works, but what IT means for business.

Posted in: Application Lifecycle Management, Automation Testing, Business Intelligence, Cloud, communication, High Tech, Innovation, Internet of Things, Marketing, Quality Assurance, Research, Smart, Software Development, Sogeti books, SogetiLabs, Uncategorized, User Experience      
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Tools

In Part 1 and Part 2 I have given you two techniques that you can use as Product Owner to determine the highest value in your Product Backlog together with your stakeholders. For this blog I would like to tell you about:  Theme Screening

The last time I told you about Theme Scoring; this is fine for doing a single backlog ranking. To use it, pick a base theme every time you start scoring the list of themes you have.

Theme Screening is similar to Theme Scoring.

You have a list of Criteria:

Profit in the next half year
Important for current customers
Base material cost

Julya van Berkel AUTHOR: Julya van Berkel
Julya van Berkel is an Agile adept and coach and has been championing Agile and Scrum since 2007. In her role as Agile Coach Julya has helped numerous clients and colleagues in getting better at Agile and as teaches she has set up and taught hundreds of Agile and Scrum training and courses. For Sogeti in the Netherlands she helps set the direction in Agile and is involved in many groups within Sogeti and outside in the Agile community.

Posted in: Application Lifecycle Management, Digital strategy, Innovation, IT strategy, Marketing, Quality Assurance, Research, Test environment, Testing and innovation, Transformation, User Experience      
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Following the release of Mastering Digital Disruption with DevOps, the fourth report in the Disrupt series from Sogeti’s Trend Lab VINT, I wanted to share some insights into how we can all welcome digital disruption, risk and uncertainty, and bring about the innovation needed to create true digital enterprises.

Main Business Challenges

Many businesses operate large and complex IT environments with a variety of distributed applications installed, configured and supported in different ways.

As Thierry Hue of DynamicIQ puts it, the challenges faced by Business today fall into three areas:

  • Operational Risk. It is difficult to ensure that applications are stable and that changes are applied efficiently and effectively. This is even more pronounced when dealing with highly configurable applications running on multiple environments which require a high frequency of changes. As a result, mistakes are often made when releasing a new version of an application, which leads to unnecessary production incidents.
  • Delivery Delays. It is important to deliver new functionality and bug fixes as rapidly as possible. However, installing and updating applications can be time consuming resulting in long delays in implementing change.
  • Resource Drain. Excessive resources are wasted on changes that should be easy to achieve, but which consistently take too much time and effort. These resources are diverted away from value-added activities.

As organizations look to ramp up their ability to deliver applications more and more quickly, unreliable deployments are an immediate bottleneck. Manual deployments based on outdated instructions, or semi-automated deployments using incomprehensible and unmaintainable scripting, are error-prone and time-consuming. Development and testing is stalled, causing frustration and delays.

The age of cascade development and long drawn out software projects is in decline. Businesses have a need for continuous delivery of new functions, and this requires a far more streamlined approach from IT.

Agile development methodologies applied pressure on delivery pipelines by introducing smaller, yet more frequent updates. Then came the business demand for faster and more frequent releases into production due to competitive pressures and market disruption.

Digital Disrupter Traits

Automation vs. Manual

Using the rough and ready definition of manual deployments, it is easy to see where they fail. It is safe to say that any deployment is manual if it is characterised by operators logging into various machines and following written scripts, but this is generally:

  • Slow and inconsistent
  • Prone to error and failure
  • Lacking in visibility and traceability

This final criterion is more complex as it requires a better understanding of what happens to a deployment once the process is “complete.” This is because a deployment process is not a separate and independent event in time; once the deployment is run, team members still need to know what was deployed where, why it was deployed, and who performed the deployment—especially if a failure occurred. For example, if a push-button deployment exists but the system does not provide visibility into the process, team members have to sift through logs on numerous machines to track down the error—which is not just manual but also laborious.

Manual deployments based on outdated instructions, or semi-automated deployments using incomprehensible and unmaintainable scripting, are error-prone and time-consuming. Development and testing is stalled, causing frustration and delays. But even now some companies are still hesitant to automate.

Whether by automation or other means, the mechanisms to deploy the correctly configured service components should be established in the release design stage and tested in the build and test stages. Automation will help to ensure repeatability and consistency. The time required to provide a well- designed and efficient automated mechanism may not always be available or viable. If a manual mechanism is used, it is important to monitor and measure the impact of many repeated manual activities, as they are likely to be inefficient and error-prone. Too many manual activities will slow down the release team and create resource or capacity issues that affect service levels.

  • Manual deployments are inherently slow and error-prone.
  • Deployment automation used only in development or only in operations may help one silo, but leads to a hand-off where changes to the process may be insufficiently communicated.
  • Automated deployments provide superior audit trails.
  • An automated deployment infrastructure provides a framework to build upon. Additional activities such as automated functional testing can leverage the deployment infrastructure.
  • Deployments standardized across environments must still take into account environmental differences. The environment configuration is a key concern.

This situation seems to lead to a single question, “Is automation really worth the time and effort?” If you ask teams with automated deployments, the short answer will most likely be similar to, “Yes, but it depends on what you mean by automated.” As it turns out, a scripted process is not really an automated process. For those in the business of providing automation, a much higher threshold is set: If the “automation” does not address the patterns of deployment failure, then the process is not automated.

Manual deployments are slow, painful, and fail in production; yet, they are still extremely common in the IT industry. Why? A simple answer may be that until recently, powerful deployment automation tooling was not available. However, even today, there is a great deal of resistance to automating deployments. Deployment teams remain comfort-able with their existing practices. Because they are at the keyboard executing the manual steps, they feel in control.

Manual deployments are broken and cannot be saved by more disciplined deployment engineers. The rote work of executing a deployment should be delegated to an automated system that can execute a process consistently. However, not all automated solutions are alike. Whether you are looking to buy or build a deployment automation system, there are some “must have” goals to keep in mind. A mature deployment system should be characterized by:

  • Reliable, highly successful deployments—especially in production
  • Easy deployments—encouraging teams to take new builds faster
  • Fast deployments—allowing early test environments to be on the newest build as possible
  • Complete audit trail—spanning across all environments
  • Robust security and separation of duties—controlling who can do what, when, and where

To achieve these goals, an automation solution should contain at least a few key elements:

  • The entire deployment should be automated
  • The deployment should target specific environments and automatically adapt itself to a target environment
  • The files being deployed should come from a controlled artefact repository
  • Security and visibility should underpin the entire system

Digital disruption refers to changes enabled by digital technologies that occur at a pace and magnitude that disrupt established ways of value creation, social interactions, doing business and more generally our thinking. Digital Disruption can be seen as both a threat and an opportunity.

The Solution?

According to Gartner, by 2018, 50% of global enterprises will implement application release automation as part of a DevOps initiative, up from less than 10% today.

Providing fast, dynamic support to the business through the provision of continuous delivery of incremental functionality should be the top priority for any head of IT. However, just speeding up the flow of code from development-to-operations is not enough: it has to be fully managed and audited, ensuring that new apps, enhancements and updates are ready to do business. A properly implemented DevOps strategy, led top-down by the business, can enable organisations to be more competitive by delivering richer services to their customers faster.

Things to Remember:

Well-planned and implemented release and deployment management will make a significant difference to an organization’s service costs.

A poorly designed release or deployment will, at best, force IT personnel to spend significant amounts of time troubleshooting problems and managing complexity. At worst, it can cripple the environment and degrade live services!

Application Release Automation (ARA) is a relatively new, but rapidly maturing area of IT. As with all new areas there is plenty of confusion around what Application Release Automation really is and the best way to go about it. There are those who come at it with a very developer-centric mind-set, there are those who embrace the modern DevOps concept and even those who attempt to apply server based automation tools to the application space.  One thing is for sure, ARA is a Digital Disruptor.

Application release automation (ARA) refers to the process of packaging and deploying an application or update of an application from development, across various environments, and ultimately to production.  ARA solutions must combine the capabilities of deployment automation, environment management and modelling and release coordination.

Relationship with DevOps

ARA tools help cultivate DevOps best practices by providing a combination of automation, environment modelling and workflow management capabilities. These practices help teams deliver software rapidly, reliably and responsibly. ARA tools achieve a key DevOps goal of implementing continuous delivery with a large quantity of releases quickly.

Continuous integration and delivery have emerged as the next set of concepts following the interest in Agile and DevOps. Implemented correctly, the principles of CI can streamline and optimize the software lifecycle from start to finish.

DevOps promises much, and an effectively implemented DevOps strategy can have a powerful positive impact on business performance. Simply speeding up the movement of code from development through testing to operations will result in more errors and downtime. Putting in place a set of automated processes based on solid policies ensures that code flows as it should do. Abstracting systems of engagement away from existing systems of record provides a means of optimising continuous delivery to the business and its users of IT. For many organisations, an approach of ‘refurbishment’ and continuous improvement of the system of engagement will provide the greatest return on investment, leading to a measured migration to a new world of composite applications.

Relationship with Deployment

ARA is more than just Software deployment automation – it’s deploying applications using structured release automation techniques that allow for an increase in visibility for the whole team. It’s the combination of workload automation and release management tools as they relate to release packages and movement through different environment within your DevOps pipeline. ARA tools help you regulate your deployments, how you create and deploy environments and when and how to deploy releases.

The intersection of DevOps with IT operations is a two-way street — even as developers increasingly take on more of operations, IT Ops pros must think more like app programmers.

The technical changes that come with establishing a DevOps culture affect the IT infrastructure even if separate IT operations teams still manage day-to-day matters. New application development practices such as containerization, microservices and release automation, as well as new infrastructure management techniques that require programming skills, mean IT Ops pros must learn new tricks to keep that infrastructure running smoothly.

As DevOps evolves, greater collaboration between Devs and IT Ops will be the order of the day.

Continuous Delivery / Continuous Deployment

If the definition of Continuous Delivery is to make production updates available for production deployment, then Continuous Delivery stops at production’s door. Continuous Deployment is the next step, where approved updates are not just made available for production deployments, they can be automatically deployed into production.

Using Application Release Automation (ARA) means no longer needing to maintain custom scripts for deployment, configuration and provisioning. Users move beyond islands of automation and separate practices for PROD and non-PROD. ARA enjoys the benefits of having release coordination combined with deployment automation across the Continuous Delivery pipeline, including fully compliant PROD deployments across the entire IT and ITSM stack.

Production-proven Release Automation ensures predictability and compliance for both production and lower environments deployments.

Who are the Innovators in the ARA tool arena?

A disruptive innovation is an innovation that disrupts an existing market. The term is used in business and technology literature to describe innovations that improve a product or service in ways that the market does not expect, typically by lowering price or designing for a different set of consumers.  Some of the innovators include:

Solution

Released By

Automic Release Automation

Automic

CA Release Automation

CA Technologies

Application Modeller

DynamicIQ

Codar

HP Software Division

Serena Deployment Automation

Serena Software

UrbanCode Deploy & UrbanCode Release

IBM

XL Deploy & XL Release

XebiaLabs

ARA addresses the identified business challenges by:

Reducing the opportunity for human error, thereby driving down Operational Risk.

Accelerating change, thus minimising Delivery Delays.

Reducing the time and effort required to deliver application technology change, thereby eliminating Resource Drain.

Application Modeller ARA Integrated Configuration Environment

As Thierry Hue of DynamicIQ puts it “The idea of the Integrated Configuration Environment is to make a parallel with the IDE (Integrated Development Environment) where you should manage your configuration and environment like you manage your code and binaries.”

Automic Release Automation ARA deployment process


Gartner Market Guide for Application Release Automation Solutions

20 July 2015 | ID: G00275085

Growing demand for faster and even continuous delivery of new and better applications is driving investment in ARA solutions that reduce friction across the entire application development life cycle. Prioritizing automation, environment management and release coordination needs is imperative.

Recommendations

  • Prioritize automation, environment management and release coordination capabilities based on an assessment of your current and planned deployment processes.
  • Evaluate solutions from smaller, independent vendors as well as those from large IT operations management (ITOM) software vendors to compare best-of-breed innovation with broader DevOps tool portfolios.
  • Require time-to-value requirements of three months or less in vendor evaluation.
  • Require use-case-oriented proofs of concept (POCs) and active customer references.

Sogeti, ARA and Digital Transformation

Sogeti’s Digital Transformation Services will shorten the time it takes to reduce your Digital Debt and create the foundation for the New Style of IT.  Thereby enabling you to implement Application Release Automation in a greatly reduced time frame.

We recommend that you assess your application life cycle management maturity — specifically around your deployment processes — and seek tools that can help automate the implementation of these processes as they are now, and as you intend them to be across multiple development and operations teams and platforms. Helpful next steps include:

  • Establish requirements for applications to narrow the scope of evaluation targets and to determine whether one tool or multiple tools will be required.
  • Prioritize integrations with existing development and ITOM tooling (especially cloud infrastructure or cloud management platform tools) in product evaluation criteria, with an eye toward using these tools in your broader provisioning and configuration environment.
    • Organizations that want to extend the application life cycle beyond development to production environments using a consistent application model should evaluate development tools with ARA features, or ARA point solutions that provide out-of-the-box integration with development tools.

If you are interested to discover how these ideas can become a reality for your business, you can download Design to Disrupt: Mastering Digital Disruption with DevOps here or give us a call on 0330 588 8200.

 

Robert Boone AUTHOR: Robert Boone
A hands-on, pragmatic ISEB certified Test Automation Manager with over ten years of automated test tool and automation development/testing experience.

Posted in: Agile, API, Application Lifecycle Management, Automation Testing, Cloud, communication, Developers, DevOps, Digital, Digital strategy, Human Interaction Testing, Infrastructure, Innovation, integration tests, IT strategy, Managed Testing, Open Innovation, Quality Assurance, Requirements, Research, Software Development, SogetiLabs, Test Automation, Test Methodologies, Test Tools      
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An Internet of Things (IoT) solution is built up from items that together create new functionality. The separate elements form an IoT ecosystem. Testing the entire system must be thought of at an early stage in IoT product development.

Forget functional testing
Define a product with a set of requirements and all functionality (that is written down) can be tested. As said an IoT solution consists of separate elements that can be functionally tested . The IoT ecosystem as a whole behaves according to different rules. The possible connections to 3rd party IoT products are endless. As a result it will be impossible to describe the behaviour in every situation. One of the elements of setting up an IoT test strategy is looking at the non-functional behaviour of the whole solution.

Choose the right quality attributes!
Functionality is tested enough. We must search for ways of testing all other behaviour of the IoT ecosystem. Using quality attributes we can make good effort in filling this gap. I will give you some examples of quality attributes that can be used in IoT environments:

  • Installability: upgrades can be sent to “Things” and remotely installed. Test situations where this can go wrong (think of power loss during download or installing) and check if recovery mechanisms work.
  • Interoperability: information exchange between (parts of) IoT systems must work between different software and/or hardware versions. All known combinations can be tested but what to do with software versions not yet released? What happens when new hardware is on the market that should work with your solution as well?
  • Usability: users will only launch an App once or twice to form their opinion on usability. Usability testing is key in making a full IoT solution a success.

Create your IoT test strategy
Choosing the right quality attributes is one of the steps in defining an IoT test strategy. Read more on the other steps and IoT quality attributes my book: “IoTMap: Testing in an IoT environment”.

Book launch event
The book is launched on the 21st of April in the Netherlands during a book launch event where you can get a free copy of the book. More information and the program (in Dutch) can be found here.

 

Tom Van de Ven AUTHOR: Tom Van de Ven
Tom van de Ven is active in the field of High Tech testing for 12 years. As a High Tech test expert he is a frequently asked sparring partner for Sogeti High Tech customers with regard to starting/professionalizing test projects. Besides a multitude of test assignments (eg. in the field of healthcare, semiconductors, agriculture and automotive) he is an active member of the Sogeti High Tech Test Competence Centre and a speaker for High Tech seminars. Tom uses his experience in a role as a coach for (starting) High Tech test engineers and is constantly looking for improvements in High Tech test methodologies (now working on the book that combines Internet of Things and TMap: IoTMap!!! Release date: 2016). He also teaches and develops several testing courses in the embedded and high tech domain. If not teaching, testing a tunnel or promoting “Quick Tech Testing” you can find him setting up a high tech test automation framework for the odd customer.

Posted in: functional testing, Internet of Things, IT strategy, Quality Assurance, User Experience      
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Cupcake Value

In my last blogpost I mentioned that I would like to give Product Owners a tool to help them determine value with their stakeholders. One technique I referred to last time, Business Value Poker. In this post I would like to tell you about another technique: Theme Scoring

This is one of the easiest techniques to use as it gives you a firm reference with which to work.

Mind you, you still have to determine the themes for your product yourself. But that is no different from other product management work.

Say you are the Product Owner of a Cupcake factory. You have the hearty cupcake product line as your responsibility. What is the next product in your Cupcake suite of pleasure?

You determine that next to the product “Cinnamon Apple Cupcake” you want to bring out the “Liquorice Mint Cupcake” and the “Green Tea, Honey Cupcake”. One of your stakeholders has told you that there is a fandom for the “Pecan Salty Caramel Cupcake” and the “Lemon White Chocolate Cupcake”.

So you put the different Cupcake themes in a list:

Backlog
1 Cinnamon Apple Cupcake
2 Liquorice Mint Cupcake
3 Green Tea, Honey Cupcake
4 Pecan Salty Caramel Cupcake
5 Lemon White Chocolate Cupcake

 

 

 

 

 

Mind you, this order is fine. YOU are the Product Owner and as Product Owner the order on a Backlog is yours to determine. You can listen to your stakeholders, and act on market signals, but in the end the Product Backlog is your responsibility. You are the one that determines what’s good for RoI.

The company wants more profit in the next half year though and you want to give them that. There’s also the current customers you want to please. You want new customers but to alienate the current customer base is bad for business. It is also necessary to save on base materials; you need to be able to make profit. Last but not least is the complexity of the recipe. If it cannot be baked easily you end up bogging down the production process.

You put those aspects in a list as well:

Profit in the next half year
Important for current customers
Base material cost
Recipe complexity

 

 

 

These two lists have to be combined to figure out which of the themes make a chance to be worked on first by the conceptual bakery team.

So we put them in a matrix:

Cupcake Theme =>

Criteria

V

Liquorice Mint Green Tea, Honey Cinnamon Apple Pecan Salty Caramel Lemon White Chocolate
Profit in the next half year 0
Important for current customers 0
Base material cost 0
Recipe complexity 0
Result:

 

 

 

 

 

 

We know that the Cinnamon Apple is important for the product line so we will use this as a baseline. The Cinnamon Apple column will contain the score 0 for all the criteria. We score all the other Themes based on this Base Theme.

With our stakeholders we now start scoring the other themes on these criteria and compare them with the base theme. The scoring is done using three possible outcomes. The theme is either better or worse than the base theme OR it scores the same.

The result is added from the column. We add all the plusses and subtract the minuses. This leaves us with a positive or negative score per theme that we can use to rank the themes and order the backlog again.

Example:

Cupcake Theme =>

Criteria

V

Liquorice Mint Green Tea, Honey Cinnamon Apple Pecan Salty Caramel Lemon White Chocolate
Profit in the next half year 0 0 +
Important for current customers + 0 + 0
Base material cost + + 0 +
Recipe complexity 0 +
Result: -2 1 0 2 -1

 

 

 

 

 

 

We find out that Cinnamon Apple is no longer the theme that delivers the most value. We place everything in the order we find them to be in after scoring:

Backlog
1 Pecan Salty Caramel Cupcake
2 Green Tea, Honey Cupcake
3 Cinnamon Apple Cupcake
4 Lemon White Chocolate Cupcake
5 Liquorice Mint Cupcake

 

 

 

 

 

You will have to tell the concept bakery team that you and your stakeholders have a new order for the themes in your backlog during the Product Backlog Refinement session. You and your taste experts will work together on finding the best recipe to make the Pecan Salty Caramel Cupcake as good as possible and in the next sprint(s) your team will be working on this cupcake.

Mike Cohn provides a wonderful tool that you can use to help you visualise Theme Scoring. A link to this tool can be found here:

I’d like to thank Mike Cohn, Arne Åhlander and Jim Coplien for much insight into this hands-on tool.

 

Julya van Berkel AUTHOR: Julya van Berkel
Julya van Berkel is an Agile adept and coach and has been championing Agile and Scrum since 2007. In her role as Agile Coach Julya has helped numerous clients and colleagues in getting better at Agile and as teaches she has set up and taught hundreds of Agile and Scrum training and courses. For Sogeti in the Netherlands she helps set the direction in Agile and is involved in many groups within Sogeti and outside in the Agile community.

Posted in: communication, Human Interaction Testing, Innovation, Quality Assurance, Requirements, Research, Scrum, Social Aspects, Transformation, User Experience      
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When I wrote the blog ‘Measuring performance is an act of sabotage’,  I did realise I should also give people a means to measure value. Even though I expect a Product Owner to know his or her business and Scrum does not give an answer on how to measure value because this is different for every business. In this series of blogs I will give you a few hands-on ways to measure value.

Value is not something that is singular. In fact, for everyone value can be something else. Quality time spent with your significant other can be way more valuable than spending more time at work to earn more money. For every company value is different as well.

Non-profit companies will not care about profit (duh). For profit companies may, but sometimes they see more value in a growing market share. I should emphasise that offering customer satisfaction may go a long way in achieving long term success for a for-profit and service company.

I’ve worked in many different companies, some were government companies, railroad and airline companies, energy companies, non-profit and profit. All see value differently, yet many choose to work Agile to achieve goals they would not be able to achieve in the current ever changing market.

There are several ways you can measure value. The simplest one to understand is getting the product out there and seeing if it sells. This works well for small product that get an immediate return on investment metric. In today’s world you see this simple scheme often in the app market.

You think of a concept that might help smartphone users. Something you think they will pay for. You invest time in writing an app for one or more types of phone and you publish the app on the phone providers’ app-shop or store.

If the app is useful people will buy it. If they like it they may even write an evaluation (if the store supports it). They may grade the app and that might push your rating up and generate more visibility for other users.

For small businesses and one man companies this may work fine. For larger companies this may work if they offer the app as a service or as a side product. When I speak to Product Owners they usually want more though. Their job is to do market research, to figure out what brings most value.

Agile and Scrum don’t tell you how to do your business. They do however strive to support your quest for making the most business you can. The Agile Manifesto even has a principle that explains that: “Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.”

In my next blog posts I will explain several ways to measure value. I hope this will help you get your own competitive edge.

One suggestion I would like to make now is to look into Business Value poker.

Look here for one version of it: http://www.agile42.com/en/agile-coaching-company/agile-scrum-tools/business-value-game/

 

Julya van Berkel AUTHOR: Julya van Berkel
Julya van Berkel is an Agile adept and coach and has been championing Agile and Scrum since 2007. In her role as Agile Coach Julya has helped numerous clients and colleagues in getting better at Agile and as teaches she has set up and taught hundreds of Agile and Scrum training and courses. For Sogeti in the Netherlands she helps set the direction in Agile and is involved in many groups within Sogeti and outside in the Agile community.

Posted in: Application Lifecycle Management, Digital strategy, Innovation, IT strategy, Quality Assurance, Smart, Social Aspects, Transformation, User Experience, User Interface      
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ile deserte

What would you bring first?
Your smartphone, your tablet or your laptop?

Before we go any further on this cornelian choice, let me raise you the story called the Post PC-era: a common IT prophecy arguing there will be no desktop anymore. How will be our workplace with no PC thronging on our office anymore? This question reveals in fact a major issue for your day-to-day business in the next decade, which I’m going to tell you about.

I’m sure you already heard about periscope new trend app. Like all social network, the goal is to cover the maximum of the population. And guess what, the app is only accessible for iOS and Android smartphones. No Windows phone, no Internet Explorer, no PC, nor laptop. So, for innovative minds, PC and Windows are already negligible.

Does it mean that Personal Computers would soon disappear? Hell no. Some weeks ago, I’ve tackled this kind of sweeping statements via another article: IT is dead, long life to IT. Despite all the electronic innovations, despite hot water taps, we all use a boiler almost every day. So boilers are not dead and PC won’t extinct. OK.

So, PC has not to be irremediably added on the growing list of extinct technologies. Not Yet. Nevertheless, what we currently see is:

The proliferation of devicesproliferation of devices

Spreading everywhere, this smaller-equipment invasion phenomenon is amplifying constantly for a decade. I use my smartphone, my Apple watch to check e-mails, to browse the web, to use some business web apps. I often use my tablet as well. Dealing with the Post PC-era

Don’t think What else but What more

Visiting various customers, what I see is more segregation of IT tools based on grade. VPN access for CxO and big managers. Business mobile devices as well. For old-school IT mindset, devices and software were more considered as privileges granted than simple tools to do the job. But since electronic equipment consumerist penetration rate is hitting the top, these privileges are getting economically ridiculous for collaborators, more e-doted at home than at the office.

Most companies aware of those times changing, are starting to lead profiling surveys based on IT usage and habits profiles. Whenever they need, they call us.

“Hey Boss !
Bring me the most adapted tool
and I’ll offer you the greatest productivity”

See what’s happening for Unified Communications. Which company still buy and expose a €100- fixed-phone on each desktop? UC habits are already tamed by the new générations.

Below, you can see the significant decrease of fixed phone usage and voice calls occurring in France, local example of a world trend.

Fixed telephone lines, 2004 and 2014

fixed phone lines EU stats

Number of lines per 1 000 inhabitants

Workplace will embrace this evolution the same way. And some innovations foster this digital transformation. First of all, web-based apps. It will become the standard for business applications and BYOD will be here by necessity. IoT will bring tablets and touch screen everywhere in the industrial landscape, substituting the old CRT console (still running colander OS XP by the way) attached to each robot.

So, except for companies where CIOs still rule the workplace like in the 90’s, PC will decline in enterprises as it already started in private life. Workstation extinction will be much longer than in consumer world but trust me, living time for mice and keyboards is getting shorter and shorter. The end has already started.

 

Kamel Abid AUTHOR: Kamel Abid
In summer 2014, Kamel Abid celebrated his 20th year as an IT professional, while swimming among computers and keyboards since the age of 5. Today, he manages tens of experts & architects, involved in complex transformation and integration of IT infrastructures in Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg. In parallel, as an Expert leader, Kamel animates Desktop & Unified Communication PMP through events, workshops, articles in newspapers, social media, etc. A native of Nice (french riviera), Kamel previously worked as Developer, System Administrator, Support Engineer, Project Leader, Bid Manager and then Delivery Manager. Hired at Sogeti Luxembourg in 2008, he passed through several in-house activities: Consulting, Bidding, Team Leading and now sharing knowledge as a domain Expert.

Posted in: Digital, Digital strategy, Infrastructure, Innovation, Internet of Things, IT strategy, Research, Social Aspects, Test Tools, Transformation, User Experience      
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Tom van de Ven and Chris den Arend speak at the biggest European IoT seminar: IoT TechDay 2016.

They speak about the smart miniature living room that demonstrates the full capabilities of Sogeti filling in an IoT solution from electronically engineering up to cloud solutions and UI. It also demonstrates multiple IoT technologies used with one “Thing” (IBM Bluemix, Microsoft Azure and Oracle Cloud). Watch the video  to find out more about their session.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wr1jcnZ7bAw

After a successful session, Tom also speaks about his upcoming book IoTMap : Testing in an IoT Environment which is scheduled to be launched on the 21st of April in the Netherlands. Stay tuned!

 

Sogeti Labs AUTHOR: Sogeti Labs
SogetiLabs gathers distinguished technology leaders from around the Sogeti world. It is an initiative explaining not how IT works, but what IT means for business.

Posted in: Cloud, Data structure, Digital strategy, Infrastructure, Innovation, Internet of Things, IT strategy, Microsoft, Open Innovation, Quality Assurance, Requirements, Research, Smart, Software Development, Testing and innovation, User Experience, User Interface      
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