SOGETI UK BLOG

Best practices have motivated us to create static Enterprise Architectures (EA) using a variety of standards. Static n-tier architectures have everything you would expect, including sample sourceStatic ETA code and templates. As technology evolves, these slowly-evolving architectures get updated via committees. And, EAs are vigorously defended through a highly structured SDLC process.

Technological advancements are forcing rapid changes to EAs. We’ve gone through multiple iterations recently. Just over the past five years, we have switched from MVC to MVVM and now, PAAS looks very promising. The EA approval process can be slow and cumbersome.

An alternate approach is to provide the team with EA ‘guidelines.’  These are less rigid but still provide approved methods for development, including defined language, database, frameworks and tool standards; but, it could allow variances in implementation approaches. Therefore, keep your SDLC approach strong, but not fixed and rigid.

This will bring the following great benefits to an organisation:

  • Flexibility to take advantage of new tools and expedite the development process
  • Creativity to encourage and facilitate innovation
  • Increased employee satisfaction and retention

Now is a great time to change the approach to EA. With this new move, we can increase innovation, foster productivity and still keep control of standards.

To read the original post and add comments, please visit the SogetiLabs blog: Just Delete Your Static Enterprise Architecture

Related Posts:

  1. How usable are our Enterprise Architecture documents?
  2. Re-Imagining Enterprise Applications in the Internet of Things
  3. Considering Windows 8.1 and Mobile devices for the Enterprise with the new Intel Architecture
  4. In the Architecture Office #9: A cure for the long-term steering dilemma of architecture development

Robert LeRoy AUTHOR:
Bob LeRoy is Vice-President of Application Development in New Technology for Sogeti USA. He has led multi-million dollar projects, managed major partner relationships and organised go-to-market strategy for national service offerings.

Posted in: Behaviour Driven Development, Enterprise Architecture, Human Interaction Testing, Human Resources, Innovation, IT strategy, SDLC, Technology Outlook      
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Speedy DeliveryEmerging development models are poised to disrupt conventional application development.  These new models are driven by several capabilities that converge into accelerated delivery.  When we combine instantly available cloud computing platforms with frameworks, widgets and API’s, delivery time is dramatically reduced.

At the same time, cloud based computer and storage prices are dropping rapidly. Start- up technology companies are exploiting the increased capacity and capability this allows them with several alternatives to application development tools:

– Microsoft has launched Project Siena which enables engineers to build modern applications using drag-and-drop visual tools with a programming model based on Excel type functions.

– Mendix used a model driven approach where the user defines what data needs to be stored and the tool generates the final application to support the model.

– Outsystems is also a model driven approach but they generate code for classic Java and .Net extensions.

– IBM created a new platform called BlueMix which is a Java environment with a large catalog of reusable components to accelerate integration work.

Sogeti has done a very non-scientific comparison of 3 of the tools mentioned above, and here is what we found:

Criteria BlueMix Mendix Outsystems
Customer Support Model 5 5 4
Cross-Platform output 5 4 4
Team Dev Support 3 4 3
Enterprise Integration 3 3 5
Licensing Costs 4 3 3
Learning Curve 3 3 3
Deployment Model 2 4 5
Security Model 4 4 4
API Extensibility 5 3 4
Monitoring 5 4 5
Total Points 39 37 40

I know this has been said before with case tools and object oriented techniques but…these tools could shift the software engineer role into more of a producer/consumer role.  The change will definitely redefine application development into two key roles:

Software Engineers – Low-level technical individuals who build frameworks, widgets and API’s of software.

Business Engineers – high-level technical individuals who integrate and visualise the data using the “stuff’ built by the software engineers.

Regardless of which role you take, the end-result is the same, application delivery time is dramatically reduced.  In my opinion, this change could be as disruptive for application development as the global delivery model was 15 years ago.

What do you think? Are you already seeing this shift in your own organisations?

Robert LeRoy AUTHOR:
Bob LeRoy is Vice-President of Application Development in New Technology for Sogeti USA. He has led multi-million dollar projects, managed major partner relationships and organised go-to-market strategy for national service offerings.

Posted in: Behaviour Driven Development, Big data, Business Intelligence, Cloud, Microsoft      
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HammerI love to quote Abraham Maslow “If the only tool you have is a hammer, you treat everything as if it were a nail”.   But what if that hammer is a $1,000,000 software package?  Generally speaking, IT consultants need more tool diversity.  Too many are overly reliant on a single platform, language or vendor.  Consultants stop exploring, and tend to view innovation as the incremental changes that come with new releases of our favorite hammer.  This is especially true when consultants align with a single vendor.

I have personally experienced the hammer behavior several times over my career but never more clearly than when working for a wheel manufacturer in Detroit.  The client wanted a website to share product information or “brochureware”; a static website.  There was no need for commerce, back-office integration or complex functionality.

I presented these needs to a team of experienced IT professionals and they responded with a quote of $250,000 using Microsoft SharePoint running on Azure. The response was shocking to me.  What the client was really asking for was GoDaddy and WordPress.  A total projected cost should have been less than $10,000.  Which do you think the client picked?

There are IT roles where becoming the technical expert on a specific tool is required.  The IT industry will pay handsomely for deep, tool specific skills.  They will also reward equally well to provide vision and strategy, independent of tools.  To fulfill the later, you need diversity across the IT landscape.

Consultants advising business on IT strategy must keep an open mind to possibilities beyond their trusty hammer.  Business managers looking for a solution need to find the right tool/software, for the right job, at the right price and make sure the advisor is doing the same.

Robert LeRoy AUTHOR:
Bob LeRoy is Vice-President of Application Development in New Technology for Sogeti USA. He has led multi-million dollar projects, managed major partner relationships and organised go-to-market strategy for national service offerings.

Posted in: IT strategy, Software Development, SogetiLabs      
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I’ve been a Software Engineer for more than 30 years. Over those years I’ve seen lots of changes but where are we headed? I believe there are alternative approaches that will allow us to improve quality, shorten delivery and add flexibility to our applications:

Language changes

There have been many programming language improvements over time. Language paradigms have constantly changed and evolved. We’ve gone from structured, to procedural, to event-driven, to object-oriented, to automata. This really hasn’t changed how we engineer software.

Patterns and Frameworks

Modern frameworks (Spring, .Net, Rails, etc.) have been making it easier to piece together new solutions in less time while minimising the code. While the framework encapsulates functionality, it also hides the configuration and business rules across settings files, code files, screen configuration, HTML, and databases. True, this does produce less code; but, unless you’re the original author, this makes future maintenance complex. These patterns make us more predictable, but we’re still “cutting code”.

Avoid Code

With today’s many cloud solutions from WordPress to Mendix or Salesforce.com, combined with online forms, drag-and-drop visual layouts and a wide variety of plug-ins, it’s possible to create entire applications without any code.

The notation of avoiding code changes the discussion from how we’ll implement solutions to what we want from the solutions. This is where the value lies. Avoiding code also shortens the delivery time and improves quality.

Without major capital and time investments, multiple solutions can be created in parallel. If the solution is successful, it would be expanded and adapted for scale. Otherwise, it can be shutdown with minimal loss. This will change will accelerate the way companies innovate and explore new opportunities.

What are your thoughts? Have you used any of the approaches above – or any others that you think help us as Developers? Let us know!

Robert LeRoy AUTHOR:
Bob LeRoy is Vice-President of Application Development in New Technology for Sogeti USA. He has led multi-million dollar projects, managed major partner relationships and organised go-to-market strategy for national service offerings.

Posted in: Cloud, Software Development, Technology Outlook      
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