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EA conference November 22, 2010

Posted by Chris Eaton in Uncategorized.
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last week i attended the annual EA conference run by alfabet where i arranged to meet up with Gabriel Morgan from Microsoft
http://blogs.msdn.com/b/gabriel_morgan/ for half a day after the main conference. Gabriel works in the internal MS enterprise architecture team, architecting the current and future architecture landscape for Microsoft itself – as you can imagine that is a pretty tough customer to please

Gabriel was one of the presenters on the day and gave a very interesting presentation on the methods Microsoft are adopting including Porters Competitive Strategy and Good to Great and lastly and most importantly the Office of Strategy Management I had not heard of that before but it is a pretty interesting concept in articulating business strategy and preoviding traceability to demands for the IT organisation. It is worth a look.

Perhaps the most interesting discussion was Gabriels experience in the CIO team at MS, and my experience in the CIO team at IBM. The similarities were quite striking. Not least the preference to use technology, applications and hardware made by your employer even when you know it is not that great, and the demands to provide state of the art functionality at the drop of a hat where people assume that as industry leaders it must be easier for us than anyone else to implement and somehow project staff and other resources like servers are free and readily available. In fact the converse is true as resources are prioritised to customers, not internal projects.
One great example of this is a piece of work i was asked to do at IBM to find all the Oracle software in IBM, provide an exit strategy for every application and a indicative cost. The reason for this was that the Software Group were unhappy about the use of Oracle and the message this was giving to customers. Within a couple of weeks i found out:

  • IBM is (or was at the time) Oracles second biggest customer
  • IBM has the largest Oracle consulting practice in the world, bigger even than Oracle
  • finding all the Oracle applications was very difficult because of the number of acquisition they made and continued to make, this was a moving feast

  • in several situations the use of Oracle by IBM was contractual, either to simplify integrations with customer systems or where IBM had a Business Process Outsourcing deal where Oracle had been taken on or stipulated as the system which had to be used to support the outsourced business processes
    anyway, to nut this out, the competing pressures within IBM made this a very difficult situation. On one hand selling software in a competitive market where we needed to prove that our products are better than the opposition and on the other hand, selling Professional Services to consult on any area of interest to the customer including competitors products – the twain shall not meet!

    fond memories 🙂 and good luck to Gabriel!

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