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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 πŸ™‚ and good luck to Gabriel!

  • TOGAF 9 Exam Review Worksheets September 8, 2010

    Posted by Chris Eaton in architecture, certification, togaf 9.

    thanks to Khalid Tariq for sending me these excellent TOGAF 9 exam review sheets, i hope you find them useful

    download them here -> TOGAF 9 Exam Review Worksheets

    TOGAF deliverables available for free on the open group web site August 31, 2010

    Posted by Chris Eaton in Uncategorized.
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    i never knew these were available, let along for free


    open group now on twitter August 31, 2010

    Posted by Chris Eaton in Uncategorized.
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    Helpful post on SDN relaying TOGAF certification experience June 9, 2010

    Posted by Chris Eaton in Uncategorized.
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    there is a recent post on the SAP solution developers network which maybe of interest to people looking into TOGAF certification


    IT Architecture as a profession – how the CAEAP is driving forward June 5, 2010

    Posted by Chris Eaton in architecture, CAEAP, EA, Enterprise Architecture, profession.
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    Lawyers, doctors, accountants and building architects are a profession – when you employ someone from one of these professions (a professional) you expect a certain level of skill proven by education and examination as well as a high level of accountability that their work will be to a high standard and will keep you on the right side of the law.
    Calling yourself a lawyer or doctor, etc. is a protected term in many countries because the public automatically trust people who use these titles.

    Personally i am highly in favour of protecting the term Architect, in the IT sense of it, to those who people who truly are Architects proven through qualification – hence i have taken just about every architect qualification i have found

    One of the biggest challenges in my mind is:
    what is an IT architect?
    what do they do and produce?
    what education and qualification is needed to prove you are an architect?

    the sheer breadth of IT software, hardware, methods, business applicability and pace of change within all of these facets makes an IT qualification look out of date very quickly

    However, the Center for Advancement of the Enterprise Architecture Profession (CAEAP) is trying very hard to define what the IT Architecture profession should look like
    They are taking ideas like the Doctors hippocratic oath and creating Enterprise Architect version of this.

    Today I received a notification of their latest deliverable – the Professional Practice Guide This attempts to define, at a high level, the expectations of someone calling themselves an Enterprise Architect and what the public might expect from an Enterprise Architect. This document is worth a look. It is a useful first step and there is more to do

    There is not yet a statement about what an Enterprise Architect is, or is not, there are certainly lots of people using this title and in my experience you cannot be certain about what skills they have

    There is not yet a statement about what education and qualification is needed to call oneself an Enterprise Architect and no corresponding course, examination or experiential qualification to prove yourself as an Enterprise Architect. CAEAP could do well to start off looking at the Open Group IT Architecture Certification and building on this

    IT or Enterprise Architect is not yet a reserved name, i don’t even know how a job title like that achieves reserved status in law? (anyone know?)

    not to belittle the efforts the CAEAP are driving in the right direction and every journey starts with a single step…

    useful article on TOGAF certification June 1, 2010

    Posted by Chris Eaton in EA, Enterprise Architecture.
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    useful article on where to find the base materials for TOGAF certification


    nice TOGAF Overview May 22, 2010

    Posted by Chris Eaton in togaf 9.
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    TOGAF v9 Overview on Prezi

    Three core skills of an enterprise architect April 27, 2010

    Posted by Chris Eaton in architecture, EA, people.
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    as ever the most stimulating questions come from the populus at large. In response to a question of what skills does an enterprise architect need by Lisa I posted this response

    In my mind there are three core dimensions for the skills of an architect:

    – Leadership ability
    – Technical ability
    – Business ability

    For leadership – As you become more senior then leadership skills become more important, displacing deep specialist technical skills. Leadership is often defined as the ability to get things done through others which i think is a reasonable take on matters.
    Leadership is more about knowing what to do and how to approach problems, achieve buy in and make them happen, than a deep understanding of a subject. Personally in terms of leadership i am very dependant on prior experience on successful projects to guide me as to what to do, and also role models – what would my role model do?

    For technical ability – broadly (and matching togaf) you can categorise architects into:
    – Application Architecture
    – Data Architecture
    – Infrastructure Architecture
    – Business Architecture
    and some might argue integration architecture as it’s own area because middleware is so prevalent and a particularly important area to have good architecture.

    Within these domains it is important to have a good level of expertise and have some level of expertise in the others. An application architect with no understanding of data wouldnt be much use.

    For Business ability – deep knowledge of a business area or areas and the related business processes is a must for delivering strong business centric solutions

    ITAC recertification April 18, 2010

    Posted by Chris Eaton in Uncategorized.
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    I found out this week my ITAC certification with the Open Group as a Master Architect is up for renewal in the coming month.Β  It is due every three years.

    I have to prepare a recertification case for the first time, i will let you know how it goes