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Archive for the ‘eBiz’ Category

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The eBiz question of the day is, “Does the private cloud lack business sense?”

What does and does not make business sense it contextual and highly dependent on the meaning of “business.” Traditionally, viable cloud computing business models were predicated on some form of cost take out or risk transfer. IT departments transfer capital investment for operational expenses. If the longterm TCO for a cloud-based implementation was less than a private version; well, it made business sense. This kind of cost take down, Business Sense 1.0, was the primary cloud funding model for 2008-2010.

However, with the decline of the economy, most companies have taken out just about all the cost they can over the last few years. Companies are now looking to the definition of Business Sense 2.0, thinking about business growth in terms of revenue, margin, and market share. The new funding question becomes, “How will a private, or public, cloud help our company grow?” In essence, there is a strong desire to determine the business impact from moving to the cloud.

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Unfortunately, the answer to this version of the business sense question is no. No, most companies are not finding additionally significant business value (revenue, margin, market share, or customer satisfaction) through the adoption of private clouds. Yes, there are marginal cost improvements through increase productivity for highly cyclical operations, but little to no impact on top line goals.

The private cloud appears to be a business enigma that is best understood through yesterday’s lens. A view that has probably seen its better days. Let’s move on to the real work at hand – finding ways to seed the cloud in order to rain top line revenue.

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The eBiz question of the day is, “Is the Cloud Right for My Business?”

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When making these decisions, we should reframe this kinds of question into the form of, “Is the Cloud Necessary for My Business?”  I have written about necessary (without these things you fail) and sufficient (with them you might succeed) characteristics for a long time. The “Is It Right for Me…” form is a Sufficiency form in that you can always for reasons for say “No.” That is, all you need is one No response in all the rationale to make the final answer No.

The “Is it Necessary for Me…” response, on the other hand, requires just one Yes in order for an actionable decision to be made. If the cloud is a necessary element, that is, some element is required for your business to be successful, then you need to cloud in order not to fail. It is quicker to work through this multi-dimensional decision process with necessarily-based questions than trying for justify all the reasons needed to prove if will make you successful.

With that as a background, for most companies working to connect their value chain into the value chain of their partners and clients, then the cloud IS A necessary component of the value creation process. Think about how Walmart has used the cloud to flatten their 30,000 member supply chain into just 4 layers. Without the cloud, being a necessary component, they would fail to deliver on the low cost promises to people like you and I.

So, when looking at the cloud, ask yourself this: “Can I find just one area where the cloud is necessary for me to do business?” If the answer is yes for that one area, then the answer is yes for the company.

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The eBiz question of the day is, “Do you agree with what Brain Stevens, CTO of Red Hat, said recently, that the adoption of cloud isn’t going to be in 2010, but that it will be several decades before we see the kind of evolution and maturation necessary to sway the big business to the cloud?”

Evolution, more specifically, sustaining evolution [Clayton Christensen, Innovator Dilemma] is natural progress seen in all technologies. Most users can always find things they don’t like about technology they are using, which leads to a wealth of incremental improvements. Some of which are more beneficial than others.

A more interesting insight, however, comes from addressing the question, “What is the next disruptive technology after the cloud?” Think about it for a second. What is the technology, that does not exist today, that will replace cloud computing tomorrow? Answer this riddle and you might be the next Amazon.

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The latest eBiz question, Can You Have Too Much Infrastructure Integration, presents the opportunity to talk, in context, the about Necessity and Sufficiency.

Can you have too much of a good thing? Of course you can, ask any parent of a child who hears the ring a ding ding of that summer time ice cream truck. Kids would eat those goodies every day all day, without hesitation. However, just as in the case of having too much sweets, there is a way to think and deal with infrastructure goodies as well.

In order to determine of there is too much of anything, we need a way of figuring out (framework) whether that thing (infrastructure integration) is needed in the first place. That framework is the Necessity Model. We need to look at infrastructure integration from a perspective of necessary and sufficient characteristics. Necessary characteristics are those things without which you are ‘guaranteed’ to fail. Take, for instance, oxygen. Without it, you will die (fail at living). Sufficient characteristics, on the other hand, are those things, if collectively taken together, can ‘lead’ to, but not necessarily guarantee, success. There is much more to living than just oxygen. Some say you need happiness, money, relationships, etc. The list is pretty long.

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So, when looking at infrastructure integration, we should ask the question, “what characteristics of integrating my infrastructure are necessary (I will fail without them) and sufficient (might lead me to success)?” For those items that are necessary, there can not be “too much of them’ because by definition you need them to succeed. However, for sufficient items, ones that potentially lead to success, to much of them can be excessive, leading to wasteful spending and effective solutions.

Here is a practical application of necessity and sufficiency. It is necessary to define the data supply chain for an enterprise integration program. Not doing so will cause data impedance mismatches, leading to higher probabilities of data inaccuracies (a failure). On the other hand, adding additional redundant servers beyond those necessary to meet continuity of operational characteristics (e.g., N+1), while sufficiently enabling higher than mandated availability characteristics, is excessive from the necessity standpoint. Thus wasteful and time consuming, leading to operational ineffectiveness.

So, the next time you are presented with some infrastructure integration goodies, just like the neighbor kid chasing after that ice cream truck, stop and ask the question, “Do I really need this?” For those integration things that are truly necessary, indulge yourself.

 

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NewImage.jpgeBiz has asked another great question, “Is Event-Driven Architecture and Complex Event Processing an Affordable Option for Most Businesses?”

Looking at it as a cost is an incomplete way of looking at event and complex event processing (CEP). Event-oriented Architecture (EOA), which CEP is a subset, is the missing third architecture in most enterprise solutions, the first two being Service-oriented Architecture (SOA) and Data-Oriented Architecture (DOA). The statistics show that ver 98% of enterprise class solutions use some form of DOA in their data supply chain activities and between 30-40% use some variant of SOA. However, less than 5-10% are currently tapping into the benefits of what EOA can deliver.

EOA (events and CEP) offer answers and insights into knowledge, something SOA and DOA cannot. Think of the Wisdom Model: Data, Information, Knowledge, and Wisdom. At the lowest layer we have data. The universe if filled with it. For example, consider a university where you have data like students, books, building, colors, plants, etc. This is the realm of DOA. If you provide relevance to data, we call it information. Every Monday morning a university Provost is looking at a list of failing students and is trying to figure out just what to do. This is the realm SOA. When you study information, as in the case of the Provost, we call that knowledge. The provost is asking questions like, “Why are they failing?” This is the realm of EOA (CEP). Lastly, in depth reflection on knowledge provides us with wisdom. What is really important for the Provost is internalizing what it will take to turn failing students into successful students. This is the realm of EOA.

Once you map revenue potential for each of these layers in the wisdom model (Data, Information, Knowledge, and Wisdom) against each orientation (DOA, SOA, EOA), you soon come to the realization that EOA offers the highest growth rate for new revenue and margin. More on this later if you like.

So, a more business-oriented perspective would be to asked the question, “At what margin can we grow new revenue through EOA (event and complex-event) services? This is a conversation that most CEOs and CFO would gladly engage you in.

 

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There are a lot of great questions coming out of eBiz and the latest I’d like to address is, “Is Dirty Data Becoming a Showstopper for SOA?

Dirty data is one of the many reasons why service-oriented architectures (SOA) are so powerful. Gartner studies over the last decade have demonstrated that dirty data “leads to significant costs, such as higher customer turnover, excessive expenses from customer contact processes like mail-outs and missed sales opportunities.” In this day and age, there can be no doubt that the one and zero sitting in your databases are corrupted. But what do you do about it?

Many have suggested that this is an IT issue. The fact that data assets are inconsistent, incomplete, and inaccurate is somehow the responsibility of those response for administrating the technology systems that power our enterprises. There solution seems to further suggest the only real way to solve the problem is with a “reset” of the data supply chain – retool the data supply chain, reconfigure the data bases, do a one time scrub of ALL data assets, and set up new rules that somehow prohibit corruption activities. At best, this has been shown to be a multi-million dollar, multi-year activity for fortune 2000 class companies. But at worst, it is a mere pipe dream of every occurring.

A more practical solution can be found in SOA, specifically Dirty Data Modernization Services (DDMS). These are highly tailored temporal services designed around the specific Digital Signatures of the dirty data in question. For example, Dirty Data Identification Services use artificial intelligence to identify and target corrupt data sources. Dirty Data Transformation Services use ontological web-based algorithms to transform bad data into better data (not correct data). Other services like Accuracy and Relevance Services can be used on an ongoing basis to aid in mitigating the inclusion of bad or dirty data.

Human beings, by our nature, do not like change. We often look to rationalize away doing the hard things in life, rather than justifying the discomfort that comes through meaningful change. Dirty data is just one of those reasons one can use if you truly don’t want to get on with different, often better solution paradigm. So, rather that treat dirty data as a show stopper, look to it as a catalyst for real meaningful enterprise change.

 

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I am not conspiracy freak, but this week’s eBiz question “Is Cloud a Natural Fit for the Government” stops even quantitative rational thinking like me in my tracks.

At first glance, the answer would seem to be “Yes.” Given compliance with all the issues that we have talked about through previous blogs (e.g., security, continuity, etc.), the Government could also receive potential “financial benefits” promised through this type of outsourcing. But there is a problem.

The government isn’t profit driven and, for the most part, cost is rarely a key factor in their decision making on information technology. In moving to the cloud, the government would apparently also give up control to a third party, right? As such, government agencies in the past could, and would, build out their own private cloud of scalable computing resources on demand. As proven over the last 245 yrs, government programs get bigger, more expensive, and take more control; they do not get smaller, cheaper, and effective. This is an apparent contradiction in logic, so we must not be asking the right question, yet.

The real question seems to be, “What does the Government have to benefit in using Cloud Computing?” Since they are moving to cloud computing and cost and control are not drivers, then what longer term gains do they plan on achieving? Answer this question, then true nature answer to the question “Is Cloud a Natural Fit For The Government” will be revealed.

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