Technical Topics

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Anyone perusing the computing rags (or their online equivalents) will no doubt have noticed that this year's big thing for applications development is a combination of Cloud Computing and Software as a Service (SaaS). I'll talk about Clouds in a future blog, as I want to concentrate on the SaaS phenomenon today.

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Much of the current buzz about SOA has been focussed on the technology (inevitably Web Services) or the importance of reusability. However the real value of SOA is in the improvement to processes and ways of working that reflect the alignment of an organisation with its customers and suppliers.  The approach we favour is one that begins by aligning the business and technical understanding of the concepts of SOA, from both the business process and technical architecture perspective.
 

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Most analysts are introduced to SOA in one of three ways; two of which are potentially painful and one of which is actually useful. I’ll let you decide which you would prefer.

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Like any other religion, sorry architecture, SOA has its own language and meanings for the terms it uses. Unfortunately, some of these words can be very confusing, none more than the term "service". So here is a bluffer's guide to understanding and conversing in SOA-speak.

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There appears to be a gross misunderstanding about Architecture, particularly in the information technology community. Many people seem to think that an implementation, an end result, is Architecture. To use an Architecture and Construction example, many people think that the Roman Coliseum is Architecture.

The Roman Coliseum is NOT Architecture. The Roman Coliseum is the RESULT of Architecture. The RESULT of Architecture is an instance of Architecture, an implementation. In the end result, the implementation, you can see an instantiation of the Architect’s Architecture. If an Architect had not created the descriptive representations (the Architecture) of the Roman Coliseum, they could not have built the Roman Coliseum. They couldn’t have even ordered the stones they required in order to build the Coliseum without the Coliseum Architecture which had to be created long before the Coliseum was constructed.

Architecture is the set of descriptive representations that are required in order to create an object. If you can’t describe it, you can’t create it. Also, if you ever want to change the object you created, Architecture constitutes the baseline for changing the object once it is created, that is, it is the baseline for changing the object IF you retain the descriptive representations used in its creation and IF you ensure that the descriptive representations are always maintained consistent with the instantiation.

If the object you are trying to create is so simple that you can see it in its entirety at a glance and remember how all of its components fit together at excruciating level of detail all at one time, you don’t need Architecture. You can "wing it" and see if it works. It is only when the object you are trying to create is complex to the extent that you can’t see and remember all the details of the implementation at once, and only when you want to accommodate on-going change to the instantiated object, that Architecture is IMPERATIVE. Once again, without Architecture, you are not going to be able to create an object of any complexity and you won’t be able to change it (that is, change it in minimum time, with minimum disruption and minimum cost).

 

So, the question is, what constitutes the set of descriptive representations relevant for describing an object such that you can create it and change it with minimum time, disruption and cost?

Author: John A. Zachman

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Two years ago, some of my friends pressed me intensely to be more definitive about the Framework concepts. Even though, I had written “The Book”, they were specifically asking me for definitions of the entities that comprise the metamodel of Row 2 of the Enterprise Framework. It has taken me and a team of dedicated folks two years, however we have progressed far beyond the original requirement.

We have produced descriptions, not only of the entities of Row 2 of the Enterprise Framework, but also we have definitions of the entities of Row 1, Row 2, Row 3, Row 4, Row 5 and Row 6 of the Enterprise Framework plus descriptions for the Product Framework (where I learned about the Framework classification in the first place), for the Profession Framework (that I used to call the I/S Framework, the “meta Framework” relative to the Enterprise Framework) and for the Zachman Classification Framework (the Framework classification for all Frameworks).

This work is particularly significant at this point in time for several reasons.

Author: John A. Zachman

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Every year, organizations around the world face startlingly high project failure rates. Some research has shown that less than 30 percent of software projects are completed on time and on budget—and barely 50 percent end up meeting their proposed functionality. If you’re a big league baseball player, failing five to seven times out of ten will get you an endorsement deal and a spot in the Hall of Fame. But, for the rest of us, these types of failure rates represent billions in cost overruns and project waste.

In 2005, ESI International surveyed 2,000 business professionals to try to find out why projects fail. The answers were numerous and varied and included such common thorns in the side as inadequate communication, risk management and scope control. But of all the answers, one showed up more than any other. Fifty percent of those surveyed marked “poor requirements definition” as their leading project challenge.

Failing to properly and accurately define requirements at the very beginning of the project lifecycle points to a distinct lack of business analysis competency. The role of the business analyst is an important one, and, sadly, one that is underutilized by many organizations around the world. In essence, a business analyst acts as a translator or liaison between the customer or user and the person or group attempting to meet user needs. But, that’s just speaking generally. What about the specifics?

Below, I’ve put together a list of eight key competencies that every business analyst—or every professional performing the duties of a business analyst—should possess. I’ve included specific emphasis on tasks associated with junior, intermediate and senior business analysts. If performed effectively, the items on this list could save organizations millions.

Author: Glenn R. Brûlé

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Tony Bear says the BPM-folks are from Venus and the WS-folks from Mars. That exactly summarizes a big division in the BPM industry that might not be obvious. The term BPM-folks refers to the people that focus on process modelling. Their starting point is the analysis of procedures that describe how people and systems work together in an organisati...
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Software security remains a hot topic. Everyone from grandmothers to Fortune 500 companies has heard the stories of identity theft, data loss, and general mayhem caused by viruses and attackers on the Internet. In the first quarter of 2008 alone, 1,474 different software vulnerabilities were reported with only 64 of them having posted solutions. Th...
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Several software projects are over budgeted or have to face failures during operations. One big reason of this is Software Company develops wrong software due to wrong interpretation of requirements. Requirements engineering is one of the well known discipline within Software engineering which deals with this problem. RE is the process of eliciti...
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The Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN) has been developed to enable business user to develop readily understandable graphical representations of business processes. BPMN is also supported with appropriate graphical object properties that will enable the generation of executable BPEL. Thus, BPMN creates a standardized bridge for the gap betwe...
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