Welcome!

Cloud Expo Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Vincent Brasseur, Ignacio M. Llorente

Blog Feed Post

ITinvolve: Driving Business Agility with Metadata Management and Curation

Balancing Automation and Human Knowledge Curation

There are many metadata management tools on the market today, including Configuration Management Databases (CMDBs) and Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) Repositories, to name a few. Such tools seek to automate the collection and dissemination of policy-related metadata in hopes of automating policy enforcement – an important part of the automated governance critical to achieving business agility. And yet, such tools have generally fallen short, because they inadequately address the need to support policies that apply primarily to human behavior.

ITinvolve logoIn contrast, there are many tools on the market that focus primarily on supporting human collaboration and communication, either across an organization or specific to particular teams, processes, or tasks. Such tools include portals like Microsoft SharePoint, groupware of various sorts (email, wikis, and the like), and more focused tools such as Portfolio Management or Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) products.

When it comes to driving business agility across the organization, however, such human communication and collaboration tools have also fallen short, as they generally require an onerous amount of configuration and management from people who have scant time or attention to devote to such dull activities. This limitation leads to bloated repositories full of unsearchable documents, or email inboxes with thousands of messages, or knowledge management systems that contain information that is so out of date and incomplete that people refuse to spend any time updating them, thus defeating their purpose entirely.

ITinvolve has largely solved this combination of problems with their aptly-named Agility Manager. Agility Manager can be thought of as a next-generation knowledge management application that combines automated metadata collection and policy enforcement with broad human curation capabilities, balancing the need for automated governance and support for human activities within software development teams or more broadly across the organization.

Agility Manager also adds a set of objects to aid in projects including business goal, release, and iteration objects, as well as project planning functionality like Gantt charting and Kanban boards, as shown in the figure below. Furthermore, data need not physically reside in ITinvolve but can be federated so the object relationships are in ITinvolve but the full data set lives in a third-party source, for example, a pdf-formatted policy document on a file share or detailed functional requirements in Atlassian JIRA or Rally Software’s ALM platform.

ITinvolve Agility Manager illustrating project analysis Kanban boards (Source: ITinvolve)

ITinvolve Agility Manager illustrating project analysis Kanban boards (Source: ITinvolve)

Furthermore, the entire ITinvolve suite of applications (Agility Manager plus some value-added extensions) are Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications built on the Salesforce1 Platform. This platform choice gives ITinvolve customers pay-as-you-go, per-user pricing that simplifies onboarding and ramping up, as well as the scalability and integration support you’d expect from Salesforce.

The ITinvolve Agile Architecture Story

Architecting for business agility in the enterprise requires far more than the proper application of architectural practices to Agile development projects. In fact, it requires a complete rethink of what it means to architect an organization. Business agility is a property of the organization as a whole, which means that the enterprise must be treated as a Complex Adaptive System, where business agility is an emergent property of the system.

Such Complex Systems are actually systems of systems; in the case of an organization, the component systems are technology systems and people. The challenge of architecting for business agility, therefore, extends beyond architecting the technology. It’s also critical for the organization to architect its people as well.

The way to “architect the people” in the organization is to apply appropriate governance policies and processes that encourage the desired behavior. Excessive or inappropriate governance typically backfires, however, as too many rules and policies can lower morale and productivity. Instead, it’s important to encourage desired behavior via effective incentives, coupled with tools that facilitate the desired behavior, yet make undesirable behavior difficult. To this end, ITinvolve empowers people so that they are willing and even desirous to adapt their behavior. ITinvolve helps people facilitate their work by giving them the information and analysis they require, and enabling collaboration with other relevant team members (even ones they may not know about).

Giving people better tools and rewarding them with free food or cash bonuses is only part of the story. In order to achieve the business agility goals of the organization, this human governance must be seamlessly integrated with the automated governance of technology. In other words, technology must support the desired human behavior by providing the right tools, but people must also be able to properly manage and govern the technology in order to support the flexibility necessary for the organization to be agile.

Furthermore, as emergent behavior is inherently unpredictable, it is essential that organizations take an iterative approach to directing human and technology behavior in order to increase the organization’s agility. Each iteration should include a feedback loop that reflects the resulting effects of any policy or tooling change in order to improve results of subsequent iterations.

ITinvolve’s combined automated governance and human curation approach brings together the essential elements of this Agile Architecture story. At its core, the Agility Manager is an application that simplifies and encourages the desired behavior from the teams using the application. It also supports multiple approaches to automating the collection and communication of necessary metadata, as well as the automation of policies.

Instead of discouraging active participation in knowledge collection as standard portals and knowledge management tools do, ITinvolve empowers people to share their knowledge, as shown in the figure below. This approach facilitates cross-team collaboration on projects and decisions by supporting more effective risk management using current and accurate information. As a result, people can get their jobs done and make better decisions by fully understanding the various dependencies among requirements, policies, applications, and other elements of their work environment.

ITinvolve Agility Manager illustrating interrelationships among various diverse types of people and objects in the organization (Source: ITinvolve)

ITinvolve Agility Manager illustrating interrelationships among
various diverse types of people and objects in the organization (Source: ITinvolve)

ITinvolve also brings together and integrates varied data sources, including documents on portals, metadata in asset management tools and CMDBs, automation scripts and recipes, and other information that would otherwise be scattered about the organization or locked up in the heads of key personnel. This “tribal knowledge” of each expert in the enterprise is a critical asset that is always at risk of being lost, either through people leaving the organization, or simply forgetting the details over time.

Not only does ITinvolve facilitate the collection and dissemination of such tribal knowledge, but the application also supports the continuous review of such information by other experts in the organization. The result is an iterative, continuous-feedback approach to ongoing improvement of the information that ITinvolve manages. In fact, by bringing various individuals together from across different departments within the organization, ITinvolve supports flexible collaboration across the enterprise. Such cross-silo collaboration is critical for Agile projects, DevOps, and other initiatives that drive greater agility in the enterprise.

The Intellyx Take

One area where Agile development methodologies and the Agile Architecture approach to treating the organization as a Complex Adaptive System overlap is with the focus on self-organizing teams. Top-down approaches to creating teams – essentially, managers formally assigning roles to individuals – limit the flexibility of the team and thus impact the agility of the organization. Allowing teams to organize themselves addresses this issue.

And yet, as teams expand beyond a handful of people, especially when such teams are cross-functional and involve a variety of people in different roles, then self-organization can potentially begin to break down. The challenge isn’t necessarily the competency of the individuals involved, but rather their ability to communicate effectively and maintain coherent, up-to-date tribal knowledge, even as the team’s personnel might change or their tasks may evolve.

Solving this challenge is central to ITinvolve’s value proposition, because it both facilitates and supports the self-organization so critical to Agile teams, while at the same time addressing the communication and knowledge management challenges endemic to cross-functional teams. As a result, ITinvolve fosters a self-regulating system that provides greater transparency to all team members and management alike, as well as automated constraints on the behavior of associated technology assets, in such a way that facilitates the iterative feedback loop essential to driving agility long-term in large organizations.

ITinvolve is an Intellyx client. Intellyx retains full editorial control over the content of this post.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Jason Bloomberg

Jason Bloomberg is the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise. As president of Intellyx, Mr. Bloomberg brings his years of thought leadership in the areas of Cloud Computing, Enterprise Architecture, and Service-Oriented Architecture to a global clientele of business executives, architects, software vendors, and Cloud service providers looking to achieve technology-enabled business agility across their organizations and for their customers. His latest book, The Agile Architecture Revolution (John Wiley & Sons, 2013), sets the stage for Mr. Bloomberg’s groundbreaking Agile Architecture vision.

Mr. Bloomberg is perhaps best known for his twelve years at ZapThink, where he created and delivered the Licensed ZapThink Architect (LZA) SOA course and associated credential, certifying over 1,700 professionals worldwide. He is one of the original Managing Partners of ZapThink LLC, the leading SOA advisory and analysis firm, which was acquired by Dovel Technologies in 2011. He now runs the successor to the LZA program, the Bloomberg Agile Architecture Course, around the world.

Mr. Bloomberg is a frequent conference speaker and prolific writer. He has published over 500 articles, spoken at over 300 conferences, Webinars, and other events, and has been quoted in the press over 1,400 times as the leading expert on agile approaches to architecture in the enterprise.

Mr. Bloomberg’s previous book, Service Orient or Be Doomed! How Service Orientation Will Change Your Business (John Wiley & Sons, 2006, coauthored with Ron Schmelzer), is recognized as the leading business book on Service Orientation. He also co-authored the books XML and Web Services Unleashed (SAMS Publishing, 2002), and Web Page Scripting Techniques (Hayden Books, 1996).

Prior to ZapThink, Mr. Bloomberg built a diverse background in eBusiness technology management and industry analysis, including serving as a senior analyst in IDC’s eBusiness Advisory group, as well as holding eBusiness management positions at USWeb/CKS (later marchFIRST) and WaveBend Solutions (now Hitachi Consulting).

@CloudExpo Stories
High-performing enterprise Software Quality Assurance (SQA) teams validate systems that are ready for use - getting most actively involved as components integrate and form complete systems. These teams catch and report on defects, making sure the customer gets the best software possible. SQA teams have leveraged automation and virtualization to execute more thorough testing in less time - bringing Dev and Ops together, ensuring production readiness. Does the emergence of DevOps mean the end of E...
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, examined three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective ...
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff happe...
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director of THINKstrateg...
Cultural, regulatory, environmental, political and economic (CREPE) conditions over the past decade are creating cross-industry solution spaces that require processes and technologies from both the Internet of Things (IoT), and Data Management and Analytics (DMA). These solution spaces are evolving into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems (SAE) that represent significant new opportunities for organizations of all types. Public Utilities throughout the world, providing electricity, natural gas and water,...
DevOps is all about agility. However, you don't want to be on a high-speed bus to nowhere. The right DevOps approach controls velocity with a tight feedback loop that not only consists of operational data but also incorporates business context. With a business context in the decision making, the right business priorities are incorporated, which results in a higher value creation. In his session at DevOps Summit, Todd Rader, Solutions Architect at AppDynamics, discussed key monitoring techniques...
Want to enable self-service provisioning of application environments in minutes that mirror production? Can you automatically provide rich data with code-level detail back to the developers when issues occur in production? In his session at DevOps Summit, David Tesar, Microsoft Technical Evangelist on Microsoft Azure and DevOps, will discuss how to accomplish this and more utilizing technologies such as Microsoft Azure, Visual Studio online, and Application Insights in this demo-heavy session.
When an enterprise builds a hybrid IaaS cloud connecting its data center to one or more public clouds, security is often a major topic along with the other challenges involved. Security is closely intertwined with the networking choices made for the hybrid cloud. Traditional networking approaches for building a hybrid cloud try to kludge together the enterprise infrastructure with the public cloud. Consequently this approach requires risky, deep "surgery" including changes to firewalls, subnets...
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, discussed how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money!
One of the biggest challenges when developing connected devices is identifying user value and delivering it through successful user experiences. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kuniavsky, Principal Scientist, Innovation Services at PARC, described an IoT-specific approach to user experience design that combines approaches from interaction design, industrial design and service design to create experiences that go beyond simple connected gadgets to create lasting, multi-device exp...
P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robin Raymond, Chief Architect...
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using ...
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, discussed single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series dat...
"Verizon offers public cloud, virtual private cloud as well as private cloud on-premises - many different alternatives. Verizon's deep knowledge in applications and the fact that we are responsible for applications that make call outs to other systems. Those systems and those resources may not be in Verizon Cloud, we understand at the end of the day it's going to be federated," explained Anne Plese, Senior Consultant, Cloud Product Marketing at Verizon Enterprise, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at...
"For the past 4 years we have been working mainly to export. For the last 3 or 4 years the main market was Russia. In the past year we have been working to expand our footprint in Europe and the United States," explained Andris Gailitis, CEO of DEAC, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The Domain Name Service (DNS) is one of the most important components in networking infrastructure, enabling users and services to access applications by translating URLs (names) into IP addresses (numbers). Because every icon and URL and all embedded content on a website requires a DNS lookup loading complex sites necessitates hundreds of DNS queries. In addition, as more internet-enabled ‘Things' get connected, people will rely on DNS to name and find their fridges, toasters and toilets. Acco...
The term culture has had a polarizing effect among DevOps supporters. Some propose that culture change is critical for success with DevOps, but are remiss to define culture. Some talk about a DevOps culture but then reference activities that could lead to culture change and there are those that talk about culture change as a set of behaviors that need to be adopted by those in IT. There is no question that businesses successful in adopting a DevOps mindset have seen departmental culture change, ...
"Cloud consumption is something we envision at Solgenia. That is trying to let the cloud spread to the user as a consumption, as utility computing. We want to allow the people to just pay for what they use, not a subscription model," explained Ermanno Bonifazi, CEO & Founder of Solgenia, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Enthusiasm for the Internet of Things has reached an all-time high. In 2013 alone, venture capitalists spent more than $1 billion dollars investing in the IoT space. With "smart" appliances and devices, IoT covers wearable smart devices, cloud services to hardware companies. Nest, a Google company, detects temperatures inside homes and automatically adjusts it by tracking its user's habit. These technologies are quickly developing and with it come challenges such as bridging infrastructure gaps,...