Topic 1 – Embracing Change for Future Growth

The Forbes article Change As Core Competency: Transforming The Role Of The Enterprise Architect and it kind of reflects how my role is shifting at my organization. Even though I’m a manager of consultants and developers, my role has been starting to shift towards and enterprise architect role. It’s tough to call it that but it’s definitely a watered down version of the role. As I’m taking EA classes and part of the leadership team at work, I feel the need to help formalizing strategy and truly understanding the vision as a team where we want our company to head. Every leadership meeting, I ask the same questions to the owners of my company “what area do you think we should focus on next”” or “is there a certain area of an industry such as, IT security, you want to focus on?”. The same answer is always given, I don’t know that’s why we’re relying on you guys the leadership team to define that.

In my organization, I can already foresee that traditional EA will not be successful. We don’t have a CIO or a CTO. Instead we have a leadership team with the owners (CEO and COO) providing the final say. For our internal purposes, I’m leveraging the knowledge of my coursework especially from EA 872 with relation to the Gartner toolkit for EA. I just recently met with each department to document trends that are happening internally and externally. I also did competitive analysis of large consulting firms to see what types of services they offer. Then I created a future state diagram to help with a starting point of where I believe my organization should be heading based on the trends and my competitor research.

I believe until my organization becomes a larger or until we offer an EA consulting service and need to devote more time to that, I’m going to be an individual who is an advocate for change by proposing future states. Contrary to the Forbes article, my organization can’t focus too much on the current state and making it better because the entire line of business is focused around one platform. In order to grow, we need to branch out and provide more business value by offering services that may not be large pain points at the surface but instead helps start the conversation to larger efforts. By proposing future states based on research, I believe it will help form a strategy for the leadership team and help the organization embrace change.

Topic 1 – Traditional IT Is Holding Back Transformation

As I was reading Cloud Computing: The Future of IT Application ArchitecturesI thought about my own work experience with cloud computing. My company is a partner of ServiceNow. We work with clients to implement the platform as a service. ServiceNow consists of many applications besides the Incident, Problem, and Change Management it is known for. There’s also Asset Management, Project Management, Facilities Management, Software Development Lifecycle, and Human Resource Management just to give you an idea of the broad range of applications.

As clients use ServiceNow to move their business to cloud, their initial strategy is that they want a solution that is scalable, mobile, and has the ability to integrate with various other platforms and in-house applications. From a CIO perspective, this sounds like a solution that will prepare a company to be as flexible as possible while increasing productivity and decreasing cost however post project analysis this is hardly the case.

Anytime myself or one of my employees begins a kickoff meeting for a project, this is the mindset the director of IT or CIO portrays to the project team. As the project begins to kick off with the most basic process of setting up a schedule to import users into the ServiceNow platform, traditional IT gets in the way. What I mean by traditional IT is the mindset that everything needs to be locked down from the outside world. Internally, only certain people can see certain data. From a process perspective, automation is not something the company does today so everyone needs to receive a task to push a button or enter some information.

In a cloud computing world, data is easily accessible and reportable across departments so there is not redundant data or processes. Business applications are accessed from mobile phones reducing the need to carry a computer. Emails are no longer sent out and instead are replaced with push notifications to devices or a messaging queue inside the tool. Since the platform is in the cloud, there’s no need to set up VPN or virtual lans between offices to share data or use on premise business applications. Most importantly since business applications can share data and cloud computing can integrate with other applications, there is opportunity for automation and orchestration of tasks. Unfortunately, the fear of traditional IT gets in the way of these capabilities.

When it comes to importing users through LDAP, typically with ServiceNow there’s an Windows service that sits inside a client’s network with communication initiated to the cloud from the service. In order to implement a normal solution like this, it requires nearly a week and a half discussion with a network team, active directory team, and security team in order to gain approval even though the IT directory and/or CIO approved at the kickoff meeting.

Another scenario that typically happens with financial institutions or some paranoid security teams is the need to lock down the cloud platform. This ranges from enforcing a VPN tunnel to the cloud servers to access the platform to restricting only select IP addresses to have access. In any case, this eliminates all mobile devices that management typically enjoys using to manage their teams and any flexibility of using the platform without overheard for distributed offices.

I don’t believe all businesses are 100% ready for cloud computing and cloud platforms. I believe there is still a fear of the unknown and the old mindset of traditional IT that are holding many companies back from reducing costs and gaining efficiency through cloud computing. Larger enterprises are embracing these newer technologies and see them as opportunities. However, small to medium businesses are still using old knowledge and experiences that are inhibiting growth and flexibility.

Topic 1 – The New Buzzword Blockchain

It seems like every day I’m reading a new article about how the technology behind Bitcoin is being re-purposed for a transactional business process.  I have a hard time understanding the concept/methodology so I’m using my first blog post to dig a little deeper.

What is blockchain?

According to IBM, blockchain is “a shared ledger for recording the history of transactions – that cannot be altered.” however what does that mean? As I was reading further, it is really peer to peer network. Every time a new transaction is generated between two parties, it is added to a block. The next block is added to the previous block creating the “chain”. Each member of the network has access rights. The blocks in the chain are permanent and cannot be deleted.

Business case

After reading through what blockchain is, I can understand why businesses especially financial institutions are highly interested in the technology. If a peer to peer network is created between to companies and only individuals who have access rights can create transactions and no one can delete the blocks then the uses of the technology can potentially be endless. It would provide a platform for secure transactions that have traceability for auditing and only give access to the correct recipients.

Use Cases

Considering it’s still in the early stages of the technology and there’s not particular standard on how the methodology should be done, there are many research projects being done by consulting, software, and big box store companies.

Here is just a few projects that jumped out on me:


IBM. Blockchain 101 Infographic. Retrieved from

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