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Also posted on: The Norfolk Punt
Well, here at innovate, perhaps the first point of interest is the new General Manager IBM Software, Dr. Kristof Kloeckner, who once headed up IBM’s Hursley lab and has a great track record in Rational. He spoke well and looks likely to continue the direction set by Dannny Sabbah, and the two appear to work well together.
Interestingly, Danny Sabbah was also speaking, in his new role as GM of Tivoli. It’s clear that “Dev Ops” (the integration of development and operations, to provide services to the business, where a service can just as easily be bought as built in-house) is now a reality, at least at the cutting edge. Sabbah brought along a Chief Architect, and a Head of Development and a Head of Operations (from Healthcare copmpany Wellpoint), all obviously speaking off the same hymnsheet, to prove the point. Architecture enables DevOps, partly because it provides a way for all stakeholders in automated business processes to communicate. Oh, and Cloud hasn’t superseeded Architecture, it has made it even more important, because it makes it possible fior an organisation to manage and orchestrate services across platforms (including cloud platforms) in coherent pursuit of a business outcome. Enterprise Architecture is what helps you to manage Complexity and reach Clarity.
But perhaps there’s an issue here. Not everyone understands the same thing when hearing “Architecture”—there is Enterprise Architecture, Systems Architecture, Software Architecture—and buildings architecture…. I’m using the term in the sense of the highest level abstraction describing the assets and relationships needed to deliver a business service—and only some of these will be automated. This, I think, is Enterprise Architecture, which bridges the gap between technology and the business and helps to ensure that IT investment delivers business outcomes effectively. Drill down into Enterprise Architecture and you get to Systems Architecture (perhaps the way an automated system hangs together), Software Architecture (the way programs and their compenents are arranged) and so on. But I’ve probably got that “wrong” for some readers, except that someone has probably used the terms in the same sense I did somewhere. There is still a semantics issue around “Architecture”, so it is important to define one’s terms.
Beyond IBM’s support for Dev Ops and Enterprise Architecture, perhaps the most interesting point to note is that IBM is measuring its technology successes in business terms these days. So, they really are focussing on “buisiness outcomes” which is good—and it is still the only company I know with a “Software Economist” (Walker Royce). So, when one of the invited IBM customers talk about the huge cost of the Airbus A380 being two years late and the redesign of the software development process resulting in the A350 coming in on time (and the company being able to estimate and track this with some confidence), with the success metric being the company saving the cost of late delivery, you know that some companies, at least, are moving up a level in development maturity.