Category: Enterprise Architecture

IDentity Managment Strategy

Before we seek Identify Management solution for an organization, the organization must define its business strategy in context to IDM. There are organization which requires to have multiple credential to login to multiple system in the landscape. Most of the federal government organization believes that the system landscape is much more secure when each system in the landscape has its own authentication scheme. To amplify that point, each user of the system in the landscape will have 5-6 credentials. One login credential for desktop, one for email, one for using internet, one for using the systems, one for using HR systems and etc. The idea behind this is, if a system security is compromised then it will not impact other system. At the same time, each users are asked to remember 5-6 user name and password. Users tend to forget the user name/password and require more help desk personnel which increases over all support cost.

On the other hand, when organization require to provide ease of use for its systems in landscape, it moves towards single sign on (SSO) and security architecture principle is one user, one identification. The risk with this approach is, if a system is compromised, the entire systems in the landscape will be compromised.

For each scenario, there is entirely a different identity management solution. IDM includes

  • User provisioning
  • User management
    • Role Management
    • Audit Control
  • Access Management
    • Authentication
    • Authorization
  • Directory services
  • Work flow
  • Federation
  • User de-provisioning

The components of IDM aligns to the process steps I laid out for IDM few months ago.

Identity Management solution can be simplified when the existing and must have directory service is extended to use for other areas. That is, when an organization uses active directory services as a authentication scheme for a desktop/laptop/pc and there is no plan to change it, the recommendation is to study how the active directory service can be made available for other areas like authentication of web application, email and etc.

Take aways:

  1. Must define the identify management direction based on business strategy (in the context of IDM)
  2. Leverage existing and must have directory service
  3. Select a product (for instance Sun Identity Management) which integrates with directory service, user management, and open standards for work flow , provisioning and de-provisioning
  4. Based on IDM direction, synchronize  the credentials (like email, desktop login, unix server login, mainframe login, HR system login, benefits system login)
  5. Manage user entry and exit process in a cohesive manner and automate the creation and deletion of credentials in all areas.

Note: This page is used for google’s page rank emprical analysis. The links will be created based on the random graph created.  This is node #5 which has the key word:  xysivabodzinyx , xysivabodzinxy

An Evaluation Matrix for an Enterprise Architect

Some times, a simple concept may be crystal clear to you in your mind, but, it may be difficult to grasp by the audience. Enterprise Architects must continuously work on the soft skills to communicate a message successfully irrespective of the audience knowledge level. In that regard, an evaluation matrix for an enterprise architect is given below.

  • Perform the necessary action to meet the given objective and unable to communicate to the necessary stakeholders = FAILED,  as an enterprise architect to meet the mission
  • Does not perform the necessary action to meet the given objective & unable to communicate to the necessary stakeholders = FAILED, as an enterprise architect to meet the mission
  • Does not perform the necessary action to meet the given objective = FAILED, as an enterprise architect to meet the mission
  • Perform the necessary action to meet the given objective and able to communicate to the necessary stakeholders = SUCCESSFUL, as an enterprise architect to meet the mission

A set of soft skill must be possessed by an enterprise architect to be a successful enterprise architect. Enterprise architect must be able to connect to the application team, infrastructure team, IT finance team, IT procurement team, business teams, senior management, executive management and others.

How EA can assist in the global economical crisis?

Economist and financial analyst says the current economical condition is the worst since great depression. The crisis exist in all fronts. The magnitude of global issues are very high. The financial & economical growth are not bright in near future. Companies are looking for cost optimization and eliminating discretionary spending in all areas.

Enterprise architects can play a signficant role in any organization to optimize the current spend and provide facts based data to eliminate the discretionary spending. Enterprise architects are the best qualified and well suited person to perform this role since they understand holistic view of organization from financial, organization, application, business, information and infrastructure perspective.

Potential cost optimization areas where enterprise architects can assist an organization

  • Contract negogiation with existing providers (software, hardware, maintenace and enhancement, right sourcing, contractor, professional services)
  • Application portfolio assessment – Sundown or eliminate applications in the landscape does not add signficant value to core business processes
  • Technology simplification – Eliminate and reduce the technologies in the landscape
  • Sourcing strategy – Bundle the applciation for cost effective service offering
  • Reduce technological complexity – Migrate the enterprise software (like IBM websphere or BEA weblogic, IBM DB2, Oracle, Portal server and etc)usage to open source software
  • Maximize  Web 2.0 technology for corporate colloboration- (Use Wiki, Blogs, youtube and etc)
  • Assist business teams in optimizing the business processes – reduce steps in return reduce head counts
  • Explore to migrate current licensing models to the term based licenses to improve the cash flow of organization

Enterprise Architecture – Team Size Analysis

I believe there has been increased clarity on the information architecture roles in the recent years. Particularly there are few good healthy discussions on how to develop an enterprise architects and what should be their roles? and what is the value proposition to an organization? In general, there is a better awareness in the senior and executive management teams to differentiate an enterprise architect with other architects (system architects, information architects, business architects, process architects and etc). It has been a challenge for the executives to define the apt size of the enterprise architects for their organization.

The question is: What is the apt size of an enterprise architecture team for an organization?

Consultant Answer: It depends..

Consultant answer is correct.

The real question is: What are the factors used to determine size of an enterprise architecture team in an organization?

The list of enterprise level factors used to determine the size of an enterprise architecture team.

  • Number of products/service provided by the organization
  • Revenue of the organization
  • Profit of the organization
  • Business Process maturity of the organization
  • Finance & controlling maturity level

The list of IT factors used to determine the size of an enterprise architecture team.

  • Number of people (including employees, contractors, consultants, out sourced) and their ratio
  • IT budget and Finance management controls
  • IT Process and system maturity level
  • Enterprise architecture adaption rate (or EA maturity assessment)

Based on the above factors the EA team can be classified as large, medium and small. Large is of team size of 50+, medium is of team size between 15-50 and small is of team size less than 20. Let me emphasis the small EA team. I believe majority of the corporation will come under this category and let me expand on the small size of EA team.

Organization structure for a small size EA Team:

Chief Architect (or manager of EA team) should directly report to the CIO. Along with EA function, IT Finance management, IT Security, SOX controls, vendor management functionalities also should come under the same small size EA team.

(Double click the image to zoom..)

Patterns in software engineering – An Introduction

What is a pattern? (in software engineering world)

A predefined solution for a problem for the given context.

Key words in the above definition is problem, solution and the context.

What are the different categories of the patterns ? (in software engineering)

  • Analysis patterns
  • Design patterns
  • Architectural patterns
  • Technology patterns
  • Integration patterns

Why do we use the patterns?

Objective of patterns is to enhance

  • Reusabililty
  • Repeatability

in return will fetch

  • Cost efficiency
  • Agility (time to market)

Where the pattern concepts started in general ?

The pattern concept has been in use for thousands of years. In the building architecture and design, we have been using the patterns quite extensively. Ancient buildings like pyramids, roman collegium and lot more used the patterns in the implementation. For instance, the pillars used in ancient temples built in Thailand, India and etc are patterns. They did not design the pillars every time. The pillars are to hold the load of the building. We can notice the reusability and repeatability of the pillars in multiple places in those ancient building architecture which in returned improved the ancients to be effective and quick.

What are the types of patterns in each category?

There are conceptual, logical and physical patterns in each category. Conceptual patterns are very high level solution for the given problem at the given context. Physical patterns spells out the implementation solution for the given problem at the given context. Logical patterns are between physical and conceptual.

Different types of architects

Architect defines the architecture. Broadly the architects are divided into the technical and business architects. The business architect are focused on the economical change of the market and devise  a set of  business process  for enterprise or systems adaption and to attain enterprise or system’s mission and vision.  The technical architects are  focused on implementation of the business architecture defined to meet enterprise’s or system’s mission and vision.

The technical architects are broadly divided into

    System/Product architect
    Domain Architect
    Solution Architect
    Applied Architect
    Enterprise architect

Based on the architect characteristics, the types of technical architects shall be divided into the generalist and specialist. The specialist focus on one specific area and the knowledge acquired and possessed by the architect is deep. Where as the generalist, knowledge acquired and possessed in a set of areas is broad.
System/product Architect

System/Product architect are the generalist, responsible for the cohesive architecture solution of the system or product. They have equal strength in the both technical and business area. Plays a vital role to bring all the stake holders together and ensure all the stake holders concern’s are captured methodologically, formally documented and validated. Assist the project manager to make the management decision and makes key technical decision for the project/system/product. Brings all the technical architects, development teams, system analyst, and support teams together to ensure the cohesive architecture is defined to meet the stake holders concern and ensures the defined architecture is implemented. The system architecture validation is done by using the user case scenarios. +1 view of the architecture. The architecture verification is done through reviews.

Domain Architect

Domain architects are the specialist, responsible for the architecture solution for that domain. The domain architect is an abstract definition and there are various domain architects. The domain architects specific to the web development projects are

  • Application architect
  • Data architect
  • Information architect
  • Integration architect
  • Security architect
  • IT Process architect
  • Infrastructure architect
    • Network architect
    • Server architect
    • Web run time architect

Solution Architect

Solution architecture team is the set of specialist working together to research and seek solutions for a specific problem.

Applied Architect

Applied architects are match makers. The applied architects have the known set of problems, solution and context. The architectural patterns are applied to the system or product. The architectural patterns includes to the process solution or methodology for the implementation and its style.

Enterprise Architect

Enterprise architect are responsible for defining the holistic architecture solution for the entire enterprise.

How to become an enterprise architect ?

For past few years, quite a few employees, contractors, consultants, right sourcing consultants in the organization asked me this question, what they should do to work for me? In other words, how they could become an enterprise architect. Generally, when someone has this question in the organization, I asked them to schedule a mentoring meeting and try to understand what they want to do and how their aspiration and ambition fits into an enterprise architect’s requirement and coach them accordingly. When this questions became a frequently asked question to me, I decided to document the state transition diagram for an enterprise architect and started providing it to whom ever wants to become an enterprise architect.

I believe this has a value to anyone who wants to become an enterprise architect. This state transition is an ideal road map to become an enterprise architect. When I attended a Gartner conference recently, I informally bounced this idea with fellow enterprise architecture managers, chief architects, chief strategist and most of them agreed that this is the ideal road map for developing enterprise architect talent in an organization.