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Preview: Enterprise Architecture: From Incite comes Insight...

Enterprise Architecture: From Incite comes Insight...

James McGovern is an industry thought leader whose focus is on the human aspects of technology around open source, SOA, software security, enterprise architecture and agile software development.

Updated: 2015-09-16T16:21:14.211-04:00


Are you a hammer or a nail?


If someone gave you a hammer to dig a hole, and you didn’t know any better, you’d probably come to the conclusion that the hammer wasn’t a great tool.   Of course, you’d be wrong because it’s the perfect tool for driving nails…it just wasn’t designed for digging holes.

This scenario seems be one of biggest challenges in many large enterprises.   We take a perfectly good tool, and try to use it in ways for which it was not designed. In the process we undermine people’s perception of the tool’s value, though no fault of the tool, not to mention our own credibility.

We also treat people like hammers and then wonder why we get suboptimal results...


Does have anything to do with selling?


I have always been fascinated with but even more fascinated with the users of it. I have noticed an interesting trend amongst my professional friends who are sales people. The ones who suck at using actually are good sales people. The opposite is also true in that the ones that are great with kinda suck at selling.

I attribute my observation to the fact that people who keep systems such as up to date do so because they really don't like talking to people. It is so much easier to check emails and perform other low-value clerical tasks than it is to sell. Sadly, many sales managers feed this reality. I hope I am not alone in believing the only way to make money is to talk to people.


2014 Thoughts on Public Speaking...


Like most IT professionals, I too am an introvert. The key difference in me is that I am confident in my abilities to think on my feet and love the challenge of difficult questions asked by competitors, hecklers and jokers.I find immense reward in the opportunity to talk about things that interest me.

In 2014, like any other year I plan on speaking at four to six events on a various of IT topics.If you’d like to invite me to your event (and don’t already know my contact details) then I’d suggest contacting me using LinkedIn (I prefer introductions over connection requests). When contacting, share a little bit about why you think I would make for a great speaker for your event, a little about the event itself with an emphasis on who are the attendees and of course whether I will have to seek out work travel expense approval or whether you have that covered on my behalf.

I generally prefer events where there’s no pay to play and it’s my opinion that you’re after rather than a pseudo endorsement of my employer...


Industry Analysts, IaaS and Operating Systems...


Once again, I will point out missing aspects in industry analyst conversations around cloud computing...

The conversation around cloud computing tends to classify technologies according to whether it is viewed as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) or Software as a Service (SaaS) representing them in an almost stack-like notation that never seems to address fundamental architecture concerns of any particular layer.

Should we be asking ourselves, does cloud computing deserve a different type of operating system? Many applications whether written in Java, .NET or even Ruby on Rails runs in some type of virtual machine container that has its own mechanisms for traditional operating system functions such as memory management. So, why are we duplicating functionality across stack components? Would cloud not be more efficient if we eliminated this type of redundancy?

Consider other aspects of how we deploy applications to the cloud and how this differs from traditional enterprise computing. In cloud, we often deploy a specific part of our application whether it is an application, database, web server and so on in its own virtual machine (VM). In this scenario, we don't need an operating system to provide either process isolation nor complex security schemes to provide one account/user from another.

The operating systems we run on cloud environments still are centered around the notion that infrastructure people twiddle configuration files vs the cloud paradigm of providing APIs for dynamic configuration change programmatically.

Since industry analysts love to show disrespect to open source as well as treat Microsoft as the whipping boy, why can't they beat up on operating system vendors to create a cloud operating system that is separate and distinct but otherwise fully interoperable from an application perspective that lightens the stack....


When it comes to Industry Analysts, Trust but Verify...


Many industry analysts and whitepaper writers participate in ‘pay for play’ deals with the packaged software vendors, whereby a vendor pays a pretty substantial amount for the analyst firm to come over and review the package, check some references, express a point of view, etc.  They then resell this paid-for information as many times as they can, as well as incentivising the listed vendors to buy self-promoting reprints.

Many industry analyst firms will also assist enterprises in devising RFP templates to help you "evaluate" enterprise software. If you ever get the opportunity to see one first hand, they tend to contain an exhaustive list of features with some level of weighting attached but otherwise are still very high-level in nature. Most industry analyst firm criteria tends to miss the capture of process nuances especially ones that are unique to your enterprise...


Do CIOs understand the reality of outsourcing?


There are more than a few fingers pointed towards the levels of competency of people in India (or lack of) but no one ever seems to discuss the onshore challenges which in my humble opinion are actually more important issues to address. Ask yourself for a minute, when you signed up for outsourcing did you acknowledge the fact that project management becomes a series of late night and early morning status calls, followed by issues logs and status reports? Nothing much gets done for an abundance of reporting?

Do you think outsourcing can be truly successful when the onsite staff spends 90% of their time managing offshore resources and not supplying technical competency...


Open Source Policy Administration System Project Plans?


We all know the horror stories behind unsuccessful policy administration system replacement projects. Google ‘Policy Administration implementations success rates’ and the results more than tell the real story.  After you scroll down the self-serving ‘studies’ and gushing customer write-ups supplied by consulting companies and vendors, real-world insights runs thinner than cheap wine.

It is easy to find industry analysts waxing poetically about their unique insights that are otherwise not very insightful. Some examples are:

- Pick the right vendor (I would love to hear from a CIO who goes out of their way to pick the wrong one)

- IT needs to better align with the business (I also believe that the cafeteria staff need to align with the security guards overseeing the parking lot)

- Make sure you have a thoughtful project plan and transparent communication (ever see an industry analyst actually share what they think a good project plan looks like)

So, instead of sitting back with our rinse and repeat broken approaches, I would like to propose the creation of an open source policy administration system replacement project plan. I am looking for vendors of administration systems to share their implementation plans such that we can create a unified reusable resource for all to benefit from.

If you would like to contribute, please drop me a note...


Musings of a Teleworker...


Many people may know that I am a teleworker and spend lots of time interacting with clients and coworkers over the phone. Over time, I have come to smile when experiencing the following scenarios:
  • A child is heard in the background - preferably screaming, crying or yellingS
  • Someone's dog is heard barking in the background
  • Someone openly admits to be pacing in their kitchen (or insert room name here) rather than watching your virtual room presentation
  • You hear the tail end of a toilet flushing or someone washing their hands
  • Someone goes on hold and your conference call lights up with elevator music or an automated message notifying you that you're on hold, and begins selling you some telecom service
  • The Mailman, UPS, Fed Ex, DHL or some other entity arrives at the door and someone has to answer
  • Someone is heard washing dishes
  • Someone is multi-tasking on two or more calls and fails to mute their line when engaged heavily on the "other" calls  Landscapers or workers (home repair - anything)  in the background


Has the focus on "climate" destroyed teaching of non-violence in our schools?


I grew up in the 80's where you could find me every Sunday at the Colonial theater watching Kung Fu flicks with all the other kids from different neighborhoods. There were gangs at the time and I knew them all. We would act out the latest moves we just saw in the parking lot that sometimes spilled over onto Farmington Avenue impeding traffic.

Martial arts films are the only movies in existence that consistently show women of clear mind and action fully capable of defending themselves. In America we look at women who can fight as “manly” and unattractive. Martial arts encourage women to learn self defense to cultivate and preserve their beauty and spirit. At the same time, we learn that violence is never to be taken lightly. That seemingly casually aggressive situations can turn deadly fast.

Unfortunately the biggest mistake we make in the West is to think that someone who loves to study boxing,  kung-fu, wrestling or jiu-jitsu loves to fight. We think somewhere internally they enjoy hurting other people. Now take a look at Buddhist monks. They are known globally as one of the most peaceful people on the planet. But they are also known for having a long tradition of cultivating self defense techniques.It is precisely because they have extensive knowledge of how to break bones and choke people, that they choose not to.

Now we see bullying as a long ignored social epidemic. We see crimes against women and young girls as a global cancer. Our children are also horribly out of shape. Teen obesity and disease from poor health are common among our kids. It is not the parents, educators or politicians who are helping America solve this issue. It is a family of martial artists that are stepping up in ways that only academia could dream of.

In sixth grade, I had the opportunity to learn martial arts for the first time as it was taught in our Middle school free of charge. Sadly, this was disrupted by President Ronald Reagan who found the need to deport citizens of Iran. I lost my first sensei and to this day hold feelings that I was robbed by a misguided culture that thought it was protecting me from harm, but in reality the exact opposite happened.

Yesterday, my oldest son who by the way is also in sixth grade achieved junior Shodan. Interesting to see how much progress can be made between generations...


Insurance Core Systems Modernization: You won't hear this from an industry analyst...


Carriers have lots of rules that govern everything from rating and underwriting to policy processing. Most carriers attempting to replace their policy administration system forget about this important point and discover too late that the number of rules will more than like overwhelm a new core system.

Smart insurers focus first on product configuration and rating migrating legacy systems to bespoke rating engines. Carriers often have multiple rating engines tied to policy administration systems, web portals and other systems which leads to inconsistent pricing, compliance issues and the inability to develop innovative products.

Many industry analysts fail to tell their customers that the rating engines that are locked into most policy administration systems are often inflexible and lack the ability to scale. Some carriers have even figured out that they don't really need to replace their administration system and just needed to focus on externalizing their rating and rules...


Why do some IT leaders always advocate for hybrid approaches?


In your career travels, you may have ran across those IT leaders who always seek middle ground. The glow about achieving a hybrid approach. While this approach is popular, this often results in both suboptimal leadership and business outcomes...


Ever heard the phrase: Shit or get off the pot? What happens when you seek to choose a hybrid position? Are you OK with half of it being in the pot while the other half runs down your leg? Leadership isn't about appeasing people but more about achieving necessary outcomes when tend to be towards one side over another.

People love to be reasonable.Striking a balance makes the person who is attempting to strike it appear a reasonable sort of person. Who wants to be unbalanced? After you have looked at the pros and cons and understood the competing arguments, you should balance them out, yes?  But when someone strikes a balance, they rarely say what balance has to be struck and why. Instead, they throw this phrase in as the final justification.

It allows someone to come into a discussion and own new midway territory that is hard to argue with. Talk of balance can be reassuring when actually, what is needed is a radical rebalancing of priorities. No balancing is required when the scales come down firmly on one side. In short, striking a balance is woolly and platitudinous, neither ideal when you are dealing with a statistical reality. Fewer targets, just like a little bit of ham for a vegetarian or the Pope agreeing to share the Vatican with the devil, is still the wrong thing to do...


When do screenshots become a documentation worst practice?


It is common for modern computer documentation to be filled with screenshots, demonstrating how to use every field and control of every window provided by an application.  This leads to thick documents with little long term useful information...

There is a significant cost related to keeping documents in sync with the software they describe. If the documentation is being developed at the same time that the software is being developed, it is possible that screen layouts will be changed at the last minute, requiring last-minute changes to the documentation. When a new version of the application becomes available, a whole new set of screenshots must be generated and inserted into the document. This leads developers to avoid improving screen layouts or adding valuable features due to the cost of updating the documentation.

In many enterprises, there are review processes for pretty much everything that gets created, including documentation. Whenever we go down the path of focusing on screenshots, we get drawn into a trap of then also worrying about whether we are using the right icons or other aesthetic considerations while ignoring substance.

Does someone truly benefit over the long haul in having documentation that shows a First Name field should be populated with a first name? I have observed that if user interfaces require documentation then it tends to point to a lack of focus on usability while developing the application. What if we decided to do the exact opposite and find ways to make documentation history?

Should screens for enterprise applications be self-documenting? Many screens tend to mirror the needs of the data to be captured vs focusing on what is the outcome the user wants to accomplish. Think for a moment about your most favored enterprise time tracking application. Does having a box of rows and columns where the user has no freakin clue as to what to put where feel like a request for documenting screenshots or does it feel more like an opportunity to do things differently?

An outcome focused timetracking application would have a totally different interaction. Consider the scenario where a team of people are assigned to a long-term project and for the most part do the same activities on a weekly basis. Imagine a timetracking application that upon signin knew who you were and started with a simple question of: Did you do the same activities this week as last? and simply copied them using whatever logic is appropriate...


Three criteria that industry analysts miss when it comes to selecting a standalone rating engine? (Part One)


Many carriers are realizing that they need alternatives to maintaining rates and rules in legacy COBOL. Many Tier One carriers may have jumped the bandwagon too early and purchased rating engines with sticker prices into the millions without realizing there are better viable alternatives in the marketplace.


First and foremost, industry analysts tend to compare surface-level product features and usually are blissfully ignorant as to understanding subtle architecture nuances. Please note that many industry analysts gather information solely via survey methods and may not come from a technical background. Below are three architecture considerations that are absolutely vital in gaining insight from a vendor prior to purchase.

1. Microsoft Excel: I recently observed an insurer complain about limitations in using spreadsheets for actuarial modeling who created a RFP for a better solution. Interestingly enough, they chose a product based solely on analyst features that also happened to simply wrap Microsoft Excel! While this particular insurer didn't have technical expertise to understand the trap they walked into, one clue would have been to look at rating engines that ONLY run on Microsoft Windows.

2. Cloud: Does your rating engine vendor restrict how you deploy the product? Two different insurers I frequently interact with have a strategy to migrate away from physical servers in their datacenter towards virtual private cloud in HP datacenters. One insurer was sticker shocked when their vendor quoted them a ridiculous price under the guise that they couldn't measure deployment and therefore had to purchase an unlimited license. The other insurer fared even worse. The vendor required the insurer to purchase an entirely new product.

3. Mobility: Another insurer is currently working on a game changing mobile application that will allow their captive agents to perform extensive quoting in the field. Their current rating engine vendor unfortunately doesn't have an offering that works with Android. The carrier now has to run two different rating engine products.

I will be attending the ACORD LOMA event in Las Vegas and am game to share experiences and perspectives on the other marketplace offerings over dinner. If you won't be attending this event, but otherwise want to discuss this in more detail, just drop me a note at using your WORK email along with a few time slots and I will setup a conference call via Outlook calendar invite as a followup.


The secret relationship between Annual Performance Reviews, Hitler and You!


You’re probably a nice person, how easy would it have been to persuade you to play a small part in the Holocaust?  In an interview between former Nazi Officer Adolf Eichmann and the author Hannah Arendt, the author asked Eichmann if it was difficult to persuade people to send all of those Jewish people to their deaths? Eichmann replied that it was actually very easy because bureaucratic language allowed it. They simply had to say that they had “no choice”—that they were just “following orders.”

Much of the annual review process is a measure of how well you practice followership.  Why does IT continue to miss deadlines, go over budget and almost always deliver late? Is it for the same reason that the masses are following a Hitler-like leader?

Let's remember that Hitler was democratically elected and was really good in using leadership-oriented words.  Eichmann and his fellow officers used the word Amtssprache (office talk), to justify their horrific actions during the Holocaust. It was policy, I was just doing my job. I was just doing what I was told to by people in charge.

But you wouldn’t do that would you? How easy would it be for you to be persuaded to electrocute a stranger into unconsciousness despite their screams for you to stop? I bet if you were to look at the annual reviews of those whom you personally consider leaders, they are the ones that buck the trend, do mediocre at best in terms of how they are measured on their annual review but otherwise kick ass at delivering high quality working software, on time and below budget.

Be careful when you hear the word leadership being used in a sentence. Everyone has a different definition...


How to fake leadership...


Let's face it, the call for leadership in corporate America is alarmingly loud. Yet, somehow many who rise the ladder to managementleadership ranks, tend to fake their way through it. You can probably find lots of articles on becoming a genuine leader, but very few on how to fake it. Let me show you the way...

Below are several ways you can increase your fake leadership potential...

  1. The more you do, the better value you are. Everyone knows that there is only one thing worse than doing the wrong thing right and that is not doing enough of it. 
  2. Delivery is job one. Doesn’t matter what you deliver, as long as you do. Just like postal employees with a heavy round at Christmas, what is IN those parcels is irrelevant, just get delivering. 
  3. Walk very fast. You need speed to ensure dynamism. The older you get, the greater the need to gallop down corridors to maintain your aura of urgency. 
  4. Relationships are key. The currency is popularity. Popularity among others above and alongside you. But don’t be too popular. That way lies flavor of the month and last month was January. Don’t be a February because March comes round soon enough. Do something more simple like bringing in donuts periodically. 
  5. Always agree with your boss. You come in very handy when there is never dissent. Being labeled as a team player is more important than having any form of conceptual integrity. This is the sole reason why so few Enterprise Architects and no one in Information Security ever becomes CIO. 

Assclown Blogging


I have been known on occasion to comment on other blogs but never look inward as to how mines could have been better. Today's blog is on why my blogging is reminiscent of assclownery...


When I first started my blog, I had zero thoughts as to what I would write about. I simply said I would share whatever I was thinking about at the time. Sometimes, my mind plays tricks on me and encourages me to vomit on paper. My brain won't rest until the post has been written.

Remember those index cards we all learned how to use in elementary school in order to structure my thoughts. Well, truth be told I never learned how to actually structure much of anything. I wonder if there is a closet liberal hiding in the body of a conservative.

My blog sometimes even suffer from basic clerical mistakes that any spell-checking program would have caught. For some strange reason, I almost never see these mistakes until after I have clicked post. I guess I am hypocritical when I encourage others to pay attention to details.

Some people think I am a rebel without a pause. Letting it flow is an outlet that hides the lack of self-reflective behavior. Being the proverbial bull in the china shop is priceless. I could of course remix my blog posts to better classify my posts but find delight in the romantic notion that someone stumbling upon it will want to be the human search engine and crawl everything I have shared looking for little nuggets of insight.

I wonder if people reading my blog have ever figured out that my blog isn't about technology but all about me? I have convinced myself that a random mix of posts is a better way to tell the world, the random mix of my life. As a technology DJ, I frequently attempt spin Public Enemy and combine it with Mozart. After all, success is in the mix.

Some think I am a storyteller, others a hopeless romantic. In my own mind, I am an activist where the goal is for people to take up a cause, to stand for reason and amplify some of the otherwise hidden goodness that people on our planet have to offer each other...


Five Mistakes CIOs make in asking analyst firms to create vendor shortlists...


I have lots of friends who are industry analysts and have over time come to appreciate the variety of tactics some use to take money from large enterprises. I am of the belief that if I publicly suggest a better way, that the marketplace for innovation will improve and that the best products/services will thrive...

1. Choosing analysts that have never walked in your shoes: Analysts come from a variety of backgrounds ranging from journalism to consultant to even having been a practitioner in an end-user company. While it is possible for those who are journalists to learn the nuances of products, just like consultants they have never had to live with the choices they have made.

2. Not understanding analyst bias: Many CIOs remain blissfully ignorant as to which vendors purchase services from analyst firms and which vendors choose to skip paying fees. If you are going to trust an analyst firm to help you create a short-list, you should demand that the analyst firm provide full disclosure in this regard. Even after disclosure, you should ask for an even number of choices of vendors that both subscribe to the analyst services as well as a few that do not.

3. Not understanding analyst revenue streams: Some analyst firms have gotten particularly good in helping customers build shortlists. In this scenario, if you are replacing an existing system can you truly trust analyst guidance? Is it in the best interest of the analyst firm to get you to switch to something new where they can create an engagement or to tell you as part of a "seat" that there are ways to achieve your outcome without requiring a rip and replace?

4. Not understanding interoperability: Nowadays, whenever you purchase an enterprise application you will more than likely integrate it with other enterprise products. Having an understanding not just of functionality but system qualities such as the performance or security measures that a vendor took when developing a product will help avoid many headaches down the road. Many analyst methodologies are simply based on anecdotal conversations with marketplace players, industry analyst relations professionals and sending out surveys that almost never ask for any information around performance benchmarking, applicable information security standards, etc.

5. Not understanding integration vendor coupling: Whenever you purchase a product, it will almost always require professional services. It is important to know upfront whether the required consulting services can be delivered by others in the marketplace or solely by the software vendor itself. Not having choice in integrator will most certainly increase the costs of implementation.


IT Staffing Firm Worst Practices


Sooner or later, you will be contacted by an IT staffing firm whom will wax poetic on their best practices. To that I say, let's analyze a few of them...

Recruiting Process: Clients hire staffing partners to do something clients aren't capable of doing internally. If that is the case, why do you see so many agencies posting client requisitions on job boards. Is there much value being added in an agency firm spamming Monster and every LinkedIn group they can access?

Turnover: There are times where clients go to staffing firms for access to low-cost resources. This however doesn't mean that clients want frequent resource turnover. This is almost guaranteed in scenarios where staffing firms want to maintain margin by sticking it to candidates. Sadly, turnover doesn't just effect candidates and also applies to staffing firm personnel as well. Why are these positions filled with college grads, professionals who failed as sales people or even worse homemakers who are looking to make spare change.

Database: Yes, your database is proprietary, only that it is probably not a real database. At best it is a contact application that maintains a file pointer to a resume. I do acknowledge that it is filled with more names than you know what to do with, but what is its value over simply searching LinkedIn?

Loyalty: What good is a big database if few candidates contained within want to do business with you? Let's face it, there is little loyalty in the world of staffing. If you only reach out to candidates when you have an "opportunity" but otherwise can hear crickets on the other end when they reach out to you, then what should clients expect?

Job Descriptions: Candidates are more than capable of reading a job description, so you don't need to read it to them. What you do need to do is proactively have answers to candidate questions such as the type of work, the compensation, amount of travel if applicable and of course a sense of the role related to work/life balance.


Lean Thinking and Zero-Based Budgeting


In zero-based budgeting, every line item of the budget must be approved by the business. This is distinct from asking for a delta increase or decrease based on prior numbers. In reviewing a zero-based budget, no reference is made to the previous level of expenditure. Zero-based budgeting requires the budget request to be examined thoroughly at each revision.

While I hate the supposed bureaucracy that can emerge from zero-based budgeting, I believe there is an immense opportunity to eliminate wasteful spending as well. If IT wants to align with the business, it has to have clear insight into past, present and future spend and focus on utilizing money in the best way possible...


What is the purpose of education?


Dropout rates are increasing and American kids simply aren't keeping up with kids in education. I wonder if the towns you live in and their boards of education have any level of understanding that kids might be bored of education?

As a parent of two school-aged children, I sometimes wonder if I am alone in observing the increasing mismatch between traditional curricular standards of content-based instruction and the new forms of thinking required by our digital, distributed workplace?

We are no longer in the industrial age where routine thinking skills were a core requirement. Henry Ford was a proponent of education primarily to create a steady supplier of workers for his factories and to ultimately turn them into customers. Today, those routine thinking skills are increasingly performed by machines or outsourced to countries with lower standards of living and freedom than the United States.

Regardless of whether you have children of your own, taking an interest in how the board of education either fulfills or fails in educating children should be of interest to you. If you have a pension, a 401K or any type of investment, the ability for it to provide a return in your retirement is directly correlated to the success or lack of the ability for the board of education to make education less boring...


McGovernTheory: Thoughts on Successful Living...


In reflecting on my career, I am come to appreciate that I have done many things wrong but also a few things right. First and foremost, I think the thing that I got right was the acknowledgement that in order to have a career, one doesn't have to dedicate and inordinate amount of time and energy but must be savage in their devotion to their trade/craft. 

I am the poster child for the introvert community, yet I am savage when it comes to extroverted activities and the need to connect to others. I spend a lot of time on LinkedIn understanding who are the movers and shakers in hopes of catching an emerging trend before someone else. I use Twitter specifically to connect, interact, and network with various communities of interest to me whether it is about enterprise architecture, information security, martial arts or even sophomoric humor. Through these interactions, I have been lucky enough to make some good friends.

I have been fortunate enough to find a group of like-minded individuals who listen to my rants and screeds and openly amplify them with passion. The people who have made me successful are the ones who themselves have embraced their otherwise unknown celebrity status to not just improve our trade/craft but to also improve the human condition. Whether it is support for noble charities such as the Wounded Warrior Project or initiatives such as Kiva, they are doing their best to help others do their best.

In the circles I travel, I have surrounded myself with successful people who are selfless. They are consummate professionals who engage in giving speeches at industry conferences, sharing their thoughts via blogs and even contributing to open source projects even though they have a day job and a family.  They never make excuses about how busy they are and always find time to do the right thing.


Is university research fundamentally broken?


Picture yourself as a grad student at a major university asking yourself and others what is the incentive structure for research? You write amazing things in cryptic university-like humorless monotone in order to get them published in journals that are not read by practitioners very often. Now compare the ability to write in the human voice using social media where you can simply post something that can be seen, read and interacted on by tens of thousands of people overnight. How should a modern college student rationalize this experience?

As someone who has been published in prestigious journals such as the IEEE Security and Privacy, I cannot answer understand why I did this, what was I chasing and what was the prize I won after being successful in completing the mission.

Should I find other soapboxes to share my rants and screeds, kinda of like what I am doing now? My two sons who are respectively eight and eleven already have accomplished more in the way of peer review, broadening the body of knowledge and other altruistic goals by simply participating in creating content via Twitter and YouTube. As a parent, if they were to ask their college educated Dad, whether they should handcuff themselves to closed source models of peer review, I wouldn't know what to say. I suspect that many of my college-educated peers would be in the same predicament.

As a book author, I have come to learn that much of the peer review processes are less about livability and more about acceptability. Peer reviews are all about gaining consensus approval rather than actually creating something new, compelling and innovative. The marketplace rewards innovators over mere publishers. Look at the business models of Apple and compare it to publishing houses who still maintain old world thinking. One is growing and the other is dying. I hope you are smart enough to understand which is which.

A university should educate, stimulate and titillate the mind expanding beyond arbitrary borders which many do a fine job in achieving. I still however wonder why sage wisdom allows antiquated research models that have proven themselves ancient to still survive. They are on life support and are dying slowly. We need some heroism Kevorkian style. Are there any University Professors willing to pull the plug...


Should the Government Expose those who are lawful Permit Holders?


Without getting too political, I am of the belief that the government should NOT expose the information of those who lawfully hold gun permits. If this information was exposed, it could lead to interesting consequences.

In the State of Connecticut, the sexual offender registry allows any citizen to lookup who is an offender in their neighborhood. The law also provides protection for the offenders. If a person harasses in any way, a convicted sexual offender they can be subject to arrest, yet if a person harasses a lawful gun owner, the penalty is less. Does this feel equitable?

If you are a lawful permit holder and also gainfully employed where you can't bring your guns to work with you, don't you think you just provided a map for criminals looking for weapons to easily find them? The other side of the argument says that criminals may also have a map to those who are not armed, making it easier to commit henous crimes against people who cannot defend themselves with deadly force.

The topic of gun control is politically charged which will cause stupid legislation to occur. What if we instead focused on mental health which both Democrats and Republicans can agree are necessary to address?  We have to be very careful as to what personal information we expose and should establish boundaries as to what one does or even has in their own home. After all, I suspect we all have habits that we wouldn't want to be made public due to legislation...


Government IT procurement processes are a big fat joke!


I have always scratched my head as to why the Government needs to have bureaucratic procurement processes that are incredibly slow and time consuming. If you understand that people want to be paid for their time, then increasing the amount of time spent will result in an increase in the amount charged.

In the enterprise sector, it is almost rare for a large contractor to beholden to a single enterprise. The supplier wants to diversify their revenue sources. Enterprises equally want to see other enterprises as customers of the supplier which may be reflected in reference checks or other practices. There are situations where the suppliers to the government have only one customer and the procurement process has the ability to destroy the competitive market and create monopoly suppliers.

Taxpayers can't afford the kind of "transparency and accountability" that has developed. Worse yet, the ability to foster proper relationships has been eroded by "manufactured" procurement scandals such that buyers isolate themselves from the information they need to make good decisions, or structure mutually beneficial contractual relationships.

Part of solving the fiscal cliff is not to just pontificate about government transparency but to ensure they are using best practices of large enterprises and not just ones invented within the government itself...


Five IT Predictions for 2013


Many industry pundits and thought leaders use the changing of the new year as a reason to make bold predictions. Guess I am no different...So, here are my top five IT predictions for 2013:Developers will become more important but less empowered: Long gone are the days where developers were respected and treated as equal members of the project team. Nowadays, they are subservient to project managers, architects and even the cafeteria workers and cleaning staff in most corporations. Many CIOs are starting to acknowledge that outsourcing to India got them rate arbitrage but little else and therefore are bring work back onshore. As the US developer ranks get rebuilt, they will go through many pains to become first-class IT citizens.CIOs will be forced to spend millions on remediating the plethora of insecure mobile applications. In many respects, mobile applications are actually less secure than their web counterparts. Communities such as the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) are busy understanding all of the nuanced ways that mobile applications can be compromised. This is being done without any press from analyst firms such as Gartner or Forrester. Smart CIOs will start having conversations with even smarter Chief Security Architects whom are either on their payroll or work for firms such as HP, Security Innovation, Cigital or other firms and start to acknowledge that if you install an enterprise application on a device that is controlled by someone else, that the attacker has an unlimited amount of time to decompile it and study.Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is dead. The new conversation will focus on PaaS. The average corporate CIO is being encouraged to think about their business first, then applications then infrastructure; in that order, yet much of the cloud hype is bass akwards. Once the hype disappears, the media will finally come to their senses and start publishing articles of interest that are more business-aligned.Industry Analysts will still treat non-commercial open source as a step-child. Many understand that the Internet would not exist if it were not for non-commercial open source, whether it is Mozilla for browsers, Apache for Web Servers, Bind for DNS, etc. Increasingly, enterprises will start to care less about what vendor a particular piece of software comes from if any and instead focus on whether a piece of software meets their ultimate requirements. Customers sometimes don't care if it is vendor-backed or not, yet analyst firms will continue to play various misdirection tricks to hide the fact that there is no pay-for-play to be had.Big Data will Flame Out and be replaced with a focus on Small Data. If you sell database software and related hardware right now, you are more than likely rolling in the money. Sooner or later, the fad of information architecture will catch up to the point where it needs to demonstrate real return on investment. Many firms are growing their usage of big data techniques but few have generated massive ROI. The focus will shift away from the insatiable need for more data towards focusing on architecture styles that keep data as small as possible.Pray, Fast and Be Charitable...[...]