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A Visionary Enterprise 2.0 Framework

4 March 2010

When visiting a local company last month, I was given a glimpse of their requirements for their new Knowledge Services Framework vision and requirements.  It was inspiring and incredible.  They had mapped all the functions that they perform, identified existing systems that matched, and then had measured each of them to the following vision.

Here is their requirements as presented.  The highlights are theirs.

leverage consumer applications proven to augment existing work processes (parity plus)

specifically targeted to business requirements and opportunities

access with only a browser and an internet connection

no reliance on proprietary systems or technology

development based on open industry standards

built upon a semantic web framework

embraces and enables BYOC model

no operating system dependency

provides web service capabilities

tuned options for mobile devices

no browser dependency

no net cost increase

no desktop footprint

100% cloud ready

Vision into Reality

Okay, very pretty and exciting, but we all know from experience that idealistic visions are usually really good on slides, but falter in reality.  Can this be made to work in a large (multi-billion dollar), established company with a full suite of legacy products?

After what I saw, I would say Yes.

They had looked at their existing systems and if they didn’t meet the requirements, the vendors were told the issues and given a chance, over 1-2 years, to update their product.  When they didn’t, they were replaced.  This isn’t the act of rash adopters.  This is planned and thought-out.

For new functionality, like blogs and enhanced collaboration spaces, they identified new products, many of them open source, that met their requirements.  With open standards, like CMIS, they were plugged-in to the architecture.

They are building a private cloud that allows them to install applications into either Amazon’s platform or locally based upon their needs.  They are currently using Amazon’s cloud primarily for development now, but will start mixing it up shortly.

Someone brought in a Mac and said that he now did all his work on it.  He had one Windows image to work with a legacy piece of software that needed IE, finance related I believe, but he demonstrated the freedom from the tightly configured company-owned laptop.  With a browser and Internet connection, he was good.

They are looking into Semantic capabilities.  They want to uniquely adapt the social web with the semantic web in context of [their] business processes.  They have a firm grasp of what they are trying to accomplish and are talking to multiple people about how do execute.  They aren’t leaning on one “expert”, but seeking a complete picture.

How Do You Measure Up?

I’ve read a lot of people talking about transforming the Enterprise with new technologies.  I’ve seen them talk about enabling people to work.  This is a complete transformation.  Will users leverage the new stuff?  Well, they’ll have to use a lot of it because it will be where critical information is stored.  The champions have also been selling the idea across the company as the technology evolved to meet their requirements.

It is some cool stuff, potentially the coolest I have seen in technology world to date.  I wish them all the luck in the world and hope that I get an opportunity to help out.

This is one project I would not delegate to my team.  I’m not worried that they couldn’t deliver, I just want to play with the cool toys in the beautiful architecture.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. 9 March 2010 10:54 pm

    It’s very rare to see large companies not only getting one new system but working on a vision of a completely new architecture that is well ahead of the game. Thank goodness for such people / companies – it helps push vendors along and keeps us all mentally stimulated with new things rather than putting bits of old technology on top of older technology…

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  2. 10 March 2010 6:23 pm

    Great post, can you explain what “no desktop capabilities” is?

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    • 10 March 2010 7:09 pm

      The general concept was that there was no dependency on installing things on the client. If my laptop dies, I could get a new one and start working immediately. Everything is accessible through the Internet.

      This is not to say that Office or other tools wouldn’t facilitate people working, but it would be their choice of tools, not dictated.

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  3. William permalink
    11 March 2010 3:14 pm

    Wow. Sounds like Jumper 2.0…

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  4. Steve Phillips permalink
    12 March 2010 2:15 pm

    Now Pie, you have a very capable team that I have met! I guess that I am more intrigued by the “no net cost increase.” Is that based on licensing, or is this suppose to be more of a plug and play approach with no real internal development costs? I guess if you task vendors to provide specific capabilities within a certain time frame you mitigate dev costs and associated risks… I laud the approach, but remain skeptical until I get to play with the shiny new toys….

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  5. Mark R. permalink
    20 April 2010 12:43 am

    Yes cool stuff; in connecting some of the dots between “vision” and “reality” here are two technology agonistic assumptions I believe are near the top of starting a business “culture transformation”:

    1) For the “planned and thought-out” part, an understanding of the business needs of the consumers, their satisfaction levels (with services) and the associated business context of the “applications/programs” within the enterprise (organization) that deliver those services is essential; and

    2) I would also suggest the work to understand the scope of the “planned and thought-out” part is not a “miracle occurs here moment” and is critical before getting anywhere near the topic of requirements.

    If interested, a historical perspective on “access with only a browser”, Wired article – L. Ellison’s perspective in 1995;

    http://www.danielroth.net/

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