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.