This week we're calling on Jan Gravesen, Client Technical Adviser and Executive Architect. Jan's family consists of two very active soccer playing boys, and a lovely California girl wife. Outside of work, Jan finds time to play tennis, run, and lift weights. His passion for Enterprise Architecture is contagious. See for yourself in this week's feature article Reasons for resistance to enterprise architecture and ways to overcome it. As you read the article, Jan asks you think about this question: How does the practice of enterprise architecture look 10 years from now?
What books have influenced your ideas and thoughts the most?
Michael Porter's Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance is essentially one long text on the importance of enterprise architecture, written well before the term was invented. It talks about the necessity to share and coordinate resources in the knowledge economy from a very strategic perspective. Similarly, Christopher Bartlett and Sumantra Ghoshal's Managing Across Borders: The Transnational Solution is hugely inspirational, even though it was also written a while back. It too deals with how complex organizations must become better at coordinating across business units to build added competitiveness. Both books provide some of the clearest arguments for enterprise architecture in the 21st century that I have come across.
What is the one action you have taken that has accounted for most of your success?
Success is so hard to define, and not something I dwell upon a lot, but one thing I have tried to do for a long time - at least since I became a management consultant - is to study how things hang together and influence each other. I am thinking here about organization, culture, perception, architecture, process and the ability to coordinate across boundaries - what is often called 'coordination competence'. I think they all influence how architecture must be done on a grand scale, and it is clear to me that enterprise architecture is still an immature and emerging discipline.
What inspired you to write an article on this specific topic?
One experience I have had so often with organizations - almost in any industry - is that enterprise architecture is understood in so many different ways. And where it really seems to work, it has focused on a very specific problem, or set of problems, from the outset. Successful initiatives rarely start with an enterprise model just for the sake of modeling, but more often with the modeling of a problem and then the modeling of a solution to that problem. For instance, at a very large pharmaceutical company, the director of EA told me that enterprise architecture really started because the company needed to be able to move its discovery experiments between the different wet lab facilities they had around the world, depending on where the most capacity was available.
What magazines, newspapers and/or information products do you study?
I currently read the The Wall Street Journal every morning, but much prefer the Financial Times. I read The Economist and Barron's, typically when I am on a plane. The Economist is simply so inspirational to much of the work I do. It keeps up to date on trends in science and technology in a very economical way. I always look forward to the quarterly edition of the MIT Sloan Management Review - no magazine deals with the intersection of strategy and technology better than MIT.
After you read Jan's article Reasons for resistance to enterprise architecture and ways to overcome it, let us know what you think by leaving a comment here, or on his article.
Modified on by CCBranham
A first step in mainframe application modernization is to equip development teams with a modern development environment.
Enter IBM Rational’s Integrated Solution for System z Development (ISDz). The tools included in this solution offer a flexible, integrated development environment, automated features, asset visualization, and ease of use. They boost the productivity of developers, lower development costs, and make it easier for mainframe and distributed development teams to collaborate.
All technology and tool change can be disruptive, but change in the mainframe environment presents some unique challenges. Tool changes alter complicated development infrastructures and practices that were refined, often literally, over decades. Mainframe developers can face a steep learning curve as they attempt to unlearn now nearly automatic, “green screen” taskflows, recast their work in the new environment, and broaden their development capabilities.
These challenges are far from insurmountable, but they require organizations to take a strategic approach to learning and the solution adoption effort.
Change is disruptive
You can plot the course of a typical solution adoption effort in terms of time and productivity.
When adopting new tools, a development team experiences a temporary dip in productivity as their focus gets divided between work and learning new skills (A). As developers acquire the new skills and put them to work, they realize the benefits of the solution (B). As changes and opportunities arise (perhaps a new tool release, or unforeseen problems as processes change), the organization works to maintain productivity over the long term (C) to maximize the return on their initial investment.
The goals of the adoption effort are to reduce time in periods A and B, and to maximize gains in productivity in periods B and C, while avoiding derailment of the effort at any of these stages.
From a learning solutions perspective, the productivity graph like this:
Learning through the change isaccelerated with training and performance support. Learning is not a single event, and these approaches are not mutually exclusive. But these two approaches come to dominate at different stages in the process, based on the changing needs of the learner.
Training means instruction, structured hands-on learning in interactive events. Working with a coach or instructor is most efficient for the new user adapting to a fundamental change in practice. Training takes a tutorial approach, allowing the user to assimilate new skills incrementally. But training needs to become more self-directed over time. As the productivity curve rises into period B, the training approach tapers off into mentoring.
Performance support then comes to the fore. Performance support is learning that the user accesses in their day to day project workflow. The most familiar examples of performance support in software include online contextual Help, cheat sheets, tooltips, reference aids, video demonstrations, and so on. Experts and social networks (of the kind you find here on developerWorks, or on Jazz.net) serve a crucial performance support function as well.
Let’s explore these approaches and consider the case of mainframe solution adoption more closely.
Developer training events are cited time and again as being pivotal in successful ISDz adoption efforts. When using these tools for the first time, training provides the most efficient way to build foundational skills, share effective practices, and motivate process change. Although limited in scope—training amounts to little more than 25% of a successful rollout effort—a small, strategic investment in training pays dividends throughout the life of the solution.
The ISDz tools, such as Rational Developer for System z, are designed to make use of some of the intricate skills mainframe developers already possess, but most of the efficiencies and automation these solutions provide involve new, unfamiliar practices. Taking time out to learn these practices with experts and peers in a focused training event is more efficient for the mainframe practitioner and presents fewer risks of failure than self-study.
In order to be successful, training programs should be:
Tailored to the environment: Since the mainframe environment is usually tailored for the enterprise, each organization typically has its own usage model and development conventions for the ISDz tools. Training should incorporate some of the developer’s own artifacts and these conventions.
Focused on performance: Focus the learning on the application development and maintenance activities developers perform every day. At the same time, activities need to be simpler than real life so that participants can focus the effort on building new skills instead of on the complexity of the problem domain.
Learner centered: Training needs to be engaging for the learner, offering hands-on practice and group workshops. Foundational concepts and demonstration are provided just to provide context for each applied activity.
IBM Rational Software Services can help design the best training program for your organization.
Performance support and social learning
However important training may be in a rollout effort, learning is not a single event. We use training to transfer essential skills and set a foundation for learning and practice, not to try to serve up everything a user needs to know. The classic Ebbenhaus Forgetting Curve, demonstrating the exponential nature of forgetting, is a potent reminder that an all-in training event by itself is an incomplete enablement strategy.
The training approach itself becomes less useful as developer skill levels rise. When applying the tools on the job, learning needs to be more individualized and self-motivated. The learning challenges in the workflow are also more problem-focused than skills focused. On-demand learning resources are needed that help with the following activities:
Applying the tool: Reviewing skills learned in training, or applying skills in a new project situation.
Solving problems: When a process doesn’t work the way the user thinks it should, or where the user is blocked by an emerging problem.
Dealing with change: Adapting to a new tool release, adopting new development technologies, or changing configurations and usage models.
For these challenges, there are many resources available: the product information centers, YouTube and IBM Education Assistant videos, developerWorks articles, IBM Redbooks, blogs, and developer forum and Support archives, just to name a few examples. Developers can gather and pool useful resources like these for use in their teams as they use the ISDz solution.
During the rollout effort, early adopters, administrators, and other specialists emerge from the team as experts who can help with problem-solving, forming an informal “center of excellence” within the organization. At the same time, developers can turn to social networks, such as IBM developerWorks, to find answers in learning communities like the Rational Cafés.
Work of all kinds is becoming faster-paced, more automated, more distributed, and more agile. The need to control costs in change processes is part of this new normal. Given these challenges, it is essential to take a strategic approach to transforming development organizations, bringing together the right formal training and on-demand resources to reduce time to value and ensure maximum productivity for your tool investment.
Modified on by JoshGalde
Depending on your application, you will have to assess whether testing on an emulated device or real device is the best option. Many times it is not either/or decision and the best choice is both. Emulators offer the less expensive testing option, but they have many limitations for mobile testing and may not give an accurate depiction of the mobile user experience.
However, as part of the mobile testing process the use of emulation has an important role. There is certain testing that you can conduct with emulators that are sufficient which include testing for screen size or visual form factor. However, emulation is often an approximation of the rendering and can only get you so far.
Leveraging emulators is a positive step towards real device testing, however, not sufficient for comprehensive testing needs. With cloud-based testing you no longer need to have a bunch of people in a room with different mobile devices.
Testing on real devices gives the tester full functionality of the mobile device. While device types may be more limited than the emulated devices, testers should be able to have access to the real processor and hardware to understand the quirks that some real device have. Without this ability, users may not discover some real life issues that device differences would present in a real environment versus in an emulated environment.
It is important to conduct real device testing when needing to test mobile engagement with the device, launch applications, and interact with device at a more detailed level.
Keynote offers some useful free tools to perform mobile testing. Developers and testers can quickly conduct interactive functional testing on their websites from the convenience of their desktops with remotely accessed real devices and an accurate device emulator. To read more click here!
Modified on by JoshGalde
Automating your mobile testing has two main advantages, increasing efficiency and cost savings. With automated testing, imagine you are able to conduct manual tests with simple scripts and run it repeatedly. You save human resources and money. Automated testing helps QA teams quickly create and test scripts to capture, verify and replay user interactions.
Every second saved by forgoing continuous manual input adds up, thus relieving the stress and resources, enabling testing to be streamlined. Some companies are able to automate all of their mobile testing. Depending on the type of app you are testing, at least 80 percent of it can be automated, however, factoring app functionality on different devices and platforms, there is often a need to supplement it with ad hoc manual testing.
Leveraging the tools that help measure and evaluate the quality of your mobile app or website, you can use real device testing or automated scripting to assess the quality of services. This will help you to determine the user’s experience in the environment of the App or service once its launched.
To read more about why you should automate go here.
Over the last 5 years since 2007, we have seen an explosion in mobile apps to make our lives convenient and more efficient. And it appears there is no letting up. Recently, Forrester Research noted that there are now 7.3 billion mobile devices in a world where there are only 7 billion people.
"Mobile applications in the Enterprise may be a future vision for many companies, but mobile is a vision that is being realized much quicker than many had expected. What does the rise of mobile mean for the enterprise?
The global Enterprise Mobility (EM) market is expected to grow annually by 15 percent every year, eventually reaching $140 billion by 2020. By 2020 roughly 10-12 percent of the enterprise IT budgets will be spent on mobility, compared to less than 5 percent today. These numbers are based on a report by Nasscom in association with Deloitte.
Similarly,IDC is predicting that the biggest driver for new IT spending this year will be smart mobile devices, which include smartphones, tablets and eReaders. IDC expects that this segment will grow 20 percent and generate 57 percent of the IT industry’s total growth.
Industries where there are many customer interactions, like in banking, insurance and retail are seeing higher rates of Enterprise Mobile adoption. Mobile adoption is expected to also increase in government, healthcare and media.
The move to mobile is being fueled by mobile developers turning out applications for their businesses. Frost and Sullivan report that 82 percent of large North American businesses have already developed mobile apps for their employees. AndGartner is predicting that among in-house development projects, those that target smartphones and tablets will soon outnumber native PC projects by a ratio of 4-to-1." says Dick Weisinger of formtek.com.
Testing is critical in this process
Recently Derek Britton of Micro Focus issued an article giving some great advice on how to develop one’s enterprise mobile strategy. As we have been discussing in recent posts, mobile is expanding exponentially and is putting even more pressure on IT teams to support these efforts. Derek covers some great ways to deploy a mobile strategy and support a mobile strategy in a cost-efficient way. In it he shared " The advent of the savvy end-user and the rising trend of “bring your own device” (BYOD) have immeasurably changed the way in which services must be provided by IT. As smart phone capabilities develop, so does the level of expectations for added functionality.
Businesses will find it impossible to ignore mobile if they wish to remain competitive in the next few years and must consider the most effective way to develop and adapt business applications to the needs of the mobile user.
The take-up of mobile technology will have “dramatic effect” on back-office IT systems, according to a study from Forrester Research. Modern users expect 24/7 mobile access to all the applications and online services that they would use on their desktop or laptop computer, visiting e-commerce sites, accessing their bank online, and more recently, loading their work applications. Yet, according to Forrester, “hidden costs and disruptions” are set to plague organizations that do not make appropriate pre-emptive action.
The Forrester Report suggests that mobile projects hide a variety of potential pitfalls as a result of infrastructure that is ill-prepared for exploding activity volumes. However, organizations need not think that embracing mobile will require a costly and complete overhaul of existing IT infrastructure to resolve these issues.
Businesses should consider re-using as much of their existing business applications and processes as possible in order to guarantee integrity, continuity and security of service for the future. Potential threats to the infrastructure of exploding activity volumes can be mitigated by making smart choices about application provision and workload management, to relieve pressure and offer a more cost- effective and viable solution to adopt mobile.
So what should businesses be doing to embrace mobile in a cost- efficient fashion? There are several steps that businesses can take to ensure that their IT infrastructures are prepared for the mobile explosion:
Re-use and adapt
All too often businesses approach mobile by developing new applications when in fact they could simply re-use and adapt existing, core back-end applications. The benefit of this approach is that costs are reduced and the existing infrastructure is not compromised.
While many may not consider COBOL for adapting business applications to support mobile use, its simplicity and therefore adaptability, makes this programming language, which accounts for approximately 70% of all critical business processes, the perfect candidate to take IT into the mobile era. With tools such as Visual Studio or Eclipse, developers are able to modernise applications to support new mobile applications across a wide number of technical platforms. COBOL can be used in each instance to efficiently deliver business services and their supporting data from the back-end to the user. The benefits of re-using COBOL systems rather than re-writing them are numerous and include a faster delivery of IT service, at lower cost and risk, while retaining intellectual property and competitive advantage.
Thoroughly test your mobile apps
When undertaking a considerable project such as adapting to mobile, testing is one area that cannot afford to be compromised. However traditional testing practices can mean that projects can overrun on time as well as budget. By moving application testing for mobile, web and related back-end systems to a more cost- effective environment that is easy to use, testing phases are able to be completed much faster and more thoroughly without eating into mainframe power. These environments also lend themselves better to supporting test automation and performance testing needs.”
As Derek reinforced - the need to thoroughly test your mobile apps is critical and that doesn’t have to be expensive either. Automated testing can be done in many different ways and utilizing different formats for different stages of your testing. From functional testing to performance testing, ensuring that your customers experience the highest quality of app or website is contingent upon how well it’s developed, and tested. More on this topic to come so check back soon or follow our blog today!
Modified on by JoshGalde
In a recent article by Chris Marsh of Yankee Group, he addressed the new partnership between HP and SAP to address enterprise mobile apps. The services are intended to help the clients improve employee productivity with mobile apps and turn customer interactions into revenue opportunities. In it he says “HP’s partnership with SAP is indicative of how complex the enterprise mobility ecosystem has become. HP has been building out its own enterprise mobility management portfolio recently releasing its Enterprise Cloud Services providing sync, share and store for mobile applications and has aspirations to offer a wider portfolio of managed services. On the other hand it cannot afford not to partner with SAP around its more mature portfolio. From SAP’s point of view, the more the merrier, and momentum is on its side. As it pivots to focus more of the SAP group’s services around impactful B2BC engagement for its own customers it will aim to carve out more value in the mobility ecosystem…”
Recently, Keynote announced a complete integration with SAP partner – Worksoft. Worksoft, the provider of next-generation test automation solutions in support of SAP® applications brings speed and agility to SAP software by automating end-to-end testing, not just for SAP, but everything it interacts with. Worksoft’s integration with Keynote’s DeviceAnywhere platform provides its customers with access to seamless mobile software testing given its tight integration with the DeviceAnywhere solution. The integration offers a true end-to-end mobile integration in which Worksoft customers have 24x7 access to test SAP apps on any mobile devices, platforms or OS from their Worksoft Certify® interface. All of the device capabilities are accessible through the Worksoft Certify Mobile Interface Extension™. There is no scripting required. The joint solution leverages the Worksoft Certify approach to creating business process automated tests. And no additional training required since existing Worksoft Certify users don't need to learn another tool and have complete access to Keynote's powerful DeviceAnywhere mobile device testing platform. Existing SAP customers interested in leveraging DeviceAnywhere services to support the extension can get more information here.
Modified on by JoshGalde
Recently, Kerry Butters wrote an article on the advancement and future projections of mobile hybrid apps in the marketplace. This is something we have been hearing from our customers. While we aren’t finding that it is a one or the other approach (aka Native VS HTML5 view), we do see a continued need for hybrid app development as organizations struggle to provide the highest quality of app possible, with feature-rich experiences, combined with a stringent delivery system forcing them to meet certain requirements by the carriers and app stores.
In Kerry’s article she writes “According to the latest research from analysts at research firm Gartner, hybrid apps will be used in over 50% of mobile devices by 2016.
This is due to the growing use of HTML5-based web apps which unlike native apps, do not have to use multiple versions of an app for different devices. However, HTML5 with offline capabilities haven’t really come up to scratch, causing developers to consider using hybrid architectures.”
"The BYOD trend and the increased pressure on organizations to deploy mobile applications to accommodate mobile work styles of employees will lead businesses to manage a portfolio of mobile application architectures, and hybrid architectures will be especially well-suited to business-to-employee applications,” said Van Baker, research vice president at Gartner.
Gartner also predict that mobile devices will overtake PCs as the most common way to access the internet by the end of the year and by 2016, PC shipments are expected to be less than 50% of combined tablet and mobile shipments.
"The implications for IT is that the era of PC dominance with Windows as the single platform will be replaced with a post-PC era where Windows is one of a variety of environments that IT will need to support,” said Mr Baker.
It’s also thought that a wide range of internet-capable devices, including set-top boxes, smart TVs and wearable devices will become much more popular.
"While hybrid apps will be the majority of enterprise mobile apps, web technologies like HTML5 will make up the most commonly used languages for building mobile applications by 2015,” said David Mitchell Smith, vice president and Gartner Fellow.
"We recommend organizations are open to augmentations to the Web (such as hybrid Application Development) to deploy on mobile today, with the goal that more should be done without those augmentations after 2015,” said Mr. Smith.
"Organizations also need to continue to develop web technology skills, find the right uses for promising new technologies and approaches like HTML5, and deal with the uncertainty and speed of the consumer-driven mobile landscape. All the while it’s important to maintain IT governance while increasing productivity and usability.’”
A full copy of the report Predicts 2013: Portal and Web Technologies can also be found on the site.
Modified on by JoshGalde
This week we announced our new, advanced scripting tool – ScriptObjects. With DeviceAnywhere ScriptObjects, users can create object-level scripts for native, web, and hybrid applications within a real-device testing environment. Coupled with DeviceAnywhere’s existing image and text UI-based scripting capabilities, DeviceAnywhere ScriptOjects enables you to use the best testing and verification technique for your use case, with one script that seamlessly works across devices.
Object-level scripting for mobile web content acts on individual web elements at the code level. This means that you can record a script on one device, and play the exact same script back on another device regardless of the screen-size, manufacturer or operating system. Object-level scripting for native apps does the same thing for devices of the same platform while acting on native objects. Your scripts will be more resilient through UI changes, lowering maintenance costs. We also announced a faster, easier way to record those scripts. With the DeviceAnywhere Recorder even the newest member of your team will be able to quickly create scripts for web, native and hybrid applications. With DeviceAnywhere SmartObjects and the DeviceAnywhere Recorder, you will quickly develop scripts that can be used within short agile test cycles, saving time and automating tests without a large upfront investment.
To request a demo of DeviceAnywhere Enterprise click here.
Modified on by JoshGalde
Recently, Chris Cook wrote an excellent article sharing some excellent obstacles enterprises have been hit with as they try to deal with the onslaught of demands in supporting internal-based mobile apps for their workforce as well as the BYOD revolution overtaking these companies.
In he writes “App revenues topped $30 billion in 2012, and the figures are getting better and better every year. ‘There’s an app for that,’ has become a cliché. There are apps on iTunes and Google Play for almost any need you may have (and thousands of apps for needs you don’t have). While generic apps are doing quite well, there hasn’t been concurrent upsurge in enterprises mobile apps development.
Most enterprises have enough resources and the will to create mobile apps for internal use. But there is no clarity in the market on the best strategy for enterprise app development. Some companies are adamant on creating close, internal apps, while others feel that using generic apps and tweaking them could be a better option. There is also a lack of best practices on how to distribute the apps and how to secure them.
As BYOD gains greater acceptance, the need for enterprise mobile apps increases. Although the enterprise mobile market is in its initial stage, most business leaders understand the need for mobile apps. A recent survey of industry leaders and managers by Appcelerator shows that most enterprises feel that more mobile apps will be developed than desktop applications in 2013. But, we are still not seeing the long-awaited enterprise app development revolution. Let’s take a look at the biggest obstacles to mobile app adoption by enterprises.
Security & Control Concerns – The strongest driving force behind the development of an enterprise app is a desire to provide better services to customers and help employee’s function with greater efficiency. So, most mobile apps for enterprises deal with company and/or client data. How secure the apps is, how it collects data and how secure the data is – these are the main concerns of most enterprises. Any security breach can spell big trouble for large organizations.
This is the main reason why most companies build internal apps and build their own app stores to manage their apps. Providing different privileges to different levels of employees and users through mobile apps is also a rather difficult process. Controlling and securing mobile enterprise apps is the biggest reason for the low rate of mobile adoption in enterprises.
Low on the IT Department Priority List – Many industry leaders feel that there are too many issues with enterprise mobile app development – lack of standard technology, problem of integrating the app with enterprise data, inability to formulate a long-term mobile app strategy, etc. Most IT departments in enterprises are working hard on other areas, and they simply do not have the time or resources to custom build applications.
Creating an app (or getting it developed elsewhere), setting the distribution channels for the app, updating the app and tweaking the app to support an array of mobile devices – these are daunting and time-intensive tasks. With most IT staff working on other organizational goals, it is, at times, not possible for enterprises to initiate a mobile app development project.
Inability to Calculate Impact in Long Run – Enterprise app development takes a lot of time, effort and money. Unless all the members who use the app have the same devices, the app will have to be developed for multiple mobile devices. This further exacerbates the situation. The rate at which technology is changing makes it extremely difficult for enterprises to measure the impact of apps in the long run. With Cloud technologies offering similar services, it becomes difficult for enterprises to come to a clear decision.
To Wrap it Up – While there are several factors that inhibit the flight of mobile enterprise app development, the popularity and ubiquity of mobile devices makes it imperative for all enterprises to replace many of their desktop apps with mobile apps. The mobile platform also creates opportunities that desktop apps simply cannot offer. Thankfully, there are countless success stories of large business organizations building and deploying mobile apps successfully. So, even if there are a few teething problems, the future holds promise.
Thanks to Ryan Benson who works for PLAVEB, a leading enterprise app development company in Los Angeles. He has been a part of several enterprise mobile app development projects and feels that 2013 will be the year when enterprises embrace mobile apps on a large scale.”