Sunday, 16 December 2012

Tax, engagement and the Interim.

 In the UK the public sector is being lambasted by the media for employing so called interims complaining that tax is being avoided and these guys should be employees.

Let us remember that avoidance of tax isn't illegal, the media seems to forget that.

There is poor understanding of the issues involved and a lot of knee jerk reactions are being voiced on TV and late night chat shows with little substance behind the rhetoric.

The interim manager, a phrase that means lots of different things to different people, is under scrutiny at present from many different perspectives. The term and definition of an interim is actually is the source of the problem - it is just so poorly understood not just  by the media, but by interims themselves which doesn't help us here.

The contractor/interims, again overlapping and highly debated labels, fight back with claims of running their own business and the need to transfer fees from active assignment to marketing periods and the like.

There is clearly a difference from people employed on short term assignments, short is also debatable - is two years short?  who operate within the organisation as a controlling person making decisions and implementing commend compared to a consultant working on a project for a few months maybe in parallel with other client work.

The former are employees really, ducks and quacking come into mind here, but what goes amiss here is the lack of understanding of the costs those individuals have to maintain to stay engaged.

The fixed term contract option fails to allow the hotel bill to be offset against tax and the cost of operating way from home is a serious issue as most of this work never seems to be in one local area London excepted . MPs seem to get funded to work away from home don't they?

The tax man then gets the income tax and NI as an uplift on the expenses i.e.  a hotel bill gets paid from taxed income and either the rate to the client has to go up to accommodate the situation or in more likely reality the employee, sorry interim, suffers. The answer here has to be that the fixed term contract must pay a salary through PAYE that fits the costs and situation of the temporary member of staff, if of course we are going on with this definition.

Many H.R. managers seem to think that they can pay the same salary as they would a permanent employee forgetting the engagement commitment and feel good factor of belonging with some degree of longer term commitment. Fixed term contracts from the contractor/employee point of view are the worst option possible. No commitment beyond the term with no ability to transfer income to new business work after the event or protection of expenses.

This is a complex subject and the variations and issues are so diverse one stop solutions and over arching tax rules fail to address the problem with sufficient care. For example individuals sometimes take interim positions, sometimes take contracts, fixed term or day rate through service companies  and sometimes trade with multiple clients simultaneously. Thus people are interims, contractors employees and freelancers at different points on the timeline. The employment status changes from one from to another; this is not easy for individuals or the tax-man.

The current media frenzy on this matter is going to change the shape of the interim contractor landscape in 2013 no doubt. especially in the public sector. Like everything in life a minority have stretched the rules and unleashed a fire storm for which the majority are now paying for with interest!

All this is not helpful to true freelancers trying to eke out a living in difficult times with pressure on rate and clients trying to get value without paying for it properly by leveraging the difficult market to their own benefit.

"Heh Fenester. what's your definition of a freelancer!!!" :-)  Doh.....

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Rush to Regulate

The media rushes to push for regulation on the premise that it protects the consumer and that corporate bodies and entrepreneurs  are evil and need controlling. Regulation is set out as a good thing and something to aim for in one industry after another; it is portrayed as good for the customer.

However there is another side.

Regulation cost money, a lot of money, this ultimately rises costs for everyone and the consumer has to pay for it. Whilst in recognising that some companies have been under hand in their dealings with the public and regulation as been the response as a result the cost to the majority of the behaviour  minority is huge. It is a bit like regulation being like an insurance policy, we all pay more to cover the eventuality of bad practice , or an attempt to prevent it in any case.

Regulation actually diminishes the customer experience - how?

Well you hear so many people complaining about inane scripts and pre-recorded messages and bundles of "pointless" fulfilment material; this is not always the providers fault, in many cases it's the result of compliance with regulation.

In a globalised market our localised regulation in staffing matters raises our costs and makes us uncompetitive. No wonder much of our processing activity was off-shored. Lots of people complain about the service that arises as a result.

On the up side compliance and regulatory matters have kept us change professionals in supplies and rations during the recession as mandatory change activity was the only work around!

So am I saying regulation is a bad thing?

No, people should be protected particularly from being exploited in employment but when the playing field isn't level the reality isn't that simple. The message here is regulation has  a place but it has to have its consequences thought through.

Let me finish off with an example of unintended consequences which illustrates why we need to think regulation through properly before jumping to knee jerk regulatory responses to problems:

A very well known university town council in England decided to regulate private rented accommodation that was shared; it required licenses and stipulated higher safety requirements including separate fire proof doors to bedrooms and the like.

All good stuff I hear you say but:

The stock of accommodation in that city has reduced substantially as landlords now only rent to families not shared groups, many don't want to incur the costs or ruin the look of their feature filled Victorian housing stock.

Sharers are being turfed out as their current rental agreements come up for renewal and then have to pay higher rents as the supply has substantially dropped and landlord recoup there extra expenses from this regulation and also benefit from increasing prices as the scarcity of their product has increased as a result. This on top of higher university fees is another blow to students and young professionals in the town under discussion.

Rents have gone up as a consequence and the house sharing young people foot the bill.

The same houses with no safety enhancements are now populated by families instead, the stock is the same standard not any safer either. The prices for licensed properties for young people have gone up with little benefit to anyone except the regulators and bureaucrats who charge the fees for the license, perform the inspection and administer the scheme. If a house is safe for a family, why is not safe for three young adults to live in?

The issue here is people with good intention, politicians and public employees, have little commercial knowledge and don't think through the business model that sits behind the regulation. This needs skills in business design and requires the skills often seen in disciplines like business architecture.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Porters Five Forces - Substitution of Product

I have being reading about the dramatic increase in the sales and use of tablet computers this week. The tablet is rapidly becoming the technology device of the moment with technology providers who have not developed in this area being reported in the media as suffering badly.

It seems in recent years that the force of substitution of product, particularly in the technology sector, is changing the fortunes of organisations by the month. The compact camera is under threat from the smart phone, the laptop from the tablet - what next.

Apparently the "Phablet" is on the rise; a cross over between the phone and the tablet. The dilemma has got to be the size in the pocket versus the useful size of the screen I'm not sure how this gets balance as some of these new smart phone seem to be getting larger to accommodate application functionality above that of size. Seeing how many expensive phones are getting cracked screens as a result of being too big for the pocket seems to emphasise this point.

Some reviewers are predicting a tablet and a small flip phone as an alternative or a blue tooth device connected to a tablet as the solution; the market is moving quickly so we will know quite soon.

Porter's classic 5 forces model asks some pertinent questions of companies whilst formulating their business strategy and the older tools are often the best and the area of the force of product substitution is at the forefront at present.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Organic versus active or planned design.

I helped facilitate a workshop this week where we discussed the pros and cons of taking control of your design from a top down holistic perspective as opposed to allowing the business to evolve without intervention i.e. organically.

One of the interesting points to come out as ever was language.

Organic growth to some particularly finance people means growth from within as opposed to growth through mergers and acquisitions (M&A).

To others it means growth without intervention using the agricultural analogy of organic growth being growth without  inputs - fertilisers or chemicals. Organic also means to some natural growth or growth without human intervention. Organic design as described by the building architect Frank Lloyd Wright meant design in line with nature; he argued that form and function were one and form would naturally evolve from function..

All of these interpretations mean growth within - neither party is wrong here, it is just a different perspective due to richness of the English language.

I understand the issue and that the word organic means different things to different people; so the learning point here is to make sure the audience does hear something or reach an interpretation  that you didn't intend. Be ready to step inside others shoes and see where there use of language is taking them.

Organic growth in design terms means "Businesses become what they become" whilst  in the case of Planned or Active Design "Businesses become as they are designed". In other words businesses evolve through the default  "survival of the fittest" rather than by management taking active control and directing holistic business change.

Sunday, 4 November 2012


An acronym for a cross functional set of views used to represent an enterprise without functional structural bias. Customer, channel, product,process, organisation, location, data, application and technology. Can have additional letters for additional views e.g. R&C risk and compliance.

The use of these base nine dimensions are more rich and meaningful than first impressions may suggest. Can be used as a basic framework for a business/enterprise architecture.

Dominant in business dimensions with specific focus to customer centric approaches.

Used for describing operating models, gap analysis and for project or change impacts and baselines.

A valuable business front end method to couple with TOGAF 9 or other Enterprise I.T. architectural frameworks.

Was developed and enhanced in Centrica Plc. (British Gas) from the original POLDAT framework originally created by the Computer Science Corporation CSC. Widely used in UK financial services organisations.

Acknowledgements to: CSC. Farnborough Hants. and specifically Jim Murphy/Dawn McMylor  of Centrica Plc. who originally  brought this to my attention and evangelised the technique in the early 2000's.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Template for workshops using Osterwalder's Business Model canvas.

I have been evangelising Alex's work on this simple but highly effective technique for over  a year now and so many delegates love this technique. The creative commons license attributed to this work makes it easy to  use distribute and develop; well done Alex. This open model actually works in his favour in my belief and has to be one of the reasons , beyond its excellence , why this model is so wide spread. As a result Alex must gain substantial income from book sales, workshops and speaking which he wouldn't do if this approach hadn't been taken - very forward innovative thinking.

He has launched a new proposition development tool in "partnership" with Steve Blank, another useful character. The two of them with this collaborative approach are far more creative and successful than if they kept their ideas close to the chest.But this is a subject for another post another time!

I do muse about an old chestnut of mine DSDM Atern which does the opposite taking a protective stance, particularly around training; heard of DSDM Atern? well probably not - I wonder why!

Any way back to topic. I have built a simple template for use in Conceptdraw Pro Vision (Conceptdraw Office) as the only application currently available is an IPAD app which apparently is good, but I don't have an IPAD and need to do some on screen canvasses via windows.  Alex offers a Pdf template, on his website,but it is a bit grey and difficult to read with small fonts so I needed something a bit more useful in workshops.

Why choose this package instead of something like MS Visio which to be fair is more common?

The reason for me is the integration between the mind-map tool, diagramming tool and the project management application. You can move material simply from one form to another saving vast amounts of time re-factoring information e.g. from a mind map to a power-point deck to a mind map. Create a mind- map and then the content can be exported automatically to power-point to create all the headings for your slides or word headings for that matter ; saves loads of time and increases consulting productivity.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

One Day Business Architecture Overview Successfully delivered

Short courses are always a worry and this one was no exception. A banking client wanted to have a delivery of an overview course on business architecture which we delivered in London earlier this week.

Having attended our normal 3 day event the senior manager wanted to to create awareness of the role of business architecture across his organisation as a whole; but due to time constraints wanted a distilled bespoke and targeted delivery.

There was a lot to get through and, although and I did have some initial concerns of "compressing" the content, this " Yellow belt" type course in business architecture was well received.

The practioner attendees, as opposed to the executive types however did say that more time on practical workshops and case studies would have proved useful; but that comment is not unexpected as in reality it takes at least three days to show how people to build "Target Operating Models", rather than just give an overview. In fact I am commonly told by delegates that they wish their companies would book four/five days to allow for more working through of examples; but costs and time constraints rarely allow such extended events in today's environment.

There is a trend for organisations asking for byte sized training driven by a reluctance to release staff for multiple day training events rather than cost. Most teachers/trainers worry on the effective learning of such short sharp events, as the reflection required to gain learning benefits is difficult to embed and develop in short course. However, like in this case, if the content is well designed and carefully delivered then the downsides of short training can be mitigated to some degree; particularly if backed up within a e-learning programme residing on a learning management system (LMS) as we provided in this case.

The real problem though lies in the trend for very short sessions of just an hour, perhaps over lunch; and the jury is still out on this type of delivery and whether this is good value for money or just an excuse to reduce cost and work place disruption rather than good learning development. I think with complex topics this is really difficult to do justice to.

Anyway another delivery and another happy client who can ask for more!

Saturday, 13 October 2012

CCPPOLDAT proves popular yet again!

The dreadfully sounding acronym CCPPOLDAT  initially puts people off but this surprisingly simple approach, when explained and trained properly, is nearly always one of the most popular tools and techniques of delegates on our business architecture training courses.

Again at last weeks delivery of the course in Salisbury the method of cross functional slicing that CCPPOLDAT provides was one of the most popular techniques of the trainees. Its simple approach, that is clearly understood by business stakeholders, gains much more ground and enthusiasm than EITA frameworks like TOGAF 9.0 which seems to send delegates off the opposite direction creating not much excitement from the floor!

It is clear in business architecture that we need tools that speak to business stakeholders in language that they can relate to rather than alienate them; CCPPOLDAT as an approach clearly does this, as many analysts and business change people on my courses tell me. It is a shame that the acronym,when first presented, doesn't pave the way well but when the substance is explained then all is OK.

One point that gets made on the course  is if you use CCPPOLDAT to inform TOGAF,  and therefore support the underlying "Enterprise I.T. Architecture" (EITA), then this is a successful partnership. Our technology friends need TOGAF for I.S. planning and by using CCPPOLDAT, as a business facing front end, the best of both worlds can be achieved. With this "methodology marriage" true enterprise architecture can be achieved.

Acknowledgement is made to Computer Science Corporation (CSC) who originally developed the predecessor POLDAT many years ago.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Business Architecture in Healthcare.

Just finished delivering  a training event to a (CIC) an independent, not for profit social enterprise in health care. It was interesting to see that many of the ideas techniques and models in business architecture have substantial relevance to organisations coming out of the public sector, NHS in this case.

There is a language issue: Customer segments becomes patient segments and value propositions are a challenging concept in this environment and are better described as heath offerings or  designed outcomes. Osterwalder's business model canvas works well, concepts the same but with slightly more appropriate labels on the nine sectors. Capability models highly relevant due to a high level of focus on outcomes.

One of the interesting elements is a very complex value web as opposed to a value chain where value pulled by end users is defined by other bodies rather than the patients themselves.  Value seems to  be defined by organisations who have a "parental" role. This is similar to fragmented chains in other outsourced industries contracted to government who provide services that they think their populations want. True voice of the customer needs more emphasis.

Interesting stuff and a lot more to think about particularly around the value web or value ecosystem.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Confidence v Competence!

I found this article on the Telegraph on line the other day; it basically says that people with unabashed self confidence get on better in corporate organisations whether or not they are any good at what they do.

This highlights some real issues for cultural design of a business architecture; if you have egos pulling your progress to a desired future all over the place then it is a significant challenge.

Over confidence of individuals results in hubris driven error and the self belief can over throw common sense and perhaps even integrity. When as a trainer you preach self reflection and personal challenge this must be perhaps even unknowingly difficult for the career driven over confident candidates that power on without thought.

Conversely driven people do create success, if we had a culture of self doubters and risk adverse people always considering what might go wrong then maybe little would get done?

Managing risk in such environments is a difficult demand. Are certain industries more bound up with this issue than others - banking perhaps?

The real challenge here is to create a healthy tension and balance between managed ego and self awareness - difficult stuff particularly when you hear of some of the egonostic behaviours that some people have to put up with on a daily basis.

Interesting stuff. Have a read and see what you think.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Which One of Kipling's Friends is the most important to the business architect?

Which One of Kipling's Friends is the most important to the business architect? This question was asked of me the other day by a delegate on a training course.

"I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who."

After some thought I concluded that "WHY" was the answer.

On the basis that if a business architecture doesn't have a motivation to its construction it therefore doesn't have a linkage to its strategy. An architecture with no strategy is an architecture to nowhere.

Linkage from strategy in a traceable and obvious pathway from strategy through a business architecture an onwards through to a route map is key. Business architecture is part of the change process, a flow or a cycle, not an independent thing. In fact linkage in both the directions is frequently missing in many presented business architectures. Linkage is key. All target operating models should demonstrate good linkage.

Purists may say "but an architecture is just how bits of the business join together"; but in my view how an architecture that is driven by motivation the why and then also how it will be deployed via the implementation road or route  map is the job of a good business architect. The business architect may well have to work in partnership with strategy or implementation people but he or she should influence the whole story.

Let us also not forget that these questions represent the definition of the columns in the well known "Zachman Framework".

Monday, 6 August 2012

Is collecting tax a service?

I received a link to survey monkey via Southern Entrepreneurs this week whereby Winchester City Council were asking for feed back on services to business. One of the services they claimed was the collection of business rates.

I thought this was a little bizarre, surely a service has to deliver value to the receiver of the service and collection of a tax hardly qualifies as adding value. Are they scratching around for services to claim; is this naivety or a simple case of not thinking things through?

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Public Course Harben Newport Pagnell

Just finished delivering a public offering last week of our Business Architecture course to six delegates at Devere Harben conference centre , Newport Pagnell.

We had a mix of independent contractors and permanent employees from a well known health care provider and the mix was useful from all points of view, avoiding the potential insular discussions one sometimes gets in delivering courses in house. We had business architects, business analysts and technical infrastructure architects all who contributed well and made for a rich and dynamic learning experience.

It was interesting to see the growing number of tablet devices used by delegates who use them to capture notes and refer to documents among other things.

Every course seems to result in more technology like this being deployed and I thought afterwards that there must be some mileage in communicating business architecture, particularly Target Operating Model depictions, in a more exciting format than basic word and power-point documents and decks.

With the ever present challenge of communicating the right view to the right stakeholder a touch screen device with multiple branching links and potential views of the core business architecture seems a good potential for some development.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

We asked them they delivered. BPMN in Concept draw

The business architect blog has been working with CS Odessa in asking for business modelling upgrades for their suite of graphically based tools and here is their first response. BPMN is a basic requirement in any process diagramming tool but nevertheless this shows their commitment to developing into an analysis tool set for professional business architects.
We will do a review on this tools set soon and see how it competes with things like MS Visio and how it complements things like IGrafx Flowcharter.

PRESS RELEASE: 13th June 2012.

New Business Process Diagram Solution: Business Process Modeling Notation Made Easier than Ever.

We at CS Odessa (, developer of the industry leading cross platform business graphics and diagramming tool, ConceptDraw PRO v9, have released a new Business Process Diagram Solution, in the Business Productivity Area of the ConceptDraw Solution Park. The solution, using ConceptDraw PRO’s dynamic RapidDraw feature, allows you to build diagrams in an instant and is available for download at no charge to current owners of ConceptDraw PRO v9.
Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN) is a set of standard symbols that allow you to create a graphical view of a business process. The symbols were developed to help users develop standard, unified structure of processes, and any messages shared between these processes.
As the business world becomes more complex, so must the processes that keep it running. What's more, with more participants involved in the running of a business, both from inside and out, it's important we have a unified modeling technique that can handle the interaction between these processes. BPMN is a visual tool for businesses and business process implementers. A critical focus of BPMN is that it is seen as critical for business users to easily read and understand business process diagrams. 
BPMN is a process-oriented approach to modeling of systems; this sets it apart from UML which has a more object-oriented approach. With the addition of BPMN to ConceptDraw PRO, users have the capability of using either BPMN or UML to describe a process, depending on their needs.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Is business architecture design?

There seems to be unending debate on whether business architecture is about design or not. Some argue that design is about solutions and architecture shouldn't be about solutions. They say architecture should be purely about mapping the relationships between business components i.e. how the parts are constructed to make the business work.

The debates get quite heated at times and mainly stem from people speaking from their point of view within a role within a particular organisation; individuals are confusing role with definition of an approach or the discipline of business architecture.

The basic issue is that business architecture is not succinctly defined and in fact I am quite OK with that as the important thing is the value it adds not what it is called or what its scope is - outcomes are key here.

A business architecture as such, as an artefact, does represent how components are joined together to make the business work but business architecture as discipline is somewhat varied depending on where you sit.

As a discipline it is about translating strategy into operational reality. Its scope varies from place to place in role terms, but that is a different matter. Strategy partners, business architects and solution architects all do sections or multiple sections of business architecture; they apply business architectural techniques.

So does business architecture embrace design?

Well yes I think it does as it is part of the overall process of defining change. Does it matter that this might upset the purists? Well not really as long as the client is happy with the outputs and sees business architecture in a good light then that is fine by me.

Lets face it a static set of diagrams - a business architecture- has little perceived value to stakeholders whilst a well articulately change road map with traceability from strategy to solutions has considerable value and value is key.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Small businesses say finding clients is the hard bit.

Most small business people offering services I have been talking to recently are very good at what they do. When they have an opportunity to deliver a service then all is well; enthusiasm is there and deliver is easy.

Most tell me their real problem is not doing what they do but finding the clients to apply the service to is the hard bit and very frustrating. One craftsman the other day said " I used to think of myself as a cabinet maker but now I seem to be a salesman more than a wood worker - it is not what I wanted to do".

Quite often a good copy writer, restaurant proprietor, fence builder or bathroom installer is very good at doing what they do -only if they get the work and getting the works is what makes life difficult for them. This problem makes them go out of the comfort zone into areas that previously they were not skilled in like: planning, project managing, marketing, sales and e-commerce.

How does one tackle this problem? Well unfortunately there is no easy answer but one approach is to network and collaborate with others you know - stick with what you do well and let them do the bits you don't have the expertise of. I know seems like this might cost a bit more than doing things yourself- but does it really?

Spending days in front of the laptop struggling with things you don't really understand isn't good for the soul and your time is money. Well, even if you have got loads of spare time on your hands and many small business people do at the moment, leisure seems a much more valuable use of it!

Networking, even quite passively, has benefits, recommendations are much more valuable than a cold lead.

Working in collaboration with like-minded people is psychologically lifting because being a one man band is a lonely business.

Just consider using the skills of others you help them and they help you;  it may just well pay off in the longer term.

Monday, 16 April 2012

SME Business Design & Coaching

I have been applying some business modelling techniques to helping people form their ideas into a businesses recently. A bit of a change from leading business architecture courses with large corporate organisations but in some ways it is more fulfilling when you are able to take someone's personal vision and convert into a plan to business launch.

I think the mix of large and small is good for a variety of reasons: you can distil best practice from the corporate world and convert it for the simpler business and the small business side "keeps your feet" on the ground  making you remember the importance of customers and keeping down the costs avoiding the corporate waste that we see so much in larger organisational cultures. Many of C level executives would do well to run a micro business I think it would change their outlook in so many ways.

It is clear that basic business architecture (business structure) principles work just as well for micro businesses as for major corporations. One man/woman bands sometimes do find it difficult to get the mass of ideas and thoughts distilled onto paper and that is where a business coach with business architecture skills can help. Business coaching need not just be accountancy and marketing advice as there is a both lot of breadth and depth in helping new starts.

This has led on from another exercise last year where on behalf of my local college and job centre lecturing colleagues and I  ran a business model workshop for a small group of people just starting out in business after redundancy and the feed back from that group was also encouraging. I am going to more of this, it was fun and interesting.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

"DSDM Atern - overshadowed by SCRUM? How can it best raise its profile?

Kevin Downes on the linkedin DSDM Group started a discussion-
"DSDM Atern - overshadowed by SCRUM? How can it best raise its profile?

He started this with the comment ”I'm rather beginning to think that DSDM Atern has lost the race to adoption and recognition compared with Scrum et al. Certainly in the UK - recruiter agencies hardly ever seem to have heard of it and as far as I can tell you very rarely see it mentioned in job adverts (yet the terms "Agile" or "Scrum" will pop in 90% of them)."

My thoughts in this are: 

DSDM need to change business models and move to creative commons or "open source" approach; its copyrighting and restrictive practices on consulting and training as a way of generating income for the group are the core of its demise. Revenue models of the nineties which worked well in the past are not effective in the world we live in today. 

I'll give you an example: Alex Osterwalder author of Business Model Generation offers all of his IP on a creative commons basis, you would think originally this is crazy as everyone uses it for free, however the reverse is true because everyone uses, it trains it and talks about it. He makes his money from the sale of his books and extensive conference work and is highly successful. Even the book was given away free as a PDF covering the first half but so many people liked it they bought the actual one after their first look. The "freemium" model has resulted in evangelisation of this approach. 

As much as this may grate with the originators of DSDM; if they step back and change more money will be made by opening up than they realise I just hope it is not to late as I always loved DSDM.

DSDM Atern doesn't exactly roll of the tongue as an exciting and compelling brand - when one mentions DSDM "what's that they say" you reply " Dynamic Systems Development Method" - eyes glaze over nervous cough and "That's some systems I.T. methodology thing then - what was your journey like in from Winchester today?" conversation on DSDM ends.....

Whilst underneath DSDM is fantastic for all sorts of non I.T. development -Training development process improvement etc. let alone software ; I know that as most of us  do as well, but we have reached a point where I am concerned about its future.

In ecology species reach a population beneath which extinction is guaranteed, I do hope we haven't reached that point with DSDM.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Is Recession a Mass Extinction?

Mass extinctions in geological time have occurred many times, the best known is at the end of the Cretaceous when it is believed the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico was hit by rather a large asteroid causing catastrophic climate change through a dust created perpetual winter; death of the vegetation across the globe and the dependant ecosystem, including dinosaurs amongst other things. This allowed a new spurt in evolutionary change allowing the mammals to develop and dominate the planet. Did you know that roast chicken last Sunday was probably the evolutionary descendant of a dinosaur!

In business terms is the current recession a mass extinction and if so what evolutionary change will it bring for the positive. Things may well be dire at present but many strategists say that a good clear out is often good for innovation and creativity.

Will there be a re balancing of the UK economy now the results of off-shoring and manufacturing decline have suddenly hit us so there is no one left to buy the products at home that were off-shored. I always thought that off-shoring missed the macro economic point that if you sack the call centre classes in the UK then there won't be as many people able to afford the products in the UK that you service in India and the like! It might have been cheap and in mode but was it right for the country?

Will there be a new breed of SME businesses freed of the shackles of high  I.T. infrastructure investment enabled through new SAAS and cloud provisions.

Marketing has already been revolutionised by the web opening up a world that was once restricted to a select set of wealthy companies now open to anyone with a bit of creativity and a laptop; will this now extend to operations and service provision?

Oh, and if you here someone say "he is a dinosaur" tell them that the dinosaurs were around substantially longer than we humans have been so far; in fact a part from the unfortunate asteroid at the end, they were very successful for 60-80  millions years or so; we have only been around 200,000 years so far!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

The Open Group Threaten To Certify Business Architects

During a recent forum thread in  - Business Architecture Community-  one poster declared the The Open Group's intention to start offering certification in business architecture.

Some are horrified at the prospect of an I.T. centric organisation claiming this space with one well known and  respected poster  declaring

"We must discourage Open Group and even some others from 'certifying' Business Architects using a short cut approach This will be very unhelpful and harmful for Business Architecture profession."

I do see his point when TOGAF (The open group architectural framework) doesn't provide a good example of this organisations approach to business architecture; indeed some say it is poor for enterprise architecture - let alone business architecture -and in reality many conclude that it is Enterprise Information Technology Architecture not EA.

Certification has pros and cons the latter being that many parts of I.T. have suffered quite badly from a culture of badge collecting which results in H.R. professionals and recruiters using the certification to exclude perfectly competent practitioners. You might say "get certified then" but this costs serious money and is alright for those working for larger corporate organisations with extensive personal development budgets but overall it impact inclusiveness and can create a potential elitist closed shop.

The debate on certification continues and we watch the discussions with interest.