Click here to close now.


Microsoft Cloud Authors: Jordan Sanders, Carmen Gonzalez, Pat Romanski, Keith Mayer, Jayaram Krishnaswamy

Blog Feed Post

ITinvolve: Driving Business Agility with Metadata Management and Curation

Balancing Automation and Human Knowledge Curation

There are many metadata management tools on the market today, including Configuration Management Databases (CMDBs) and Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) Repositories, to name a few. Such tools seek to automate the collection and dissemination of policy-related metadata in hopes of automating policy enforcement – an important part of the automated governance critical to achieving business agility. And yet, such tools have generally fallen short, because they inadequately address the need to support policies that apply primarily to human behavior.

ITinvolve logoIn contrast, there are many tools on the market that focus primarily on supporting human collaboration and communication, either across an organization or specific to particular teams, processes, or tasks. Such tools include portals like Microsoft SharePoint, groupware of various sorts (email, wikis, and the like), and more focused tools such as Portfolio Management or Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) products.

When it comes to driving business agility across the organization, however, such human communication and collaboration tools have also fallen short, as they generally require an onerous amount of configuration and management from people who have scant time or attention to devote to such dull activities. This limitation leads to bloated repositories full of unsearchable documents, or email inboxes with thousands of messages, or knowledge management systems that contain information that is so out of date and incomplete that people refuse to spend any time updating them, thus defeating their purpose entirely.

ITinvolve has largely solved this combination of problems with their aptly-named Agility Manager. Agility Manager can be thought of as a next-generation knowledge management application that combines automated metadata collection and policy enforcement with broad human curation capabilities, balancing the need for automated governance and support for human activities within software development teams or more broadly across the organization.

Agility Manager also adds a set of objects to aid in projects including business goal, release, and iteration objects, as well as project planning functionality like Gantt charting and Kanban boards, as shown in the figure below. Furthermore, data need not physically reside in ITinvolve but can be federated so the object relationships are in ITinvolve but the full data set lives in a third-party source, for example, a pdf-formatted policy document on a file share or detailed functional requirements in Atlassian JIRA or Rally Software’s ALM platform.

ITinvolve Agility Manager illustrating project analysis Kanban boards (Source: ITinvolve)

ITinvolve Agility Manager illustrating project analysis Kanban boards (Source: ITinvolve)

Furthermore, the entire ITinvolve suite of applications (Agility Manager plus some value-added extensions) are Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications built on the Salesforce1 Platform. This platform choice gives ITinvolve customers pay-as-you-go, per-user pricing that simplifies onboarding and ramping up, as well as the scalability and integration support you’d expect from Salesforce.

The ITinvolve Agile Architecture Story

Architecting for business agility in the enterprise requires far more than the proper application of architectural practices to Agile development projects. In fact, it requires a complete rethink of what it means to architect an organization. Business agility is a property of the organization as a whole, which means that the enterprise must be treated as a Complex Adaptive System, where business agility is an emergent property of the system.

Such Complex Systems are actually systems of systems; in the case of an organization, the component systems are technology systems and people. The challenge of architecting for business agility, therefore, extends beyond architecting the technology. It’s also critical for the organization to architect its people as well.

The way to “architect the people” in the organization is to apply appropriate governance policies and processes that encourage the desired behavior. Excessive or inappropriate governance typically backfires, however, as too many rules and policies can lower morale and productivity. Instead, it’s important to encourage desired behavior via effective incentives, coupled with tools that facilitate the desired behavior, yet make undesirable behavior difficult. To this end, ITinvolve empowers people so that they are willing and even desirous to adapt their behavior. ITinvolve helps people facilitate their work by giving them the information and analysis they require, and enabling collaboration with other relevant team members (even ones they may not know about).

Giving people better tools and rewarding them with free food or cash bonuses is only part of the story. In order to achieve the business agility goals of the organization, this human governance must be seamlessly integrated with the automated governance of technology. In other words, technology must support the desired human behavior by providing the right tools, but people must also be able to properly manage and govern the technology in order to support the flexibility necessary for the organization to be agile.

Furthermore, as emergent behavior is inherently unpredictable, it is essential that organizations take an iterative approach to directing human and technology behavior in order to increase the organization’s agility. Each iteration should include a feedback loop that reflects the resulting effects of any policy or tooling change in order to improve results of subsequent iterations.

ITinvolve’s combined automated governance and human curation approach brings together the essential elements of this Agile Architecture story. At its core, the Agility Manager is an application that simplifies and encourages the desired behavior from the teams using the application. It also supports multiple approaches to automating the collection and communication of necessary metadata, as well as the automation of policies.

Instead of discouraging active participation in knowledge collection as standard portals and knowledge management tools do, ITinvolve empowers people to share their knowledge, as shown in the figure below. This approach facilitates cross-team collaboration on projects and decisions by supporting more effective risk management using current and accurate information. As a result, people can get their jobs done and make better decisions by fully understanding the various dependencies among requirements, policies, applications, and other elements of their work environment.

ITinvolve Agility Manager illustrating interrelationships among various diverse types of people and objects in the organization (Source: ITinvolve)

ITinvolve Agility Manager illustrating interrelationships among
various diverse types of people and objects in the organization (Source: ITinvolve)

ITinvolve also brings together and integrates varied data sources, including documents on portals, metadata in asset management tools and CMDBs, automation scripts and recipes, and other information that would otherwise be scattered about the organization or locked up in the heads of key personnel. This “tribal knowledge” of each expert in the enterprise is a critical asset that is always at risk of being lost, either through people leaving the organization, or simply forgetting the details over time.

Not only does ITinvolve facilitate the collection and dissemination of such tribal knowledge, but the application also supports the continuous review of such information by other experts in the organization. The result is an iterative, continuous-feedback approach to ongoing improvement of the information that ITinvolve manages. In fact, by bringing various individuals together from across different departments within the organization, ITinvolve supports flexible collaboration across the enterprise. Such cross-silo collaboration is critical for Agile projects, DevOps, and other initiatives that drive greater agility in the enterprise.

The Intellyx Take

One area where Agile development methodologies and the Agile Architecture approach to treating the organization as a Complex Adaptive System overlap is with the focus on self-organizing teams. Top-down approaches to creating teams – essentially, managers formally assigning roles to individuals – limit the flexibility of the team and thus impact the agility of the organization. Allowing teams to organize themselves addresses this issue.

And yet, as teams expand beyond a handful of people, especially when such teams are cross-functional and involve a variety of people in different roles, then self-organization can potentially begin to break down. The challenge isn’t necessarily the competency of the individuals involved, but rather their ability to communicate effectively and maintain coherent, up-to-date tribal knowledge, even as the team’s personnel might change or their tasks may evolve.

Solving this challenge is central to ITinvolve’s value proposition, because it both facilitates and supports the self-organization so critical to Agile teams, while at the same time addressing the communication and knowledge management challenges endemic to cross-functional teams. As a result, ITinvolve fosters a self-regulating system that provides greater transparency to all team members and management alike, as well as automated constraints on the behavior of associated technology assets, in such a way that facilitates the iterative feedback loop essential to driving agility long-term in large organizations.

ITinvolve is an Intellyx client. Intellyx retains full editorial control over the content of this post.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Jason Bloomberg

Jason Bloomberg is the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise. As president of Intellyx, Mr. Bloomberg brings his years of thought leadership in the areas of Cloud Computing, Enterprise Architecture, and Service-Oriented Architecture to a global clientele of business executives, architects, software vendors, and Cloud service providers looking to achieve technology-enabled business agility across their organizations and for their customers. His latest book, The Agile Architecture Revolution (John Wiley & Sons, 2013), sets the stage for Mr. Bloomberg’s groundbreaking Agile Architecture vision.

Mr. Bloomberg is perhaps best known for his twelve years at ZapThink, where he created and delivered the Licensed ZapThink Architect (LZA) SOA course and associated credential, certifying over 1,700 professionals worldwide. He is one of the original Managing Partners of ZapThink LLC, the leading SOA advisory and analysis firm, which was acquired by Dovel Technologies in 2011. He now runs the successor to the LZA program, the Bloomberg Agile Architecture Course, around the world.

Mr. Bloomberg is a frequent conference speaker and prolific writer. He has published over 500 articles, spoken at over 300 conferences, Webinars, and other events, and has been quoted in the press over 1,400 times as the leading expert on agile approaches to architecture in the enterprise.

Mr. Bloomberg’s previous book, Service Orient or Be Doomed! How Service Orientation Will Change Your Business (John Wiley & Sons, 2006, coauthored with Ron Schmelzer), is recognized as the leading business book on Service Orientation. He also co-authored the books XML and Web Services Unleashed (SAMS Publishing, 2002), and Web Page Scripting Techniques (Hayden Books, 1996).

Prior to ZapThink, Mr. Bloomberg built a diverse background in eBusiness technology management and industry analysis, including serving as a senior analyst in IDC’s eBusiness Advisory group, as well as holding eBusiness management positions at USWeb/CKS (later marchFIRST) and WaveBend Solutions (now Hitachi Consulting).

@ThingsExpo Stories
The Internet of Everything is re-shaping technology trends–moving away from “request/response” architecture to an “always-on” Streaming Web where data is in constant motion and secure, reliable communication is an absolute necessity. As more and more THINGS go online, the challenges that developers will need to address will only increase exponentially. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Todd Greene, Founder & CEO of PubNub, exploreed the current state of IoT connectivity and review key trends and technology requirements that will drive the Internet of Things from hype to reality.
Two weeks ago (November 3-5), I attended the Cloud Expo Silicon Valley as a speaker, where I presented on the security and privacy due diligence requirements for cloud solutions. Cloud security is a topical issue for every CIO, CISO, and technology buyer. Decision-makers are always looking for insights on how to mitigate the security risks of implementing and using cloud solutions. Based on the presentation topics covered at the conference, as well as the general discussions heard between sessions, I wanted to share some of my observations on emerging trends. As cyber security serves as a fou...
Continuous processes around the development and deployment of applications are both impacted by -- and a benefit to -- the Internet of Things trend. To help better understand the relationship between DevOps and a plethora of new end-devices and data please welcome Gary Gruver, consultant, author and a former IT executive who has led many large-scale IT transformation projects, and John Jeremiah, Technology Evangelist at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), on Twitter at @j_jeremiah. The discussion is moderated by me, Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
With all the incredible momentum behind the Internet of Things (IoT) industry, it is easy to forget that not a single CEO wakes up and wonders if “my IoT is broken.” What they wonder is if they are making the right decisions to do all they can to increase revenue, decrease costs, and improve customer experience – effectively the same challenges they have always had in growing their business. The exciting thing about the IoT industry is now these decisions can be better, faster, and smarter. Now all corporate assets – people, objects, and spaces – can share information about themselves and thei...
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound effect on the world, and what should we expect to see over the next couple of years.
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, wil...
PubNub has announced the release of BLOCKS, a set of customizable microservices that give developers a simple way to add code and deploy features for realtime apps.PubNub BLOCKS executes business logic directly on the data streaming through PubNub’s network without splitting it off to an intermediary server controlled by the customer. This revolutionary approach streamlines app development, reduces endpoint-to-endpoint latency, and allows apps to better leverage the enormous scalability of PubNub’s Data Stream Network.
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true change and transformation possible.
Microservices are a very exciting architectural approach that many organizations are looking to as a way to accelerate innovation. Microservices promise to allow teams to move away from monolithic "ball of mud" systems, but the reality is that, in the vast majority of organizations, different projects and technologies will continue to be developed at different speeds. How to handle the dependencies between these disparate systems with different iteration cycles? Consider the "canoncial problem" in this scenario: microservice A (releases daily) depends on a couple of additions to backend B (re...
I recently attended and was a speaker at the 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center. I also had the opportunity to attend this event last year and I wrote a blog from that show talking about how the “Enterprise Impact of IoT” was a key theme of last year’s show. I was curious to see if the same theme would still resonate 365 days later and what, if any, changes I would see in the content presented.
Apps and devices shouldn't stop working when there's limited or no network connectivity. Learn how to bring data stored in a cloud database to the edge of the network (and back again) whenever an Internet connection is available. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Ben Perlmutter, a Sales Engineer with IBM Cloudant, demonstrated techniques for replicating cloud databases with devices in order to build offline-first mobile or Internet of Things (IoT) apps that can provide a better, faster user experience, both offline and online. The focus of this talk was on IBM Cloudant, Apache CouchDB, and ...
Container technology is shaping the future of DevOps and it’s also changing the way organizations think about application development. With the rise of mobile applications in the enterprise, businesses are abandoning year-long development cycles and embracing technologies that enable rapid development and continuous deployment of apps. In his session at DevOps Summit, Kurt Collins, Developer Evangelist at, examined how Docker has evolved into a highly effective tool for application delivery by allowing increasingly popular Mobile Backend-as-a-Service (mBaaS) platforms to quickly crea...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York and Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound cha...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 7-9, 2016 at Javits Center, New York City and Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 18th International @CloudExpo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
The cloud. Like a comic book superhero, there seems to be no problem it can’t fix or cost it can’t slash. Yet making the transition is not always easy and production environments are still largely on premise. Taking some practical and sensible steps to reduce risk can also help provide a basis for a successful cloud transition. A plethora of surveys from the likes of IDG and Gartner show that more than 70 percent of enterprises have deployed at least one or more cloud application or workload. Yet a closer inspection at the data reveals less than half of these cloud projects involve production...
Cloud computing delivers on-demand resources that provide businesses with flexibility and cost-savings. The challenge in moving workloads to the cloud has been the cost and complexity of ensuring the initial and ongoing security and regulatory (PCI, HIPAA, FFIEC) compliance across private and public clouds. Manual security compliance is slow, prone to human error, and represents over 50% of the cost of managing cloud applications. Determining how to automate cloud security compliance is critical to maintaining positive ROI. Raxak Protect is an automated security compliance SaaS platform and ma...
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
Today air travel is a minefield of delays, hassles and customer disappointment. Airlines struggle to revitalize the experience. GE and M2Mi will demonstrate practical examples of how IoT solutions are helping airlines bring back personalization, reduce trip time and improve reliability. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Dr. Sarah Cooper, M2Mi’s VP Business Development and Engineering, explored the IoT cloud-based platform technologies driving this change including privacy controls, data transparency and integration of real time context with p...
There are over 120 breakout sessions in all, with Keynotes, General Sessions, and Power Panels adding to three days of incredibly rich presentations and content. Join @ThingsExpo conference chair Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040), June 7-9, 2016 in New York City, for three days of intense 'Internet of Things' discussion and focus, including Big Data's indespensable role in IoT, Smart Grids and Industrial Internet of Things, Wearables and Consumer IoT, as well as (new) IoT's use in Vertical Markets.