Providing vision and architectural guidance to organisations
Organisations are traditionally built in many silos, each operating according to their own goals and business processes. Breaking the silos and providing a common set of services across the organisation is a common activity of IT organisations around the globe. In order to achieve this, developing a common vision of their IT architecture is a key strategic activity. This allows the organisation to develop common terminology across the silos, choose common technology and develop interoperable solutions. A clear graphical view of the business creates a valuable tool for upward messaging to the CxO level on what IT offers the organisation, as well as providing cohesion between the IT staff and IT stakeholders in other silos around the organisation.
Where it all goes wrong is when architecture is developed for architectures sake. Where once off efforts are developed and there is no commitment to ongoing management and support of the architectural process. In many cases architectures are developed with no thought on how the content artefacts can be used by the project teams charged with delivering the IT solutions for the organisation. From experience keeping architecture real and usable is a skill that is best delivered by practitioners who have actually designed and built networks.
Additionally architecture views need to be developed that meet the needs of strategic needs of the organisation
Hence enterprise architectures need to be tailored to meet both the culture of the organisation and the needs of all the users of that architecture.
Internet of Things Consulting
Based on years of experience in designing and delivering IP Technologies and Services to early adopter companies in multiple verticals and horizontal markets Flocom Consulting draws on the knowledge gained in one industry and applies it to others looking for novel applications, specifically in the area of sensors, sensor networking, and automation.
The addition of a new IoT service and the integration of new technology across an organisation requires careful planning based on architectural principles. Even if there is no IoT service planned in the near future, early preparation for this evolution is prudent. There are a range of issues to be considered:
- Network, Data and Device Security,
- Employee and Customer Privacy,
- IPv6 and future sensor protocols,
- Scalability of sensor network and of related data storage,
- Time constraints on data movement and QoS models,
- Location of data storage processing,
- Client and application readiness,
- The use of standards,
- The levels of interoperability planned, and so on.
A roadmap for the evolution of the network towards an IoT ready network is a critical planning tool. An organisation should understand their current state architecture, derive a set of principles for the evolution of IoT and then derive a future state architecture based on a set of reference architectures. A gap analysis then identifies the future projects that an organisation should undertake in order to make their IT environment “IoT ready”.
Communications and Sensor Advice
The interaction between communications and sensor layers are novel to most IT organisations, however years of learnings from early adopters and Defence networks can provide valuable insight into the common issues. Additionally the secure and timely movement of sensor data around the Internet is of common concern.
Flocom Consulting has been engaged to write independent technical reports for customers on a wide range of topics. Customers choose us due to wide range experience we have gathered and the ability to look at technical issues from a high level due to our expertise in the architectural as well as business processes within organisations. Examples of the reports we have delivered are:
- Government agency orgnaisational review for the delivery of shared services
- Template for introduction of enterprise architecture processes into a government agency
- Recommendations on near term video interoperability strategy for a government agency
- Technical expert report for ASX listing purposes
- and more
Bid Team Responses
Flocom has been engaged as a key technical resource in a number of bid teams, particularly on large state and federal government bids. Due to our wide ranging experience we can take leading roles as well as filling gaps in particular bid responses. So far we have been involved in the following types of activities in bids so far.
- Architecture based vision for bid responses
- Development of Key Messaging
- Requirements Analysis, Solution Designs, Architecture Descriptions
- Specialty Engineering (Availability, Power, Sparing, Environmentals, Rack Layouts, Hazmat Compliance, etc)
- and more
We have a diverse experience in satellite and space technologies and associated ground station technologies. I have experience as a design authority for a large Defence project responsible for design and installation for a network with 5 satellite ground stations with a range of modem, acceleration and networking equipment.
I have also been associated with Defence satellite communications research activities over many years including deployable satcom, mobile satcom, and even IP routers in space I have worked on presales deals that required specialist satellite input in many verticals such as oil& gas, mining, telecommunications, transport and more. I have worked in a large IP company that formed a team focused on selling to the satellite broadcast industry and dealt with the three aspects of contribution, distribution and delivery over satcom.
I have worked on protocol research and development for applications in the satellite communications domain.
Strategy and Governance Advice
Most organisations have experts in particular areas who are highly capable individuals that develop innovative solutions. However when these experts are asked to take their detailed knowledge and portray it up to a CxO level audience, or out to a wider audience that is where the issues begin to arise. This is where “knowing the audience” is a critical competency that is required to manage IT services in a modern organisation. IT experts that are skilled at architecture, business analysis, and who can understand the needs of the executive and the board are a key resource in order to sell the IT message throughout the organisation.
Organisations often outsource the development of their architectures to large consulting companies or vendors. Whilst this might seem the most efficient and timely manner to bring external knowledge into the organisation, quite often it results in architectures that are “locked in time” or “shelfware” once the engagement is finished. An ongoing effort to train staff and build ownership in the product is crucial for sucess.
The following tasks are needed in an architecture governance function:
- Maintain the currency and relevancy of the architecture artefacts to reflect the changes into the organisation.
- Reporting on compliance to the architecture within the organisation.
- Reporting on alignment of organisation strategies to the architecture or vice versa.
- Educating future architects on the process, and providing advice to other stakeholders.
- Informing strategic partners and service providers of your architecture and process so that they can align to achieve the best outcomes.
IT strategy and architecture governance are one of the most critical activities in sucessful IT outcomes and are often ignored or carried out as an afterthought...make sure your organisation is different.