Friday, March 11, 2011

2011 Great Lakes Software Excellence Conference

Mark your calendars for the 2011 Great Lakes Software Excellence Conference in Grand Rapids, MI on Saturday 2011-APR-16. (!

I invite you and your colleagues to the 2011 GLSEC. This year’s conference focuses on Competitive Innovation. Come learn from top business and IT thought-leaders from all over the Midwest as they address critical aspects for attaining software excellence, from business strategy and enterprise architecture, and from hiring practices to test-driven development and embedded engineering.

Noted consultants and authors Johanna Rothman and Rex Black are the keynote speakers:

Johanna Rothman is a management consultant for software managers and leaders. She helps clients identify and solve the problems that prevent them from releasing systems, hiring the right people, or even deciding which project to work on next. She takes a pragmatic approach and customizes a solution that will work best for you and your organization. Her keynote is titled “Thriving in a Competitive Marketplace”.

Rex Black has over a quarter-century of software and systems engineering experience. He is the president and principal consultant of RBCS, Inc and is a leader in software, hardware, and systems testing. His popular book, “Managing the Testing Process”, has sold over 40,000 copies around the world, including Japanese, Chinese, and Indian releases. His keynote is titled “The Future of Test Management”.

I will present “Attaining Business-Oriented Software Excellence”:

Software excellence goes beyond mere technical ideals and measures. Software, as with all information technology (IT), must serve and enable the business, and must do so cost effectively. This establishes the context, boundaries, and rationale for any meaningful definition and measure of software excellence. But how do companies attain such business-oriented software excellence?
Framed in the context of global change, market forces, and technology advance, this presentation explores our understanding and misconceptions regarding the role of software in enabling and automating business. It examines case study successes and failures in creating software solutions.
This presentation describes how enterprise architecture aligns IT with the business strategy and optimizes IT investments; translating and demarcating the context, rationale, and boundaries for software excellence. It explains the essential enterprise architecture mechanisms for achieving alignment, and attaining business-oriented software excellence. The provided checklist allows you to gauge how well your company utilizes enterprise architecture, and recommends specific action steps you can take to help your company attain business-oriented software excellence.

Conference Details:
2011 Great Lakes Software Excellence Conference
Saturday, April 16, 2011 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM (Eastern Time)
Prince Conference Center at Calvin College
1800 E. Beltline SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49546 USA

Finally, I invite you to share this message with your colleagues and contacts; especially those business professionals who are directors, executives, managers, and supervisors. This conference will help them get more business value from their IT investments and software portfolios.

I look forward to seeing you at the 2011 Great Lakes Software Excellence Conference.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Finding Value in Cloud Computing – Part 9: Green Initiatives

Customers and communities are pressing companies to be more environmentally friendly. Their demands range from reducing energy consumption, reducing carbon footprints, using less water, and minimizing landfill waste. Many companies have responded favorably. They made their operations more environmentally friendly; obtaining ‘Green’ certifications, winning awards, and even incorporating their accomplishments in advertising.

Physical constraints within existing infrastructure are playing a part in the move to ‘Green IT.’ Faced with power density, utility company feed, cooling capacity, and floor-space and rack-space constraints, companies have relocated to new ‘Green’ data centers and have moved to the Cloud.

Economic pressures are also playing a part in the move to ‘Green IT.’ Energy consumption will continue to be a concern for business and IT executives. Increasing energy use in developing countries including China and India will place demand-side pressure on energy prices world-wide. The growing computational workloads and the growing number of computing devices of all types around the world will add further demand-side pressure. “And the other thing we’re finding is that in terms of energy consumption, that the trajectory, it’s a one-way street where we continue to consume more and more energy, and these data centers tend to be energy hogs, and we need to find a fundamentally different strategy as we think about bending this curve as far as data center growth is concerned.” __ Vivek Kundra, ‘The Economic Gains of Cloud Computing’, An Address, The Brookings Institution, 2010-APR-07, ( )

The Cloud Computing paradigm helps companies bend the curve to achieve their ‘Green IT’ objectives: reducing energy consumption, reducing carbon footprints, using less water, and minimizing landfill waste. It is naturally greener than building and operating one’s own data center. “There are a lot of data centers that are not highly utilized. If they utilize their assets at 20%, they're doing well. What we can do is aggregate a lot of demand across a lot of different time zones and use cases.” __Forbes, “Amazon's Golden Cloud”, 2009-JUN-29, ( )

Cloud computing allows us to aggregate demand across use cases, business processes, business capabilities, business units, time zones, and even companies. The Public Cloud, Hybrid Cloud, and Private Cloud options allow companies to achieve balance between their specific business and security requirements and their financial and environmental objectives.

__ Joseph Starwood (

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Finding Value in Cloud Computing – Part 8: OpEx Management

Organizations have learned that acquisition and implementation costs are only a small part of their total cost of ownership (TCO). To reduce and contain OpEx, prudent organizations are seeking to reduce management costs. The Cloud Computing paradigm reduces the physical IT estate, integrates service management tools, and enhances service management effectiveness. These reduce service management efforts and costs, and contribute to reducing and containing OpEx.

Organizations can achieve further OpEx reduction and containment through the service-orientation and SLA-driven aspects of the Cloud Computing paradigm. Composing applications from discrete loosely-coupled services reduces development, enhancement, and maintenance costs. Automating the dynamic management of fluctuating workloads and changing priorities reduces service management demands on costly professional resources. Service orientation and service level delivery leverage automation, process improvement, resource sharing, virtualization, economy of scale to reduce and contain IT OpEx.

__ Joseph Starwood (

Monday, February 7, 2011

Finding Value in Cloud Computing – Part 7: CapEx Management

Cost reduction and containment are significant drivers behind Cloud computing adoption. IT departments are seeking ways to reduce new IT spending and to extract more value from their existing IT environments. Many find that they have IT assets that are significantly under-utilized. The federal government faced this problem and opportunity with its thousands of data centers and hundreds of thousands of servers around the world. The Federal CTO assessed the situation, “Now, when you think about these data centers, one of the most troubling aspects about the data centers is that in a lot of these cases, we’re finding that server utilization is actually around seven percent, that’s unacceptable when you think about all the resources that we’ve invested.” __ Vivek Kundra, ‘The Economic Gains of Cloud Computing’, An Address, The Brookings Institution, 2010-APR-07, ( )

The Cloud Computing paradigm intentionally minimizes IT asset ownership to translate capital expenditures into operational expenditures resulting in reduced CapEx. The IT assets are shared; improving workload densities and resource utilizations. Virtualization further improves resource utilizations while containing capital expenditures. “When we think about information technology and the potential of cloud computing to lower the cost of government operations, drive innovation, and fundamentally change the way we deliver technology services across the board, we recognize that this is an amazing time in the very early days of cloud computing.” __ Vivek Kundra, ‘The Economic Gains of Cloud Computing’, An Address, The Brookings Institution, 2010-APR-07, ( )

Organizations can leverage the multi-tenancy capabilities of the Cloud Computing paradigm to allow multiple business units to share infrastructure (IaaS), platforms (Paas), and applications and services (SaaS). They can also leverage Cloud computing’s virtualization capabilities to run multiple applications and/or services on a physical platform or run a large application across several physical platforms. Resource sharing and virtualization increase utilization and improve return on investment (ROI).

__ Joseph Starwood (

Friday, February 4, 2011

Finding Value in Cloud Computing – Part 6: Elastic Capacity

A highly elastic, scalable, and flexible IT environment is critical to organizations seeking to remain competitive or enhance their competitive position. The Cloud Computing paradigm provides elasticity to support changing workloads and business priorities. Applications, services, and infrastructure can be scaled up or down as needed. “Elasticity is a trait of shared pools of resources. … Elasticity is associated with not only scale but also an economic model that enables scaling in both directions in an automated fashion. This means that services scale on demand to add or remove resources as needed.” __Gartner, Press Release, 2009-JUN-23, ( )

Organizations can leverage the elastic capabilities of Cloud computing to serve varying workloads; from small departmental applications to large enterprise applications, and from routine transactions associated with daily operations to large transaction spikes from special promotions. Enterprises can also leverage the service-oriented capabilities of Cloud computing to evolve transaction processing as business requirements change, to improve resource utilization, and to manage costs as well as allocate costs by allow business units to pay only for capacity that is actually used.

The relevant question is how to begin transforming the IT estate so that applications and workloads can effectively and efficiently benefit from Cloud computing to better support the business. Organizations seeking to leverage their IT environments for competitive advantage are beginning to transform their data centers to enable and automate their ‘Core’ and ‘Differentiating’ business capabilities and processes cost effectively using the Cloud Computing paradigm.

__ Joseph Starwood (

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Finding Value in Cloud Computing – Part 5: Time to Market

It is not surprising that Cloud computing has captured the attention of IT departments. Promising higher resource utilization and decreased demands on data center power, cooling, and footprint, Cloud computing is attractive to those seeking cost reduction and containment.

Facing greater market and competitive pressures, IT departments are also looking to Cloud computing to improve time-to-market for new and enhanced applications. Given the Cloud computing maturity level, Gartner recommends that organizations “…focus on opportunistic solutions — quick-hit, tactical opportunities where time to market and developer productivity outweigh long-term technical viability…” __Gartner, Press Release, 2009-FEB-02, ( )

However, IT-driven time-to-market initiatives are mostly tactical and often miss strategic business time-to-market opportunities. Such strategic opportunities extend well outside the IT department boundaries. Organizations can utilize the Cloud Computing paradigm to accelerate time-to-market for new products and services. When coupled with Business Intelligence capabilities, the Cloud allows companies to learn from and respond to customer needs, wants, inquiries, and complaints. Amazon has modeled the way, “Even more interesting are the experiments using cloud computing to accelerate learning from customers, speeding up both time-to-market and customer feedback. For instance, Amazon uses its own cloud-based Relational Database Service to much more quickly and cheaply manipulate the tremendous amount of data it generates from simulations of its 98 million active customers.” __Forbes, ‘Learning From The Cloud’, 2010-OCT-20, ( )

Organizations can further enhance the time-to-market value proposition by coupling the Business Intelligence capabilities with enterprise sense-&-respond and social media capabilities. The organization achieves integrated market-awareness, marketing and sales, product and service development and delivery, and customer service with near-real-time responsiveness. “A dramatically higher level of experimentation and learning--and therefore talent development--is the real potential of cloud computing. Those who understand and harness these forces can develop a significant advantage relative to those who continue to view the cloud as just another form of low-cost IT outsourcing.” __Forbes, ‘Learning From The Cloud’, 2010-OCT-20, ( )

__ Joseph Starwood ( )

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Finding Value in Cloud Computing – Part 4: Resource Leverage

People and organizations have formed alliances and partnerships with others for centuries. The strengths and advantages of each member in the value chain facilitate creating and delivering products and services to customers at competitive prices.

The Cloud Computing paradigm provides another platform for establishing alliances and partnerships and building value chains. Its service-orientation makes it flexible to changing demands and new opportunities. Membership within the value chain can change quickly to incorporate new members and leverage their strengths and advantages.

Organizations can use the Cloud computing paradigm to build and evolve value chains in which they focus on enabling and automating their ‘Core’ and ‘Differentiating’ business capabilities and processes. These organizations invite partners to participate in those functions where the partners bring strengths. The partner organizations deliver, what is for them, ‘Core’ and ‘Differentiating’.

This allows each organization to more sharply focus its professional and technical resources on creating and delivering products and services, serving customers, and generating revenue.

__ Joseph Starwood ( )