Living in the Innovation Age
Baseline, November/December 2011

Why are some companies such as Google and Apple, successful at innovation while others aren't? The simple answer is that these thriving companies have mastered the principles of innovation. They are not afraid to venture into new, unchartered waters; on the contrary, they embrace innovation. This article discussed five principles for prospering in this new era - The Innovation Age.

FISMA 2010 - What it Means for IT Security Professionals
ISACA Journal, Volume 5, September 2010

New threats related to cybersecurity are causing a shift in focus from compliance to risk-based protection, resulting in new requirements for system security and contingency plans, a greater push for continuous monitoring, and a stronger emphasis on configuration management and incident response. Are you ready?

This article looks at how FISMA and its family of key National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Special Innovative Insights (SPs) are changing to meet the challenges posed by increasingly elusive hackers who are using better and more sophisticated tools and techniques to attack increasingly lucrative targets. Complacency is definitely not an option. The only option is to stay one step ahead of the game.

Making Sure You Really are Walking on Cloud Nine
ISACA Journal, Volume 3, June 2010

Concerns about cloud computing data security, privacy, and availability are not unwarranted as evidenced by just a few of the headlines on cloud computing related breaches within a six month period between February and July, 2009.
  • A highly publicized data breach within Google Docs on March 7, 2009...
  • The Google Docs one hour outage on July 8, 2008 and the Google Gmail two and a half hour outage on February 24, 2009.
  • News on July 15, 2009 that a hacker (alias "Hacker Croll") was able to gain access to a Google Apps account that stored sensitive Twitter communications...
Given these headlines, it is easy to understand why taking the leap of faith in deciding to leverage cloud computing can be an overwhelming task; but it is a critical task that must be performed diligently to ensure that your valuable trust in the cloud is not misplaced. Smart consumers are those who will avoid the "gotchas" by asking the right questions as presented in this paper thereby ensuring that the cloud they are walking on is truly cloud nine.

Silver Line Your Cloud with 6 Strategic Considerations
ebizQ, June 8, 2009

Entrusting your company data to the cloud is a serious commitment. Here are six considerations to keep in mind when deciding if a cloud vendor is worthy of that commitment.

The Cloud Computing Journey: Lessons Learned from the Early Pioneers, Part 2 of 2
ebizQ, February 8, 2010

Part 2 of the Cloud Computing Journey we embarked on below...

The Cloud Computing Journey: Lessons Learned from the Early Pioneers, Part 1 of 2
ebizQ, February 1, 2010

As IT departments across the globe embark on their cloud computing journey, they inevitably discover that cloud computing is the ultimate "paradox of ease." Things that should be difficult are handled by the cloud with suave finesse. On the other hand, things that might be dismissed as trivial turn into nightmares. But a cloud computing journey no longer has be an unpredictable series of events given the wealth of knowledge we can gain from the lessons learned by the early pioneers who are well into their respective cloud computing journeys.

Avoiding the Storms: Why We Need Cloud Governance
ebizQ, November 23, 2009

Yes, today's forecast is scattered clouds. Scattered clouds imply a nice day with mostly sunny skies and a few scattered showers. But don't let today's sunny skies lull you to a complacent afternoon siesta. An unfettered increase in "scattered clouds" could mean that today's sunny skies are just the calm before the raging storms arrive. Without proper planning and oversight (i.e. governance), cloud computing will inevitably have the same story as SOA. My latest feature, Avoiding the Storms: Why We Need Cloud Governance, explores this train of thought.

Eight Myths of Cloud Computing
Government Computer News (GCN), October 26, 2009

As Taylor Rickard, CTO, G&B Solutions, so eloquently puts it "Ask 25 people what cloud computing means and you are likely to get 30 different definitions." With so much disinformation out there, is it any wonder that there are so many myths associated with clouds? In this article, I systematically dispel eight of the more common cloud computing myths.

Open Government - Five Key IT Issues
ebizQ, October 23, 2009

We have barely scratched the surface regarding social media use in the pursuit of an Open Government. The root problem is an "impendence mismatch" between the federal operating environment and the technology -- namely, a federal environment that is still very 20th century and a technology that is very 21st century.

The Cloud SOA Ecosystem
ebizQ, October 12, 2009

The union of SOA and the cloud goes beyond a simple convergence – it actually represents an ecosystem consisting of a complex web of symbiotic relationships between the cloud, SOA, and other technologies.

Guidelines for Content Security and Portability, Cloud Computing Series
G&B Solutions, August, 2009
(3 pages)
The increasing realization that cloud computing can offer substantial advantages for cost-efficient, infrastructure-on-demand combined with the growing attention by the new administration is causing government agencies to seriously ponder the "CIA" related questions of how to ensure that information content is protected, continuously accessible to authorized users, and can be readily transitioned to another cloud provider or back to the agency if and when needed.

What's in it for IT?
What does the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act mean for the IT industry?
Baseline, May 2009

With no end in sight to the current economic downturn, a burning question for IT professionals has become “Is Obama’s strong penchant for and his belief in the transformational capability of technology evident in how funds are allocated in the stimulus package?” Being an IT professional myself, I too sought out to seek that answer. I began my journey at the administration’s web site, which has been set up to provide transparency in how the stimulus package funds are allocated and used. The site does a useful job in breaking the totality of funds into several major categories: Tax Relief ($288 billion), Energy ($43 billion), Health Care ($59 billion), Education/Training ($53 billion), Protecting the Vulnerable ($81 billion), State/Local Fiscal Relief ($144 billion), Infrastructure/Science ($111 billion), and other ($8 billion) but falls short of answering the question of IT related spending. On the surface it might seem that the $111 billion allocated for Infrastructure/Science might be the answer we are looking for but a slightly deeper inspection reveals that infrastructure includes building roads, facilities, and a host of other things completely unrelated to IT.

TOGAF 9 Applied: One Iteration at a Time
ebizQ, April 30, 2009

TOGAF Version 9 came out with a bang on February 2, 2009. Although the core of TOGAF -- the Architecture Development Method (ADM) -- remains the same, there are many changes within the framework making TOGAF even more modular and providing further standardization, guidance, and support around how the framework is applied in practice. Key enhancements include the addition of the newly defined Architecture Content Framework making TOGAF into a truly standalone framework and a detailed set of guidelines and techniques for applying the ADM in a number of real-world scenarios. Another major change is that TOGAF 9 has eliminated the Resource Base transitioning much of it to the newly introduced Architecture Capability Framework. Portions of the Resource Base have also been moved to the relevant TOGAF sections. For example, the complete discussion on Business Scenarios, which was formally part of the Resource Base, is now its own chapter in Section III: ADM Guidelines and Techniques of the TOGAF 9 specification. In this article, I will focus on one particular enhancement to the TOGAF 9 framework -- the formalization of iterative application of the ADM (and hence TOGAF).

Enterprise SOA: Five steps to the next frontier
ITWorld, April 14, 2009

What do enterprise architecture, virtualization, security, business intelligence, and organizational culture have in common with each other and with SOA? If you answered "very little to nothing at all," then think again because each one of these can make or break your SOA implementation.

To be fair, if all you are trying to do is implement a simple application as an SOA, then you might not need to consider the above items but the rules of engagement quickly change the moment you start expanding your SOA initiative beyond these simple boundaries. So, how can these five items elevate your current SOA implementation to an enterprise-level SOA? Let's take a look.

Enterprise Architecture: From Folklore to Facts
ebizQ, March 5, 2009

Once upon a time there was a brave consultant who traveled to many companies across many distant lands. Even though the companies she visited were diverse in their pursuits, she encountered many a common theme. She would ask the same question to different business units within the same company and get terrifyingly different answers. She noted that meeting new strategic initiatives was a guaranteed scary proposition and that IT was viewed as that multi-headed monster better known as a bottleneck. Amazingly, information was almost never available at the right place to the right people at the right time, and if it was it really could not be trusted! To add insult to injury, no matter how hard the employees seemed to work they always seemed to be one step behind from where they needed to be.

Then one day this brave consultant came upon a company where IT was a strategic partner with the business supporting such amazing capabilities as portability, interoperability, and extensibility. IT value was completely justified; there was a sense of reduced risk and an unprecedented amount of flexibility in make, buy, and sourcing decisions. Employees in this company worked less, were more relaxed, and yet they managed to stay ahead of their peers in their market. How could this be? And it was that fateful day that she discovered the wonders of enterprise architecture!

Mapping the Unfamiliar to the Familiar With TOGAF and RUP
ebizQ, July 3, 2008

Let's face it: enterprise architecture is a daunting task. It is daunting because it must ensure a complete and consistent alignment between an organization's strategic objectives, mission, and business goals with its IT investment. To do so it must take into account four overarching organizational perspectives: business, data, applications (functionality), and technology. A task so monumental can instill fear in the best of us. Granted, enterprise architecture frameworks such as The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF) can help, but unfamiliarity with such frameworks can just as easily add to the fear of an already complex task. In this article, I will show you how much of this fear can be alleviated by mapping TOGAF (the unfamiliar) to a very popular and well-known process framework, the Rational Unified Process or RUP (the familiar).