Digital Thinking

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Digital is big. It is not only big in the size of the hype it created but also big in its breadth and impact. It has become the codename for anything mixing the latest in technology with dazzling customer experience. Wikipedia’s definition of digital transformation refers to it as the next chapter in technology literacy where technology amalgamates with creativity and innovation.
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Surviving Bimodal IT

Hong Kong October 2013

Bimodal IT has lately become one of the hottest topics in the IT. In fact, if this is the first time you are hearing about Bimodal IT, you are more than a year late to the discussion.

There are lots of good resources describing what Bimodal IT is (E.g. this one, or this one) and likewise a plethora of flaming discussions why it is a good idea especially for digital or a bad one if not the worst.

I, on the other hand, see myself at the same distance to both parties. I believe, Bimodal IT is not a state you would be targeting nor a one you should avoid at all costs. Bimodal IT can be used as an interim model on the way to reaching IT nirvana.

IT organisations are large organisations consisting of numerous subunits which are constantly forced to change in all directions under the crossfire of new business requirements, changing market demands, emerging technologies, governance, risk and compliance concerns et al. It is therefore understandable, in fact inevitable, that each subunit of the organisation follows a different path, works with a different timetable and targets a different ideal state. In fact, I also find the similarity of the term Bimodal to Bipolar interesting, where Bipolar is used to describe a mental condition which is somewhat pertinent to what Bimodal states.

Bipolar Disorder is a form of major affective disorder, or mood disorder, defined by manic or hypomanic episodes (changes from one’s normal mood accompanied by high energy states). 

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What are Reference Architectures?

Greece Islands - September 2013

This is not a blog post about an emerging technology or a hot off the press IT trend, but just some notes about one of the pillars of every successful architecture work: Reference Architectures. This one explains what reference architectures are and why and how they are used in solution architectures.
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Learning magic from the “real” architects

Florence - September 2014

Designing something from an idea or as in many cases from a problem that needs to be solved is surely an exciting but not always an easy  process. We architects have to make sure we design the best possible solution meeting all the business requirements while adhering to global and organisational design best practices. One challenge we commonly face is incompletely or ambiguously expressed requirements which turns the analysis process into solving a rubik’s cube problem while skydiving. Furthermore, as we architects are mostly the middleman between business teams and technology units, we have to carefully manage the perceptions and expectations while using the relevant language to our audience. And we have to do all of these within a deadline and a budget while ensuring enough level of security and compliance, performance and fault tolerance etc.

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The Return of the Digital

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As the world history repeats itself, we also see the technology repeating itself in various ways. I remember presenting an über cool, AJAX-based application development solution to customers back in 2006. I was telling how it was different to traditional web applications that it was just updating the fragments on the UI not reloading the whole page. One day in a customer demo, a veteran developer said “We had this in 80s in mainframe terminal screens and it wasn’t a big deal!” Well, it wouldn’t be a big deal for the web era as well, if HTTP was initially designed for running applications not just for document exchange but that’s another story (seriously, isn’t it surprising that young developers don’t question why there is such thing as JavaScript but start learning AngularJS straight away?).

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Implementing Disruptive Technologies: 8 Lessons Learned from SOA

It is true that SOA has lost a lot of its steam now and the craze of SOA has been overtaken by the charms of new disruptive digital forces namely cloud, big data, social business and mobility. As with every emerging technology climbing up to the peak of the hype cycle, those digital forces are fully loaded with promises and expectations but it is only a matter of time that they will crash into the harsh wall of reality. This story is not new, and has also shown itself in the “SOA is the savior” era. The goal of this blog is to remember that story once again and come up with a list of lessons learned, which might hopefully guide architects and implementers of the new digital forces.

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