Software as a Service in the DoD

The enterprise software initiative has a SaaS toolkit located http://www.esi.mil/saas_toolkit/index.html.  Included is a road map and a business model and a list of pro’s and con’s.   What’s missing?

  • Vendor understanding of the DoD market.
  • Certification and IA cost
  • Product management strategy
  • Enterprise licensing strategy that takes into account unanticipated users
  • Consumption assessment – How much will the applications tax the infrastructure.
  • Understanding of maintenance actual.

Not long ago, I approached DISA with some questions concerning their SaaS strategy.   While DISA has the idea in the plan, they don’t have a specific plan on how they are going to implement SaaS, PaaS, or IaaS for a production capability.

The implications of this are that software vendors will eventually have their software wind up on DISA DECC’s (computing centers) but not in the short-term.  Most programs work with short-term manageable goals as opposed to the long-term greater good.  It doesn’t mean that they don’t have the best in mind but programs have to build requirements with what they know today.   In FY12 DISA will start to move forward with SaaS but until then software will be installed and employed in a traditional fashion.

This is an opportunity for vendors and strategists to plan out SaaS with a clear understanding of the environment today.   Cloud computing is here and it is already being employed in the DoD, we need to look ahead with how we are going to manage it going forward.

 

Is there a link between Enterprise Architecture and Knowledge Management?

 

Knowledge Management company’s organization of knowledge: the organization of intellectual resources and information systems within a business environment.

Enterprise Architecture An enterprise architecture (EA) is a rigorous description of the structure of an enterprise, which comprises enterprise components (business entities), the externally visible properties of those components, and the relationships (e.g. the behavior) between them. EA describes the terminology, the composition of enterprise components, and their relationships with the external environment, and the guiding principles for the requirement (analysis), design, and evolution of an enterprise.[1][2] This description is comprehensive, including enterprise goals, business process, roles, organizational structures, organizational behaviors, business information, software applications and computer systems.

Disclaimer: My experience is limited to a specific market area which is Defense.   It is important to point this out because my perspective of EA and KM may not apply to the commercial market or even some of the state or federal areas.

A little Primer:

The DoD uses the DODAF for EA.  Historically usage of the DODAF was not mandated but there is a lot of movement today on a forcing function.   This is important because we have to understand how to read and interpret architectures. Also, if you are looking at EA and KM from another functional market area you may be concerned with other frameworks.

The Problem:

My answer to the initial question is YES.   There is a link between EA and KM and from my perspective it is not clearly shown or recognized from an organizational stand point.   The DoD has a large number of people working in KM and EA, how many work in the same office?   How many of them collaborate?  Why? Why not?  I am looking at this from the bottom up.  It very well may be that I have it all wrong and that leadership clearly sees and employs EA and KM together.   I don’t see that they do.   I see a gaping chasm between KM and EA operationally.

This is an issue because KM is fundamentally about information.  Architectures are a communicative capability used to describe resources, business process, and all other sorts of information.  I have been searching online for other people who have tied EA and KM together and I have come up short.

Solution:

KM can exist without architectures and EA can exist without KM.  There is good reason to bring these concepts together.  We need information for KM, and we share information with EA.  Both can be interdependent.  If brought together as a single practice, we can have Solutions Based Knowledge Management.  This is a comprehensive highly contextual end to end solution using architectures as the primary vehicle of communication with interlinks to authoritative information.

Looking for comments and possible follow-up discussion.

 

 

Army Connecting Soldiers to Digital Applications

http://www.arcic.army.mil/csda.html
When Connecting Soldiers to Digital Apps (CSDA) was conceptualized in September 2009 by CIO/G6 and ARCIC, the idea was to explore the value of using smart phones to provide Soldiers Army applications for select administrative, training and tactical functions. CSDA goals are:
Evaluate new training approaches that allow Soldiers to learn anytime/anywhere (providing a “persistent learning environment”)
Explore Smart Phone potential to enable every Soldier to access information and learning in any environment
Develop means to rapidly update and share information – at a fraction of the cost of traditional methods

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HELLO ME IT’S ME SOA and stuff

What is it that you want to hear?

Will that make you pay attention?

Do you need short bullet style sentences? Or do you need just one liners?
Do you need to feel close the subject at hand? Or do you need to feel inspired?

What is it that will make you “get it” even if you don’t agree with “it”?

We need to clearly ask questions.  We need to be open and honest and without fear when asking.   We need to be able to discuss and even argue in the spirit of understanding and solving problems. 

Leaders at the top of the organizational hierarchy know without a doubt that most of the issues we have reside in communications, trust and our ability to understand or relate how it is that you are connected to me.  How is something connected to me? What is this something? Why does it matter? How will it affect me?  Will it have any impact at all? 

We focus on things that are physical and logical but we should pay more attention to the space between these things and the connectivity and the meaning.  We should pay more attention to the relationships of the people dealing with these things. 

If you are still reading this, you may wonder what I am talking about specifically.  I didn’t apply context and that was the point.  

SOA applied:

                      I was in a meeting today where we discussed Service Orientation, one of the points of discussion was that a high-ranking service member said that he was going to “Buy himself a SOA” which is absolutely frustrating.   The real issue is that this person is not informed.  He is not informed because he either had no time to be informed or he didn’t care to know.  He just leaned over to his number one guy and asked for some SOA. His number one guy may be the same way.  This is critically important because as I stated before the people at the top of an organization understand what they want or need in concept.  They have to pass trust down through the organization to middle level management in order to execute the “idea” or “concept” and make things happen. 

The middle level management is swollen by pressures from the top and the bottom and they have difficulty in taking the time to learn.  They then try to pass the trust token down to lower level management or action officers who in turn try to execute but they don’t know the vision.  So they make up their own idea of it. 

It boils down to understanding people, process, methods and leading.  It means time, and sometimes we think we have no time.  If we have no time we rush, we don’t ask questions and we wind up doing everything over and over and over.  I needed the three overs.   If you are still reading, I am most probably telling you something that you already know.  I am simply pointing out something as real as air and as clear as mud.   My next question is….

What are you doing about it?  If nothing, why not?

I suggest taking some time to think about the problems in your organization.  I suggest that you lead change or even inspire change through you current role.  If you are at the bottom, learn what the people at the top want to accomplish.  Create clarity where there is none.  Outline what you can do to help. When someone pushes back on you, respectfully and professionally assert your right to help. 

I had a friend recently tell me “Be the island of rationality in the sea of chaos.”  Be the island with a sat link up to other islands.   Finally remember if you chose to do nothing to help, you have chosen to do something which may contribute to an undesirable result.  

It has been proven time and time again that we fundamentally want the same things and these things are basic.  Keeping this in mind will help when we work to connect with each other no matter if it is technical or not.