Building an organizational GovOps Tree…

I worry about the technology section of Niume. I started posting in September or October 2016. In the time I have been posting (and perhaps it is me) I have begun to see a decline in both the views and posts to the section. Travel, where I am posting the many places we have been as part of our family history project, remains stronger than technology. Photography seems to be the number one area on Niume overall.

That is all on that, just that I am a little worried. Nothing to alarm or send the rescue crew out for, just a little twinge of concern. We all have those moments of doubt, from time to time.

One of the things that I’ve been working on for the past couple of months is the concept of what does the future hold for cloud computing. In particular, I am worried that the engineering culture of the larger cloud providers is going to end up adding so much more complexity than is needed.

I realized, about ten years ago, that there is something missing in most IT portfolio’s, the actual portfolio! The concept that a systems or enterprise architect would build. There are some books on the topic, I have my favorites, ping me, and I will share those offline.

What EA’s or Systems Level architects do is evaluate not only the form but the function within and between the components of an organization. The systems view is simple input, business process, and output. It applies to virtually everything. From human beings interacting in a Bar on a Friday night to a business launching on Monday with a new product. All of them are systems. The inputs are always different, but they remain systems.

The system architect breaks the organization down into the disparate systems in hopes of finding the ultimate System of Systems that represents the flow within the body. Enterprise Architects try to do the same thing from the agency level down. No matter which way you approach the problem, it is a hard one to solve.

But, organizations that truly solve the EA or SA view, don’t have to struggle as they consider Agile or DevOps deliveries (or my creation, GovOps). They embrace the change in front of them quickly because it fits into the broader portfolio of capabilities.

They can embrace the new paradigms quickly and begin moving forward. That agility comes from knowledge. I see a lot of organizations moving along that spectrum now. The funny thing is, it is the same companies that were moving along that spectrum ten years ago. 

I guess it is a slippery slope. It seems like as an external IT consultant, pretty easy to me. The concept of understanding your IT portfolio isn’t complex. It is hard though. What was an IT portfolio twenty years ago, isn’t even 1/7th of a modern portfolio. Twenty years ago we were building email systems and directories. Companies were still chasing the x.500 mega directory. Today IT has to worry about portable devices and the work anywhere reality. There aren’t as many hours in the day today as there were twenty-five years ago.  Well from an IT perspective that is (when I was first in IT, we had remote access systems but do you know how many people used them? Out of 1500 employees at the company I worked for, 8 to 10.) That meant the number of times I had to fix complex issues that took hours, were fewer. There were some (connecting a SoftSwitch Messaging and Routing Box to an AS400 took me 25 straight hours on the phone) issues that lasted past the work day but for the most part, the day ended at 6 pm on a Friday and didn’t start until 8 or 9 am on a Monday. Yes, 50 hours was the standard workweek, but there were fewer after hours called into work.

Now the IT shop has to manage people that are connecting to the system at 11 pm. People that are connecting at 4 am (like me I get up early). What is being built now has to operate far more than it did. The 9 or so people that used to connect remotely to my mail system would now be 1500 or nearly every single employee of the organization. The EA and SA roles have become critical path.

So has the reality of an IT portfolio and my favorite, the GovOps tree. Agility means understanding not just the what and how, but also the why of the business or agency. The path to the cloud lies in your ability to understand the roots of your organizational GovOps tree. To make sure that the trunk of your organizations GovOps tree is stable (so you need a great root system) and that your GovOps tree leaves are secure and won’t just blow away. The portfolio is the future!