First-Mover Advantage and BYOStuff

I still feel like a bit of a wanker pulling out my ipad in meetings…

…lamented the author of a recent tweet i found interesting because the stigma of the tablet has all but disappeared from my:

  • Work: where tablets are quite prevalent, with about as many being company-provided as are personally-owned devices, and the defining behaviour in my jaundiced eyes is not producing a tablet in a meeting or a workshop (that’s a good thing) but having it sitting on the desk as a beacon of status and having, or being fiddled with impotently, or being neglected as too hard in favour of a paper notebook, rather than being used for productive common good work.
  • Community: at conferences and other events the tablet ratio is much higher than at my work, but so too is the ratio of productive use in note-taking, micro-blogging for the benefit of remote attendees and colleagues back home, researching background information on the fly, fine-tuning presentations, and for sharing with other attendees.
  • Industry: Stephen Prentice, in his Gartner research note Technology Trends That Matter† that for media tablets:
    • First-mover advantage has already passed [and] it no longer garners the attention and buzz that it did in 2010, to the point where not using a tablet is likely to be more commented on.
  • Society: during my morning public-transport commute to work it’s become unusual not to see at least one passenger using a tablet, though they’re generally consuming news, social media streams, or ebooks rather than participating or being involved in content creation.

This tip-of-the-iceberg aspect of consumerisation-meets-the-enterprise in Bring-Your-Own-Device is quickly being echoed in non-physical domains, such as:

  • Bring Your Own Identity, whether that’s a governmental or commercial identity-proofing service, or whether that’s from something like Facebook or LinkedIn
  • Bring Your Own Productivity Software, from the likes of Google, Dropbox, and Evernote and from the as-a-service subscriptions to teamware such as Basecamp or code libraries on github.

With the first-mover advantage already well behind us on the device front, it’s likely we’ve already missed the boat in understanding (first priority) and providing guiding governance (second priority) how to get the best for everybody out of the BYOStuff stack.

† Prentice, S. (2011) Technology Trends That Matter, Gartner Research, Article G00212538

Halal Butchery, Feature Management, and Conceptual Design

Back in late October we enjoyed a visit from Brian Prentice, a Gartner Group analyst whose areas of specialisation include intellectual property, conceptual design, open-source software, social computing, and service-based delivery models (e.g., cloud computing, software-as-a-service, and platform-as-a-service).  Over a couple of hours a lively discussion ranged across most all of those specialisation areas, and although the session was now a couple of months ago there are aspects of it that have stuck with me, particularly around the adoption of conceptual design to the application-development life cycle.

At his Gartner Group blog Brian Prentice offers a definition of conceptual design as:

  • a basic foundation that defines the structure of the solution, including the functional elements of the product, their relationships, and the system behaviour.

…and great things come from an approach like this, which emphasises the creation and delivery of greatly-usable individual function points: think of Google Search (which Brian Prentice points to as “a triumph of whitespace”) and Twitter.  When the introduction of additional functionality starts to degrade the experience for a large-enough proportion of users, you’re probably dealing with a new product that should be developed independently and integrated across function points to provide highly-usable, highly-scalable composite applications.  Organisations such as Google capture and monitor metrics on the use of features introduced into their applications and drop features that fall short of what’s needed to keep them going.

Thinking recently about conceptual design and the introduction and management of features and functions while waiting for a bus, i noticed this sign in a butcher-shop window:

…apologising for the introduction of a new service feature.

Actionable Architecture and Other Matters

Welcome to the actionable architecture weblog.  Just like any other blog, it’s going to be a work in progress forever as what is merely a collection of one person’s opinions are described in articles that could be triggered by anything at all: work, life, updates on Twitter, test cricket, the weather, news, music, anything. However, what is intended to link all these articles together is that they are in some way concerned with:

  • actionability
  • enterprise architecture
  • patterns and standards
  • business process management
  • modelling
  • industry analysis and trends
  • business technologies
  • social networking and collaboration
  • methodologies for design and development
  • architecture frameworks
  • enterprise architecture as a profession
  • best practices for actionability

i’m a latecomer to the blogging, though a wiki and Twitter enthusiast, and the format shift will be at once interesting and challenging.