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Conclusion: Lock-in to software technology always goes hand in hand with lock-in to knowledge. When using Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) software, most of the lock-in relates to elements external to the organisation. In contrast, the use and development of open source software encourages development of tacit knowledge that extends into the public domain. It is time to move beyond the passive consumption of open source software, to remove business-risk inducing restrictions on the flow of knowledge, and to start actively supporting the development of open source software.

Related Articles:

"The Art of Lock-In Part 2" IBRS, 2011-07-26 00:00:00

"The Art of Lock-In; Part 1" IBRS, 2011-06-28 00:00:00

Conclusion: Lock-in is often discussed in relation to external suppliers of products and services. In doing so it is easy to overlook the lock-in relating to internal tacit knowledge and in-house custom software. The opposite of lock-in is not “no lock-in”, it is lock-in to an alternative set of behaviour and structures. Even though organisations can sometimes suffer from an excessive degree of external lock-in, organisations also benefit from lock-in, in the form of reduced costs and risk exposure. The art of lock-in involves continuously monitoring the business environment, and knowing when to switch from external to internal lock-in and vice versa.

Related Articles:

"The Art of Lock-In; Part 1" IBRS, 2011-06-28 00:00:00

"The Art of lock-in Part 3" IBRS, 2011-08-24 00:00:00

Conclusion: To date vendors such as Microsoft and Apple have been able to exploit operating systems as an effective mechanism for creating locked-in technology ecosystems, but the emergence of the HTML5 standard and Google Chrome sees the value of such ecosystems tending towards zero.

Providers of Cloud Computing services are united by the goal of minimising the relevance of in-house IT, from hardware right up to operating systems and higher-level infrastructure software. Enterprise application vendors such as SAP1 and Salesforce.com are pulling in the same direction. To avoid sunk IT costs and a dangerous level of technology lock-in, any further developments of in-house architectures and applications that ignore this trend should be re-examined.

Related Articles:

"The Art of Lock-In Part 2" IBRS, 2011-07-26 00:00:00

"The Art of lock-in Part 3" IBRS, 2011-08-24 00:00:00

The CIO walks into the boardroom. He proudly tells the board that he‘s hired “Global System Integration Leader” to be the prime SI for the organisation’s upgraded ERP system. The board fires him on the spot. When he asks for an explanation for his firing, the board tells him that it’s the third time that he’s hired the “Global System Integration Leader” for a major system integration engagement and the first two times failed to achieve objectives. He wouldn’t get a third chance. As he made his way to the lift well he was heard to exclaim in a loud high pitched voice; “But you don’t understand, they get it right once in every three times – they’re due”.

Conclusion: In many organisations there is a major disconnect between user expectations relating to software quality attributes (reliability of applications, intuitive user interfaces, correctness of data, fast recovery from service disruption, and so on.) and expectations relating to the costs of providing applications that meet those attributes.The desire to reduce IT costs easily leads to a situation where quality is compromised to a degree that is unacceptable to users. There are three possible solutions:

  1.  Invest heavily in quality assurance measures,
  2.  Focus on the most important software features at the expense of less important ones, or
  3. Tap into available tacit domain knowledge to simplify the organisation, its processes, and its systems.

Conclusion: What the apps will be for NBN is unclear: even NBN Co. is not sure. It need not be so difficult as NBN can be seen simply as a national grid, and therefore conquer distance, regardless of its bandwidth capacity and other correlated benefits of such a network. It could run all the apps that are common amongst the metropolitan areas and for specific industries in remote areas.

Of course, that is not what NBN is intended to do, but rather enable the apps of a new generation that human creativity will forge one day in the future.

Software: Ah, what a day. Do you know you’re the 53,184th person today asking me for an account balance? What is it with humans, can’t you even remember the transactions you’ve performed over the last month? Anyway, your balance is $13,587.52. Is there anything else that I can help you with?

Customer: Hmm, I would have expected a balance of at least $15,000. Are you sure it’s 13,500?

Software: 13,500? I said $13,587.52. Look, I’m keeping track of all the transactions I get, and I never make any mistakes in adding numbers.

Customer: This doesn’t make sense. You should have received a payment of more than $2,000 earlier this week.

Conclusion: Business intelligence has traditionally served as an after-the-fact reporting and analysis capability that drifts weeks or months behind current events. Modern enterprises demand timelier access to integrated information. This demand cannot be met by conventional business intelligence approaches and requires a variety of new techniques targeted at the immediacy of the information required.

 

Conclusion: They usually begin with starry-eyed stakeholders. Too often they end in tears. After several years of fiscal restraint, blockbuster projects are back on the agenda. Many will fail. Others will fall well short of organisational expectations.

Conclusion: In order to be effective, Quality Assurance must be woven into all parts of the organisational fabric. Designing, implementing, and monitoring the use of an appropriate quality management framework is the role performed by a dedicated Quality Assurance Centre of Excellence in the organisation. This internal organisation ties together QA measures that apply to core business processes and the technical QA measures that apply to IT system development and operations. Unless the QA CoE provides useful tools and metrics back to other business units, quality assurance will not be perceived as an essential activity that increases customer satisfaction ratings.

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