The UK Enterprise Architecture Forum is an open community for IT Architects, which is coordinated and facilitated by the community (without vendor bias).
The forum launched in early 2017 and meets once per quarter. As a result, we have had three previous meetings:
Today, we completed the fourth forum, where the following topics were discussed:
- Digital Transformation
- DevOps Roundtable
- General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
- CData - OData Enablement
- Enterprise Blockchain
My notes from each topic can be found below.
Digital Transformation & DevOps Roundtable
In 2017, “Digital Transformation” was a common buzzword, therefore the group spent some time discussing the topic and reviewing progress. There were certainly a lot of common themes (even across industries), with a focus on software development, automation, data insights and open-source technologies.
This topic led nicely into a DevOps roundtable. When discussing DevOps, it is easy to focus on the tools, however the group was more interested in the culture, specifically education, adoption and barriers.
I shared our journey, which has included a strong focus on education, through internal hackathons and the creation of a dedicated developer portal (known as LillyDev). The goal of LillyDev was to provide a central location for all content related to modern software development (including DevOps). We have found this to be a powerful way to structure the information, providing a consistent channel for self-education, as well as reinforcing our best practices.
As you can see from the screenshot below, LillyDev is a “search first” experience, but also puts an emphasis on patterns and accelerators. This follows our Enterprise IT Architecture methodology, which I outlined in the article “EA Positioning”.
LillyDev specifically targets a technical audience (primarily IT Architects and Software Developers), therefore it provides a lot of detail on each service, including developer standards, code snippets, etc. The screenshot below highlights the section focused on Heroku, with similar sections dedicated to complimentary platforms, backing services and tools.
Finally, a member of the forum presented their experience of Provar, which is a code-free, integrated automation testing tool for Salesforce.com. The video below provides a brief overview Provar in action.
As a big Salesforce.com customer, I can relate to the challenges associated with automated testing on a multi-tenant platform. As a result, Provar certainly looks like an interesting solution that is worth further investigation.
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
The morning concluded with an update on General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which is arguably one of the most impactful changes to data privacy in the past two decades. With the enforcement date (25-MAY-2018) rapidly approaching, companies should be in the final phase of their planning to ensure compliance.
It was great to see our hosts taking GDPR seriously, with clear messaging visible in the reception area.
In my opinion, companies operating in highly regulated industries should have a strong foundation to build from, however, this advantage might be reduced if the company has a large legacy portfolio or has grown through acquisition.
CData - OData Enablement
Legacy data architecture is a common challenge for many companies, which often results in inertia and increased technology debt. As a result, a forum member shared their experience using the CData API Server, which provides a simple way to expose data through modern APIs and protocols, such as OData, JSON, REST, etc.
In short, you connect any SQL or NoSQL database and the API Server instantly generates flexible, comprehensive, and fully documented APIs. This provides a simplified migration path for legacy architecture, allowing the original data store to be consumed by modern applications and services.
To conclude the forum, I led a discussion on blockchain, providing an overview of our current positioning and strategic direction.
The session covered (at a high-level) the content outlined in the four articles below:
- Enterprise Blockchain - Part One
- Enterprise Blockchain - Part Two
- Blockchain Playground
- Blockchain Playground UI
Up to now, the UK Enterprise Architecture Forum has been coordinated via a Slack Team, however this channel was not readily accessible to everyone. As a result, we recently added a LinkedIn Group, which anyone is welcome to join (new requests will be reviewed weekly).
The next UK Enterprise Architecture Forum is scheduled for May 2018.