Strategic Technologies: What are they?

This entry is part 1 of 33 in the series Strategic Technologies

Strategic technologies are technologies which are called out in the IT strategy as being key enablers to the business strategy.  During the environment scan trends and forces are studied, and threats and opportunities are identified.  The strategy is crafted to respond to threats and opportunities by adding or removing strategic business capabilities.  Some new business capabilities will depend upon new technologies, and using new technologies typically requires new IT capabilities such as the ability to develop with and operate the technologies.   All of this is graphed in a strategic capability network (SCN).

This series does not build an SCN, but simply contains an inventory of strategic technologies which I will refer to later when I illustrate typical SCN patterns for banks.

Strategic Technology: Hadoop (IBM BigInsights)

This entry is part 2 of 33 in the series Strategic Technologies


Apache Hadoop is open source software which allows storage, retrieval and computations on at-rest big data using commodity hardware and infrastructure.  Hadoop includes the distributed file system (HDFS) and MapReduce programming model.

Hadoop addressed the strategic technology capability to process at-rest big data.

IBM provides InfoSphere BigInsights that is based upon Hadoop.

BigInsights also addresses strategic technology capabilities:

Strategic Technology: Content Analytics (IBM ECM)

This entry is part 4 of 33 in the series Strategic Technologies

Content analytics scans unstructured data such as text in social media, call center databases and emails, performs natural language processing to understand the meaning of the data, and reports the results.

IBM Enterprise Content Manager (ECM) contains content analytics functionality.

Strategic Technology: Streams (IBM BigInsights)

This entry is part 5 of 33 in the series Strategic Technologies

Stream processing, or the real-time processing of big data in motion, is an IBM technology growing, as far as I know, out of big data processing systems developed for the US intelligence agencies years ago.

The IBM product providing this capability is BigInsights.

Strategic Technology: DevOps (Bluemix)

This entry is part 6 of 33 in the series Strategic Technologies

DevOps is an approach to software delivery that is used in the context of agile/lean software development approaches, primarily for constructing systems of engagement such as online and mobile banking applications.  DevOps technologies include application deployment automation and release coordination, and is frequently associated with cloud computing and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS).

DevOps is a required technology capability that supports the agile delivery of new services business capability.

An example DevOps offering in the cloud is IBM’s Bluemix.

DevOps for Dummies provides the following DevOps reference architecture:

DevOps4Dummies Fig 2-1

Plan and Measure involves the practice of continuous business planning and benefits from DevOps due to the frequent customer feedback possible from the smaller, more frequent releases in continuous delivery.

Develop and Test involves collaborative development and continuous testing.  Collaborative development is the whole agile development space with its inclusion of a broad spectrum of participants, continuous integration, etc.  Continuous testing goes beyond earlier manual testing to include test automation and simulation (i.e. service virtualization with GreenHat, etc).

Release and Deploy involves application deployment automation and release coordination, expands continuous integration into continuous delivery to QA and production, and establishes a delivery pipeline.

Monitor and Optimize involves continuous monitoring, both of the operational environment and customer behavior for the purpose of creating a rich and timely feedback loop.

DevOps Maturity Model

IBM provides a DevOps Maturity Model to help with assessment.

DevOps MM fig3

Strategic Technology: Customer Experience Management (IBM TeaLeaf)

This entry is part 7 of 33 in the series Strategic Technologies

Gaining visibility to the quality of experience of customers and other users when using mobile and Web applications is an important step in learning about customers.  Looking for excessive device rotations, zooms, abandonment, etc. can help identify and diagnose design weaknesses in applications so that they may be corrected before they spoil the experience of too many customers.

TeaLeaf is an IBM product that provides the Customer Experience Management (CEM) capability.  For Web apps TeaLeaf scans HTTP traffic and provides a DOM listener.  For native apps a library is compiled into the app.

CEM is a subset of CRM capability that is often of interest to marketing and customer support strategists.

Strategic Technology: Mobile Application Platform (IBM Worklight)

This entry is part 8 of 33 in the series Strategic Technologies

A Mobile Enterprise Application Platform (MEAP) such as IBM Worklight provides the ability to write once and deploy anywhere.

IBM Worklight builds upon open source Apache Cordova (a.k.a. PhoneGap).

A MEAP provides tooling to develop mobile Web, hybrid mobile and native mobile applications.  The IBM tooling for Worklight is named IBM Worklight Studio.  Common code can be shared across applications of different types and targeted toward different devices.  Support is provided for synchronization of data.  Secure the application at the device, application and network layers, and govern the app portfolio.

Developers will need to integrate mobile application development tools with Web application development tools and lightweight Web development tools to provide multichannel systems of engagement.

A MEAP provides or depends upon mobile device/application management and mobile application security technologies.

  • Mobile Application Management (MAM) enables deployment of applications through an enterprise app store, keeping them up-to-date on mobile devices, monitoring performance, and performing reporting, tracking and access control.  MAM is supported by IBM Endpoint Manager for Mobile Devices.
  • Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) enables tracking different versions of apps and improve them efficiently.

MQ messaging can be extended to mobile devices using IBM MessageSight.

Mobile app testing can be automated using IBM Rational Test Workbench.


Strategic Technology: API Gateway (Worklight)

This entry is part 9 of 33 in the series Strategic Technologies

With an API Gateway, mobile applications call REST interfaces which return data in JSON format.  The API gateway integrates with other enterprise systems through Web Services, MOM, ESB, or point-to-point integration.  The complexity and variation of the enterprise interfaces is hidden from the mobile applications, and the REST interfaces are published, so mobile apps may be composed quickly with standardized tools.

IBM’s API Gateway is the Worklight Server, included in IBM’s MEAP (Worklight).