One of the fundamental differences between COTS and custom software is configuration versus code. There is a recent trend among COTS vendors to extend the depth of configuration to deliver user experiences that previously took customization. Oracle is one of the vendors offering software tools that allow the abstraction of certain parts of traditionally custom code (like interfaces) into more configurable platforms.
Sometimes referred to as low-code platforms, these platforms allow for reuse, standardization, and greater end-user participation and control. Distinct elements of previously custom code elements like business rules or accounting logic can now be seen as “configurable” elements in their own software modules.
Throughout my summer internship at TeraThink I was fortunate enough to work on a variety of different projects. They exposed me to many different areas within which TeraThink delivers solutions. The final assignment I was tasked with was on a data analytics project. I was lucky enough to work with the Director of TeraThink’s Data Analytics Community of Practice, Beth Bauer.
We focused on creating modernized, interactive visuals to complement the pre-existing ones on the Veterans Affairs (VA) website. The efforts were inspired by the Veterans Affairs Open Data Portal. This portal allows anyone to figure out ways to improve and modernize the VA’s current data visualizations. Tableau was the perfect tool for us to accomplish this.
Anyone who works in agile software development knows how important it is to have an issue tracker application. These applications show the issues your team has completed, is working on, and will be working on in the future.
For many teams, Jira is the issue tracker of choice. One of the perceived advantages of Jira is that it serves as a “single source of truth” across an organization. This gives managers an accurate view into the progress, or lack thereof, of an organization against its product development goals.
But is Jira, or any issue tracker application, suited to this role as single source of truth? Is Jira an anti-pattern; poised to attack us when our back is turned?
Often, to do something worthwhile, getting started is the hardest part. Take going to the gym or writing this blog post. I feel great once I’m done, but I can come up with a million excuses not to even begin.
And so it is with data visualization, at least historically. Analysis paralysis rears its ugly head and you’ve thought of too many ways to depict your data to even begin to put pen to paper, or cursor to application, as the case may be. Conversely, you’re at your computer with a blank slate staring back at you and no earthly idea how you’ll begin to fill it. Sometimes, you have something created but the hoops you’d have to go through to change it creates a barrier to – you guessed it – starting.
Alfresco is bringing their Alfresco Days series of events back to D.C. again on May 23. The 2019 Alfresco Government Summit focuses on generating discussions around leveraging Alfresco as a platform in the cloud. Specifically, as an open source content services platform living in AWS.
TeraThink will be there again this year to talk about how we make content services work using Alfresco in AWS. We have been leveraging the content services platform (CSP) approach to deploying enterprise content management (ECM) for a few years. During that time, we’ve learned a lot of lessons. We will be bringing that expertise to the Application Platform Revolution Panel moderated by Alfresco founder John Newton.
Before the 23rd, I want to take a few minutes to giving you a preview of some of the thoughts we will be sharing.
One of the great things about using content services in your digital transformation efforts is the automation a lot of information governance processes. You can link business entities, automate the application of policies, and reduce duplicate content. All of which increases reliability of information and reduces redundancy. The newly digitized processes streamline the work that you do daily, increasing your ability to innovate across your business.
Sounds great, right?
But what about those policies you are applying? Have you thought about what they are doing? Do they reflect the realities of your day-to-day? Now that you are no longer dealing with paper and information silos, you can revisit your records policies that were written years ago.
Do you suspect that your company’s commitment to agile consists of jargon and sloganeering, as opposed to actual organizational and cultural change? Then you would do well to refer to this pamphlet on Detecting Agile BS (pdf) produced by the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Defense Innovation Advisory Board (DIB) in October of 2018. The DIB established itself to bring the best practices and innovations of Silicon Valley to DoD software development. The pamphlet was the result of luminaries such as Eric Schmidt, Reid Hoffman, and Neil deGrasse Tyson coming together turning their gimlet eye towards true agile practices in DoD software development.
I’ve excerpted some interesting parts of the pamphlet below and tied in some of my perspectives based on my current TeraThink project at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Full disclosure: TeraThink is a for-profit company, and as such is not 100%-free of BS. However, I like to think we have less BS than most. I’ll detail why through highlighting key flags that a projects is not truly agile.
This time of the season always presents a good point to reflect on the past year; to take stock of key accomplishments and milestones while also looking to next year and the opportunities it presents.
For TeraThink’s ServiceNow practice, this has been an exciting year that has ushered in a number of client successes. It has also seen the addition of some great talent to our team and the establishment of our ServiceNow community of practice.
SAP’s TechEd 2018 in Las Vegas started on a Tuesday morning with a keynote ushering in a week of intelligent technologies and digital platforms. The keynote itself, from SAP’s Bernd Leukert, lacked the entertainment value of years past. No one appeared from a smoked-out DeLorean. No Captain Kirk on the bridge of the Enterprise. Instead, SAP changed the colors on a small “car of the future”, mimicking the car being spray painted.
Despite the special effects, SAP’s made their point. The real time capabilities of SAP Cloud Platform, using APIs integrated with S/4HANA, showing a customer what their car being painted would look like was practical and important. Real time access to information for customers, and the ability of companies to program and provide it, is clearly the focus for SAP.
Once again, I am attending the Information Governance Conference (InfoGovCon) in Providence, Rhode Island. In addition to the excellent content during the main conference, The Information Coalition team added two new components to the agenda, the Leadership Summit and CIO Breakfast.
I was honored to be asked to represent TeraThink and speak at the Leadership Summit. I shared many of personal lessons from my past and stressed the need for fresh leadership in the industry. However, I want to take a moment to share what some of the others discussed during the events.