RFP – What goes into it ?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RFP in the age of pay as you use / On demand Software ?

As you could see above the Ruler of Dubai has floated an open tender on his linkedin page calling for a solution to traffic congestion . As part of an IT team we are most often tasked with the task of how to prepare an RFP how to respond it and what does it take to ensuring that you are putting your needs across to that prospective vendor or customer out there to whom it needs to go out to.

In the age of cloud and COTS ( Commercial Off the Shelf ) solutions or software there are customers who pick and choose which software solution to buy based on similar success stories and circumvent the need for a formal RFP. They would most often go with a pay as you use model where with a subscription model you have the software solution at your disposal . But this apart the RFP is not dead yet and there are many formal RFP which get circulated like the one above where the need for pick and choose the right solution from the customer makes sense.

Some of the qualities that you would need while responding to an RFP ?

Understand the customer problem as it stands.

Articulate your value proposition to the customer so that you differentiate from the competition ?

Just because there is a solution it would straight way fit the customer’s context.

How are you going to take of customization needs from a solution fitment point of view.

What is the type of language / taxonomy that you would use when you interact with the business folks . Is it same as the IT side of things ?

Do you understand the jargon and the nitty gritties referred to in the RFP ?

Are you technically competent to see the solution in its entirety or are you from the business side of things where you are looking at the solution from a viability perspective from a purely business angle.

Do you understand responding to an RFP has a direct relevance to the development or downstream chain of solutions being offered. Sales promise the world and the reality is delivered by the downstream people.

Ability to think in terms of abstraction is a key asset here . How would you hide the implementation details and look at  a reference architecture to solve these.

How will a reference architecture help you solve these issues , as these shall help creating repeated success in the company and also help iron out issues while solutioning with the client.  What other skills do you find to be lacking here ?

 

 

 

What are the qualities of a Solution Architect ?

 

So you want to transition from what you are doing to a role that helps you see customer solutions. There are many solutions for a given problem which one suits the solution the best given the customer context.Most often the tendency is to straight away jump to a problem and start solving it rather than step back and look at the big picture.

So what does the good solution architects have in common.

They are good at communication, good technical  / business background, have a breadth of experience across a spectrum of an area of the industry pie, have an appetite for plugging risk , they can see the high level picture as well go down to the nuts and bolts when needed, they are visionaries , stand for the proposed solution by backing it with a proper rationale and more importantly life long learners.

Here is leaving you with an article that has these thoughts on how to become a solution architect or be better at it if you are already one.

What make a good solution architect ?

What has been your experience that you find is missing among the architect community and what skills are needed to help them look good in front of their peers , stakeholders and customers ?.

Where does the Solution Architect fit in an Enterprise?

Most often get to hear where does a Solution Architect fit into the overall hierarchy of an enterprise.People often confuse this with the role of an Enterprise Architect and some of them want to be better at Solution Architecture and move up being an Enterprise Architecture.

In an organization context when you are going from Strategy to Execution then it becomes imperative to understand what are the layers in this process,

Typically it shall be going from
Contextual —-> Conceptual —–> Logical ——> Physical.

As can be seen in the picture attached the Solution Architect is pegged at a layer between the conceptual and logical layers of the strategy to execution process. And the Enterprise Architect is mostly at the contextual layer where business problems are present at a particular context.

If you are wanting to better at Architecture and being Agile at the same time and such resources shall help you keep updated with resources for architects. Do send a mail to maileturnti@eturnti.com with subject Subscribe.

Togaf Trainings and Consulting : http://eturnti.us7.list-manage2.com/track/click?u=171856f3ca74842f465089b2b&id=67c266dd99&e=3d9b3ab567

Solution Architect Training :    http://eturnti.us7.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=171856f3ca74842f465089b2b&id=600fe9d5d3&e=3d9b3ab567

Agile Architecture Trainings : Mixing Agility with Architecture   http://eturnti.us7.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=171856f3ca74842f465089b2b&id=600fe9d5d3&e=3d9b3ab567

Want to be a better Solution Architect ?

 

Most people undertake a Course or Certification when they are in between jobs or are looking to test the waters on their market potential. A certification kinda of validates that need as you are better off from the herd when you have that certification. But a certification alone will not help you to get there. Most concerns of people wanting to play the role of an architect would be .

1. I have played various roles but have not been officially given an architect title in the company . How should I move into one ?
2. I have all along been into lead roles / managing projects and delivery but never played the role of an architect in a project.
3. I have worked along side different architects and have seen project / delivery folks donning architecture roles . Can I do the same for my career progression ?
4. You want a role change having been a manager for many years now you want to see the other side .
5. You have got your hands dirty with having worked on many different products and solutions and now want to spend time architecting with the customer in mind as you better understand product and solutions.
6. You have been all along working alongside products and solutions and now can better steps into the shoes of a customer to understand what they need ?
7. You want to apply all that you know regarding a domain but are not customer facing to be able to influence and add value to the final architecture ?
8. Are you in the midst of all the above kinds of queries ?

Want to read more such architect snippets like these please mail on maileturnti@eturnti.com to subscribe.

Enterprise Continuum as a part of TOGAF helps innovating at intersections fun…

innovation_eturnti

What is common with Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg both of them have being huge successes in what they offered to the world. They stand for make a dent in the Universe and yes they did it. If you see both of them they did play at intersections and ended up disrupting more than one industry. Steve Jobs combined design and technology and made owing hardware akin to buy vintage art or jewelry. Before him people had given up on hardware which was not good looking and aesthetic, he created awe inspiring products by combining design and technology. Similar is Facebook which combines social and technology to have connected almost all of the world.

Like wise it is when it play at intersections you have multiple opportunities of disrupting more than one field. Likewise when you see many fintech start-ups they are all playing at various intersections.

You have banking intersecting payments.

Payments intersecting retails

Payments intersecting travel

Payments intersecting eCommerce

Loan industry intersecting real estate

CRM industry intersecting credit card industry

Hospitality industry intersects Banking

The list is endless and the possibilities are very many. Playing at intersections has more than one advantage as you are exposed to ideas which flower and cross pollinate when they collide with other ideas and give birth to fresh new design and offerings. This is not possible when you work in isolation in one area. Most often these work best when not compartmentalized in siloed states , they need a continuum or an ecosystem where all people involved in the value chain to the end customer are brought on the same table and it can lead to fusion and myriad colour all coming together.

Enterprise Continuum from the Open Group is one such initiative that aims at connecting the buyer, seller and the internal teams of a value chain together if you were to look at it from Michael Porters famous value chain. This continuum has enabled many an industry to stay connected with their entire ecosystem such as partners , sellers and their own teams delivering on many mandates. One such example of how this would work in practice would be let’s take the example of a Salesforce team which has many partners that it is depended on it and all such information relevant and shareable to both parties will be made available. This means all that can be shared preserving all IP and NDA issues shall be made seamlessly available to both connected parties across the board with the same level of understanding in taxonomy and jargons which bring all parties in an engagement on the same level. The Enterprise Continuum takes this further and extends it to have internal teams , partners and vendors all on this connected platform. Once this clarity is there in the ecosystem it becomes easy to build, integrate, brainstorm, enhance or do anything is required for the moment. This might sound utopian but if implemented well with the support of a visionary leader, it has the power to transform most issues arising out of working in silos across industries.

Dow went from being a Inorganic company to being an Organic Company to being a plastics company to being a food company. These are not simple transformations or transitions. Now they are embracing the culture of innovating at intersections at the intersections of material science , biological science and physics.

Why Enterprise Continuum of TOGAF Amidst Of All This Talk of Innovation ?

 enterprisecontinuum

Enterprise Continuum from the Open Group is quote “The Enterprise Continuum provides methods for classifying architecture and solution artifacts, both internal and external to the Architecture Repository, as they evolve from generic Foundation Architectures to Organization-Specific Architectures.”.

In short the above diagram shows how a company can go about organizing its organization artifacts from generic to specific. The more you move towards foundation architectures it would be generic and the more one moves towards the right towards organization specific architectures you narrow down the scope and genericity. The diagram has both architectural and solution assets which allows for abstraction from logical to physical which is fundamental to good architectural work. As you can see a company or organization can starts it journey by beginning with Foundation Architectures and move towards Common Systems Architecture where you have narrowed down your architecture from blue sky generic architecture where the scope of building the most generic architecture is toned down to concentrating on the core domain de-scoping the operating systems and network architecture portions of the same. Now you focus on the industry that you are working on and store industry specific architecture in the industry architecture section. Let’s say you are a developing a banking software then all the other industries that you closely work with such as CRM , Payments , Retail , Financial Services, regulatory services, credit cards will find a place in the industry architecture section. But your focus in the year one of architecture / product development shall be only on building banking software which happens to your core focus area. Again you as a company keeping adding features to your core product, you will refer back to the industry specific architectures to add differentiators in your core product. When you are marrying a core banking product with a payments feature then you potentially refer to the industry specific architectures section of your enterprise continuum and then pick the relevant architectures and go about building your feature. Now this is a value add that Enterprise Continuum brings to the table where you as an organization developing a product also refers to architectures specific to your industry and this can help you in innovating at intersections.

Have such an integrated concept for knowledge and artifacts managements can go a long way in helping a company with innovation at intersections. This means you can work along side product, industry boundaries and if done well you are poised to disrupting more than one industry. Enterprise Continuum also can be created for your specific needs and reflects your journey and what artifacts you as an organization is interested in and help you go back and forth and exploit potential innovation that can happen at boundaries.

Open Group has a extension of this concept where industry specific artifacts for oil and gas, telecom, mining, supply chain are available and companies can become members and look at what is of interest to them by being part of the community and benefit from the same.

They say it is fun “Innovating at Intersections” Enterprise Continuum of TOGAF has an answer to this.  Would love to hear your thoughts on the same.