Forrester’s Henry Peyret on EA Evolution

This is my response to a Forrester publication on Enterprise Architecture Evolution:

Quote: “The recently published Forrester Wave™ on enterprise architecture (EA) tools demonstrates that the real benefit of these tools is not in the modeling itself, but in the modeling that supports real EA objectives — such as knowledge-sharing, collaboration on standards, and providing aggregated dashboards that help decision-makers choose from different scenarios.”

I happen to not fully agree because while all the above is important the EA tools proposed are outside the actual application and purely in the development environment. Evolution is however an internal function of the execution itself. Here my response:

Henry, interesting subject indeed!!! But does the term EVOLUTION not imply a seamless functionality within the application system? Nature seems to evolve without someone performing simulation and analysis and then makes an assumption as to which changes might bring an improvement? Well, we could have a religious discussion here on ‘Intelligent Design’ but let’s stay away from that. Evolution works by taking fitness information straight from the execution and feeding it right back into the next cycle of execution. Darwin was even apparently wrong that fitness happens by chance because he was not aware of the functionality of GENE EXPRESSION. Genes do not have to change to improve the design, they just have to be expressed in a more fitting way.

We need to do the same with software! Analysis, simulation and monitoring are NOT AGILE, Henry! They are just little less rigid. In any case I propose that no-one wants or needs rigid processes no matter how well analyzed or simulated! Simulation is guess work and yes, using the Monte Carlo method the guess work can be optimized but it still is a ‘gamble’ (sic). Las Vegas calling. Business needs an environment in which processes – and applications representing those – tune themselves with fitness information coming straight from user interaction in real-time into the next execution cycle.

This is what the Papyrus Platform does with its User-Trained Agent. Let the users do their work and feed real-time performance data right back into the execution environment to improve the processes by discovering decision patterns based from user interaction. Analysis and simulation are – like process I might add – outdated concepts from manufacturing. Running a business well is not manufacturing, it is about empowering the business user to service the customer and not by putting BOTH into a process straight jacket.

Mike Gualtieri on ‘Horses for Courses’

In his Application Development blog, Forrester’s Mike Gualtieri posted on the phrase ‘horses for courses’ relating to the need of many different software products for CEP and business rules. Here is my response:

“Mike, I too had not heard the phrase before. I am however not in agreement with the comparison. Why? Horses have evolved naturally and did develop certain special abilities based on their environment. While software evolves too it is however not tracing a typical fitness landscape. Rational thought is used to form a product that has certain abilities. Strangely enough, we are right in the middle of the different faiths about natural evolution or intelligent design. Yes, if software was developed for a special use and change was driven by the user demand of that group then it evolves accordingly and you will have ‘horses for courses’. Things take a long time but the solution fits the – usually special – needs well. This is how I believe nature works too.

In difference to nature, we do take the role of the Great Architect of the Software Universe and software can be a good fit for most uses if designed accordingly. Especially if we look at ‘Business Technology’ rather than ‘Information Technology’. Business does not want five different horses that can not even be ridden by the same rider. The business landscape changes much faster than the software can evolve. We have to design software that is so flexible that it can be shaped by the business user on a day to day basis. Isn’t that what CEP and BR is mostly meant for?

Complex Event Processing and Business Rules should be right at the heart of any business technology and thus not be hard coded for special uses. Following my own faith in the above, I am pretty sure that with Papyrus we have designed a horse that can be trained in a few days by the people in the know to perform as good as the limited ‘horses for courses.’ It does that by using CEP and BR.”

Papyrus Platform for ADF

Two studies covered the ISIS Papyrus Platform recently for its ADF Automated Document Factory functionality. One was ‘The Gartner MarketScope for Automated Document Factory 2.0 Software’ which is available on http://www.gartner.com. The other one is  ‘Innovation in Automated Document Process Management’ from Strategy Partners, the European leader in market research and strategy consultancy for Enterprise Content Management and Output Management.

The Strategy Partner study fully agreed on one point with Gartner Group: “All the elements of the ADF 2.0 can be covered with ISIS Papyrus.”

The two studies differ substantially in scope and quality. Strategy Partner report author Oscar Dubbeldam said, “Innovation in Automated Document Process Management is certainly not a traditional market research report in which several vendors are compared. It encompasses an in-depth study of vendor products and gives a lot of practical advices to organizations who need to transform their current print and mail activities at a more strategic level.” I agree.

The Gartner Group Study obviously rates company size as more relevant than software functionality and innovation. The Papyrus functionality was rated as ‘positive’ but then so were most other vendors, except the hardware vendors who received better ratings. The report completely missed one essential point which it sort of plays down or ignores: ISIS Papyrus is the only non-hardware vendor who fully supports all modules of ADF 2.0. The report states that we do support them, but missed the fact that we do also support all major hardware, printer vendors, operating systems and databases and therefore make the user of the Papyrus Platform for ADF independent of HW or OS prerequisites. Try that with one of the HW vendors?

Gartner points to our lack of size in the US and sort of questions our ability to perform remote support. If they would not see it as a drawback they would not mention it. I am disappointed because I explained our powerful remote support concept and technology in person to the author Pete Basiliere. Consider this: The three largest outsourcers in the US – First Data Resources, TSYS and Personix – produce together approximately half the American credit card issues ALL with Papyrus. Would we not be able to give them the support they need, we would not be their NUMBER ONE document output vendor. Papyrus is that easy to implement AND support! If a vendor has a large service unit, I propose that this is so because his solution is rather complex!!!

To my very positive surprise Strategy Partners went a lot deeper into functionality than Gartner. They identified Papyrus’ leadership in “workflow capabilities that are extremely flexible and can incorporate any type of activity, ranging from print, e-mail, web delivery and archive including auditing for compliance” and stated further that “normalization of multiple different formatted data streams as it is non-intrusive and does not need pre-data processing.” Some more Papyrus highlights from the Strategy Partners report:

  • GUI for the operators can be structured in many different views
  • Auditing and logging of actions and tasks can be done at any level
  • Multi-channel delivery capabilities
  • Postal optimization capabilities
  • Configuration of new applications speeds deployment rapidly

Strategy Partners did not miss much but they obviously focused on the ADF capability. Therefore the UTA User Trained Agent and the very powerful RIA capability of Papyrus EYE for the Web, just get cursory mention.

After the very positive report about ISIS Papyrus in the Madison Advisors Transpromo Study, it seems that we are finally getting the attention we should be getting.

Both studies are certainly worth reading if you are planning on making decisions for document automation so please go out to those analysts websites to buy them online.