Tom The Architect

Technology and other Interesting Stuff

Month: April, 2007

links for 2007-04-30

N=C/B via Robert Metcalfe via Forbes 2007-05-07

C = the constant of proportionality of cost
B = the constant of proportionality of value
N = the number of devices in the network

Key point:
If C goes down and B goes up, the number of devices in the network required to achieve critical mass gets smaller.

The equation is a simply brilliant observation and creates lots of interesting thoughts.

Just the facts: “A Budding Network” by Frederick W. Smith

Dispensing with all commentary:

“A Budding Network” by Frederick W. Smith in Forbes 2007-05-07 (registration required)

  • FedEx spends ~1.5 billion /year on IT
  • Employs 7000 people in IT
  • FedEx Handles 3000 transactions every second
  • FedEx Receives 1000 package status inquiries every second
  • Orders are distributed to 70,000 handheld devices
  • FedEx handles 6 million shipments globally
  • FedEx has 275,000 team members
  • FedEx has 677 aircraft
  • FedEx has more than 70,000 trucks
  • The FedEx world hub in Memphis handles 400 flights / day
  • The FedEx World Hub handles 1.5 million packages / day
  • 15,000 FedEx employees can sort up to 500,000 packages / hour
  • A package sent from Miami to Phoenix will be scanned up to 2414 times

Fred Smith knew it in 1978

According to Fred Smith, in Forbes 2007-05-07 (registration required), in 1978 only 5 years after starting FedEx he said “Information about the package is as important as the package itself.” So here is an exercise fill in the blanks.

Information about ________ is as important as the __________ itself.

For example:

Information about the motor is as important as the motor itself.
Information about the customer is as important as the customer themselves.

This is a critical understanding, corporations need to consider deeply the value of their information assets. Listening to the master data discussions at Sapphire, many companies have a long way to go before they fully realize Fred Smith’s statement in 1978.

Business Research for my new position

I thought I would share my tag that aggregates all the research that I am doing to get better educated about my new company’s line of business.


SAP Enterprise Architecture Framework

SAP has worked with Cap Gemini and the Open Group to customize TOGAF to account for packaged solutions and Enterprise Services Architecture. Its obvious that SAP has put some thought into the SEAF. If a company has a large SAP investment it might be worth while checking it out. More information should be available on SDN.

The Sapphire wave of Master Data

I spent a great deal of time attending Master Data Management sessions. Many people I spoke with observed that Master Data Management was a popular topic. Companies have come to embrace the value of high quality data. The level of complexity varies by domain, Material being the most complex and vendor being the least complex, customer and employee somewhere between the two. One of the speakers thought that material master data might be 10x more complex compared to vendor. In simple terms data is still an under valued asset. As more companies work to implement service oriented architectures and build more complex composite applications, the value of the high quality data will become even more evident.

Some critical success factors from the sessions I attended:

  • Executive sponsorship is required
  • The business must drive the master data effort
  • Take a focused approach (aka don’t boil the ocean)
  • Treat data quality like product quality, with the same rigor

Continuity of Experience Rule of Thumb

A provider cannot deliver a continuity of experience greater than the continuity of experience the provider has internally.

SAP and the way forward to the “New Idea”

I am at Sapphire this week and spent hour listening to Hasso Plattner talk about his “New idea”. The “New Idea” seemed to be SAP meets all the cool and new technologies. So I thought how does SAP get its customer base from an R/3 world to this “New Idea”. So I thought about it (Danger, I’m thinking) and I think Hasso hinted at the way forward. He was talking about the 1000’s of services this “New Idea” would have and in one brief moment said those service definitions would look like the current Enterprise Service Repository (ESR). The ESR, is the road forward or at least the foundation of the road forward. Customers who share Hasso’s vision of the “New Idea” will have to implement the SAP solutions composed of the services in the ESR.

It is the abstraction that the Service layer provides from the actual implementation that offers to free customers from the underlying SAP software. It is that freedom that allows customers to operate and create value independent SAP code base. Adaptation will occur at the service layer decoupling customer customization from standard SAP. The use of SAP ESR based solutions offers a higher rate of adaptation and easier upgrades. The service abstraction also allows SAP implementations to more at a velocity independent of the business processes. This offers SAP the opportunity to address feature lead time and allows customers to supplement SAP with third parties until SAP implements the desired functionality without great risk.

It will be an interesting day when SAP demonstrates value of the Service abstraction with customer success stories, but my guess that day is not far off.

links for 2007-04-17