Another approach to technology roadmaps

This content is 1 year old. I don't routinely update old blog posts as they are only intended to represent a view at a particular point in time. Please be warned that the information here may be out of date.

Over the years, I’ve looked at a variety of approaches to mapping technology development, often aligned to strategy.

I’m a visual person – definitely working with maps, not lists. This means I am attracted to models that help to visualise the direction in which things are headed.

Many people will be familiar with models like Gartner’s Magic Quadrants, or Forrester Waves. I was intrigued today when I joined a webcast about the Thoughtworks Technology Radar. Unlike the models I mentioned from the big analyst firms, the Thoughtworks model is not “pay to play”. It’s purely based on the experiences of the people working at Thoughtworks (“the Thoughtworkers”). There are no partnerships to influence – just product/service experience.

How is does this model work?

Thoughtworkers propose “blips”, and these are assessed by a Technical Advisory Board before being placed (or not) on the Radar.

The Radar itself is split into quadrants. These relate to techniques, platforms, tools, and languages and frameworks. There are also four concentric rings for hold, assess, trial and adopt.

Each blip is assigned to a quadrant. It will then move through the rings as Thoughtworkers gain experience and form a view on the application of the technology or service.

Only around a third of proposed blips make it to the published volume (currently volume 27).

The diagram that accompanies this post shows the Radar, but with detailed information removed. To discover what the numbers represent, check out the current volume on the Thoughtworks website.

I asked about technologies that are reaching the end of their life and need to be sunsetted or retired. That’s not something Thoughtworks currently has the resources to manage. Blips are not maintained – they are a point in time view (like a blog post!). If a technology becomes harmful or problematic it may move back to the assess ring or be called out in hold.

Bring your own radar

So, why am I so excited? Well, I think this is something worthy of investigation as a wider tool. Almost ten years ago, I wrote about my experiences of technology standardisation at Fujitsu. More recently, I’ve adopted a model for roadmapping technologies that I have used with clients. I also had a failed attempt at technology standardisation (it lacked the resources or corporate buy-in to maintain and, to be fair, was probably superseded by vendor-supplied frameworks).

But what if I could come up with something like the Technology Radar for the technologies that we my employer uses in solutions? Maybe with Principal Consultants and Architects as gatekeepers? I initially thought that the Radar is Thoughtworks’ intellectual property, used as a marketing tool. Then I discovered it’s also available on an open-source basis to “Bring Your Own Radar” to allow Thoughtworks clients to visualise their technologies.

I probably need to think this through a little more and clarify the value I’m looking to gain. Right now, it’s just a collection of thoughts bouncing around my head but I’m sure it will form some order soon!

Weeknote 18/2020: Microsoft 365, the rise of the humans and some data platform discovery

This content is 4 years old. I don't routinely update old blog posts as they are only intended to represent a view at a particular point in time. Please be warned that the information here may be out of date.

Some highlights from the last week of “lockdown” lunacy*…

Office 365 rebranding to Microsoft 365

For the last couple of years, Microsoft has had a subscription bundle called Microsoft 365, which includes Office 365 Enterprise, Enterprise Mobility and Security and Windows 10 Enterprise. Now some bright spark has decided to rebrand some Office 365 products as Microsoft 365. Except for the ones that they haven’t (Office 365 Enterprise E1/3/5). And Office 365 ProPlus (the subscription-based version of the Office applications) is now “Microsoft 365 Apps for Enterprise”. Confused? Join the club…

Read more on the Microsoft website.

The Rise of the Humans

A few years ago, I met Dave Coplin (@DCoplin). At the time he was working for Microsoft, with the assumed title of “Chief Envisioning Officer” (which was mildly amusing when he was called upon to interview the real Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella at Future Decoded). Dave’s a really smart guy and a great communicator with a lot of thoughts about how technology might shape our futures so I’m very interested in his latest project: a YouTube Channel called The Rise of the Humans.

Episode 1 streamed on Wednesday evening and featured a discussion on Algorithmic Bias (and why it’s so important to understand who wrote an algorithm that might be judging you) along with some discussion about some of the tech news of the week and “the new normal” for skills development, education and technology. There’s also a workshop to accompany the podcast, which I intend to try out with my family…

Data Platform Discovery Day

I spent Thursday in back-to-back webcasts, but that was a good thing. I’d stumbled across the presence of Data Platform Discovery Day and I joined the European event to learn about all sorts of topics, with talks delivered by MVPs from around the world.

The good thing for me was that the event was advertised as “level 100” and, whilst some of the presenters struggled with that concept, I was able to grasp just enough knowledge on a variety of topics including:

  • Azure Data Factory.
  • Implementing Power BI in the enterprise.
  • An introduction to data science.
  • SQL Server and containers.
  • The importance of DevOps (particularly apt as I finished reading The Pheonix Project this week).
  • Azure SQL Database Managed Instances.
  • Data analysis strategy with Power BI.

All in all, it was a worthwhile investment of time – and there’s a lot there for me to try and put into practice over the coming weeks.

2×2

I like my 2x2s, and found this one that may turn out to be very useful over the coming weeks and months…

Blogging

I wrote part 2 of my experiences getting started with Azure Sphere, this time getting things working with a variety of Azure Services including IoT Hub, Time Series Insights and IoT Central.

Decorating

I spent some time “rediscovering” my desk under the piles of assorted “stuff” this week. I also, finally, put my holographic Windows 2000 CD into a frame and it looks pretty good on the wall!

* I’m just trying to alliterate. I don’t really think social distancing is lunacy. It’s not lockdown either.

The future Internet and the Intelligent Society

This content is 13 years old. I don't routinely update old blog posts as they are only intended to represent a view at a particular point in time. Please be warned that the information here may be out of date.

Last week, I spent an evening with the British Computer Society’s Internet Specialist Group, where I’d been asked to present on where I see the Internet developing in future – an always-on, connected vision of joined-up services to deliver greater benefit across society.

I started out with a brief retrospective of the last 42 years of Internet development and at look at the way we use the Internet today, before I introduced the concept of human-centric computing and, in particular, citizen-centric computing as featured in Rebecca MacKinnon’s TED talk about the need to take back the Internet. This shows how we need any future Internet to evolve in a citizen-centric manner, building a world where government and technology serve people and leads nicely into some of the concepts introduced in the Technology Strategy Board‘s Future Internet Report.

After highlighting out the explosion in the volumes of data and the number of connected devices, I outlined the major enabling components for the future Internet – far more than “bigger pipes” – although we do need a capable access mechanism, infrastructure for the personalisation of cloud services and for machine to machine (M2M) transactions; and finally, for convergence that delivers a transformational change in both public and private service delivery.

Our vision is The Intelligent Society; bringing physical and virtual worlds into harmony to deliver greater benefit across society. As consumerisation takes hold, technology is becoming more accessible, even commoditised in places, for on delivery of on-demand, stateless services. Right now we have a “perfect storm” where a number of technologies are maturing and falling into alignment to deliver our vision.

These technologies break down into: the devices (typically mobile) and sensors (for M2M communications); the networks that join devices to services; and the digital utilities that provide on demand computing and software resources for next-generation digital services. And digital utilities are more than just “more cloud” too – we need to consider interconnectivity between clouds, security provision and the compute power required to process big data to provide analytics and smart responses.

There’s more detail in the speaker notes on the deck (and I should probably write some more blog posts on the subject) but I finished up with a look at Technology Perspectives – a resource we’ve created to give a background context for strategic planning.

As we develop “the Internet of the future” we have an opportunity to deliver benefit, not just in terms of specific business problems, but on a wide scale that benefits entire populations. Furthermore, we’ve seen that changing principles and mindsets are creating the right conditions for these solutions to be incubated and developed alongside maturing technologies that enabling this vision and making it a reality.

This isn’t sci-fi, this is within our reach. And it’s very exciting.

[This post originally appeared on the Fujitsu UK and Ireland CTO Blog.]

Technology Perspectives

This content is 13 years old. I don't routinely update old blog posts as they are only intended to represent a view at a particular point in time. Please be warned that the information here may be out of date.

Technology Perspectives bannerAt Fujitsu, we pride ourselves on being a forward-looking company that not only seeks to predict the future, but also to form it. We do this through close cooperation with our customers in order to meet their needs for today and for tomorrow.

Our vision is to develop and build networks of intelligent systems that work together in a way that touches and improves everyday life for people all around the globe. We call it the Intelligent Society. To make that reality, we invest significant resources to identify the patterns of change that are paving the way for the future.

Today, Fujitsu is launching a new Technology Perspectives microsite, presenting an across-the-board look at trends in technology, business and society; and featuring thought leadership from our Chief Technology Officers (CTO) around the world, including here in the UK and Ireland.

The microsite is designed to be easy to use, so that busy executives can find the information they need quickly but download content when they need detail and depth.

Using a quadrant framework that balances personal freedom with technology to present four scenarios that express contrasting business and technology futures, we examine nine key trends that represent high-impact mid-term developments, as well as some others that are just over the horizon but may be even more significant.  We also offer twelve predictions for change that we think are fairly safe bets, before highlighting those technologies that will soon fade into oblivion.  You can also download the full report, if you prefer.

Technology Perspectives is intended to provide some background context for strategic planning, making it easier to obtain the insight and tools needed to prepare for a competitive future. Above all, we hope that the thought-provoking ideas on the Technology Perspectives microsite will spark a debate about planning for the future. We welcome you to join in the debate.

[This post originally appeared on the Fujitsu UK and Ireland CTO Blog.]