The truth is that despite, or perhaps because of, our attention to data centric and agile enterprise ontologies, we are still incredibly good at a number of things. Incredibly good might be an understatement. In 40 years in this industry, and 15 years specializing in what we do, I’ve yet to see anyone who is as good as we are, even in these areas that aren’t our two focuses.
I suspect our superiority in these areas is due to two things:
- By concentrating on meaning and architecture, and by working in a large number of industries we have naturally come to some general principles that are useful and true in many engagements. It scares us sometimes when we come up with things that in retrospect are obvious and beneficial, and yet we know would never have emerged from a traditional consulting engagement.
- Our culture is interestingly different. We are not selling product. We are free to follow what we believe to be the synthesis of our collective experience and our clients’ needs. That sounds a bit wooly and borders on marketing speak, but give me a second here: we have
That is to say sometimes we just need to keep the lights on, and if we have available time, we would be happy to dust any of our competition in the following areas:
- Feasibility Studies – we get high marks for our feasibility studies. A lot of this is because we don’t color inside the lines. Sometimes for something to be feasible it needs to be a bit out there. Yeah if you’re trying to figure out the feasibility of replacing your Power Builder AR system with a package, we may be your first choice. But if you’re trying to figure out the feasibility of crowdsourcing your new product development or using sentiment analysis to refine drug / drug interactions you might want to consider us.
- Requirements Analysis – most requirements analysis projects doom the implementation to be 2-10 times more expensive than it needs to be. It’s not that requirements analysts want to waste your money, it’s just that they feel their worth it tied up with how complete and detailed their requirements check lists are. Truth is, most of your requirements aren’t. They are just good ideas someone deep in your organization had, that somehow get vetted and surfaced and before you know it you have a spec that will cost many times more than its worth to implement. We’re way more interested in surfacing the core enduring requirements and solving them in a flexible way, such that the details can be handled as they justify themselves.
- SOA design/ RESTful architecture – SOA done right is a thing of beauty. It’s almost never done right. The problem with SOA isn’t the architecture. Many firms get the architecture right. The problem is almost no company’s bother to design the messages. The result is the existing apps “publish” their APIs as messages to the bus, and the rest of the firm is forced to deal with the idiosyncratic design decisions of that app. The correct approach, which we’ve done a couple of times, is to create an enterprise model of the concepts to be shared and make the SOA messages conform. It’s not rocket science, but it’s not the norm either.
- Training – we do some incredible training including our “Designing and Building Business Ontologies” which is really a short course in getting students to think like we do (it’s not such a bad thing).
- Workshops – we have found that ½ day to 2 days workshops are a great way to break the ice with executive and other gatekeepers. We can tailor workshops to your needs, but our favorites revolve around semantics, data centric and how to apply this to your architecture.