Monthly Archives: August 2007

The Fair Finance Consortium – fighting Financial Exclusion one step at a time…

I’d like to introduce you to just one of the organisations fighting financial exclusion in the West Midlands – the Fair Finance Consortium.

The Fair Finance Consortium is a collaboration of 10 independent Not for Profit financial services providers who operate throughout the West Midlands, members include:

  • ART
  • Black Business In Birmingham (3b)
  • Black Country Enterprise Loan Fund
  • Black Country Reinvestment Society
  • Coventry and Warwickshire Reinvestment Trust
  • Impetus
  • North Staffordshire Risk Capital Fund plc
  • Sandwell Advice and Money Link
  • Street UK
  • The Arrow Fund
  • The Halal Fund

All of the members are either Independent Not for Profit businesses, Charitable Foundations (Ltd by guarantee), or Industrial and Provident Societies (IPS). Unlike ‘For Profit’ organisations loan capital (money earned from loan repayments) is recycled, and loaned out again and again.

In my mind the most important work that the FFC does is in fighting financial exclusion – helping small businesses, entrepreneurs, and sole traders as well as individuals who would otherwise be excluded from credit – this in turn helps to reduce the number of ‘door step lenders’. They also help to build financial literacy – especially Street UK which is soon implementing the UK’s first “Not for Profit” Bill Payments service and will be offering it’s customers banking facilities – this is a big step forward in providing a holistic and ‘one stop shop’ approach to the financially excluded in the West Midlands (more about this in a later post soon).

I asked George Keenan of the Fair Finance Consortium if he could give me a short introduction to the Fair Finance Consortium. Over to George:

“During the summer of 2004 eleven independent Community Development Finance Institutions (CDFIs) establish the Fair Finance Consortium (FFC) part funded by the RDA, and the CDFI sectors National Association, the CDFA. Their collaborative objective is to improve the access to and the ability for people to locate and select CDFIs as the realistic alternative provider of business finance (Offering loans from £1,000 up to £50,000). Their products are designed to help startups and SMEs including social enterprises, situated within the conurbations of the West Midlands, who are unable to secure investment via traditional sources such as banks.

By 2005 (FFC) had shaped the interim brand strategy, Implementing a diverse mix of awareness techniques, that commenced with the launch of in March 2006. This regionally customer focused online web portal set out to simplify the online search experience.

April 2007 marked the first anniversary of their web portal, which received over £2.5 million in loan applications, the membership continue to build a growing reputation for tackling market failure by investing in innovation and funding growth, building a stronger economic region via an accessible client focused sector.”

George has a blog, where he talks mainly about all things CDFI related – he’s recently relaunched it with better functionality around comments and inclusivity of opinion – George Keenan’s Fair Finance Blog – it would be great if you could have a look.

Caernarfon Castle

Here’s some photos I took on my Sony Ericsson W880i the week before last whilst the family was on Holiday in North West Wales. ….. 2 Trackbacks

Enterprise Architecture @ Sun Microsystems

As I mentioned in this post Enterprise Architecture Practitioners Conference 2007 here is my presentation in full from that event – along with the speakers notes.Not yet attached is the overview of differing architectural skill / capability ‘domains’ which I ‘white-boarded’ at the event – but I’ll do a post later which includes a web friendly version of that and link it in.Don’t forget that you can use the ‘Body Image Size’ function over on the right hand side to resize the images to something you find more acceptable.

Enjoy !

Enterprise Architecture @ Sun Microsystems

  1. Welcome to the Conference !
  2. Introductions
  3. Contents
  4. The 3 major uses of EA @ Sun Microsystems
  5. EA used internally at Sun
  6. Sun internal EA has delivered…
  7. EA used externally for Sun Customers : Why do customers involve Sun in there EA Programmes
  8. EA used externally for Sun Customers : Supporting customers EA teams helps Sun to…
  9. EA used externally for Sun Customers : Three EA case studies…
  10. EA case study no. 1 : A large Utility company : When EA goes ‘Bad’
  11. EA case study no. 2 : A large Government department : EA & SOA – the perfect marriage ?
  12. EA case study no. 2 : A large Government department : EA + SOA = SOA Adoption Roadmaps
  13. EA case study no. 3 : A large Government organisation : “It’s about the people, stupid !”
  14. Enterprise Architecture and Innovation…
  15.    …using EA to perform customer analysis
  16. In Summary – Enterprise Architecture ‘Best Practises’
  17. Where can you get EA help at Sun Microsystems ? Try over here…
  18. Q&A;
  19. Thank you very much & enjoy the rest of the Conference !

Welcome to the Conference !

Hello everyone,

I’d just like to start off by thanking the Open Group for organising this event, specifically
John Spencer, who kindly asked me to present to you all today, and Allen Brown, the
Chairman of the Open Group, who’s given Sun, and I, a very warm welcome today.

And I’d also like to thank you all for coming along to see me, I hope you enjoy the


So who am I ?

My name is Wayne Horkan, and I’m the Chief Technologist (CT) for the UK and Ireland at Sun

I’ve been the UK & Ireland Chief Technologist for the last eighteen months, and I’ve been
at Sun for the last seven years, in total.

As CT I provide Technical Leadership to the entire UK and Ireland Sun organisation, with specific responsibilities for the senior customer facing Business and Technology Consultants in that organisation. A significant part of my role is spent engaging with our customers, and I sit on a number of our customers Technical Governance structures and boards – all of whom are responsible for generating and managing EAs.

Furthermore historically Sun and the Open Group have had an excellent relationship, with
Sun having been a founder member of the Open Group.


I’m going to cover the three major uses of EA at Sun Microsystems, including three case
studies from our customer engagements.

After that I’m going to discuss our “Seven Rules for Successful EA”, which were drawn
out from lessons learned from these and other engagements.

That’s going to be followed by a short Q&A; before I finish.

The 3 major uses of EA @ Sun Microsystems

If we look at the three major applications of EA at Sun Microsystems, they are:

  1. Internally – EA used by Sun internally to manage it’s own IT estate
  2. Externally – where Sun consultants have been involved with customer EA teams and
    EA initiatives
  3. Both – Or rather EA practiced internally to better understand our external customers’ IT

EA used internally at Sun

EA was introduced into Sun Micro by our previous CIO – Bill Vass.

Before Bill came to Sun he worked in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Office of the
CIO. In this capacity, Bill was director of three large sectors of the U.S. Department of
Defense’s IT infrastructure. and was very familiar with EA from the introduction of

His roles at the DOD included:

  1. Director DOD where he was software manager for over 30 projects
  2. CIO at the Pentagon in infrastructure
  3. Networks operation Manager at the Security’s Division

Sun has an EA office which co-ordinates EA across Sun’s IT Operations (‘ITops’) – Bill
set this operation up about four years ago.

Our current CIO – Bob Worrall, having taken over from Bill about a year ago has the EA
office reporting directly to him.

Sun internal EA has delivered…

It has delivered 3 important pieces of work:

  1. An EA of Sun’s IT Ecosystem – but an EA is not just a means in itself. By developing
    an EA we have been able to start work at EA Planning, and thus able to deliver even more
    definite business benefit.
  2. Project Helios, which has been delivered into production, an online Runtime,
    Service/Asset Management System. This for me is “Asset Management evolved” – as it
    allows you to view at Runtime Business Services to Business Units, to Application
    Services, to Application, to Operations Team, to Infrastructure & Hardware, to Data
    Centre & Location and to Facilities Management. It is a cornerstone of our SOA adoption
    roadmap and will become an online management information system.
  3. Project IBIS, stands for “Integrated Business Information Solution” and is a
    concentrated effort to reduce complexity across the Sun IT Estate. The IBIS project will be
    looking at consolidating circa 1,000 business applications, world-wide, into a single
    Oracle Financials runtime. We are achieving this strategy by replacing the atypical “80%”
    of all functionality with a single implementation of Oracle financials, combined with an
    SOA approach of encapsulation & aggregation for the remaining “20%” functionality.

In the UK we have a saying about Cobblers Shoes – the saying goes that cobblers shoes
are always in poor condition because the cobbler could at any point repair them – that’s
what he does of course. And I think a little of that happened at Sun.

Because were a technology firm, full to the brim with smart innovative technologists, it
was always supremely easy to construct applications, and even worse – easy to support
them well into production.

Thankfully Project IBIS is going to change that. We have spent the last 2 years auditing
all related and impacted business processes and applications across Sun and have
developed a plan & route into the future. Furthermore we have implemented a governance
structure which will minimize this happening again.

Obviously Project IBIS is a massive concern – affecting circa 40,00 staff worldwide, not
only producing efficiencies in the Supply chain, simplification of the Estate, but also
reduction of support required and the costs attributable to such a difficult to manage IT

So you can see we have a very live, well placed and well sponsored EA function within

EA used externally for Sun Customers : Why do customers involve Sun in there EA Programmes

Next I’m going to talk about the use of EA externally with our Customers.

Sun gets involved with customers EA initiatives, and we are often asked to supply Senior
Technologists into customers EA governance structures to help with EA definition.

This happens for a number of reasons, including:

  1. Vendor representations – customers want tier one vendors to act as IT / Technology
    industry representatives.
  2. Decision ‘Backup’ – validation of opinions and techniques based upon experience of
    seeing it being done elsewhere.
  3. Trust – the customer trusts Sun for impartial advice.
  4. Reliance on core technical stock – if the customer has a large amount of Sun technology
    they might want representation from us in moving that forward.
  5. Consultant specialist knowledge, experience or relationships – an ex-employee, for
    example, or someone involved in a previous implementation.

EA used externally for Sun Customers : Supporting customers EA teams helps Sun to…

As the Technology Leader for the UK and Ireland, I actively encourage these relationships
– as they:

  1. Give Sun a chance to demonstrate value – outside of pure product.
  2. Allow us a better understanding of the aims and challenge of our customer
  3. De-risk implementations by giving us opportunity to contribute to the design and
    implementation of new systems as well as a long term and strategic view of the customer
    IT ecosystem.

Additionally it allows us to “up skill” our own staff in EA delivery.

EA used externally for Sun Customers : Three EA case studies…

I’d just like to talk briefly about some of the customers who we’ve worked with their EA teams.

I’m going to cover three case studies:

  • firstly a large utility company – “When EA goes ‘Bad’”
  • secondly a very large government department – an example of “EA and SOA”
  • thirdly, another extremely large, government organisation – “EA Technical Governance” or “it’s about the people, stupid !”.

EA case study no. 1 : A large Utility company : When EA goes ‘Bad’

We got involved with the EA work at this customer around 3 years ago. It was extremely
interesting to see how EA was being used, how it had evolved and the issues that they had.

I call this “when EA goes bad” – because in my mind it was the best (or worst, given your
viewpoint,) example of “Ivory Tower Syndrome” – a problem when EA teams become
isolated, withdrawn and stop communicating.

Issues included:

  1. EA was over “deliverable focused” and “data driven” – with a lack of a “big picture”
  2. Not Inclusive – leading to severe “Ivory Tower Syndrome”.
  3. Lack of clear objectives for the EA team to deliver against.
  4. £80m spend on a single project cancelled – due to the EA Team.
  5. No / lack of Senior Sponsorship / Visibility – Accountability

I personally conducted two reviews for them. Firstly, a review of the vendors to their 70m
pound outsourcing deal – where we subsequently had to redesign their proposed operating
structure so that it was based upon a cross cut of technology skills and vendor and
project inclusion.

Secondly a review of an ongoing project which had incorrectly been identified by the EA
team as a strategic component. Initially this was a combined workflow and customer
management system – including remote, wireless, handheld data collectors (for ‘pipe’
asset location).

The programme had been due to deliver £1 m in a year savings, initially costing £8M This
had very soon ballooned to £11M, then £40M, and finally £80M – including requiring an
estimated further £40M, so a total of £120M, to be delivered.
You may ask why a programme with a 120 year return on investment (ROI) would still be
being delivered.

Unfortunately the EA council, which had become very parochial due to a lack of new
members and lack of integration with the project members & architects had deemed parts
of the program to be fit to repurpose as an Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) – effectively they
said that the programme was delivering a Strategic corporate component.

This wasn’t the case as it was built as an “end-point system to end-point” system model
(commonly called Point to Point). A legacy approach to integration, one that, for apart
from very small systems, has been discounted. It’s extremely costly in terms of connecting
new systems and would not scale as an Enterprise corporate component – neither in terms
of ease of re-provisioning nor development nor Runtime reusability.

If the EA team had listened to the development team they would have known this – but
because of “Ivory Tower Syndrome” and the organisational hierarchy involved they were
not open to learning this particularly bad news. The EA team had become elitist, out of
step with the business, disconnected to the project teams, and had stopped communicating.

After reviewing the Programme it was shut down by the incumbent IT Director, with the
resultant loss of over 400 jobs. Obviously we were congratulated for saving the other
£40M – but I would have preferred for the original EA team to have not become so
inwardly focused, and to not have mistakenly championed a system which would have
never have been able to grow into the strategic corporate component that they had
imagined. We subsequently helped the customer to rebuild its EA function with a new,
inclusive Governance structure.

EA case study no. 2 : A large Government department : EA & SOA – the perfect marriage ?

We were asked to get involved with this customers EA board when they were reviewing
their SOA implementation and had asked Sun to develop their SOA Adoption Roadmap.

We found a legacy enterprise model which had not been updated for a number of years –
unfortunately it had been delivered by Business Analysts so it was very much a catalogue
of business processes. Very little was related to real world application / logical or
infrastructure / physical technical domains.

We found that to deliver a realistic SOA Adoption Roadmap – in terms of ability to be
implemented – we needed the beginnings of an Enterprise Architecture to provide a
contextual backdrop upon which to base our SOA Adoption plan.

So we started by rapidly developing a light weight yet inclusive EA Model which included
the major corporate components that were due to be involved in the SOA implementation.

EA case study no. 2 : A large Government department : EA + SOA = SOA Adoption Roadmaps

We were able to define the strategic roadmap (and roadmaps) for implementation of an
SOA across the organisation, once this was done. Furthermore, we could understand the
implications of what we were planning to do by their impact on the other corporate
components. This allowed us to model differing roadmaps, and judge them on a variety of

The SOA Adoption Roadmaps could be compared and judged against:

  1. Functionality delivered – i.e. what capabilities would be introduced at which point in
    the overall implementation plan.
  2. Costs to implement – for each stage, or alternate stage, what the cost would be, as well
    as it’s relationship to previous and future stages.
  3. Complexity of implementation – how difficult it would be for each stage, and some of
    the risks involved (large discreet stages, versus, small “phased” stages).
  4. Non functional, but strategic and re-useable – the “cross the board” estate capabilities,
    such as the messaging sub-system (Enterprise Service Bus, or ESB, as it’s also known),
    non-functional items such as aggregated audit, which could be re-used outside of the SOA

EA case study no. 3 : A large Government organisation : “It’s about the people, stupid !”

This case study is about EA & Technical Governance – and I’ve called it “it’s about the
people, stupid!”. EA is really about the people – those helping to deliver it, those
influenced by it, and those who it delivers for. I feel that it is imperative to get the right
mix when building an EA function.

The organisation at the centre of this case study is the single largest employer in the UK,
with around 1M staff. It is a distributed organisation supporting the needs of all subjects
in the UK.

It is currently going through a massive change program – an ambitious plan to provide an
integrated stack of functionality across the organisation and it’s subsidiary organisations.
Comprised of a central message subsystem and five major Service Provider Regions. Sun
is involved in delivering the messaging subsystem, or rather G2G backbone (very similar
to a B2B system) which supports all data traffic.

I was asked to intervene in an issue with the prime vendor / supplier to the end customer –
one of the largest UK telecoms companies.

When I got on site I realised that the issue was one of technical governance model and
that although we had teams of application architects and teams of infrastructure / system
architects we did not have any Enterprise Architects. People who would get a contextual
view of what was being attempted, nor, as they weren’t any, our ability to map to the
customers EA team !

By insisting we had a team of EA’s led by one of Sun’s most experienced Enterprise
Architects we were able to move the project out of escalation and avoid severe financial
penalties, which would have been levied if communication had continued to fail between
our teams.

Enterprise Architecture and Innovation…

At Sun we see ourselves as a force for innovation – and the vanguard of disruptive

So it shouldn’t be a surprise that we take EA principles and methods and shake them
around a bit … quite a bit.

At Sun in the UK and Ireland we are using EA in the pre-sales process, obviously where
possible and legally acceptable, to map customer accounts.

   …using EA to perform customer analysis

We also use EA techniques to help understand our customers better. Often our customers
are more than happy that we are so interested in them, and the successful evolution of their
IT / IS Estates.

We call these rapid, light weight, EA methods collectively as Sun LEAF (Light-weight
Enterprise Architecture Framework)

By mapping out our customers IT / IS Estates, and by relating Business Units, to
functional and non-function corporate components and the application architectures,
software stacks and physical architectures that under pin them we are able to learn an
unprecedented amount about our customers use of technology.

We can use the information to identify a number of items – such as which corporate
components consist of Sun Technology – and more importantly which ones don’t – and
thus are applicable for targeted sales. Which business units have systems we have no
visibility at all – and so we need to investigate more. What technologies connect together
and how easy it might be for us to displace them with the least amount of impact on the
customer estate.

The Sun LEAF programme is currently in its second pilot prior to roll-out. Some significant
success have already been made, which I can’t currently disclose at the moment.

In Summary – Enterprise Architecture ‘Best Practises’

That wraps up the overview of EA use at Sun Microsystems. However, I thought it would
be useful to look over the best practices we have identified and developed at Sun for EA.

I think it’s obvious that EA needs to rapidly speed up it’s time to delivery – without a large
drop in the quality of EA being delivered. Basically we, as Enterprise Architects, all need
to be smarter at our game. That’s why I welcome the focus on EA methods, tools and
standardisation that this conference, and the Open Group bring.

I’ve seen too many EA programs either fail to deliver against there original goals, get lost
in the detail without delivering the “big picture” / contextual view promised, and,
increasingly in the UK and Ireland, where the average time in role for a CIO in a top 200
company has slipped to 2 to 3 years maximum, fail to deliver in the timescales of the
original sponsor – only to lose sponsorship & support and be closed down without
delivering at all.

  1. EA must relate to a definite deliverable goal or aim – otherwise it can become an in
    means in itself. Obvious examples include:

    • Reducing complexity – and the cost reductions and savings that obviously result
    • SOA Adoption Roadmaps – or EAI / Integration
    • Plan for the future of the technical Estate – fashionably called EA Planning.
  2. Don’t labour it – keep “fast and light weight”. Unless you really need to – get quick
    demonstrable ‘wins’ onside to encourage buy in and acceptance. Think about the concept
    of “gearing” – delivering discrete pieces of the EA which can relate to actual business
    value which can then be used to justify the next stages proposed.
  3. Inclusion – Involve people from the wider technology eco-system, both internally and
    externally – both vendor and project staff
  4. Rotation – avoid “Ivory Tower Syndrome” by rotating staff in and out of the EA team
  5. Get the right Technical Governance skills base mix (NB Use the whiteboard to
    demonstrate – EA Technical skill domains spider diagrams developed by Sun)
  6. Must get the right level of sponsorship – EA functions straight into the CIO office.
  7. Keep aligned to the Business Strategy Board – EA is about the Technical Strategy for a
    company, and it must relate to the Business Strategy of that company – or will end up
    delivering something that the business can not adopt.

Where can you get EA help at Sun Microsystems ? Try over here…

So where can you get help from Sun re: Enterprise Architecture.

If you have a Sun account team, and I know some of you do, then use that account team to
identify local experts – reference this event, my presentation and me too.

Alternately you are very welcome to get in touch with me, and I’ll either help identify the
best person to help you in the circumstance, or even work with you directly.


That concludes my presentation on Enterprise Architecture @ Sun Microsystems – I very
much hope that it’s been enjoyable and educative.

My contact details are on the slide behind me – if you’d like to get in touch I’d be very
happy to hear from you.

We just have time for a short question and answer session – so any questions ?

Thank you very much & enjoy the rest of the Conference !

Thanks a lot for all your questions, and thank you very much again for coming along to
see me today.

Just like to say “all the best” and I hope you all enjoy the rest of the conference.


Related Links:

Enterprise Architecture Practitioners Conference, 2007

I’ve finally prepared my slides from when I presented at the Enterprise Architecture Practitioners Conference, 2007, so just thought I’d finalise by covering the day and getting the slides online…

I have to say it was a great day – Enterprise Architecture (EA) is one of my favourite disciplines and getting to present on the subject for the conference was something I’d looked forward to since the previous years event.

The conference was hosted in Paris, at the Paris Hilton, just off the Sienne – it was hosted by the Open Group, and I was kindly asked to present by John Spencer, the recently retired Director of The Open Group’s Architecture Forum, and once I was there I was warmly welcomed by Allen Brown, the President and Chief Executive Officer of The Open Group.

As you can probably guess I’m very passionate about EA, in fact any (almost all) of the methods and techniques for getting a contextual, “Big Picture” view of an IT / IS estate ecosystem (what I like to call ‘Macro IT’) – and I’ll be writing a little more about some of these methods in latter posts.

As an industry we’ve been pretty successful to date about understanding and evolving the knowledge and experience around both Infrastructure and Applications. What we’ve been much less successful at, and I believe that it’s due to demand (and compromised by time to deliver), is understanding how these technologies, are put together as systems in a holistic manner, and how those systems themselves co-exist in Enterprise IT eco-systems (and to an extent how they compete with each other as ‘functional’ entities).

Last year when I presented at the Enterprise Architecture Practitioners Conference, 2006 (hosted in London), my slides were much more visual, and focused on how EA was being used at Sun, they were well received, but the comments afterwards were that they were too ‘high level’. So this year I decided to focus much more on Case Studies where we had been involved with Customers EA programmes. The change in direction must have worked because I got a half room standing ovation – the first I’ve received of that size (circa 200 there – I was still on a high about it for at least a couple of weeks).

Because of this there are two version, one with my speakers notes attached and one without – I’ve also created a ‘blog post from the slides (including the speakers notes) which I’ll put online tomorrow.

PDF with speakers notes

PDF without speakers notes

Last years slides are also available (“Enterprise Architecture Practitioners Conference 2006”), and are also on the ‘Architecting the Enterprise’ web site.

Related Links:

Scott McNealy to be honoured as a Distinguished Fellow of the British Computer Society

Scott is due to be honoured as a Distinguished Fellow of the British Computer Society (BCS) – and will be joining me as the only other Fellow of the BCS at Sun.

Fellow is the most senior professional grade of the BCS, it is in itself quite an achievement to be awarded with one, and Distinguished Fellowship is even rarer – being presented to members of the computing profession who have made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of computing (the last one was eight years ago).

The presentation is being made during the BCS’s Winter Gala and Candlelit Dinner, by BCS President-elect Rachel Burnett, on the 14th of November (the day after Scott’s birthday) and the location is the beautiful Goldsmith’s Hall in London.

When I last spoke to Scott he said he was “Really looking forward to it.”.

You can learn more about the event here at the offical event website.

The event is open to non-BCS members, as well as members, and tickets can be reserved from the website above – however if you’d like to go I would recommended that you hurry as I believe most of the tickets have already gone.

Obviously I’ve already booked tickets for Donna and I – those of you who know me reasonably well know that I am huge fan of Scott’s – in fact that I contribute an early major growth in my career to Scott (see this ‘blog entry for the whole story – “Why I work for Sun Microsystems”) – or at least a moment of epiphany brought on by Scott.

I’m really excited about Scott receiving his Fellowship – the BCS are working really hard to promote ‘Professionalism in IT’, something I’m extremely supportive of – and I believe this helps to strengthen that agenda both in Sun UK and Ireland and in the wider IT community of the UK.

My Fellowship came through in June this year, on the 50th anniversary of the BCS and our (Sun’s) 25th anniversary. My generous sponsors were Colin Thomas (an ex IT Director of the Inland Revenue, and ex Deputy Chairman of the BCS) and Chris Loughran (Head of SI Consultancy at Deloitte in the UK) – both of whom I have a huge amount of respect for and certainly look up to as great implementers of technology.

I very much believe in Professional Membership, both as a means to bring together like minded individuals into a community which can share ideas and information, also to provide a single point of contact and collective ‘voice’ for that community (notably into Government as these organisations represent a ‘trade’ or a number of ‘trades’) and to provide guidance in the respective industry around qualifications and capabilities.

I call the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET – formerly Institution of Electrical Engineers (IEE) and Institution of Incorporated Engineers (IIE)), the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and the BCS the ‘big four’ as they have the largest coverage (by member numbers) and make the largest contribution to the wider technology community (than most of the other technology professional membership organisations).

The major segregations of the ‘big four’ are that of location of the membership population and technology focus:

  • The IEEE is predominantly ‘Engineering’ focused and mainly US / Worldwide (circa 350,000 members)
  • The IET is predominantly ‘Engineering’ focused and mainly UK / some Worldwide (circa 150,000 members)
  • The ACM is predominantly ‘Computing’ focused and mainly US / some Worldwide (circa 60,000 members)
  • The BCS is predominantly ‘Computing’ focused and mainly UK / some Worldwide (circa 80,000 members)

Personally I am a member of two of the ‘big four’ technology Professional Membership organisations: the BCS and the IEEE (of which I’m a Senior Member) – I felt for me this gave the best ‘coverage’ across the major technology alignments and member locations.

To be inclusive I wanted coverage in engineering and computing, local and worldwide (mainly US) – as a technologist whose career in IT has mainly been around the implementation of computer technology and computer systems my primary requirement was computing.

I felt that the BCS was best aligned to meet my needs in computing, plus it’s local coverage is excellent (60,000 members mainly spread across 60,000,000 population of the UK is around 1 member per 1,000 population – the ACM in comparison has 80,000 members spread across the 300,000,000 population of the USA is around 1 member per 3,750 population – almost four times less than the BCS, although it has strong competition from the IEEE computing group, according to wikipedia).

As both computing and UK coverage was taken up by the BCS, it made the IEEE the obvious choice to cover engineering and Worldwide – serendipity as the IEEE have the largest membership of any of the ‘big four’ worldwide – and arguably contribute the largest amount in terms of standards definition.

This doesn’t mean that I’m unsupportive of the IET or of the ACM, in fact I hope that in the future there is more co-operation and joint working initiatives between the ‘big four’. This is something I have consistently been vocal about with the BCS and IEEE – and I very much hope that it helps to lead to this end. I’m fortunate that at a personal level this is something I can demonstrate – currently I’m working with my good friend Mike Ashton (of Sun UK), our only Fellow of the IET at Sun, on a technology assessment and quality improvement initiative focused upon the delivery of our solutions via the Sun UK services organisation.

I very much recommend getting involved with the appropriate Professional Membership organisation for your chosen career or career area – although take your time in choosing the right organisation for you. In many respects they will already be representing you indirectly either to your local government (as in the case of the BCS) or to the wider community, especially if they are seen as indicative of your industry.

And if you end up going to the BCS Winter Gala on the 14th of November to see Scott receive his Distinguished Fellowship of the BCS – and you heard about it from this ‘blog post – then please do remember to say “hello”.

Goodbye Tony Wilson…

Very sad to hear earlier today that Tony Wilson passed away this week (Friday the 10th of August). …..

No ‘Blog entries for the last couple of weeks…

So I haven’t been posting much over the last couple of weeks – although lots has been going on. ….. 2 Trackbacks