Tag Archives: alan-mather

Alan Mather’s 2003 ‘Enterprise Architecture in Government’ white paper available online

Alan Mather has just released his excellent “Enterprise Architecture in Government” white paper from 2003. This white paper has mythic status in UK Government IT circles because of it’s visionary roadmap of an implementation for Enterprise Architecture (EA) for the UK. Pre-dating the “Cross Government Enterprise Architecture” (XGEA) work of the CTO Council (who hadn’t even been formed at the time, but nor had the CIO Council who commissioned them either) this is the earliest attempt at applying an EA vision to the co-ordination of the UK’s IT and IS portfolio.

Alan surely requires little introduction, and is a singularly authoritative voice, having been the been the Chief Exec. of the Office of the e-Envoy’s (OeE, then e-Government Unit, or eGU, and finally the CIO Council) e-Design Team (eDT, currently led admirably by it’s new Director, Chris Haynes, although the eDT itself is now part of DWP having moved there at the same time as the eGU transformed into the CIO Council). Alan spent a number of years at the heart of the Cabinet Offices push for ‘Shared Services’ and Government services online programmes, helping to instigate and then deliver the largest UK “Government to Government” (G2G) system, by volume and scale, the Government Gateway.

Writing in his blog article also entitled “Enterprise Architecture in Government” (available from http://blog.diverdiver.com/2009/05/enterprise-architecture-in-government.html) he says:

More than a few people are starting to get active again around shared services, enterprise architectures, shared data centres (and all of the SaaS, HaaS and maybe just plain old aaS that could bring). A while ago I wrote a document that I hoped would lead to a debate on delivering some or all of those things into UK government. The document largely languished on my hard drive gathering virtual dust like so many reports about what government should do to make things better. It never quite got finished although, looking through it now some 6 years after it was written, it still seems to hang together pretty well.

Alan’s being rather reserved here because I know it was released to a few, select, senior people across Government, and I genuinely credit this to having furthered, if not initiated, the conversation in Government about planning out it’s overall EA (both “as is”, “to be”, and strategy) in a much more pro-active manner. I’m glad to say I was one of the people Alan chose to review the document back in 2003, but frankly I thought it was excellent at the time and still do.

For the life of me I can’t understand why Alan isn’t at the epicentre of Government as an integral part of the UK Government EA programme, then again he is running a major programme at the moment, another large-scale system key to the future of the UK, so I imagine know he is kept pretty busy by that delivery.

Anyone and everyone interested in UK Government IT should read this document, I’m sure many of you would be shocked at how visionary the paper is, and how relevant it still is after six years. Alan Mather’s “Enterprise Architecture in Government” document is available from box.net (which opens in a new window): https://www.box.net/shared/ki3z6ejjiv

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Oh no, not another redesign…

A number of reasons drove me to redesign the site, in part due to frustration with the existing one and inspiration to try something different.

My main frustrations were due to the fact I was posting a wide range of material whose messages I felt were getting mixed up.

One of the criticism’s people had of my blog was that it jumped around between high (detailed overviews of UK Gov. G2G sysetms) and low brow (going for a walk) too quickly. It had been my original intent to go with this, and that’s why the blog was originally called ‘eclectic’, but I’ve found it’s a little too jarring for people to handle, and I suspect was turning them off. By getting them to choose between different categories I’m hoping that they’ll pick up on that ‘channel’ and become familiar with it before trying the others. I think of this issue as one of signal to noise, however I suppose different readers signal is another’s readers noise.

Most people who have been through this learning curve move to multiple blogs, but I wanted an aggregated page, plus I had fun overloading some of the Roller macros to allow category specific functionality.

My frustration is that I’m sick to the gills of Facebook and the ilk, they are all just so much lock in to closed systems. Frankly I want all of these social applications to integrate. Now. For instance rather than have LinkedIn, Namyz, Xing, etc. keeping records of my professional contacts I just want a blended service where all my professional contacts are visible to me in a single data set, even if they are actually separate and multiple data sources (and wherever the data might actually be).

And I don’t want this applications to be shunting my data around in a haphazard manner, I’d rather just be able to view the information as a unified stream.

Just because the big three of MySpace, Facebook and Google have said that they will ‘play nice’ they are all, to a man, going to be ring fencing their user populations. They will attempt this with guile initially, then with ‘attractive’ *new* features, and finally with strong arm tactics. Eventually they will lose out, because if it’s not open, how ‘social’ is it really.

I’d started to feel that what was needed was a non-Facebook Facebook profile page, and once I’d seen Cal Henderson’s ‘iamcal‘ it all started to fall into place. Cal’s page was a real source of inspiration, and I hope that if he sees my current design that he likes it.

What I’m effectively going for is ‘Radical Transparency‘, mainly as put forward by Clive Thompson’s Wired article “The see through CEO“, and by Chris Anderson’s blog ‘The Long Tail‘ (in fact check out this recent article “You may be on Facebook, but the money’s in the Long Tail“).

Last week I was coming back from London on the late train from Euston and bumped into Chris Loughran from Deloitte, who was also doing the London to Birmingham trek. I was really pleased when, after showing him the new design, he immediately said ‘Radical Transparency’, because I knew I had ‘hit the nail on the head’ as it was obvious to him what I was trying to achieve.

You can see what I mean if you have a look at my new front page over at: http://blogs.sun.com/eclectic/

You should be able to see that I’ve collated recent blog entries, by ‘Category’, over on the left hand side (each of the Categories loads a different look and feel, which I’m hoping won’t be too disturbing for the readers, but will keep the separate nature of the contents in mind).

The centre is taken over by a tag graph combo, along with stuff I’m doing (including books I’m reading, music, films, all via All Consuming, sms via Twitter, online ‘radio’ via Last.fm, and a photo stream from Flickr).

Over on the right are some contact details, about the site, upcoming talks and presentations, and other pages accessable via the site.

The last section is a rss feed of the last blog post of my four favorite blogs, those of Alan Mather, Bill Vass, Mick Farren, and Tim Caynes.

I hope you like the new design, it appears to be popular, in that I’m converting more hits to page reads and multiple pages too.

There are a couple of things to complete, such as tidying up some of the code, finish re-implementing the multi-locale aspects of the site (although I doubt I’ll post machine translated blog posts again anytime soon), and finishing off a sitemap.