assets

Strategic Focus

Is Lack of Strategic Focus Killing Your Business?

Instead of focusing on improving the processes that directly affect core business competency, many businesses invest enormous amounts of money, too much time, and human effort on software engineering and reengineering.

Valuable capital assets are spent on maintaining and upgrading systems that hinder business continuity and lack future adaptability. Executive strategic direction and employee activities remain disconnected. Consequently, related business functions fail to provide useable information that can be applied to achieve organizational goals and objectives.

Strategic Focus Aided By Integration

Smart business management teams utilize integration as a portal to their business processes; thereby, creating real-time snapshots of the business.

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Avoid REST Implementation Failure

Avoid REST Implementation Failure

Poorly implemented REST strategies cost companies millions to maintain and decommission. Each failed REST implementation moves REST further down the path to obsolescence.  To avoid REST implementation failure, management and developers must return to REST philosophy basics.

The Representational State Transfer (REST) is an architectural style. REST exploits the benefits and constraints of the web by identifying system restrictive elements that differentiate the design space. Additionally, REST allows the web to stay in harmony with corporate systems.

REST architecture emphasizes system constraints and de-emphasizes creativity or vision. System designers avoid precarious situations by designing, a REST philosophy-based implementation.

Management may want to monetize software assets by exposing internally developed infrastructure as API‘s (Application Programming Interface).  The challenge is to provide an interface that allows developers the creative freedom to generate new applications from a company’s infrastructure elements.

An additional challenge for system architects is to help executive decision makers understand how competitors improperly using REST is not a path to follow.

To use a baker analogy⎯a baker needs different ingredients to bake different kinds of pies. A baker cannot use a pre-baked pie to create other pies.

Ultimately, a better strategy gives a developer some tools and allows the developer to combine those tools with other tools to create a new product. A developer should not be given a finished product and asked to create something new from the finished product.

From a REST architect perspective, the value of resources and controllers comes from thinking in the abstract. Abstract thinking about the parts (instead of the whole) create value for the developers you are trying to attract.

For example, if a telecommunication company wants to gain developer adoption, decision makers would align assets so one asset alone would not accomplish much. However, one asset combined with other assets would create something interesting and viable.

As a developer, you should imagine mixing and matching various resources forming new software products, or incorporating resources into another product. To focus on parts instead of predetermined concepts allows a developer’s imagination to flourish.

When each infrastructure asset independently evolves and gains a consistent interface the benefit to a company lies in monetizing exposed assets to external developers.

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How To Expose Internal Systems As REST

How To Expose Internal Systems As REST

To expose internal systems as REST, you must first understand the value of resources and controllers. Once resources and controllers are understood, thinking in the abstract is next. Abstract thinking (thinking about the parts instead of the whole) create value for the developers you are trying to attract.

Consider as an example a Bird and a Dinosaur.  Each creature has attributes and behaviors that make them distinct. They also have shared attributes (such as seeing and walking). Let’s say for illustrative purposes that Bird and Dinosaur are finished products (in the same way internal systems are finished products).

In the diagram below, Bird and Dinosaur have been deconstructed (as a simple example). This deconstruction allows us to create new unique animals and apply behaviors, such as walking and flying, to the unique animal.

Animal Deconstruction

 

To monetize internal systems, you must think similarly about abstract deconstruction. Deconstruction produces a framework that allows developers to create unique applications. However, one must not confuse REST and API as the same. REST is an architectural style that uses the HTTP URL to access information. URLs can be consumed by APIs or accessed as RAW URLs. Let’s not lose sight of what REST stands for; Representational State Transfer, which means transferring the state and make-up of data via a URL.  REST’s ideal purpose is for data.

Now let’s look at a more concrete example. If a company wants to gain developer adoption, decision makers would align assets so one asset alone would not accomplish much. However, one asset combined with other assets would create something interesting and viable. Instead of looking at the enterprise as a whole, try to look at each individual platform’s characteristics and behaviors in the abstract as shown in the diagram below.

Deconstruction Example

From the abbreviated diagram above, as a developer, I can now begin to imagine mixing and matching the various attributes and behaviors into some type of software product, or incorporating attributes and behaviors into my own product. To focus on parts instead of predetermined functionality allows a developer’s imagination to flourish.

When each infrastructure asset independently evolves and gains a consistent interface the benefit to a company lies in monetizing exposed assets to external developers. After you have deconstructed  the internal systems, you then want to create unique offers (or products) to show developers how they too can use the framework to create their own products. In the diagram below, a telecommunication company could leverage Voice, Media and the SMSC to create a framework and possibly allow developers to create something totally new. Leveraging and monetizing internal systems can be done with the right mindset.