Steve Force: a researcher, curator of information, a practitioner of Enterprise Architecture.

Although I believe I think with an open mind about many things—professional and otherwise—I would never call me an original thinker, or a seminal thinker. I firmly believe I am a researcher, a curator of information, a practitioner of Enterprise Architecture. I am no better, nor worse, than any one of you. I am just willing to admit perhaps I do not have the answer, but the answer is out there somewhere. The trick is to look AND gauge the potential answer for validity, for accuracy, for relevancy. This, in my opinion, is very difficult to do. It takes hard work, commitment, and the willingness to be humble.

I have been doing this thing we call IT for awhile, and I have the bruises, scars, and experience to show for it. I know, everyone mentions their experience. Let me take this opportunity to actually go back into my archives to pull out a few tidbits of text I have published over the years, starting in late 1990 through 2004.

Here are some excerpts from some of these.  For a PDF of the complete article, please click the provided links following each excerpt.

  • In May 1994, I wrote an article forCrain’s Detroit Weekly that they opted to publish. Entitled “Info-systems Investments will pay off”, I used Dick Tracy as an analogy. Remember, I wrote this article several years before the advent of ubiquitous hand-held data-communications cell phones, Wi-Fi, etc. Here is an excerpt of what I think is an interesting, informational article:

“Is it productive to attend a meeting and not have what is needed immediately available? Why should someone spend time preparing for a meeting or presentation when the data can be accessed dynamically?

  • In February 1994, I wrote an article entitled “Strategic Skills for 1994: A Technical Support Top 10 List” which played off of David Letterman’s late night TV show’s “Top 10”, which were popular at that time. Here is an excerpt of that article, the “list”:

“Here are some skills that I feel are strategic, sort of a “Technical Support Top 10 List.” This list is not all encompassing but is certainly food for thought. David Letterman’s lists are more entertaining, but the items in this list might help keep food on your table.

1. Know why the enterprise computer center is and will remain a corporate asset.

2. Learn all you can about “open systems” and how they can be realistically implemented.

3. Know what products your shop currently has installed, what these products can do and how they can be exploited for use in an “open system” environment. MVS has several inherent “open system” functions, as well as some exciting near-future products (e.g., Open/MVS). Other products might include: TCP /IP, NFS, LANRES, ADSM, etc. (all mentioned products have been previously discussed in articles by myself and fellow .. authors).

4. Become familiar with current “hot” systems like NetWare, Windows NT, OS/2 and Unix. If any are installed in your enterprise, personally get to know the techies responsible for each.

5. Become “connectivity literate” by becoming familiar with TCP /IP, IPX-SPX, SNA in an heterogenous networking environment, as well as learn how to connect disparate systems to SNA.

6. Learn about the Open Software Foundation (OSF) Distributed Computing Environment (DCE). I have found Rosenberry, Kenney and Fisher’s Understanding DCE (O’Reilly and Associates, Inc.) to be a valuable DCE learning and reference book.

7. Become conversant in object-orientated programming (C++, Smalltalk, etc.).

8.Be able to effectively sell your “open system” ideas (based upon your deep and broad knowledge of the total enterprise computing environment) to upper management.

9. Open your mind to other people’s technical enthusiasms and ideas. MVS is good, but it is not the “greatest.” Nor is VM, VSE, Microsoft Windows, UNIX, OS/2, NetWare, etc. All of these operating systems have their place in an enterprise.

10. Lastly, always remember no solution is perfect. No operating system and networking scheme is perfect, either. Leave the debate for “the perfect system” to the academics and the hobbyists. Accept industry trends at face value and get on with it.”

  • In June 1994, I wrote an article which attempted to compare IT needs of small and large firms, entitled “Comparing the IS needs of Small Firms and Large Companies”. Here is an excerpt of that article:

Whether your firm is a large corporation or a small business, there are two ways to satisfy your IS needs, either through in-house developed or outsourced products, or purchased package customization.”

  • Here is a fun article I wrote back in December 1993, entitled “Music to My Ears”. Here is the opening paragraph excerpt:

“This month I thought I would write about a subject that I find very interesting and that applies to computer techies like us: electronic music. It is applicable because in the future, chances are we will be getting more heavily involved with multimedia and teleconferencing within the enterprise.”

  • In a different vein, here is an article I wrote in July 2004 entitled “What is Portfolio Management and why should IT care?” Here again is an excerpt:

“ How does a company know if they’re working on the right IT projects? How can they tell? Why do managers often make questionable IT investment decisions? Why don’t they know what technology is worth to the business?”

What a fun trip down memory lane! At least it was for me. Although the technologies might have changed, the fundamental need for good architecture and pertinent, timely architectural reports, diagrams, and artifacts haven’t.  

Thanks for reading!
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