“Operational Responsiveness”

Full disclosure – I’ve been working with Progress Software to help develop and evolve its definition for “operational responsiveness”. Check out the white paper here (and then click on “whitepaper now”).
An intriguing idea, the basic premise being that business needs solutions that have the same characteristics as a pilot flying a plane – the real-time inclusion of the human element to understand and in some cases “feel” what is happening and make appropriate course corrections to make sure established goals are met, or to adjust goals as necessary if that is what makes the most sense (if a plane has a problem or there is an unexpected change in the weather, for example).
You can look at this in different time ranges, too. A business system may need minor changes to adapt to daily fluctuations in the business environment, or more significant changes that require weeks or even months. A great example is to think about a race car – it will include electronic systems that make split-second decisions, a driver that makes both real-time and near-real time decisions, a pit crew that is concerned about tire wear and other factors within the scope of a single race, and a team of mechanics looking to optimize performance of the engine for the next race.
Sounds like agility, but I think it is more than that – agility means the business process and any related systems (and associated development processes) are designed so that changes can be made relatively quickly. Being operationally responsive means having an effective means to determine what changes should be made, not only being able to make the changes quickly.
It is fair to say that many effective business solutions probably fall short in meeting this definition. In upcoming posts, I’ll be sharing some ideas for how to evaluate operational responsiveness and some architectural ideas on how to consistently build it into real-world business solutions.


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Upcoming speaking engagements

Webcast on event processing and service-oriented architecture, sponsored by SearchSOA.com, recorded the week of October 21.


Presentation on operational responsiveness at Gartner's EA Summit in Orlando, October 7-9, sponsored by Progress Software.


The contents of this blog represent the personal opinions and intellectual property of Larry Fulton, and not those of past or present employers.

Contents copyright (c) 2009 Lawrence B. Fulton


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