Recently there was a small survey in the company that employs me. The questions boiled down to the Twitter question:
What are you doing?
or what have you been doing during the last year. Since this question was aimed at architects, it should give some insight in the diversity of tasks for the various types of architects. Reading the results there were two conclusions to be drawn:
Architects have an even more diverse job than I imagined
Here are some examples:
- “Translate” a technical complex strategic document to a message we can communicate;
- Write a strategic information plan;
- Give an impact analysis of the projected move to open source for our company;
- Write a functional design based on requirements;
- Define an action plan to get our 3th SOA project into production ASAP;
- Define a project start architecture;
- Implement an enterprise wide Single Sign On and provisioning solution;
- Create a mobile application based on MS technology;
- Reduce storage costs;
- Deliver a Proof of Concept/Technology;
- Give the arguments: Service Bus or not?
next time someone tells you that she needs an architect on the project, you immediately ask what kind of questions this “role” has to answer.
The way questions are answered is even more diverse
The answers of my colleagues were very different on various dimensions. First of all the length of the answers, where some of them needed a few sentences, others elaborated using several pages. Some mentioned technology others didn’t – even when the question was tempting them.
Another difference was that some gave the customers question or assignment, and others answered describing their approach to get to the result. A few grabbed the opportunity to promote themselves stating awards they received, and presentations they held on important boards.
Once again this proves to me: Question and answer can never be separated from context, and who is answering the question.
Gartner states that the growth in revenue (2008 compared to 2007) in the application infrastructure and middleware (AIM) software market is lower than the growth in 2007 compared to 2006. Please notice that, while in a recession, there is still growth, only single digit in stead of double digit. Fabrizio Biscotti gives two reasons for the loss of growth:
- The slowdown of the economy;
- The effects of the acquisition of BEA Systems.
Asheesh Raina elaborates on the latter: Oracle’s acquisition of BEA had a profound effect, especially in markets (like Asia-Pacific) were BEA historically was controlling a huge portion of the regional market. The process of combining BEA and Oracle, and the relative uncertainty surrounding the outcome, has driven potential or undecided customers to delay their purchases. Obviously it is typical that an acquisition of such magnitude has led to the typical uncertainty that always follows major merger & acquisition activities.
If the merger of Oracle and BEA has this impact on the market, what will the effect of the announced acquisition of Sun bring… Especially, if we are taking into account that not all uncertainty of the previous merger has been cleared. Yes, there is a strategic direction, and we think it is great. However, it has to be implemented in releases that we thought should be released by now. Oracle has history of keeping it´s cards to it´s chest with release dates and content of the releases. In this case, this unclear operational path adds to the uncertainty. Resulting in more undecided customers in the market.
It can be stated that the acquisition of Sun is smaller, and therefore will result in less impact. However in the case of Sun, there is less clarity on what exactly the benefits will be in the application infrastructure and middleware software market. Overall there remain lot of questions on synergy, and the future of products & technology unanswered. The time frame that is needed to answer the major part of these, will have influence on the total revenue in this software market, and the way Oracle’s market share is going.