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ASG Perspectives

Blog > August 2019 > Chemistry of the Enterprise, Orchestration and Time-to-Value

Chemistry of the Enterprise, Orchestration and Time-to-Value

I have several vivid memories of high school chemistry class—many of them revolving around efforts to mix explosive compounds and even one memorable time I was successful. As a consequence, I grew to know several members of the faculty more directly than most sophomores would prefer. Despite that, I learned a good deal in that class—a lot of which continues to apply to situations that have nothing to do with beakers, titration or creative uses of potassium bisulfate.

There’s a lot in chemistry that metaphorically translates to understanding the IT infrastructure of the modern enterprise. Most of us started learning chemistry by focusing on the elements of the periodic table, where every atom of each element is identical, and everything is simple and discrete. The IT infrastructure of a small business is also elemental, in that all the technology is uniform—all Microsoft Windows servers, Red Hat Linux servers or even a single mainframe. On the other hand, best-in-class enterprises are more complex, just as the inorganic and organic compounds we studied were more complex combinations of atoms or elements. It is only through the successful combination and application of many different elements of technology that best-in-class enterprises can compete and succeed.
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The chemistry of the modern enterprise IT infrastructure resembles the graphic above. It is the careful combination of applications tailored to enable the primary value streams of the enterprise. For example, the policy placement value stream of an insurance carrier providing home, life and automobile insurance to consumers. These applications depend on the infrastructure required for their execution, which typically spans many different technology stacks—from the traditional IBM mainframe to Windows, UNIX and Linux servers deployed locally or with a managed service provider, all the way to enterprise cloud services such as Amazon, Microsoft or others. Mixing those elements together successfully and stably is one of the most critical challenges that we as IT professionals face—and, as many of us know, there are combinations that are volatile or explosive. Orchestrating those elements together is a critical success factor for the best-in-class enterprise. Therefore, many seek means to automate this critical inter-system orchestration to get new value-driving capabilities into market more quickly.
 

The Formula for Enterprise-Ready Orchestration

Automated orchestration has a number of specific requirements—similar to the atoms that make up the complex molecule. First, and most important, it must integrate across all the many operating system technology stacks; the enterprise software, whether third-party or internally developed; and the new critical cloud services that each value stream requires.

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Enterprise-ready orchestration must provide the low-effort user interface for describing the workflow orchestration, as well as the ability to both execute individual instances of the value stream models and capture the critical milestone metrics for all the instances in progress or completed. The architecture must accomplish this with the least intrusion on the technology stacks that execute the work, while still ensuring transactional integrity of each value stream execution.

Perhaps most important, enterprise orchestration must have the flexibility to dynamically direct the flow of each value stream execution as needed to achieve its enterprise goal—whether the dynamic element is date or time, external event trigger or dependency. Last, it must have the facilities for identifying error states and broadcasting alerts by appropriate methods, whether via email, text or SNMP traps. Compounding these capabilities into a molecular whole can reduce the time to value for new and updated value stream automation.

Stay tuned for more stories of enterprises applying orchestration to improve their operations. In the meantime, learn how ASG supports your mission-essential value stream automation needs by visiting our ASG-Enterprise Orchestrator webpage here or the solution datasheet here.
 
 
Posted: 8/21/2019 8:19:15 AM by Jeff Cherrington