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Useful, Simple, Easy to understand, Reusable, Enterprise, Architecture
Legacy Migration must be carefully planned, both to avoid disruption to business service and to ensure that technical compatibility is maintained with all interfacing components. For example, one client had “sweated” its IT infrastructure to such an extent that many components were years out of Extended Support. To add to the complexity, many components had to be upgraded in a stepwise fashion rather than “leapfrogging” to the latest version. Resolving this required detailed investigation and research resulting in a roadmap of major upgrades which provided a level of detail far beyond that of the standard Architectural Roadmap. This Roadmap guided a Renovation Programme which was executed on time and to budget.
USER-EA Limited has been providing technical leadership for Digital Transformation since 1989 (before the term was even coined) when a financial institution was converted from an account-based to a customer-centric organisation. Since then, we have provided technical leadership for Digital Transformation in Financial, Central Government, Membership Association and Higher Education sectors.
We have been responsible for the implementation of several complex integration solutions, involving Request-Response, Publish-and-Subscribe, Process Automation and Event-Driven design patterns. Each of these approaches has its own technical challenges, but just as important as the required functionality is architecting capabilities such as availability, recoverability, and auditability. There are many techniques that are only gained through experience, and this is a major USP of USER-EA Ltd.
USER-EA Limited has expertise in Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure with certifications in both. We have been working on cloud-based and hybrid solutions since 2010, and we have been involved in a number of migrations from on-premises to cloud computing. These migrations are always preceded with a data gathering and cost modelling precursor. It is important to understand that cloud computing is not always the most cost-effective solution. It is also true that international, national and/or industry regulations may prevent leveraging cloud computing for certain Use Cases. There fore understanding the existing IT landscape is vital. Thereafter the task is guided by a roadmap based on risk assessment and cost / benefit analysis. Thereafter the technical tasks are relatively straightforward and the crucial factor is ensuring the ongoing skilled resource to support the cloud estate.
Traditionally, EUC has focussed on desktops and virtualisation. We have been responsible for architecture in both these key areas (particularly MS365 and virtualisation based on Citrix) but over the last few years the scope of EUC has broadened considerably. Consumer devices and applications, such as Mobile Phones, Tablets, Alexa, Google Assistant, SIRI, Virtual Reality (and more recently Mixed Reality), Speech-to-Text and Online Translation have increasingly penetrated the business market. USER-EA Limited has tracked these developments, first trialling then in our Lab environment, and then implementing limited deployments for companies who want to validate the efficacy of these innovative technologies.
USER-EA Ltd has implemented from scratch Architecture functions and Governance processes in several organisations. We have also coached existing resources to upskill then an thereby create Architectural Resource. At one client, we implemented a Design Authority which spanned both Business and Technology units. In all cases, it is absolutely crucial that all stakeholders (particularly those from Business units) buy into the concept of Architecture Governance, and that this may sometimes ats a check on their ambitions and plans. To counter this, it is imperative that Architecture Governance has a culture of working with stakeholders to help them achieve their objectives, even though that may be in a manner that is contrary to the original plans. It is also important to accept that sometimes business imperatives may mandate a solution that is not compliant with the Architecture Blueprint. However, in this case, it is also important to agree how the emergency solution will be brought back into line with the Blueprint in the future..
Doug has done an excellent job for HouseMark in reviewing our enterprise architecture and helping us come up with the right solutions, at the right price, to take our business forward. He goes the extra mile on many an occasion and has helped focus us not just on our IT requirements but on our business vision and strategy too. He is straight-talking (a good thing!) and can-do IT-speak in layperson's terms. He has provided great value for money, and I am hoping we can retain him to help coordinate some of the implementation and negotiation required going forward to implement the solutions he has worked with us on.
It’s been a pleasure to work with Doug. In the short time he’s been with the University, he’s been extremely valuable, bringing significant broad enterprise-level experience and capability, best-practice current-day knowledge, with a strategic approach and well-informed advice. His speed to understand the environment from a systems and business perspective has been second to none. His thoroughness and attention to important detail, his technical competency, and his ability to call out risks has been very appreciated. He doesn’t hesitate to challenge a situation but always offers reasoned, logical and justified options. His architectural documentation is extremely comprehensive and of the highest calibre.
Doug is an IT strategist and architect with great insight into the power of service-oriented architecture and its long-term value to the business. Plain-speaking, with little time for politics, he is passionate about aligning IT and enterprise strategy.
Doug is a great guy to work with, he tells it like it is, good bad or indifferent. He knows his stuff, and his vast array of experience means he is an excellent person to have heading up your team. With Doug around things get done, he is very committed, and does what it takes to achieve the goals set out in any project he is working on. Personally, he is a great character and there is never a dull moment with Doug around. I have no hesitation in recommending Doug to prospective employers.
I worked with Doug at the Law Society as a Project Manager supporting the Solutions Architecture planning and reporting. I found Doug extremely conscientious with an ability to think outside the current infrastructure to future proof an organisations security, architecture, and data retrieval/archiving needs. He is a focused and personable individual who would be classed as an asset to any organisation that is undergoing business and technical transformation. He is client centric and can commute his vision in a positive manner, identifying best practice and architectural solutions.
Doug is one of a very rare breed, a senior manager who can work at the strategic level without losing sight of the technical details. He has made an enormous contribution to the Caseflow project, continually providing leadership and direction for the many organisations involved, and working on strategy, project management, technical design, and architecture. Despite the many demands on him, Doug always found time to help and support my colleagues and me and to respond to my requests. I would certainly recommend Doug. Top qualities: very personable, highly professional, tireless, and a boundless source of knowledge.
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