Monthly Archives: August 2011

When the tide goes out…..goodbye from BrummieRuss


So folks this is my last post. I am about to change my career direction.  You could say my tide ran out, and I will soon find out whether I am the one who is  swimming naked!Who knows.

I hear from some of you that you  are putting some of my random thoughts and conversations to practical use, which is so cool. Good luck to those who have grasped my random rants and bizzareness at times. You were patient.

Thanks for the great words and ideas along the way BTW. Internestingly ( to me anyway ) this is my 250th post.

I had some fun along the way and never really posted desperately serious posts but I did try to give the cloud a different angle using metaphors, everyday situations and tried to stitch together things I saw and heard. I tried not to offend, but apologise if offence was taken.

 I may come back to blogging in my new career, but if I don’t then I want to say a big thanks to everyone who read and contributed comments.

See ya.



Wham, Bam…….BIM

What the heck? Wham? Bam? BIM? Are you on drugs, Brummie?

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Well I think we can identify Wham, and Bam Bam from the Flintstone’s – but BIM?

BIM is something that is going to make a big difference to a lot of people around our planet. It stands for BUILDING INFORMATION MODELLING and is formally defined as….

…the process of generating and managing  building data during its lifecycle..

So what? And what does this have to do with cloud? And the planet?

BIM is the intelligence to make construction design integrate with the build fabrication process and then the on-going commissioning of a building or similar. It treats the design as an asset management– Facilities Management (FM) to you and me.

BIM allows the supply chain and the customer to work smarter to reduce cost in the various processes, saving tax public money, accelerate completion of complex projects and ensure that once the construction is complete there are innovative and scalable ways to manage individual assets within the construction to monitor Co2 for example, and other specific measurement KPIs that previously were impossible to even contemplate. This is a big big deal as our lords and masters struggle with Green commitments to sustainable housing and public services, and the ever moving world population and third world development.

BIM meets some critical issues with construction projects that have been in the lowest levels of document management maturity for some time e.g. drawings to file based uncontrolled one dimensional standalone diagrams through to CAD and then 3D CAD and then object modelling and beyond.

    • Sharing asset information across a wide supply chain securely and with accurate control of version and collaboration
    • Leveraging innovation in CAD tools and GIS solutions to make BIM scalable and open in access to heterogeneous customers across scale and borders
    • Conformance to BS, ISO and EU standards
    • Cross geographic collaboration on projects e.g. EU countries already heavily working on joint BIM projects
    • Dramatic improvements in avoidance of design errors, what if scenario planning for public authorities, capacity modelling and so on
    • Visualisation of a construction project in progress to provide a real time understanding of what was happening  – like they did with the Bird’s Nest Stadium in Beijing which used an IFC based construction model with a linked 4D management system.

Now the relevance here is the ability ( capability ) of Cloud Computing to be the platform for BIM. Why? because BIM pure and simple produces lots of data for analysis, audit, collaboration and compliance.

BIM is a technology customer as it leverages extensive use of so many components of our world today – storage ( BIM is a Big Data customer and some ), interoperability, web services, devices, remote working, security, federation, performance, project, governance, control processes, business to business processes, heterogeneity – this is just a scratch of a very big surface.

Data needs to be available on line for a significant period of time. Legislation now demands that FM on a public building lasts upwards of 25 years and beyond. It may be a hospital or road network. A military base or power facility.

By nature of the 3D / 4D modelling world and the subsequent large file sizes – 250Mb and above – BIM’s side product is Big Data. This will only increase as more and more large scale building projects seek to save money and provide better service through web based services. Locking all this data into a traditional datacenter cannot possibly scale, and this is where cloud ( and many use Cloud already as a underlying platform ) is the only long term sustainable fit. So my original statement on the meaning of BIM may need to be;

the process of generating and managing building data during its the cloud.

BIM is a work in progress answer to a big problem facing our governments and public authorities as they struggle with renewing our landscapes of roads, railways, networks, public buildings and private facilities. It is an overwhelming cost impact not only in energy ( and therefore a big slice of the planet’s energy bill ) but also in planning and distribution of coping with more people, more services, more travel – more of everything. But what I like about BIM is that Cloud is also a work in progress answer to big problems facing IT professionals and I think the two are coming together in one very neat way.

BTW – I loved Wham! in my early twenties and I loved Bam Bam as a child, and I’m already falling in love with the concepts and potential of BIM. Smile

The CIO Dashboard

A CIO  bemoaned recently that reporting on the success ( or progress ) of IT is a painful process, especially with the underlying negativity and dismissiveness from fellow board members about how beneficial IT actually was. One of the big problems was that the CIO was always being forced into defending the indefensible, such as slow performance, downtime, ageing kit and so on.

Repeatedly at board meetings he is presented with endless tails of IT failure and user disgruntlement to do with systems and inability to print, access files and the catch all user compliant of ‘why is the internet faster at home’.

His problem that his board report really lacked any true business alignment and was fast becoming an exercise of fire fighting on low level incidents and emotional IT issues. The CIO was frustrated because the underlying strategy he was trying to put together was not been given air time.

The CIO knew he needed to remove the low level issues and was fully competent in being able to do this – if only he was given time. His vision though for management reporting was as ‘Big Data’ outputs that really did make his board colleagues sit up.

We played with some of the hot topics he would want to ‘report on’ and this is a snapshot of what he wanted his IT board reports to look like in the future.


He saw that the business needed to understand how IT was now making more of a difference to business drivers. So the big headline statements were around growth, capacity and sustainability. His organisation was growing dramatically, and as CIO, he needed to capture how supporting large number of users in disparate locations were going to impact his decisions and people management.

Cloud was part of his vision, and he was already well down the route of moving key workloads to the cloud. His big challenge was demonstrating how this decision was giving them the return they wanted, and whilst his vision of a CIO dashboard didn’t really show a true correlation cloud and business benefit, he knew that over time he could deliver this.

Gone were the days of graphs on support call trends, storage patterns and Tier 1 incidents with the inevitable witch hunt around who caused these issues.

How did the conversation end? The CIO still had doubts that his management strategy would give him this data in a real time and meaningful way, and that his management tools were locked into separate management domains, and there was no aggregation view of his IT service. This was despite spending lots of pennies on management consoles the like.

The CIO was  a realist and he knew he was on a journey, but knew that the only place he could get close to his CIO dashboard was to be more aggressive with his cloud strategy, and work with the naysayers who didn’t think cloud was a viable option.

My lesson from this is simple. Start from what you want to see and then work back to see how far you are away from delivering that intelligence. Don’t start the other way with TBs of meaningless management data and no concise and cohesive way of presenting the ‘big data’ points.


Cloud computing proof of concept


The dialogue is unnecessary I feel.