Enterprise Level Architecture Management
Managing Large Application Portfolios

Tutorial Summary

Presenter: Wolfgang Keller, Generali Group, wolfgang.keller@generali.at, Kratochwjlestr. 4; A1220 Vienna, Austria

Intermediate Level, Half Day.

Today's large corporations are also the largest users of software. A typical large bank or insurance has to manage application portfolios of far more than 100,000 function points. 

This tutorial will present a set of proven low tech methods that help you  manage large application portfolios especially in times of mergers and rapid change of market conditions. The tutorial will present a few patterns for managing portfolios in merger situations and also application portfolio management - a method that can be used for day to day decisions in managing an application portfolio. The tutorial will also give you advise on how to deal with technology changes during development and enterprise application integration. 

After the tutorial, attendees will

Presentation Format: The tutorial will be a lecture. Case material will be provided.

Attendee Background: The tutorial aims at enterprise level application architects, CIOs and their aides - people who are involved in managing large application portfolios, like e.g. for banks or insurance companies.

Wolfgang Keller is a Principal Architect of insurance software components for Generali insurance group in Vienna, Austria. His responsibilities include the technical base for Generali’s Phoenix line of insurance applications, product architecture and domain architecture  for Generali’s distributed development across parts of Europe.

Content Outline


The Challenge

This section will briefly describe the challenges involved in managing large application portfolios. Besides that we will also touch the problems of multinational development, technological challenges and the ever occurring mergers.

-> Slides

Architecture at an Enterprise Level 

This section will give a motivation why architecture is important - especially in the situation of a large portfolio. A case study will demonstrate the need for a "mile wide - inch deep" domain architecture. This will lead to three important levels of architecture: Domain architecture, application architecture and systems architecture. The most important  of these for application portfolio management is domain architecture. We will elaborate on the critical success factors for domain architects and will demonstrate why enterprise level data models and the like had to fail.

This is also where patterns and object-oriented methods help: Patterns help you transport the traditions of your industry's domain architecture and responsibility driven design helps you find a good granularity for your domain architecture. Other design rules help you e.g. keep cycles out of your architecture.

-> Slides

Application Portfolio Management

This part will deal with how to make day to day decision in managing a large application portfolio. We will first debunk a few myths of large scale software development like the myth of homogeneity, the myth that everything can be planned in advance, the myth that you will be ready one day and a few more expensive errors. 

Application portfolio management is a cyclic process, based on a domain architecture that helps you improve your situation, project by project in a piecemeal growth fashion.

-> Slides

Mergers and other Typical Decision Situations

Based on our patterns we will present a few "basic operations" of application portfolio improvement, like "buy and replace", "build and replace", "merge two portfolios", This is done with respect to the most important forces like "time to market", "evolution of technology" and more.

-> Slides

Enterprise Application Integration

As EAI (enterprise application integration) is a major concern today we will address the topic in a short section and demonstrate what is needed  and what can be omitted without the danger of missing a major point.

-> Slides 

Supporting Material

Wolfgang Keller: A Few Patterns for Managing Large Application Portfolios, Submission for EuroPLoP2001, Contains Patterns: Keep the Data, Toss the Code, Early Decision, Clear Vision, Application Map, One Infrastructure. Download pdf.

Wolfgang Keller: The Bridge to the New Town; A Legacy System Migration Pattern, Proceedings EuroPLoP2000, Download Zipped WinWord.

Wolfgang Keller: Sanfte Migration, Architekturmanagement in der Generali Gruppe, White Paper, Currently being translated.Download Zipped WinWord.

The cases will be supported by patterns on insurance architectures, so that attendees can follow the cases and the decisions also after the lecture and will see the practical use of domain oriented patterns and domain architectures. See the following selection of supporting material:

Wolfgang Keller: Some Patterns for Insurance Systems;  Proceedings PLoP 1998. Download pdf.

Wolfgang Keller: The Pitfalls of Business Rules and Meta Systems (1999), Background material for a Tutorial on "Flexible Insurance Systems" at STJA99. Download Zipped WinWord.