Monday, February 7, 2011

Jazz Fusion and complexity of software architectures

I love Jazz Fusion: Weather Report, Brand X, Return to Forever, Pat Metheney, etc. I know a lot of people think the music is too complex, it makes them nervous or it does not resonate with them. Yes, Jazz Fusion has that extra bit of complexity but if you hear how it all comes together it is not that complex anymore. I cannot sit down and listen to most other music. I need something that keeps the brain stimulated, otherwise it becomes background music. Jazz Fusion with its complexity relaxes me.



Within Jazz Fusion, the bass and drum usually play more an equal role in the whole composition and are not just there to set a rhythm. I simply love how Percy Jones plays his bass. I know that I myself said in the past it is as if all musicians play a solo at the same time.

I have managed over the years various systems of which people at first glance said they were too complex and that simpler alternatives should be sought.

In general I too prefer to look for the Justin Bieber equivalent for a software application. Recently I have been looking for a very simple Business Intelligence reporting tool. The first idea was a simple desktop solution connected directly to the operational database where we expose some data via SQL views. The users should then be able to create their own reports.

However it turned out that this type of solution hardly exists and if so, not easy enough for the user to work with. So we resorted to a server based solution, but still a relatively simple solution. In this case proCube from the Satori Group.

But many of my systems are or were indeed complex. But they need(ed) to be complex because that is what the business needs. Complexity is there for various reasons. One of them is to let the data flow between systems and another is to allow for flexibility and the variable needs over time. For those of us who understand how it all works together, the complexity is part of the beauty of the solution and actually makes life simpler. We know that if you start oversimplifying, it will lead to increased dissatisfaction and more work for IT to facilitate the changing requirements and to facilitate data integration through manual processes. Though the total solution might be constructed through Oracle, Microsoft, Java solutions and what else, it is still an orchestrated symphony; there is harmony.

If an IT infrastructure is well composed and technology is used correctly, it is never complex to manage and to support; even though others might consider it a disharmony (I like the Dutch word Kakofonie much better).

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