Showing posts from 2007

SOA:Many Things!

SOA: Many thingsSOA is not one but many things! Recall the story of blind men and the elephant; each one comes up with a different interpretation. Our individual perceptions and role in an organization is not an adequate basis to describe theentire SOA beast. Agendas of individuals or organizations defining SOA make it even harder to fathom through the myriad. For instance, for a vendor with a product line of applications, SOA is just web services. For a technologist, it is an IT issue and all about SOAP. SOA is about legal contracts for the general counsel, or delivering a business capability for a CIO.
In short, SOA means many things to many people. Yet we are not blind and should not be constrained by a narrow view. Thus the overall definition of SOA must arise from collective nature of the enterprise, with input from its constituents.Let’s consider a situation involving the return of unused goods. In this typical reverse logistics scenario, understanding of a service varies from t…

SOA Consortium: Keynote by Amit Sinha (plus 2nd day comments)

AmitSinha, VP Portfolio Marking from SAP presented the key note on the second day of the SOA Consortium face to face meeting held last week at Burlingame, CA. The topic he presented was on Business Network Transformation and following are some highlights from his presentation:

Most of these observations were based on the survey of over 175 CIOs globally. The trend has been that IT organizations are transformation themselves from Operational Excellence to Business Agility which in tech speak would be from Integrated Enterprises to Business Networks. Instead of developing solution based on the "Built to Last", the IT solutions now being considered (funded) are being "Built to Adapt".

Following are the top three approaches adopted by the various IT Organizations:

Managing Relationship (Single view of the customer, customer focused solutions, etc.). 23% of those surveyed adopted this approach which resulted in approximately 7x growth / yearCost Containment (IT operational…

Best Practices - Is Canonical XML dying? - Reply to IC Blog

This posting is a reply to the blog posting on Canonical Model

In general, I agree with the posting on Canonical XML discussion. I wanted to make a couple of additional comments on industry-vertical specific Canonical models and the benefits they offer to those enterprises whose interactions leverage standards based information exchange.

a) implementations leveraging package products that exchange canonical models expressed in XML allow ease of upgrading and/or switching between package products without paying a huge upgrade penalty. This is so in the case of functionality related upgrades that do not alter the service definition and/or the information exchanged. Also, this makes decommisioning of redundant packages easy when this becomes necessary during acquisitions long as the package implementation are all standard canonical XML based.

b) partner collaborations also become easy, reliable and robust when co…

SOA Consortium: Keynote by Sandy Carter

The SOA Consortium's last 2 days face to face meeting for 2007 is currently underway at Burlingame, CA. Yesterday, Sandy Carter gave a keynote address to the attendees and following is a brief summary of her comments:

Every two years, IBM conducts an exhaustive CEO survey (a couple of hours conversation with each of the CEOs) which is published every two years (last years report is available here). The next report shall be published next year around April at their IMPACT event. Following are some of the interesting findings:

Business have notices a 2% improvement in their revenue by focusing on IT optimization and an 8% improvement by focusing on business optimization. However, when they align both IT and Business, the impact was more than double, 20% a key reason for enterprises to focus on Business Agility.

The top four areas of focus for CEOs (in no particular order) are:

a) Agility
b) New and changing customer
c) Business Model Innovation
d) SOA (Yes! looks like SOA had now made …

SOA Consortium – Ground Floor SOA – Recap for 07

The most significant progress we on the SOA Consortium Working Group of "Executing Business Driven SOA" have made in the past year was in the definition of the SOA Planning Framework. Efforts undertaken as part of the SOA Planning Framework track will include classification and logical grouping of the collective body of work done thus far by the Strategy 2 working group; thereby allowing us to deliver a single document that can be used as a reference by anyone who embarks on the path to SOA-enable their enterprise. This includes work done under the headings of “SOA Readiness Assessment”, “SOA Opportunity Identification” and “High Level People, Process and Tools” matrix. All of this material will find a home in the various sub-components of the SOA Planning Framework. Once completed the SOA Planning Framework will be one of the most comprehensive guidelines for those looking to implement SOA.

The other key benefit of the SOA Planning Framework deliverable is that it allows an …

Selecting Strategic Projects

Continuing on my thoughts on aligning project portfolio to IT strategy, what are some of the criteria one must use for selecting projects that are truly strategic. A number of organization may use the size of the project to tag it as a strategic project. In my opinion, one must ask following questions to see if a project fits the definition of a strategic project:

- Is the project adding new capability or enhancing an existing capability in one of the core business processes. A core business process is one related to enterprises' primary value chain (excluding, HR, Finance, Facilities etc.).

- Is the capability shareable across many processes. For example a capability to have a full view of customer relationships can enhance not only sales, marketing and customer service processes but can also be used in other key processes such as supply chain management.

This is all I can think of right now. Would be interested in hearing other thoughts


Key Lessons – The new and improved Enterprise Architecture Group

When invited to start the Enterprise Architecture Group a couple years ago my only thoughts were how to technologically implement SOA and EDA as the core architectural principles. However, soon enough came the realization that without having access to those who had sound business knowledge and those that knew the core business domains, value streams and the strategic business capabilities it would not be possible to effectively deliver SOA or EDA.

Service orientation of business behavior encapsulated in business applications and the definition of business events that initiate key business processes both require enterprise-wide understanding of business behaviors and business activities. Furthermore, the ability for identifying business services and/or business events comes from being able to abstract business needs that cross business domain boundaries. These skills can be found in a group of individuals being called business architects – a unique group of individuals who can translate…

Integration at Home - SOA Architecture

An article describes how integration at home works - integrating PCs, Game consoles, storage, etc. as well as handling multi-media and home automation. This same approach is also very relevant to the services approaches for enterprises. Read more about this iin my this month's DMReview column on Integration at Home - SOA Architecture.

For those in the Silicon Valley - DAMA and the Integration Consortium (IC) have joined forces to bring together their respective organizations to offer a 1 day meeting to explore Data Management & Integration. Presentations from thought leaders from each organization. Additional details are available on IC web site at

- Yogish

Aligning Project Portfolio to IT Strategy

How an enterprise derives value from its IT organization greatly depends on the way IT manages its project portfolio. The projects should be funded, based on a well defined strategic direction that is in line with long term business objectives. The reality is that majority of projects are primarily undertaken to alleviate a major pain point or to deliver some functionality quickly to gain some competitive advantage or worse as a result of some internal politics. This problem is specially acute in organizations with large legacy systems where there is built in resistance to change and general tendency to be risk averse.

In my opinion, IT organizations must make a deliberate effort to make sure a percentage of IT budget is invested in projects that are strategic in nature. This also implies that both business and IT strategies exist and IT and business community have a common understanding of what it is and have a deep commitment for its success.

Blueprinting Information Architecture and BPM

Following my blog on Key Learning: Blueprinting Information Architecture is key to successful adoption of SOA one of the feedback was Don't we need to define the detailed business process to identify potential service candidates?

My response to that is No and explained it in this edition of the Strategic IT Update. Please click here for all the Strategic IT Update presentation and transcripts.
Reference: Customer Data Integration: BEA-IT Case Study (my presentation at CDI Summit in 2006)

Best Practices - Mashups and the importance of Foundation Business Services

It seems like interactive web based social computing experience and SOA style services are not really thought of as related. However, when mashups are incorporated into the realm of the enterprise the need for ease of collaboration as well as accuracy tend to matter and this is where enterprise worthy services enter the picture.

In addition, having access to a registry is key. This SOA based infrastructure component becomes the central point for discovering loosely-coupled services that encapsulate core business functions and business semantics. To fully enable the knowledge worker in the selection of services for mashups, the business user community not only has to be included in the definition of the service but it has to be involved with the process of publishing these services to the registry as well. The reason being that business keywords that are used in describing the service are identified and entered when publishing the service to the registry. This level of cooperation and c…

Strategic IT Update: Changing Role of C-Level Executives

The business environment is becoming more complex, unpredictable and constantly changing. In the near future IT will no longer be the way it is today. Business and Technology integration will be a necessity for business to stay competitive. To achieve this, the CFOs role is expected to become increasing important as described in this video. Following is the first Strategic IT Update.

As this is my first production, I have intentionally kept it short so as to work out the release logistics.YogishPai

Resolved RSS issues

Over the weekend I received feedback that the RSS feed on this site was not working. I believe that this has now been fixed and you can be subscribed to it once again at

Please do drop me a line at if you still having problems subscribing to the feeds.

Key Observations - Service Reusability - Does it really work?

From my experience, on SOA projects reuse was mostly accomplished with technical services/ infrastructure services. However, it is the business service reuse that we are struggling with as the Lines of Business (LoB)/ business units feel that their sub-set of the business logic is very unique. The problem is that most of these business services are rendered non-reusable due to the fact that they include both business logic and process sequencing logic into the same code base and it is the later that is unique to the LoB and not the business logic. Also, we have achieved greater degree of reusablitiy in terms of data access and informational services and not so much business function services that are a higher level class of services.

I would like to hear about what your experience has been with regards to service reusablity. Have you been able accomplish this.

surekha -

Defining and measuring Business Agility

In my previous post on defining Business Agility I had defined it as follows

Business Agility = Business Alignment + IT Flexibility

Business Alignment: Alignment between the various business units
IT Flexibility: Alignment between Business and IT + ability to rapidly deploy new business capability

Business Agility = Business Intuition + IT * (BPM + SOA)

Of course this definition is pretty generic and the next obvious question is how do we measure Business Agility? Typically most business have one primary measurement criteria - company
financial results such as revenue, operations cost, stock price and profits. There are alternate ways for measure business by adopting Six Sigma, Lean, etc. Again this approach is still business focused - and does not help in measuring IT Flexibility (especially as very rarely have I see IT organizations actually adopt Lean, Six Sigma or any such measuring criteria - maybe that will change :) ).

After giving this much thought I came up with this domain model …

Best Practices - SOA Guiding Principles

From my experience, with SOA Retail solutions the following SOA Guiding Principles have served us well. We have applied this "standard" to both internal SOA style business services and when evaluating other packaged products that claim to be "SOA Enabled"!!!
a) business service consumers are decoupled from business service providers.
b) availability of published "service metadata" enables the discovery of the business service.
c) service consumers are agnostic of who (service provider location) and how (service provider technology platform) the function call is being fulfilled.
d) service consumers and service providers that use industry standard protocols and communications models are able to insure loose coupling.
e) service interaction is based upon exchange of canonical modelsPlease provide me with your feedback.
surekha -

Best Practice: SOA Development Organization

In early 2006 I had documented my views on how the IT development organizations would change by adopting SOA. I had termed it the SOA Development Organization and I still believe that this is the end state for the IT application development organization.

- Yogish -

Best Practices: Establishing Enterprise Architecture Teams

In one of my previous post I had published the first draft of the presentation on Establishing the Enterprise Architecture team. Based on some feedback and my own experience, I have now updated it with the following additional details:

The strategic role of the EA teamEnterprise Blueprinting benefits and guidelinesEnterprise Architecture Review processand finally the EA domain model from the SOA Consortium EA 2010 effort. Please click here for the pdf version and do drop me a line at for the PowerPoint version.- Yogish -

Key Learnings - Living Business Driven SOA

There are some significant challeges in getting business buy-in on supporting SOA. Back in August my work in obtaining this support was recorded in the following interview with Jennifer Zaino of bITa Planet.

The opening statements of the interview are as follows:

"Some of the Words of advice from the frontlines: One IT leader discusses the challenges of getting business buy-in for service-orientated architecture (SOA)."

Please read the complete list of this conversation:

I would love to hear you views on this matter.
surekha -

Key Learnings - Profile of a Business Service

My experience has led to the creation of the following service based postulates. These were applied by me on major retail SOA projects.

You can find these and other laws posted on the SOA Blueprint site.

A service should expose a single business function or business process in it’s' entirety A service should not make assumptions of the validity of the request and should validate the request for accuracy including checking that the requestor is authorized properly prior to honoring the call A service should delegate to the right enterprise resources to completethe business function A service should be responsible for notifying and dispatching the right requests/ information to all related services and/or applications on behalf of the requestor A service should be responsible for any call chaining, sequencing and aggregating of the requests and the intermediate responses in order to completely process the consumer’s original call A service should …

Selling SOA to business

One of the most important milestone in SOA adoption is getting the business to buy in. However, getting business buy in requires an approach that is sometimes not obvious. I had an interesting conversation with Jon Brodkin of Network World. Please check it out at

and let me know what you think

Ashok Kumar

Challenges in implementing BAM - drawing a relationship between business processes and operational system exceptions

I have a question to pose to those of you that have end to end business processes that are composed of multiple legacy business applications/ business services that may be deployed on disparate platforms and technologies. I am curious about what architecture patterns have been deployed by you to report on the operational state of business processes. Also, I would love to hear about how you provide business executives visibility to the business process execution related issues specifically to those metrics that impact business SLAs and KPIs governing the core value streams.

Product vendors have touted Business Activity Monitoring (BAM) to be the magic bullet that allows the creation of intuitive executive dashboards. Most BAM tools that monitor KPIs expect to subscribe to business events/ business alerts being generated from the business process. There in lies the challenge. The reality of where to gather the relevant data for creating the executive dashboard is what complicates most BA…

Best Practices: Establishing Enterprise Architecture Teams

Recently I have had a number of conversation with some key decision makers of various IT organizations and the common questions I got asked was to explain the process of establishing enterprise architecture teams.

This first requires the understanding the various IT organization patterns (models) as well as the evolution (maturity*) of the EA teams. My initial thoughts on this are available here.

Based on the feedback / comments from the community, I plan to take it to the next level of document the entry and exit criteria as well as the deliverable by the EA teams though each of phases.

* As there are already a lot of maturity models out there have decided to stay away from that term

Key Learnings: Blueprinting Information Architecture is key successful adoption of SOA

Following is the high-level approach for Blueprinting the SOA Framework for the enterprise.

Understand the business process and identify the areas for improvement
„Understand overall business objectives
„Understand specific business pain points
„Understand priorities

Develop the Enterprise Information Models to identify the Information services needed to support business processes

Develop the SOA Framework foundation to identify the infrastructure needed to support the business process needs.

Currently there are a lot of content available on the topic of best practices, key learning, reference architectures, ROI, etc. on the topics of Business Processes and Infrastructure. However there does not seem to be a lot of publications around Blueprinting the Information Architecture for SOA.

Basically there are three areas of focus for Blueprinting the Enterprise Information Architecture and are as follows:

Reference data: Examples: salutation, job title, contact type, partner type, region, state/pr…

Overhauled the SOA Blueprint site

The previous SOA Blueprint site was not very well organized and nor was it easy to maintain. As I was browsing through the Yahoo! Web Hosting Console I came across the "Site Solution" tool which makes it easier to manage and publish the content. Hope you like the new layout and please do feel free to send me your feedback, comments and/or any questions related to SOA. Following are the categories of content currently posted on the site.SOA Practitioners GuideSOA Case Studies - reference to case studies published by forums, analysts and vendorsSOA Organization and GovernanceEnterprise Architecture Frameworks - links to the most common EA frameworksEnterprise Architecture Resources - Resource page with information relevant to the Enterprise Architecture teamsSOA Reference Architecture - Reference to a list of various published SOA Reference Architectures SOA Maturity Models - There are multiple maturity model and this page attempts to list all the major ones along with some co…

Enterprise Architecture Survey Results

In the SOA Consortium: Enterprise Architecture 2010 Webcast both Ashok and I refer to the Enterprise Architecture survey which was conducted earlier this year. This was an unscientific and informal survey conductedand for those interested the survey results are available here.

SOA Consortium: Enterprise Architecture 2010 Webcast

One of the working groups in the SOA Consortium’s community of practice is the “EA2010” group. This group of seasoned enterprise architects from industry, government, systems integrators and vendors, has been actively discussing and defining the next generation role of enterprise architecture. Specifically, what enterprise architecture looks like – organization, practices and people – in a business-driven, service-oriented world.

We are excited to share the first release of “Enterprise Architecture 2010 – Where Enterprise Architecture Means Business” in a slide deck now available for download.

Prior to the release of this important deliverable, Brenda Michelson, SOA Consortium Program Director, sat down with the EA2010 working group leaders, Ashok Kumar and Yogish Pai, to discuss their working group’s motivation, findings and next steps. Their conversation is available as an on-demand webinar.

In this 31-minute webinar, Ashok and Yogish cover a wide range of enterprise architecture conce…

Semantics and its' role in Business Services

Role and importance of semantics in the context of services and SOA:

Semantics refer to interpretation of information and not the literal definition of information/ data. Applying semantics to information turns it into “knowledge”. Semantics is the act of applying references and drawing conclusions given a set of more scientific informational constructs. Typically semantics are derived using the context in which information is presented. Transposition on the other hand allows applies the rule of inference where in one can draw conclusions on the implication of truth based on some set of facts.

By deduction semantics and semantic transposition deals with alternate inferences being drawn from one or more data and informational constructs using business rules. Inferences of this nature are not completely predictable as the rules used to arrive at the interpretation may or may not be quantifiable and/or may not be codified into a business rule.

The biggest risk in dealing with semantics is t…

Enterprise Architecture: Making yourself recruitable...

A interested blog by James McGovern on "Enterprise Architecture: Making yourself recruitable..." for those enterprise architects looking for their next career opportunity.

Key Learnings: SOA Key Success Factors (BEA-IT 2002-2006)

Based on my conversation with my peers in the industry, there is still a lot of keen desire by IT Leadership teams to understand the key success factors for adopting SOA. Following are the list of key success factors we (IT leadership team) had identified while I was the CTO-IT at BEA Systems.
Build the right teamOrganize for successBuild coalition with business partnersMaintain FlexibilityThe slides of these are available here. I have created a link of all my key learning blogs at my structured blog.

SOA Practitioners Guide Part 4: SOA and ITIL Convergence

The SOA Practitioners have been working on the next set of the Practitioners' Guide with SOA and ITIL Convergence being the first (Part 4) of new set of Guides. Burc Oral has been leading this effort for the Practitioners' and is presentation (SOA Practitioners Guide Part 4: SOA and ITIL Convergence) this at the eGov meeting today (October 1st, 2007).

Integration Tomorrow, Part 2: SOA Architecture

Part 1 of the two-part series described the past and current integration approaches. This second part, takes a practical approach on how technology is going to change business landscape and the potential infrastructure changes required to integrate the business both at business and IT levels.

Read more about this here.

Vendors need to incorporate SOA infrastructure in legay applications

The majority of the IT budget (over 80%) is typically committed to supporting the existing infrastructure and applications. Even though adopting SOA brings substantial value over the long term, the short-term impact actually increases the support cost in two ways.

First, IT organizations will need to procure additions infrastructure components such as the Enterprise Service Bus, Registry/Repository, SOA Manager, SOA Governance tools, etc. Products like these not only requires upfront initial investment, it also adds one more layer of abstraction (hop) in the existing environment impacting the end-to-end performance.

Second, the support organization shall need to increase headcount and hardware infrastructure to support this next generation of infrastructure.

Even though most of the existing packaged applications are re-architecting their solution to run on the SOA platform, we are still years aways from wide deployment of these next generation applications.

It for this reason, it may…

SOA real-life case studies

The SOA Consortium today published real-life SOA Case studies which are available here. These case studies are categories by types of projects (proof-of-concept, Business led projects, IT led projects and Mega projects) and industries.

The entire set is also available as a pdf, if required.

Defining Business Agility

There has and continues to be a lot of discussion around Business Agility and following is how I would define Business Agility

Business Agility = Business Alignment + IT Flexibility

Business Alignment: Alignment between the various business units
IT Flexibility: Alignment between Business and IT + ability to rapidly deploy new business capability

My observation has been that business is pretty flexible and has the capability to create a new business model effectively, if required (of course under the right leadership). The real challenges are IT's ability to integrating the new business model with the existing infrastructure. My experience has been that adopting SOA enables IT flexible to adapt to these changing business models.

Business Agility could also be defined as:

Business Agility = Business Intuition + IT * (Business Alignment + Flexibility)

Business Intuition: A common sense approach for aligning the various business unit

Business Agility = Business Intuition + IT * (BPM + SO…

SOA Postulates, Theorems & Corollaries

Similar to the mathematics, I felt that there is a need to define the laws for Service Oriented Architecture based on facts, observations and technology roadmaps and have termed tham as SOA Postulates, SOA Theorems and SOA Corollaries.

SOA Postulates:
A service is an indivisible unit of work A service is independent of the protocol or implementation There will be one and only one service producer There can be multiple instances of the same service An entity that utilized the service is called the service consumer There can be one or more service consumers for a given service A line between the services is the agreement between the producer and the consumer A service can invoke other services, thereby, creating a hierarchy of services A service not consumed by any producer is an orphan service SOA Theorems:SOA Theorem #1 SOA Governance observers Newton's laws of motionSOA Theorem #2 IT Funding observers Archimedes' principlesSOA Theorem #3 The need to Enterprise Service Bus shall…