Showing posts from December, 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…