Showing posts from June, 2008

SOA and Outsourcing

Despite many of its shortcomings, outsourcing is here to stay. Businesses are addicted to outsourcing and outsourcing is viewed as low risk (we have someone to pass the buck or blame if things don’t go right). IT departments have come to view outsourcing as a normal mechanism by which costs can be lowered. While this is true most of the time, sometimes uncontrolled outsourcing can limit IT’s ability to take advantage of emerging trends such as SOA. Let’s see how things can get ugly fast. In a typical data center outsourcing scenario, the outsourcer will probably assign a pool of resources to manage the infrastructure with the assumption that individual familiarity with the environment is irrelevant as long you have robust process (read: bureaucracy) in place. It works in theory but the reality is that in a shared services environment, you simply can not assign just any systems administrator to troubleshoot problems. The familiarity with the environment is essential or else you risk im…

IT Engagement Model

One of the key ingredient for success is clearly defining the roles and responsibilities within IT. There are multiple stake holders in IT with each doing their best to provide the highest level of support to the business. Most of the time this results in people stepping over each other - especially as there generally is a not a clear definition of everyone's task. Most of the project failures are due to the confusion is the definition of the roles between the PMO, Project Manager and the Enterprise Architects, resulting in responsibilities overlap and lack of making decisions.

It is important to do this in the context of the Services Life Cycle and did publish a short presentation on this topic a couple of months back. This presentations is a summary of the SOA Practitioners Guide Part 3: Introduction to Services Life Cycle with the addition of the IT Engagement Model slide (14) shown below.

This is the RACI (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted and Informed) slide listing all the r…

Explaining the terms "Services-Oriented Architecture"

Recently there has been some interesting discussions on multiple on-line groups on defining Services-Oriented Architecture. My observations has been that a majority of the participants on the on-line forums refer to SOA as an Architecture Style. I would agree with this, however I would not mention this to the non-IT staff. What would they care or know about (Enterprise) Architecture Styles? and does it make any sense for us to explain this to them? We might be better off learning more about their needs instead.

Wikipedia definition starts with "SOA is a software architecture...." and because of this, I would not agree with it. Maybe one of these days I shall get enough courage to change it on Wikipedia :) .

I just read Surekha's blog on Key Best Practices: What is Serivces-Orientation? and am in complete agreement with her that

There is no place for the use of architecture terms, technological jargon or even as much as a mention of the web services or the WS-* stack in …

Key Best Practices - What is Service Orientation?

What is Service Orientation? It is the ability to use of simple business syntax for defining and discovering business services whose interfaces encode business behavior using the business language It is the ability to define a business service policy that governs the avaialbilty and reliability aspects of the business serviceService Orientation most of all is about the use of simple business terms defining business offerings that execute business capabilities. There is no place for the use of architecture terms, technological jargon or even as much as a mention of the web services or the WS-* stack in this definition!! The need for web service standards, SOA infrastructures technical stacks including HTTP, URIs or SOAP/ HTTP and WSDL enter the picture only when talking about the how to achieve Service Orientation, not the what is Service Orientation!
The technology is undoubtedly important provided an enterprise has the discipline of Business Architecture in place to define its' b…

Web 2.0 in the space of Commerse

In thinking about Web 2.0 one needs to look at the relavance of this technology stack in terms of how it influences the end-users and the consumers of the web content. As promomised in my earlier blog, Web 2.0 - The Real Power I am writing about the impact of this phenomenon on commerce‼!

A commercial web site that is interactive or an eCom solution that offers exciting end-user experience, personalization and one that promotes end-user participation is considered to be very successful in translating this level of participation into "sales" as it influeces the end-users purchase decisions.

Commerse sites such as EBay, Amazon etc. have had much success in this regard. Some of the high level benefits of carefully employing these sets of Web 2.0 technologies may be listed as follows:

1. Use end-user product reviews to suggest alternative product usage ideas that can be used for marketing campaigns. These could be used to cross-sell and up-sell other related products and accessor…

Intel enables SOA without ESB

In one of my previous blog on A Decision Makers concern about ESB I had mentioned that overtime the need of an Enterprise Service Bus will diminish over time. Annie Shum just send me an email with a link this blog on New Offerings from Intel Enables SOA without ESB - guess we are on our way.

Web 2.0 – The Real Power ‼

Web 2.0 is a key concept of information delivery and an interaction model in the internet realm. The concept deals with technologies like AJAX, Flex, Flash etc. that provide mechanisms for partial page refreshes page repaints and page flickers. In addition to this is the idea of providing “rich” end-user interaction capabilities which include cascading filters being applied to a series of drop-downs and slick drag-N-drop features that were only possible in thick client interfaces.

However, Web 2.0 is more about the philosophy of having end-user involvement in the content of the site rather than the technology that drives it. Web 2.0 is not just a way to deliver rich look and feel passively to the users, as was in the case of the first wave of web applications. It is about end-user driven content and end-user driven ideas being provisioned on to the web site. This is a transformation from content-push model (from a content provider) to that of a content-pull and poll model. Web 2.…

Legacy Business Processes and Business Architecture

Today’s reality is that most if not all of the businesses of any significant size have legacy systems and processes and we do not have the luxury of creating a business architecture from scratch. Any business architecture effort must take this fact into account. In a legacy dominated world, one of the difficulties in creating business architecture is having to deal with the processes that have evolved around the limitations imposed by technology. In such environment, a typical business process may involve multiple steps where the user must manually gather information from multiple sources, restructure/refine the information in a excel spreadsheet (or a paper) and upload into another system for further activity.

In such situations the business process reflects the problems associated with the underlying technology, where data is not integrated and/or is of poor quality. Additionally, applications supporting the business process are inadequate. This might be a good opportunity to re-eng…

Semantics in the realm of SOA and Services

The following whitepaper of mine delves into the topic of semantics in the realm of SOA and services.

An area that I have not explored in the whitepaper is the usage of semantics to “discover” service offerings that are needed to deal with the "out of ordinary" alternate execution paths. It is true that today most of our processes are deterministic and follow a known or predetermined execution path. Any deviation from this deterministic execution path is typically handled by raising an exception or by routing the deviant information to a work flow component for human intervention. In future however, “runtime dynamic discovery” of services could be based on semantics that embed service ontology and process based state machine metadata - all of which work together in a business area to enable finding dynamic alternate execution paths that could be invoked t…

Business Architecture (Business Design) - some interesting anecdotes

This is in follow-up to Ashok's previous blog on Business Architecture. After publishing the EA 2010 domain model (web cast) the SOA Consortium EA 2010 working group has primarily focused it efforts on explaining (note: not defining) what Business Architecture means to us practitioners. One quick observations from these conversations was that most practitioners where interchangeably using the term Business Design and Business Architecture - basically Business Architecture effort is to come up with Business Design that can adapt to change (more to follow as and when the SOA Consortium get ready to publish this out).

In my opinion - even though the term Business Architecture may not have existed, some large enterprises as well as governments have been defining long-term strategic plans (Business Design) that adapts to change.

Lets take the example of Nokia - if you review their historyone would be surprised to learn that Nokia was established in 1865 as a wood-pulp mill. Since then…

Oracle to Shut Down BEA AquaLogic?

An interesting Blog on this topic by Eric Roch. As a BEA and Oracle Alumni - it would really be a shame if Oracle does this. If this true, guess the age old saying goes, to the victor (acquirer) goes the spoils. IMO - AquaLogic is better than the current Oracle's SOA Platform - with one exception. Oracle's SCA modeling tool in JDeveloper is much better than BEA's so called SCA Modeling tool.

Lets see what Oracles Executives have to say about this on the July 1st Web cast.

Vendor need to adopt "Common Sense" Strategy

A lot of vendors are jumping on the band wagon about the latest jargon such as SOA, Web 2.0 (or Enterprise 2.o), BPM and now WOA(?). It does make sense from a marketing point of view, however they also need to adopt a "common sense" approach.

Following are a few of suggestions to the large ISVs (Independent Software Vendors).

The Platform is the application:
This is true and that a majority of IT organizations are demanding, starting right from the CIO down. This is true not only for enterprise solution but also for consumer solution, resulting in all major Internet (what do we call these companies now? ) companies such as Google, Yahoo!, Facebook, eBay and are taking this approach. For this discussion I shall limit it to the large Enterprise ISVs.

All the major ISVs have announced and invested heavily in developing their next generation application based on a unified middle ware. The message I am hearing from these vendors is that they will support the current…