Kiran Garimella's BPM Blog

Kiran Garimella

SOA is dead! Long live SOA!

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A SOA architect and evangelist friend of mine from Sweden sent me a link to a commentary on a provocative blog post by Anne Thomas Manes.  While reading these articles, I was reminded of the phrase that caused me much confusion when I first heard it as a kid: "The King is dead!  Long live the King!" - very confusing until you realize that the two kings are different.

SOA is in a similar state.  I am actually very happy that SOA is dead (or at least, it is acknowledged as dead by many of the commentators).  It shows that SOA is now moving into serious prime time.  The hype is over, only somber reflection and execution remain.  Move past the TLA, please!

In a prior job, I went through a similar cycle while evangelizing SOA.  Predictably, I got nowhere.  But my team and I went ahead and built an application very quickly by leveraging pre-built services.  (Ok, you SOA purists, I know SOA is more than that, but we are talking about 2004 here - cut me some slack, will ya?)  When my boss, the GM, surprised at how quickly we deployed new functionality, wanted to know the secret of our speed, I told him, "Remember SOA that I kept harping on?  Well, that's what we used."

I was in southern Sweden last month, talking to a SOA team about SOA adoption.  Among other things, they wanted to know how to "sell" SOA internally.  The best advice I could give was, "Stop using the word SOA."

Whoever thinks SOA is really and truly dead doesn't quite understand what it is all about.  There will always be a king, but we may stick different labels on him (Czar, Party, Messiah, Emperor, President, etc.).  It is actually very good news when one of the biggest roadblocks to adoption is the label itself.  (I can't help direct you to "SOA Adoption for Dummies" for a very sensible and practical treatment.)

The only odd thing Anne's post is the sentence: "SOA is survived by its offspring: ..., BPM, ..."   BPM an offspring of SOA?  Someone has to explain that one to me.

Now I am just waiting for BPM to die.



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Really nice..article..

I also call the same phrase in a diff style when address to customers..!!

SOA was in the Papers..
SOA was in the PPTs..
SOA now a reality in the Products and Service People..

As pointed by the author.. Let us stop calling SOA as SOA. It is further more become a DEVIL TERM and no one listen to SOA as all talks on it..

For me.. SOA is like a GOD.
You cant see it ..
You can only realise it..

regards

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I love when some people kidnap terms and terminology and then when the "hype" is gone they "leave the misused terminology on the ground in a mess...." and declare it for dead.”

SOA is not about technology. In my eyes SOA was (becasue it is now dead:-) a good attempt to bridge the gap between business people and the technical people to make them sit in the same room and talk the same languages and solve the real problems.

Those that have succeeded have shown that properly applied (SOA based) IT is a business enabler and not only a big financial black hole. But it takes a lot knowlegde and committment to make this transition, not only technology!

Your blog posts jump from 2007 to 2009. What happened to 2008?

One of my favorite examples of this type of thinking is a question a professor posed for me in grad school. Is CRM something new or something that we have been doing since the first retailer had a product to sell.

Obviously you need the label to make sense of what it is you are trying to accomplish. You must realize that a lot of it relates to using modern tools to address a problem what you are trying to accomplish relates to using a new tool for an old problem.

Even from a fellow DIS Gator, I have to admit BPM is dying. I just blogged that I think “Big SOA is Dead; Little SOA is Thriving” at: http://tinyurl.com/soa-today2 . Ok, maybe Big SOA isn’t “dead”, but certainly struggling to convince companies to invest in BPM, BAM, ESB (Big SOA) in today’s economic climate is a tough, academic sell when they can go Little SOA with positive ROI. Organizations want rapid results– they want SOA Today and not 6-9 months down the line!

I totally agree with your assessment of the state of the SOA union. Without a commitment to changing the status quo, "SOA" efforts fail. Most efforts focused on the platform stacks and not the enterprise. I've began to ask "What is your SOA motivation?", if not the business/enterprise then why do it at all.

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Kieran,
You say "Now I am just waiting for BPM to die". I hope that was toungue-in-cheek? Nearly three years ago, you did a really great blog entry on BPM which can still be read at: http://www.ebizq.net/blogs/bpmblog/2007/02/the_arrogance_of_it_dont_read.php
I use that when talking to clients as the perfect description of why BPM matters and why it represents a revolution in business thinking - by forcing the IT department to provide a Service rather than allowing it to dictate (inappropriate and expensive) technology to the business.
I hope you haven't changed your mind on that?!

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