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Business Transformation in Action

Joe McKendrick

For Cloud-Based Company, SOA Means Extreme Competitive Advantage

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SOA provides an excellent approach for startups seeking a flexible, able-to-grow infrastructure. Can there be any other way?

For Fred Luddy, CEO of Service-now.com, SOA was the only logical way to achieve the vision of his budding startup. In a recent article, Mike Kavis describes how Service-now.com, begin in 2004 as an on-demand IT Service Management solution provider, launched a cloud-based offering that combines the best of everything -- ITIL v3 with Web 2.0 technology and SOA -- to "provide a rich user experience to address a firm's problem management needs."

Thus, SOA is playing a strategic role in helping to launch a brand-new startup, Mike says. They may even have an advantage over established organizational cultures, since they can start from scratch in a service-oriented fashion.

For Service-now.com, SOA means extreme competitive advantage, Mike quotes CEO Luddy. He started the company in 2004 with the vision on an underlying architecture that is "simple, approachable, configurable, and easy to integrate" and had to be as "restless and stateless as possible." (No pun on REST intended here, I'm sure!)

Luddy also wanted to eliminate the data formatting issues and figuring out how to communicate with various other applications. In his own words he states that "there were no alternatives, no decisions to be made. There was no other way then with a SOA mindset."

Luddy reports that Service-now.com has an "extremely configurable" product. A recent integration with Salesforce.com, for example, only took one week. Otherwise, however, one of their biggest challenges is integrating with partners who do not have a flexible, service-oriented architecture. "They have had to write several adapters for partners to provide a seamless integration." For example, "integrating with HP Openview or Tivoli Enterprise Console required that Service-now.com first create a SOA layer on top of the legacy code before being able to move forward with the integration."

Still, SOA-enabled enterprise to SOA-enabled enterprise interaction is clearly the foundation for growth with the cloud computing phenomenon. The Cloud needs SOA behind it, big time.

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In this blog (formerly known as "SOA in Action"), Joe McKendrick examines how BPM and related business and IT approaches can promote business transformation.

Joe McKendrick

Joe McKendrick is an author and independent analyst who tracks the impact of information technology on management and markets. View more

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