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Business Transformation in Action

Joe McKendrick

Transcript: Miko Matsumura, Software AG, Discusses Social Networking

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The following is a full transcript from ebizQ's recent pocast featuring Software AG's Miko Matsumura and myself.

Listen to or download the 11:32 minute podcast below:

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Joe McKendrick:   Hello, this is Joe McKendrick, contributing analyst to ebizQ and welcome to our podcast.  I'm pleased to have with me again Miko Matsumura, Vice President and Deputy CTO at Software AG.  Welcome Miko.

Miko Matsumura:    Okay.  Great, thank you Joe.

Joe:    And for those folks who are following the series, Miko and I had a great chat in our most recent podcast on the Tribal Aspect of SOA and how SOA enables organizations to kind of break down their task into various very dynamic and well focused teams to achieve greater productivity.  And what I'll like to talk about today Miko is the whole emerging social networking phenomenon that everybody's talking about and that we're seeing.  I guess we could also call it Web 2.O.  

There's a lot of discussion, a lot of hype, a lot of interest and a lot of solutions now emerging in that space but not a lot of, I guess, direct connect connectivity.  We haven't really seen a lot of connecting the dots with SOA itself yet and I'd love to talk with you about that.  I guess the most logical way to look at the relationship between SOA and social networking is that SOA itself is inherently a collaborative exercise it calls for a cross enterprise approach to develop services, and it plays a role in governance.  Do you see that kind of connection as well?  Do you see that?

Miko:    Yeah, absolutely.  I mean I think that -- here let me just give you the frame that I think about which is that as I've been kind of saying lately that there's two major drivers in the IT infrastructure layer.  One of the drivers is consolidation, which is you look around, you receive redundancy, you want a lower the cost, you eliminate redundancy, you just create rationality or rationalization of the infrastructure.  

And this is kind of like, you just kind of keep trying to kind of rationalize and lower the cost of your infrastructure, lower the complexity, the risk, all of these things.  But the other forest is competition, which is this constant drive to kind of evolve and create, and speciate and divide and this kind of thing.  Now, if you kind of realize that this is happening at two levels, it's happening also at the software vendor level, then you end up, with kind of an imperfect environment where you have this company is being merged and mashed together and solutions that are just stitched together in very flimsy ways because there's no real opportunity to evolve standards.  

Just because the economy loves alternatives, it loves Oracle, SAP, it loves Microsoft, Java, it loves to have options.  And so the thing that's unfortunate is that in enterprise as a scale, you end up with one of everything and there's business value type tied to it so you can't unplug it.  And so, it really creates this kind of extremes of complexity.  But the thing that's amazing about this process of SOA, which is, we got through this process where everyone has looked at the infrastructure and said, wow, the most ridiculously design Rube Goldberg contraption I've ever seen in my life.  

And then they went through the process of saying, well, wouldn't it be wonderful if we rationalized just this little corner of it.  And what they hit is they hit this sort of very deep-rooted realization.  And their deep-rooted realization is basically that for every silo there is a tribe.  And that tribes are really kind of the ultimate end game for SOA.  And so what it turns out, as it turns out that SOA is not a system integration problem it is a social integration problem and that getting people to play well with others is something that supposedly people learned in kindergarten but in fact is something that turns out to be almost like the progenitor of the whole Anne Thomas Manes SOA is dead thing, which is that it's hard.

It's hard to do.  This is where we've come in the game and that's where the whole social network becomes sort of inextricably linked to the evolution of SOA, which is that without the ability to evolve agreement you can't even create solutions.  Agreement is a precondition.  Obviously, just having an agreement is not sufficient but it's certainly something that you have to have before you can even start.

Joe:    Interesting.  Yes, in fact, that's one of the issues of I've heard being raised around SOA ever since it's been around in its present form of five or six years now is that the ability to provide shareable services and share the cost and the maintenance of these services is at issue sharing.

Miko:    Yeah, absolutely.  And so I think you're alluding to is you're alluding to the third part of the trifecta, which is sort of the cost of the behavioral aspect.  I guess I would call the trifecta as the first as how do you start?  And the necessary precondition for starting is agreement.  And that's why collaborative and social networks becomes the new battleground which is that it's the only that we've found that lowers the bar of collaboration across silos.  

You want to make sure that people in completely radical geographies, and completely radically different organizations ,and potentially even different companies, different functional groups, or different job titles can all kind of agree in that the notion of fiscal competency center is nice but the reality is that it can be expensive to fly everyone to the same location.  So there's online collaboration lowers the bar and enables you to put in the cloud so that anyone can connect to it so I think that's the first leg of this dual.  

The second leg of this dual is measurement, which is the notion of you want to create measurements that enabled you to realign an organization so that people truly understand the cost of behaviors and the reason why do you can't just keep doing business as usual.  But the third piece that you alluded to is really the thing that makes stool stand up which is that you need to link this measurement back into behavior whether it's in job performance, evaluation, bonuses, reorganizations but whatever it is you have to link these measurements back into organizational behavior or else the whole thing doesn't shift.

Joe:    And it would seem that -- I heard a rumor once that there was this organization that has several different integrations groups and the rumor is that these integration groups actually spoke to these other now and then.  I don't know if I can verify that rumor.

Miko:    Yeah, that's really funny.  It's almost the question of who watches the watchman.  It's who integrates the integration group.

Joe:    Well, I understand that Software AG actually has an offering in the social BPM space, which may help folks.  Can you collaborate on that?

Miko:    Yeah, absolutely.  We're very excited about AlignSpace.com.  And what we're really trying to do is to really start to emerge as a solution provider in the space.  Because we find that the seed crystal, the necessary precondition for initiation of a project is alignment.  So we call this AlignSpace which is the notion of agreement which is I can share with you a model of my intention.  

So was like, hey, I think the process, the perfect process looks like this.  Now, the thing that it turns out in silo and tribe land is your vision for what's perfect is different from mine.  And so the goal of this is that you internetwork all of the different tribes and then you each kind of try to help collaborate on the vision of what the purpose path looks like.  And hopefully, out of this comes  some achievable goals because what ends up happening -- so the goal is to kind of lower the infant mortality rate of BPM projects because typically what happens is that you have one person had a great idea but there's no practical reality to it.  

There's 50,000 here's why there won't work that are just hiding and lying in wait across the enterprise.  And at some point late in the game after the money's been spent, it'll just leap out from behind the door and say, "boo", like here's why that won't work.  And if you've invested in it already, the pain is pretty high.  So the goal is let's get out in front of that thing.  Let's get all the constituencies together.  And it's not really kind of this heavyweight competency center approach, it's more like here's an e-mail invite into AlignSpace and just have  look and tells what to think.  Do you think this is achievable?  What's wrong with it and what do you like?  And that lowers the bar quite a bit.

Joe:    Great.  And this is available as an online service, is that right?

Miko:    That's exactly right.  And our attention is that it becomes like a very fluid medium.  Because we find that process collaboration happens across corporate boundaries, geographic boundaries, or if anyone should be able to e-mail the URLs to someone else.  It's like a pickup game of basketball; you can just jump in and start playing right off the bat.  It doesn't matter where you come from or what your job title is or (Indiscernible).

Joe:    Fantastic.  Because today's companies are very virtual, you yourself know that.  Software AG is headquartered in the beautiful city of Darmstadt, Germany.  Miko you're in California and I'm sure you have developers all over the world and need to collaborate.  I mean that's just one example of today's company.

Miko:    Absolutely.  And there's contractors, and there's customers, and suppliers, and it's really a social endeavor, it's a social network.  And optimum is something that has to be defined in a consensus oriented way and that what we're really trying to achieve with this model concept is we're trying to make it so that the expertise comes out of the woodwork.  And instead of dragging something down by the sort of weakest link, we're actually trying to drive out all the expertise and actually make something very optimal at the enterprise level.  So we're trying to solve the hard problems in system integration through social integration and we're trying to be able to scale systems that way.

Joe:    Great.  Even those people those folks with the Rube Goldberg SOAs so for them.

Miko:    Exactly.  And we really want to make sure that we can get these projects off to the right start.  Once they're started, you really need to kind of respect the measurement aspects as well as the organizational behavior aspect.  But just in terms of getting these things kicked off this is the kind of place where we think we can really add some unique value.

Joe:    Okay, great.  And measurement that's a very important concept and aspect of SOA, which I like to talk about perhaps in our next podcast.  And Miko, I want to thank you again for joining us today.  Miko, I should add is the co-author of SOA Adoption for Dummies, a book that was recently released and helps kind of bring a lot of clarity to the issues companies face as they attempt to launch their SOA effort.  

And Miko also is the kickoff speaker at the upcoming SOA Summit being hosted by Software AG in Scottsdale, Arizona, May 5th and 6th.  If you're interested in information, check out SOASummit2009.com.  We've got a great roster of speakers there.  Along with Miko, we will have John Rymer of Forrester, Susan Cramm of Harvard, Ron Schmelzer and Jason Bloomberg with ZapThink, lots of end user CIOs.  And I'll be there as well to host a panel and we urge them everybody to join us.  Again, that's May 5th and 6th in Scottsdale.

Miko:    All righty, see there.

Joe:    See you there.  Thanks Miko.

Miko:    Okay, thank you.


Social Networking, BPM and SOA

In human history, there are many examples of inventions or discoveries from people on different locations and with different backgrounds. In any period, ideas are discovered at the same time. Even big ideas. This is true for the past, present, and in different cultures.

Couldn't agree more. Innovation comes from many sources, and we can only hope we design our systems to maximize these opportunities.

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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