Business Transformation in Action

Joe McKendrick

Latest SOA Round-Up from ebizQ: IT Economics; Cloud Economics; the George Costanza Factor

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What another week it has been for all things SOA.

Our own Peter Schooff spoke with Scott Hebner, vice president of marketing and strategy for IBM Rational, who talked about the economics of IT, noting that "more and more IT organizations are beginning to operate much more like a business with a much greater degree of accountability to the overall business and being governed as such."

Speaking of economics and budgets, ebizQ contributor Brenda Michelson poured out tons of posts from the recent Cloud Summit, including these observations from a panel discussion on cloud billing models and making the business case for a cloud infrastructure.

Michael Poulan looked at Oracle's recent spate of acquisitions, and ponders how SOA and the vendor's Application Integration Architecture (AIA) will fit together, if at all. He notes that "Oracle can reconstruct [SOA] in the way that promotes service-oriented view on the IT life starting from the Enterprise Technical Architecture and getting to the last 'dot' in the design, implementation, and support of IT products."

Here at "SOA in Action," I spoke with Software AG's Miko Matsumura about the coming wave in SOA. Miko observed that "The thing that I think charging this kind of new wave of adoption is that people understand the problems better. They really starting to hit it with the 'G' word, governance, and they're starting to understand the requirements around getting adoption. And adoption is a human term."

Our recent raucous Forum discussion raised a lot of interesting viewpoints about the greatest inhibitors to SOA adoption.  K. Scott Morrison pointed out that SOA has a major image problem, namely that it is seen as "big, complicated, all-encompassing, expensive, taking a long time," and even that it is "dead." JP Morganthal cut right to the chase and pointed out that the greatest inhibitor to SOA is "non-technical managers that control the purse-strings that want to focus on tactical issues of the day and don't fully understand the benefits of strategically focused efforts."

Around the Web, in a new blog post, Lori MacVittie said there are unmistakable signs of "new life" for SOA in the Cloud. "We've been having quite a few discussions with analysts over the past few months on the subject of "cloud". The interesting thing about these discussions is the vast array of points of view from which those analysts are viewing "cloud". Some are focused on the network aspects, others on pricing/differentiation, and some are even very focused on what "cloud" means to applications - and the organizations that will, allegedly, take advantage of the cloud as a means of application deployment.

Also, Dave Linthicum talked about SOA's ROI over at his Real-World SOA site, noting that "people love doing SOA, or SOA-like things, but hate doing the business cases or, more importantly, the analysis that needs to be done on the back end. There are no reasonable expectations set going into the project, nor any measurement of success on the back end. Thus, who knows if the SOA provided any business value? Also, there are no clear objectives."

In the meantime, over at IT Business Edge, Loraine Lawson brought in the "George Costanza" factor into SOA success measurements. In particular, she cites the Seinfeld episode where George Costanza's father, Frank, introduces Festivus - a grouch's alternative to all the end-of-the-year holidays. "Festivus, Frank explained, is the holiday where "you gather your family around, and you tell them all the ways they have disappointed you over the past year." She expressed similar disappointment at a new survey that shows 40% of companies still don't measure their SOA results.

In news related to SOA, InterSystems Corporation announced that Partners HealthCare Systems has gone live at Massachusetts General Hospital with a high-volume application -- processing 91 million messages annually -- that helps the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) reduce the risk of major outbreaks of communicable diseases. The solution employs SOA-based services.

Also, Information Builders announced WebFOCUS Financial Reporting Exchange, a BI platform designed to provide the ability to publish and consume eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL).

Amazon Web Services, at the cutting edge of the cloud, announced the public beta of new features for the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2): Amazon CloudWatch, a Web service for monitoring AWS cloud resources, Auto Scaling for automatically growing and shrinking Amazon EC2 capacity based on demand, and Elastic Load Balancing for distributing incoming traffic across Amazon EC2 compute instances.

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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