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Business Transformation in Action

Joe McKendrick

Pfizer's SOA Spawns Innovative Mashup Culture

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Pfizer, the pharma giant, is no stranger to SOA -- the company has had SOA efforts underway for more than four years now.

Two years ago, I reported on a talk given by Martin Brodbeck, executive director for strategic architecture at Pfizer, who described how his team was employing service oriented architecture methods to bring data assets together from across this $48-billion enterprise into a single, centralized data definition.

Now, the company also makes it possible for end-users to create their own mashups that are supported by the architecture. In a new report, Rob Barry describes the company's emerging mashup culture. Research Fellow Michael Linhares is quoted as saying end users configure their own mashups -- versus having IT do it for them -- "because it's more about knowing the information and the relationships of one piece of information to another."

The tools were relatively easy to acquire -- the corporate culture was the biggest challenge. The culture shifted from an IT-does-it-all mentality to one that empowers business users. This was all facilitated by Pfizer's advanced SOA infrastructure. As Barry writes: "Once the culture was more open, Pfizer was able to bring about an attitude of experimentation in software development. Whenever they begin developing new tools, end users get to play with them well before they go into production."

The SOA work that has been painstakingly underway across many organizations in recent years is bearing fruit. One offspring is the ability to quickly and easily create mashups that feed off the shared services in production. SOA has its rewards.

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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