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Business Transformation in Action

Joe McKendrick

Transcript: SOA Manifesto, with Paul Brown, Tibco

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The following is the full transcript of a discussion between Paul Brown, principle software architect at Tibco Software, and Jessica Ann Mola, managing editor of ebizQ, about some key takeaways from the SOA Manifesto.

(Listen to the podcast here.)

Jessica Ann Mola:  Hello, ebizQ listeners.  This is Jessica Ann Mola, Managing Editor of ebizQ.  I'm speaking with Paul Brown today who is Principle Software Architect at Tibco Software.  Thanks for joining me today Paul.  

Paul Brown:  Oh, my pleasure.  Thank you.

Jessica: So Paul I wanted to ask you today about the SOA Manifesto, which I know you've been involved in.  Can you give me first just a very brief background on the Manifesto and how you got involved?

Paul:  Well, those of us who are involved in making SOA a reality with customers often see that the concept has been somewhat twisted by sometimes software vendors who try and sell SOA as a product, or people who are in the companies that get so caught up with the technology that they lose focus of what's SOA is all about and what they're trying to accomplish.  Most importantly, what it takes to really get value out of this kind of initiative.  So we thought that we needed to sort of reset and redirect the thinking around SOA to dispel some of the myths, get rid of what's jokingly referred to as the bad SOA and focus on the good SOA, the realities behind the concepts.  

Jessica: Okay.  How did you come to be involved with the SOA Manifesto?

Paul: Well, I was involved with both the first and the second SOA Symposium.  I've written a couple of books on Implementing and Succeeding with SOA.  And Thomas Erl invited me to participate in putting the SOA Manifesto together which I was more than happy to do.  So we got together kind of in parallel with the second SOA Symposium and spent several days kind of hammering out the wording of this manifesto.  

Jessica:  That's great.  Now, the first principle of the Manifesto or I believe we call them value statements is "business value over technical strategy." And you mentioned to me before that you feel that that's the most important statement.  Can you explain why?

Paul: Yeah, it really is.  There is a tendency anyway in particularly large companies with large IT departments to get very focused on the technology and simply being successfully with the technology as opposed to providing the value to the business that after all is the justification for having IT to begin with.  So while it is important to pursue technical strategy that does give you the flexibility that you need to move forward, we can't lose sight of the business value or the fact that we have to continually deliver real value to the business on a project-by-project basis as we pursue these technical strategies.  And sometimes we get in situations where the business value sort of comes into conflict with the technical strategy.  Not often, but it does happen.  

And in such cases, we do have to be good corporate citizens and realize that after all it is the business value that is the reason for us being there.  It's what pays the rent and we have to deliver business value.  So sometimes, we need to compromise to give that business value.  On the other hand, we can't abandon the technical strategy because it is the technical strategy that will give us the reduced cost, faster time to get results out into the marketplace and all those good things that we expect out of the technology.  So it's a balancing act.  It's not that we don't value technical strategy but we have to keep them in balance and when push comes to shove, business value has to win.

Jessica: Well, thanks for clarifying that Paul.  And thank you very much for joining me today. 

Paul:  Oh, you're quite welcome.

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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