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Business Transformation in Action

Joe McKendrick

SOA Roundup: Chunks Versus Streams, Fairy Tales, Dirty Data

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The summer is heating up (it got really hot here in the Northeast), and so are discussions around the next step companies should take with SOA.

In a new feature here at ebizQ, Bill Briggs, director at Deloitte Consulting, says the service-oriented paradigm is expanding beyond technical services and is shaping the way businesses organize themselves. Briggs observes that something important is now happening beyond the geeky "services" idea that we've been seeing over the past few years.

The concept of service orientation "is moving out of the software stack and into the business, triggering a shift away from traditional process re-engineering and toward services design," Briggs says. "Chunks instead of streams, with clear and solid hand-offs that deliver the control - and flexibility - the business needs today." Briggs calls this next evolution "services thinking," which suggests that business capabilities in "each part of the organization needs to compete - defined as manageable, independent, interoperable pieces."

Michael Poulin, in the meantime, disputed that it's all sweetness and light with SOA transforming the business, refuting what he calls an SOA fairy tale of sorts, He picks apart, line by line, the following statement: "These days, as demonstrated through the power of social networking, employees and professionals have the impetus for organizational change. They are closest to the customers, they know what's needed to do their jobs better. The creation and proliferation of services via SOA needs to be a bottom-up movement. CEOs, CFOs and CIOs need to set the tone and vision, then get out of the way."

Michael puts it this way: "I do not have objections to the social networking but I cannot accept when it is applied to everything reasonless; this creates nothing but a mess and confusion."

In Peter Schooff's latest give-and-take debate forum, the hot topic is whether service-orienting your enterprise only proliferates dirty data faster, and what can be done about it. Adrian Grigoriu, for example,  points out that "dirty data can be packaged very well in SOA services. So I don't think dirty data stops SOA. But it is true that data has to be normalized, standardized so that services understand it. For that data transformation and MDM initiatives are worth considering for SOA." .Make your views heard on this matter -- join in the discussion!  It only takes a couple of seconds to register if you haven't already -- we know you have something you want to say about this!

Jack Vaughn reports on JackBe's latest innovation, a platform for creating internal "app stores" for enterprises to subscribe to necessary services. ("JackBe Nimbly..." I wish I would have thought of that head.)  As Jack nimbly points out: "One of SOA's weak points has been lack of visibility within organizations - maybe app stores will make SOA's services delivery capabilities a bit more apparent to people in business, including the ones that write the payroll checks."

We hear from Adrian Grigoriu again, who provides an excellent rundown on the essence of enterprise architecture in his latest post. " EA is an asset in the Enterprise competitive race, characterised by the growing pace of change and a soaring amount of information and complexity," Adrian writes.

Andre Yee picks up on the SaaS-is-dead broohaha currently working its way through the blogosphere and analystosphere, noting how Neil McAllister, Infoworld does his best Anne Thomas Manes impersonation (SOA is dead, long live services). Andre begs to differ with McAllister's assertion, observing that SaaS, properly managed, is delivering a lot of business value across the spectrum. "The problem with McAllister's position is that it's rooted in fear and examples of poor execution," Andre says. 

SaaS-based services, in fact, can really speed up projects, as demonstrated by Phil Wainewright in his latest post

Captain of the Cloud Dave Linthicum also came out with a rather stunning revelation: That Amazon is finally moving to the cloud. Yes, the same Amazon that runs a million other clouds is finally eating its own dog food.


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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