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Business Transformation in Action

Joe McKendrick

SOA and BPM Roundup: Business Services, or Lack Thereof; Demand for More Simplicity

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There's been plenty of buzz in the ebizQ and TechTarget ecospheres about the convergence of BPM, cloud, and SOA best practices as organizations seek greater agility to compete in the emerging economy -- one in which digital businesses will prevail. However, there are also a lot of issues that still need to be addressed.  

To start off, Michael Poulin had a few things to say about the lack of business services, especially when Amazon Web Services went down on April 21st-22nd. There's an important lesson for every SOA and cloud consumer, he points out in his latest post, Implicit service contract may be more important than the service interface, he reminds us that " Amazon EC2 didn't violate its service-level agreement when the outage occurred because its SLA promises 99.95 per cent availability.... How many times you've seen a serious business that operates with another business based on an implicit contract with regard to its mission critical functionality? I have not seen many (any) of them."

Andre Yee ponders that maybe cloud computing needs to be simpler. "I think the theme of simplicity for cloud computing has legs. Yes, providers need to make it simpler but that's only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. There's also much work to be done in understanding how to re-engineer existing on-premise applications for the cloud. What are the best practices, techniques and technologies to make that easier for the masses?"

At ebizQ sister site SearchSOA, Jack Vaughn  provides an overview of IBM's recent IMPACT confab, which featured a cloud product renaming: "the company renamed its Cloudburst 'cloud-in-a-box' appliance as the IBM Workload Deployer and enhanced it to support IBM middleware virtual images, design patterns and new Tivoli management capabilities." Senior VP Steve Mills also connected the dots between SOA and BPM at a press conference: "Connecting processes and services remains a major goal of customers. There is a consistent call to support integrated business processes. In effect, users want applications to act as services to support processes."

TechTarget's James Denman provided advice on avoiding cloud vendor lock-in with enterprise mashups. He interviewed enterprise application mashup expert Michael Ogrinz about how applications mashups can help with data migration issues, especially in regard to SaaS and the cloud. "According to Ogrinz, your organization can employ cloud offerings without getting bogged down by vendor lock-in, but it takes a little careful planning (and some help from an enterprise mashup or two)."

Dave Linthicum urges SOA and cloud planners to stick to the root fundamentals, pointing out that the secret to SOA is approaching the primitive. "An analogy that I would use is that it's much easier to build a custom designed home using wood, fasteners, or other materials than to build a house from pieces of another home. The more primitive the parts, the more flexibility you have when building solutions."

Anne Stuart spoke with Gartner's Roy Schulte on how to achieve smarter business operations by analyzing event data. "When it comes to boosting the IQ of your business systems, being able to continuously collect internal and external event data is a great place to start. But [Schulte] cautions that it's really just the first step. The next step--and it's a doozy--is analyzing that ongoing tidal wave of information."

Always keep an architectural view of what is being done, as reiterated by Janne Korhonen, who outlined a requisite system view to enterprise architecture, which included five levels: static system; reactive system; responsive system; proactive system; evolving system.

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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