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“Business executives have always wanted instant information and enterprise agility. They want to be able to respond quickly and effectively to new opportunities and competitive challenges. And now, they’re being told they can have all this.”

Gartner Vice President and Research Fellow Roy Schulte began the ebizQ webinar Services and Events: The Secret Ingredients in the Agile Enterprise with that promising overview. He then filled viewers in on the new generation of application systems and the business processes they supply, which he said will enable the agile enterprise via “the notions of services and events,” through service-oriented and event-driven architectures.

“The key to enterprise agility,” Schulte pointed out, “is getting the application systems running in different business units to work together better. To coin a phrase, ‘It’s the communication, stupid.’

“How do you improve speed, accuracy and flexibility of business processes? The answer has to do with the changing nature of application systems. Instead of looking at applications as individual stovepipes, we now look horizontally across multiple application systems. We’re looking at end-to-end business processes. But most application systems in production today are monolithic: They’re not open to having individual pieces of the application exposed.

“People will continue to use monolithic architectures, but they won’t continue to be the center of attention for most new application systems. Today we’re looking at Service Oriented Architectures (SOA), and soon we’ll be seeing more discussion of Event Driven Architecture (EDA), as the fundamental design concepts behind application systems.”

As more and more companies turn to SOAs, Schulte noted, some limitations are becoming apparent. Enter EDAs.

SOAs and EDAs both employ modular, encapsulated applications, Schulte explained. But SOAs have hierarchal, loosely-coupled modules interacting in a point-to-point manner, while EDAs are in a peer-to-peer and decoupled framework, supporting a many-to-many notification pattern of communication.

He ran down the benefits of each. Bottom line?: EDAs are more agile.

Schulte noted that the architectures are not mutually exclusive and over time, different architectures will co-exist. “Some parts of applications will be done with monolithic architectures, some with service-oriented ones, and other parts of the same application systems and business processes will be implemented with event-driven architectures.”


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