I took a lot of heat for not blogging much the last several months. As much as I’d like to say I was just having fun with family, hobbies, …etc., I was actually hard at work with Vamsi Mohun putting together a book for Wiley on the whole Enterprise SOA topic.
The book focuses on the fundamentals of ESA the main considerations are for successful organizational adoption along with a tour of the myriad of tools and technologies that support the effort.
One great thing that came out of this project was the chance to talk to so many organizations about their awareness, vision and plans for adopting Enterprise SOA. I can tell you there are still a lot of organizations out there who are underestimating what Enterprise SOA brings to the table and how to apply it. One CIO whose company has worked closely with SAP as an early adopter said it best. After yet another one of Shai’s great keynotes on Enterprise SOA he commented:
“Scott – SAP has been telling us, teaching us, and delivering to us ESA-based capabilities for years, but I don’t think everyone (meaning other customers) is getting it…”
There are many reasons for this, but let’s start with the biggest one of all – not seeing the whole picture. If you have ever watched an HDTV program and then flipped to the regular broadcast you quickly notice that part of the screen is missing. Enterprise SOA is a lot like that for many people we meet with. They feel they “get it”, but just not all of it. Unfortunately those missing pieces tell an important part of the story. Here’s some typical responses when we ask IT leads questions around “what is your company doing with Enterprise SOA.”
“It looks like SAP is giving us a bunch of web services to tie things together. Is that really any better than using the BAPIs, EAI tools and other integration methods we’ve nailed down in our environment?”
“I’m looking for the fully SOA-based business applications I can buy today that will make a difference”
“We need a strategy for our ESB, Repository, Intermediary…etc. tools to deliver our SOA roadmap and need to figure out where SAP’s offerings fit in with other vendors”
“We’ve been evaluating CAF and Visual Composer as ways to build new applications”
These types of comments describe things like service-oriented integration, buying service-oriented packaged applications, implementing service-oriented infrastructure, or composing applications based on services respectively. Each is an important piece of the SOA implementation roadmap, but none alone and even all of these together barely scratch the surface on what Enterprise SOA brings to the table from an IT perspective.
Increasingly we’ve been helping people build Enterprise SOA roadmaps that span five disciplines:
1. Business to IT Alignment
2. Process and Information Management
3. Shared Services Delivery and Governance
4. Composition and Integration
5. IT Infrastructure Enablement
The first two help define the “why” and the last three focus more on optimizing the “how” to get real value from Enterprise SOA. From an IT organizational perspective this translates into integrating a lot of concepts:
Business process management
Model-driven definition and implementation
Event management and EDA
Composition and integration capabilities
Services inventory creation and management processes
SDLC updates for SOA impacts
Application “aware” networks and service-oriented infrastructure
Being able to see all of this at once is not easy, but only by pulling all the pieces together SOA work. Especially important is the business process management competency. This is why the role of enterprise architecture is so important to Enterprise SOA adoption. Scott Feldman, Paul Kurchina, and Peter Loop have done a great job building out ASUG communities in these areas:
Would definitely recommend you check them out if you want to start seeing the full picture around Enterprise SOA and how to pull all the parts together into a cohesive plan.