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The Enterprise SOA Boot Camp pilot event in Mumbai, India – some reflections

On April 23, 2008 and throughout the course of that day, business analysts, developers, executives, enterprise architects, and other skilled professionals all came together at Taj’s Land’s End hotel in Mumbai to talk and learn about the multi-faceted nature of Enterprise SOA.


There was a variety of topics ranging from how to choose the right strategy for realizing Enterprise SOA’s value addition (based on business growth & priorities), to narrowing in on more architectural features (through live demo) of Enterprise SOA when utilizing Enterprise Services & Composite Applications. In addition, building a strong Enterprise SOA business case & governance model, and introducing customer & partner case studies to solidify Enterprise SOA-based implementation principles were among the many other captivating themes presented. In addition, there was a considerable global presence at the event (among those present were attendees who represented about 10 different countries within Fujitsu Group – my colleagues who are all involved in Enterprise SOA in one way or another).


Being part of this event as a listener, speaker & SDN community member prompted me to make some observations about some attendees’ reactions to the information presented throughout the day’s agenda:


  1. Among the mix of about 250+ registered customers & non-customer attendees at the SAP Enterprise SOA Boot Camp, many were taking part to deepen their understanding of Enterprise SOA from a business perspective, and more specifically, to realize its full range of business benefits. I observed that the session about customer & partner business case studies & experiences was particularly well-recieved by attendees (based on comments and feedback given), possibly due to their interest in hearing and learning about SOA’s actual application from an enterprise’s perspective.
  2. Another feature of the day’s activities was centered around the demonstration and presentation of the Discovery System. Many inquisitive participants were very keen to see Enterprise SOA ‘in action’ which was easily made possible on the Discovery System’s SAP NetWeaver-based Enterprise SOA platform and through its countless live scenarios. People were literally amazed at the notion that in a matter of days, it is possible to hit the ground running with Enterprise SOA because of Discovery System’s out-of-box capabilities and spread of development tools – a sandbox of sorts. The idea of plugging-in and getting hands-on experience had given a very real picture of Enterprise SOA ‘at work’ for many attendees.
  3. In addition, one intriguing tendency that I noticed during the event was how discussions and questions gradually kept drifting into the technical realm, despite efforts to keep things on a more architectural and business-oriented track. It seeemed challenging for speakers to keep the Q & A segments (of a more business-centric topic) away from the technicalities of Enterprise SOA.
  4. Finally, I noticed that many interested customers / IT professionals came to discuss or ask, “How does one become an Enterprise Architect?”…”what are the necessary qualities & skills required?”…“and why do organizations need EAs, which seem to be somewhat rare commodities as it is ?”

These questions (among others) got me thinking about how the role of Enterprise Architect is not clearly defined within the technology industry, and moreover within SDN’s community at large. Perhaps the EA is reinventing himself/herself as industry-specific & cross-industry trends take shape and evolve.


Clearly during this Boot Camp event, the majority of participating attendees seemed to consider (if not embrace) the idea of a gradual — and perhaps even accelerating — movement towards services-based & enterprise-wide architecture as being a very tangible reality.

I welcome further input from anyone who was present for this event as far as other insights into people’s general (or specific) reactions to Enterprise SOA.


On a side note, I would like to acknowledge both Marilyn Pratt and the BPX community on the whole as driving forces to spur my involvment in organizing & collaborating with SAP during this event. Without such strong networking & BPX community member support, the connections and instrumental relationships formed around and during the Enterprise SOA Boot Camp pilot would have been much harder to come by (if not very difficult to establish in the first place). I am definitely now a firm believer in the ripple effect in terms of how a strong community can foster opportunities !

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    • I completely agree with this report/analysis, which states that we really need to focus our efforts more on the EXECUTION of Enterprise SOA and move beyond just the STRATEGIC stages & discussions on its implementation. Thanks for sharing this report, Richard.

      Delving deeper into this idea though, I still think there is a long way to go in terms of educating people about realizing all the benefits of Enterprise SOA. Moreover, this emphasis on education might actually involve helping them in defining & creating an initial strategy to facilitate the execution process.

      Furthermore, I think that DEFININING & CREATING the strategy is the most challenging stage of Enterprise SOA adoption, since it’s difficult to influence the thinking patterns around modular-centric designs of ERP systems.

      It seems that it’s way more challenging to ‘sell’ the benefits of a CONCEPT or an ARCHITECTURE, as they really can’t be presented as tangible, physical things.

      SO…in order to sell a concept, education is really the key towards increasing Enterprise SOA adoption among existing ERP users (which is what this Boot Camp event was all about!).