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Panelists: Business Alignment the only thing NEW about SOA

by Floyd Marinescu on Oct 18, 2006 |
At the JAOO conference a few weeks ago a discussion panel of SOA personalities including Gregor Hophe (integration patterns, Google), Beat Schwegler (Microsoft), Ivo Totev (SAP), Frank Buschmann (author of Pattern Oriented Software Architecture books), and Iona's Steve Vinoski talked about SOA - what's left to say?   Amazon's Chief Architect Werner Vogels was also in the audience (he keynoted at JAOO) and had some interesting things to say. Quotes in this article are based on notes taken at the event, and are not a direct transcript.

One of the unanimous agreements among the panelists is that alignment of IT with business is really the only thing that is NEW about SOA, compared to integration/distributed 'movements' of the past.  This is also the subject of InfoQ's free-download mini-book by Capgemini CTO: Enterprise SOA Adoption Strategies.

Frank:
"One advantage of SOA is that it brings business and IT together and that has not been there before."
Steve:
"A lot of SOA adoption has to do more with organizations... E.g.: Amazon they had to think about how to  manage their teams to create and manage SOA. It does start with the leadership, it's not a technical thing."
Beat:
"If you want to put an SOA in place, who will you ask? The business decision makers! You can't do it only within IT, you need alignment.  That's a key understanding."
On whether there is anything left to say about SOA, Frank replied:
Is there anything to say about it the first place? 'There is nothing new with SOA', what we have learned in building component based, modularized systems... But in recent years the business case for integration has been rediscovered and the advent of the internet introduced new scenarios.
InfoQ was present and Floyd Marinescu asked the panelists why the idea of contract-first integration using standard protocols and transports is not also something 'new'about SOA.  Steve Vinoski replied that this approach is already being done with EDI, and Frank said that the manufacturing industry also has similar technology in place.

Towards the end of the session, Amazon's Werner Vogels was asked by the panel what he thought about it all:
The most important thing to get is that service orientation is a thinking process, it's a structure. It's thinking about architecture way more than what kind of technologies should be underneath them. If i think about services, it's all about isolation.   It's easy cause the ones that are repsonsible for those services can take a customer oriented approach.  It's a methodology for thinking aout your architecture more than "SOAP over TCP/IP".

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Business catalyst by Jeevak Kasarkod

Isnt software supposed to be a means to an end of increasing productivity? If SOA helps align IT with business I would guess that is an excellent step forward rather than saying its the "only thing NEW".

Re: Business catalyst by Floyd Marinescu

I didn't mean it as a negative. But I found it interesting that amid all the other things you hear about SOA, the experts say that infact business alignment is what's NEW about it. Everything else has been tried before.

About the hype... by Jack van Hoof

Wow! The hype is getting tough now. Read more...

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