Thu, Dec 13, 2007
Is Santa the Original SOA Architect?
Posted by: Sandy Carter IBM in Soapbox
It’s the most wonderful yet hectic time of the year as consumers vie for mall parking spaces and also spend their precious lunch hours shopping online. Meanwhile, vendors are busy carefully managing and monitoring inventory and their supplier relationships to ensure their goods are delivered to stores and homes on time. Of course, an SOA could help these vendors streamline, integrate and manage their various CRM, ERP and SCM applications. Ideally, this integration through the SOA would help ensure that customers are satisfied and retailers have a successful holiday season. For many retailers, however, it’s not an easy task to oversee the manufacturing and timely delivery of goods in a highly competitive, global marketplace – all during a finite period of time. With this in mind, perhaps we could all learn some important lessons about building a service oriented architecture by taking a closer look at one of the first and most successful SOA projects. This project is representative of a Smart SOA strategy, is based in the North Pole and was initiated by Santa Claus to better manage his workshop. Here are 10 reasons why Santa's SOA is exemplary:
1. Global: the infrastructure follows the sun in order to deliver goods to its client base in a timely manner.
2. Cross-company effort: the SOA bridges the gap between the executive office (Santa) and staff (elves) to execute on common goals.
3. BPM support: has built in business process management (BPM) capabilities to streamline and ensure consistency of toy manufacturing and distribution.
4. Flexibility: enables The Workshop to easily anticipate and respond to sudden spikes in end-of-year activity without resulting in any hiccups in workflow.
5. Reusability: the SOA takes advantage of reusable services so that employees can accommodate consistent customer requests (dolls, teddy bears) as well as easily manage and integrate new requests (Wii, DVD player) using the same, proven best practices.
6. Standards-based: enables Santa to protect existing investments such as the home-grown shipping and distribution application while allowing the infrastructure to integrate the latest CRM tools to manage a client base that completely turns over every few years.
7. Unified communications: supports UC by integrating and identifying the individual letters delivered via various communications methods such as email, traditional postal carriers, in person requests delivered to Santa’s helpers in the mall, and inquiries sent via Santa’s website. Additionally, the SOA infrastructure will be able to support future demands for text, instant messaging, and click-to-call capabilities.
8. Security: ensures the protection and sharing of confidential information including the list of who's naughty and who's nice.
9. Competitive advantage: consistent and timely delivery of requested toys has resulted in a satisfied customer base and a dominant market position.
10. Everybody knows that SANTA is an acronym for the North Pole's SOA approach: Strategic Architecture, Not Tactical Achievements. Not only has Santa mastered the creation of a successful SOA, he’s also the ideal employee because he gets the job done, is a well respected leader with longevity and experience, and is satisfied with a cookies and milk end-of-year bonus.