As I travel the world talking to our thousands of customers about how Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) can help bring them new levels of agility to face today’s unprecedented rate of change, one of the top questions I’m asked is what is IBM doing with SOA within its own business. Even right now as I am in Lisbon Portugal (a BEAUTIFUL country -- pictures coming!!!!) ....this is the top question I am getting!!!
It’s a little bit like looking under the hood of your auto mechanic’s car or into the portfolio of your financial advisor. I’m proud to say that IBM does indeed have heavy involvement in SOA and that we use these deployments to help make it easier for our customers to take advantage of the many benefits of SOA.
The backgroundLike lots of other companies that have been around for as long as IBM and have grown through globalization and acquisition, IBM’s IT systems were complex, monolithic, and silo-based. IBM had 128 CIO’s, both geography and business unit based, 155 different data centers and over 80 hosting centers that managed over 16,000 applications. Business processes were not clearly defined and were redundant across different business units. This arrangement was costly, prone to error and was a serious drag to success. Something needed to change.
Early stepsIBM really began the SOA journey in 2002 when we initially viewed SOA primarily as a way to cut costs. With all the redundancy and overlap in IBM’s environment at the time, taking this approach proved to be fertile ground for gaining experience with SOA and proving some of its merits internally.
The first project that IBM chose was to focus on a 25 year old legacy system called COATS which stands for Customer Order Analysis and Tracking System. It accepts hardware orders from business partners, customers and sales people and it routes those orders to over 20 different manufacturing plants. The system worked very well but to meet inevitable changes in the way IBM did business, COATS needed frequent updates. As Howie Miller, CIO for IBM explained, “Each new release took about six-months and more that 8,000 development hours to prepare. So, when IBM went looking for a good place to test the promise of SOA, COATS rose to the top of the list.
Through service-enablement of much of COATS’ functionality, IBM was able to treat the system as a set of services that flowed together as directed by business rules. We were able to do so without rewriting or altering the stable, trusted legacy system itself. As a result of this project, IBM now saves 25% in development costs whenever changes are required of the system and COATS transactions have dropped from 10 minutes to four seconds.
Building on successesEarly wins like this motivated IBM to consider SOA more strategically and to look beyond cost cutting and more toward the agility that SOA brings to the company. Let’s look again at IBM’s manufacturing business for an example. IBM focuses on its core strength in many areas and partners with other industry leaders to bring valuable products and services to market. As part of this strategy, IBM is continuously on-boarding and off-boarding manufacturing partners as our needs shift. As a result, all kinds of back-end systems needed to be integrated with IBM’s supply chain. Unfortunately this usually took three weeks. In addition to the time, factory on-boarding typically took systems down and the plant would suffer from outages.
To make these changes in a more agile manner, IBM used the principles of SOA to create a set of services called “Factory In A Box” that allow for an open interface into the back end systems and streamline bringing new factories on line and severing the relationship if the need arises. As a result, this previously three week process now takes only two hours.
While IBM’s line of business owners yawned at SOA’s technical benefits like greater programmer productivity, projects like this that deliver the ability to run the business in a more agile way really got noticed.
Governance structure and cultural changeAs we recommend to our customers, IBM has not pursued SOA in a “big bang” fashion but instead has laid out a roadmap of initiatives for itself and implemented it in steps and phases. IBM demands that each project show value on its own merits but also that it contribute to the overall strategic objectives. Over the years, IBM has undertaken at least 15 separate SOA initiatives each of which encompass multiple individual projects. Along the way, we have established a governance structure to provide oversight and control of these initiatives as well as facilitate the cultural change elements that come with philosophical shifts like this.
IBM recognized that a tremendous benefit of SOA is the continuous alignment of IT efforts to business requirements. To ensure this, IBM created a governance body that brought IT leaders together with business leaders who owned end-to-end business processes. The group guides such areas as ensuring that decisions are made for the broader good of the organization, making architectural, investment, and cost-sharing decisions, and working through cross-functional issues.
This governance body has also worked to update IBM’s culture to fully realize SOA’s potential. With more patents than any other company, IBM has a longstanding heritage of invention. Developers are rewarded for patents. But to foster greater reuse, they are now also rewarded on the basis of how often their creations are reused by others. It is shifts in mindsets like this that really accelerate SOA’s value.
IBM’s involvement with SOA has been a great showcase for us. We intend to continue further investment throughout the company to make ourselves even more agile in the years to come.[Read More]
Sandy Carter: Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) -- Off the Record
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OK Gang! One of our big announcements this 2H SOA Launch is Process Integrity. End to end process integration is required to hold your services, information and users together. This integration must be robust and scalable – otherwise it will restrict you from growing your SOA and building on your initial successes. As you move from basic to advanced SOA, you should be able to use the same products and architectures in an expanded and more advanced way.
So the architecture must start with the ability to provide Process Integrity, even if you don’t use all the capabilities in every project. Robust capabilities must be part of the middleware layer. For example, let’s look at the Enterprise Service Bus. There are several types of ESBs, depending on what they are being used for. An in fact, it’s very possible that you might have different ESBs running in different domains. But whatever ESBs you are running, they must be able to grow with you and provide scalable connectivity as your SOA becomes more advanced. This also means that you might federate multiple ESBs, so that various ESBs are integrated into a larger architecture.
Security and quality of service are key to a successful SOA environment. Even if you don’t need the full set of capabilities in your first couple of projects, you need to ensure that your SOA environment is capable of growing with you. As SOA matures, it will very likely be the basis of a large percentage of IT projects in the future. It’s hard to think of large IT projects that don’t focus on security, scalability, availability and performance. Don’t think of your initial project as something that will be thrown away in the future. Think of them as laying the groundwork for your long-term architecture.
Want to know more about this one?
Watch the process integrity video now.[Read More]
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Just a few of the press articles hitting the wire!
InfoWorld - IBM addressing beginner, advanced SOA needs InfoWorld
Internet News: IBM Says No to 'Monolithic, Unchangeable Environments' Internet News
CNET - IBM tailors SOA lineup for specific industries CNET
Just a few to date!!!! Happy Launch Reading!
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Well, this weekend we had a kids day out and I brought "Smarties" to the gig. Of course, the children all love them (I do too -- especially the "extreme sour" and "tropical" flavors.) My daugther Cassie asked me a great question. She said "Mommy if I eat lots of these, I will get extra smart, right?" of course hoping that by saying that, she would get to eat the whole bag!
I too wish there was a smart pill. Well, of course for me a Smart SOA pill!
And this is what we tried to do with our Oct 3 2007 announcement. Leverage the "Smarts" of our over 5700 customers using our SOA offerings to help others customers with a smarter approach to SOA. This Smarter SOA approach has a couple of central pillars of Smart SOA are:* There is a continuum of styles from basic to advanced for pursuing SOA projects. * All styles require simplicity and robustness regardless of how simple or advanced they are * Recognition that today’s choices have consequences for tomorrow. As business needs evolve, the systems deployed for today’s needs will have to stand up to tomorrow’s demands.
The SOA Continuum has 4 styles in it: 1. Foundational for the small, department based approach, 2. Extend End to End for those customers who are ready to take their integration further internally and externally, 3. Transform - for those customers transforming their businesses at an enterprise level and 4. Adapt dynamically - allowing the predictive nature of IT to meet business needs.
Read more about it in our brochure.....Click to download the launch brochure.Our announcements of new and enhanced products and offerings are many!
So here I'll highlight just a few!For the foundational area..the SOA Sandbox!
Play with the SOA Sandbox
It is a low risk, practical, hands-on way to get started with SOA! And get this. It is a free place for developers and architects to go for full version software trials or ‘Try online’ hosted environments. In addition to the free code, it has Quick start guide; Solution cookbooks; Demos; Decision guides; Architectural guidance; Technical whitepapers; Sample SOA applicationNote: the following products are made available for trial in the Sandbox: – Tools– Rational Software Architect – WebSphere Integration Developer – Rational Tester for SOA Quality– Runtimes (Note: the runtimes are included via the embedded unit test environment)– WebSphere Application Server – WebSphere ESB – WebSphere Process Server – WebSphere Portal – WebSphere Adapters
There are more foundational announcements....including the extension of Web 2.0 with SOA...I'll blog on that tomorrow!!!
For the more advanced function, we are talking about Process Integrity! After completing their initial SOA projects, companies will almost inevitably start quickly thinking about how to incorporate the principles of SOA into their enterprise architectures. Companies will need to leverage their IT to provide strategic advantage and to support business model innovation. In order to do this, IT will need to take advantage of reusable business services that can be quickly used to build new solutions to support rapidly changing business needs.
What is it? Process Integrity is the degree to which loosely coupled systems based on SOA can deliver the mission-critical performance of traditional, tightly coupled systems. We have leveraged its years of experience building robust computing systems to deliver an SOA portfolio that can provide unmatched reliability, scalability and security across a wide range of services. This seamless synchronization across the different services, human tasks, information sources and users is key to providing support for critical business processes.
> Play with the SOA Sandbox Process integrity covers several specific aspects of the SOA environment focused on the integrity of transactions, interactions and information. Process integrity also focuses on the key aspects of security and quality of service.Transaction integrity is the ability for both long and short-running transaction to execute consistently and recover when necessary. Interaction integrity is the ability to provide users with access to the information and content they need - when and where they need it. WebSphere Portal is key to providing this interaction integrity.Information integrity focuses on the reliability, completeness and manageability of the information that flows through the SOA environment. Information integrity is supported by the enhanced IBM Information Server.Security enhancements that support process integrity have been made to Tivoli Federated Identity Manager and the WebSphere DataPower Security Gateway.
These are 2 highlights of our announcements and there will be many many more to come!
Let me know your thoughts and how you like our announcements!
I'll post the highlighted press clips and more announcements! I am headed to Canada now for a Retail Commerce Summit!! See ya soon! Sandy
Well I do use a perfume.....KAI ! I love it ... but that's not what I am talking about here. Here I am talking about our pioneering Key Agility Indictors! How did this come about?
Well, I was touring Europe on our SOA Executive Summit tour and I had multiple customers come to me asking me about how to measure the agility of SOA. So we started thinking about it and talking to industry leaders and decided to really look at how to measure this concept. Since the concept of KAIs was born. But don't toss out those KPIs...(key performance indicators) because I believe that a great business uses both KPIs and KAIs. It the combo that is the killer combo! Bola on my team has been working on a great team to focus here.....
So I know you guys are looking for the newness here. What is "new" is that we have assimilated/selected a combination of open standard metrics and business drivers which I believe that together provide mechanism for evaluating agility. In addition, we have identified leading practices associated with those KAIs and incorporated them into process flows which allow us to quickly work with our clients in achieving their strategic objectives. What is also "new" is that we have collected this KAI data from thousands of organizations globally and provided them to our practitioners in a single view where they can create their own industry peer group comparisons. This view is available through an internal tool called the IBM Benchmark Wizard. Using the IBM Benchmark Wizard, practitioners have real time access to over 1,200 cross industry performance metrics; 1,100 qualitative business drivers; 700 leading practices statements, 1,600 case studies and data from over 16,000 companies from over 70 countries!! So now we can work with customers to benchmark their agility!
It is not our intent to create new proprietary metrics to measure agility. To do so would be a departure from our commitment to open standards for performance measurement. We are committed to open standards in benchmarking. Our open standards approach drives data quality by ensuring that all organizations measuring performance are doing so using one common set of process and activity definitions. We invest in the Open Standards Benchmarking CollaborativeSM and the supporting Process Classificaiton Framework facilitied by APQC, a not for profit research organization and an IBM partner for benchmarking. The open standard approach and framework for measuring performance provides objectivity, comparability and quality data by which organizations can compare.
Please read this first white paper on the Business Metrics of KPIs and KAIs...and tell me what you think!
Visit Supply Chain Agility Paper
I really want to hear from you!
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This past week on Thursday and Friday you probably saw the press hit the stands!
Let me give you guys a little more information!
1) We announced the connection of a Globally Integrated Enterprise (GIE) with SOA! These common capabilities are what we observe as the 6 Essential Global Competencies, the first capability is to Manage Value Through a specialized ecosystem. What we mean by a specialized ecosystem is Continually assess where, when and by whom value is created across the extended enterprise – what’s core and strategic and what can be leveraged through a partner to drive down costs or achieve global distribution. The second is to Effectively manage Risk and Control by taking innovative approaches to risk management. Examining processes in how work is done and where it flows best, the third is to Enable Modular Business Processes by enabling modular business operations. The fourth is to Foster Global Collaboration by optimizing and harnessing ideas from within the enterprise and sourced from the extended enterprise. Employing both collaborative and traditional innovation approaches are a critical competency. The fifth area is to Leverage Global Assets by using global resources most economically and effectively and lastly, to Serve Distinct Markets by seeking new customers and potential partners.
IBM’s new GIE Assessment capabilities – a detailed assessment in becoming a GIE uses 5 levels of detailed assessment criteria across 24 dimensions for deep understanding of areas to focus on as you begin your Path along the Smart SOA continuum.
We announced: The GIE Assessment
What is it? The Globally Integrated Enterprise Assessments is an assessment to identify and benchmark business model capabilities against world-class standards. Learn more about it!
2) Globally Integrated Enterprises require agility - and that agility is the value proposition of SOA!
What is Agility? Agility is the ability to quickly and effectively respond to changes, opportunities and threats.
What did we announce? Well, we pioneered the Key Agility Indicators (KAIs)...KAIs are made available through a GBS engagement. This whole concept of key agility indicators is powerful! I'll do another blog just on those!
IBM Benchmark Wizard with KAI for supply chain tool. Download the Supply Chain Agility Benchmarks white paper from IBM.com/soa
3) IBM is helping GIEs to optimize and innovate their processes. This leads up to some exciting BPM announcements!!
What did we announce?a) Business Process Management (BPM) Methodology - enhanced with combined software capabilities and business expertise to accelerate process innovation and optimizationb) Tools to work the BPM methodology:Model: WebSphere Business Modeler with advanced usabilityDeploy: IBM WebSphere Business Services Fabric and its associated pre-built, customizable IBM Industry Content PacksAdditional business services New industry content packs in banking, healthcare, insurance, and telecommunicationsMeasure: WebSphere Business Monitor - IBM WebSphere Business Monitor for users to create new KPIs and manage alerts without involving IT.New dashboards including a Business of IT Dashboard to keep tabs on overall IT metrics at a glance.
This set of announcements looks at Power to the Business user!!!! to really exploit SOA!
Let me hear what you think about these announcements!
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Our upcoming launch will really emphasize the value of metrics and knowing what information is really going to help you make better business decisions!
Thinking through this you can see that: -All decisions are not equal.. need to know which decisions you need to put most focus on accuracy.. -Identify the key information needed for decision making ... & where it resides in your organization -Make sure that information is accurate & up-to-date at the time at time of decision, and delivered to the decision maker in time & in context... -Make sure that all stake holders in the decision share a common vocabulary regarding the information inputs and decision parameters.. -Have the ability to measure the quality of their decision making over time, and their ability to evolve it .. and constantly work to continuously improve both measurements
This is all related to SOA as SOA gives you the agility and KPIs through BPM enabled by SOA to address some of these questions!
In a related topic, here's the beginning of metrics first of how to determine if SOA can be sold to your board.....ROI being the critical metric! How do you help them decide.....!Visit How to Measure the Value of SOA
More to come!!!
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How SOA hits home: Five ways SOA makes a difference ZDNET
By Sandy Carter, IBM, News.com Published on ZDNet News: Sep 17, 2007
Commentary--One of the most valuable and often overlooked benefits of an Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) strategy is the impact it has on the general population. From helping reduce home energy bills, to saving money on car insurance, to safeguarding your retirement investments, SOA is quickly becoming a critical (albeit invisible) ally for today's consumers. Below are five examples illustrating how SOA is playing a role in our everyday lives: 1. SOA can reduce your energy bill. Consider the Pacific Northwest National Lab (PNNL)'s Olympic Peninsula Demand Response Demonstration study that's being funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. PNNL is working with 300 volunteers in Washington’s Olympic Peninsula and Gresham, Oregon to monitor home electricity usage and billing. The homeowners set how much they want to spend per month on energy and are alerted when usage should be modified to defray strain on the National Grid and stay within the established monthly charges. Invisible to the consumer, the SOA connects PNNL with the participants so that they can exchange information about real-time pricing information on their energy usage and costs as well as the consumer's impact on the National Grid. 2. SOA helps identify and prevent consumer insurance fraud.When a consumer applies for life insurance, an insurer or healthcare provider usually consults with MIB, the largest specialty consumer reporting agency for insurance fraud detection in North America. An association of more than 500 health and life insurance companies, MIB was created to provide consumers and insurance providers with vital underwriting information about life, health, disability, income, critical illness, and long-term care insurance. MIB has created an SOA to allow its subscribers to detect potential fraud based on facts such as the applicant’s insurance and medical history; the proximity of marriage, establishment of a life insurance policy and a spouse’s untimely death, and the frequency of auto accidents resulting in medical claims. The SOA is vital to MIB identify and prevent insurance fraud that impacts the overall cost of insurance to every consumer. 3. SOA can save you money on car insurance.Since insurance rates are regulated by each state, there is little margin for competitive pricing, which leaves the local and regional players facing serious competition against the national carriers. However, AAA Carolinas used its small size and flexible infrastructure to its advantage as it built an SOA that boosted its customer acquisition and retention rate by 60 percent in just a few years. Specifically, AAA Carolinas used its SOA to cross-reference customer information from its 30 regional offices to create unique marketing campaigns based on customers’ individual needs such as insurance discounts for carrying one or more policies or travel discounts for members who purchase an insurance policy, etc. By providing more compelling offers on insurance, credit cards, etc. AAA Carolinas was able to shave part of their profit margin in order to capture greater revenue gains through their innovative offerings. 4. SOA will help protect you in an emergency. An SOA is behind the efforts of the St. Louis Area Regional Response System (STARRS) to improve response times in an emergency--from a simple traffic accident to a large-scale disaster. Until recently, local hospital and first responders communicated via a 30 year old radio system so you can imagine the challenges this presented with regard to tracking and triaging victims. The STARRS emergency patient tracking system enables first responders to relay patient data from the scene of the incident to hospitals and other authorized public officials in real time while providing a complete view of the situation so that emergency personnel can be diverted as the situation dictates. 5. SOA can safeguard your retirement investments. Imagine yourself on a telecon strategy session with an Ameriprise advisor to discuss the status of your early retirement plan. Securely integrated and displayed on the advisor’s computer screen is your portfolio, scrolling stock tickers, links to execute stock trades, international news headlines, and various other applications that are used to assist the advisor in making sound financial decisions. The ability to easily integrate these various sources of information and better advise clients on financial strategies is one of the many benefits of Ameriprise’s SOA. These successful SOA examples can--and are--being replicated by energy providers, insurers, financial services companies, and federal and local municipalities worldwide. From these scenarios it’s clear to see the value that an SOA can deliver in boosting customer satisfaction and a company’s bottom line.[Read More]
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It's been eight months since the publication of my book on SOA, "The New Language of Business: SOA and Web 2.0." During that time it has become one of the best-selling IBM books. I've really enjoyed hearing from those of you who have read it. Thank you for all your comments - and please keep them coming!
One thing I do hear is where people can order the book. It's available online at the IBM Press Website or on Amazon - so check it out!
OR use this URL for the buyer to access the book quickly without searching for it.visit Quick Direct Hit
IBMers can order a copy of the Full book or Mini book directly and receive a 35% discount through the IBM Press Website using the coupon code: CARTER654X and ISBNs: 013195654X - The New Language of Business, during the checkout process (promotion available until end of October 2007). Bulk orders are available at a 65% discount rate. Order your copy today! IBM Press Booksvisit IBM Press Books
Also, please feel free to email Anindo Dey
Happy Reading! Sandy[Read More]
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Sorry I was lost in neverland for a while and lost all my August Blogs!! But I am back just in time for the 2H launch!
Did you miss this blog?