Sandy Carter: Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) -- Off the Record
I just finished my final business trip of the year...with the SOA Consortium! The SOA Consortium has grown from 11 members to 81 members this year. Richard Soley, the Executive Director of the SOA Consortium, shared that the Consortium has the fastest first year growth on any user group he has been involved with in 18 years of user community experience!!! IBM was one of the founding sponsors of the SOA Consortium. As a vendor neutral organization, the Consortium is an SOA advocacy group comprised of end users, service providers, and technology vendors, committed to helping the Global 1000, major government agencies and mid-market businesses successfully adopt SOA by 2010. This is not about Standards. This is about the evangelism of SOA in the marketplace and ensuring that companies the right level of help to be successful. This year the SOA Consortium has achieved a number of successes: 1. Conducted CIO Executive Summits in New York, San Francisco, Brussels and Jacksonville, and produced a whitepaper and webcast with the findings from the New York and San Francisco Summits. 2. Collected and published a set of over 20 customer case studies submitted by members that have been widely circulated showing the business value of moving to SOA 3. Recruited client members from companies and the US Government, including Wells Fargo, Kohl's, Avis Budget and the US Army, in addition to having analyst members such as Hurwitz and Associates 4. Produced webcasts and podcasts on the topics of 'Executive Insights on SOA Adoption', 'SOA Governance', 'SOA/BPM Relationship', 'Enterprise Architecture of the Future', and 'CIO SOA Concerns' 5. SOA Consortium moderated and staffed 4 panels at key Gartner events as well as having booths in the Gartner showcase areas, and have been invited to even more Gartner events in 2008, due to 2007 success 6. SOA Consortium produced over 10 well received and often blogged deliverables and press releases, all of which list IBM as a founding sponsor IBM has had a significant influence on the organization as one of the four founding sponsors with actions such as co-leading and driving one of the three Consortium sub-groups (Executive Suite SOA), which produced the highly regarded and downloaded set of customer SOA case studies Here are the podcasts....! Take a listen! Live from the SOA Consortium - Sandy Carter of IBM Live from the SOA Consortium - CIO SOA Concerns [Read More]
China is a fabulous place -- actually one of my favorite places to visit due to the energy and excitement in the Chinese people. I would recommend several very key spots like Xian where the terra cotta soldiers are -- check it out this one !!
Because of the explosive growth in China, we designed a contest for China university students. We asked them to build an SOA application using a virtual customer that is facing application integration problem with two legacy ERP and CRM systems, and want to improve the operation process and increasing business flexibility. 5 students can form a team, act as a SI and design a SOA solution for the customer. The whole contest is to simulate a full selling cycle of an IT project: the first stage is collecting proposal, the second is to have the top solutions (in this program, top 15 teams) to do presentation and bidding, and the top 5 solution will enter last phase -- system implementation.
We have already over 410 teams from 70 universities. Teams in the IBM China SOA Contest established over 350 blogs such Leading team . They're the #1 team in the first phase of the contest. The blog's in chinese, but here's a basic transation of the blog from Google: China Blog
What do you think? I am looking forward to announcing the winner in November while I am in China![Read More]
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Gang... I wanted to make you aware of our SOA Newsletter for customers!! It has great customer stories that you may want to read through! Here are two links (reg and front page -- front page to refresh later today to current July issue):
It’s free – Register!
Check out a sample! July Sample
Have a great weekend!
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Not sure if you saw this or its significance but we have continued our focus on developers!
IBM continued its drive to stimulate SOA adoption this week giving developers a free pass to use any IBM patent related to more than 150 Web services and SOA standards.
We are trying to support the need of developers and customers who will create the next generation of SOA applications.
Check it out! Visit SOA and Web Services patents
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Just last week, we announced the results of a survey of clients that concludes the strategic decisions to adopt a SOA are shifting away from the realm of IT staffers to business executives. The survey was conducted by the Link Group and consisted of a sampling of clients at our IBM IMPACT event held in Orlando.
The survey validates a fundamental commitment to SOA as the future of process and application design - with both significant increases in budgets and the number of SOA projects aimed at new business challenges.
The survey also found that there is an increasing need for training staff so they possess the unique combination of both business and IT skills required for a business to realize the potential of SOA.
The survey also revealed that 67% of the respondents said the key decision makers responsible for moving to an SOA strategy are business leaders including C-level executives and business managers. And 65% of clients said that business leaders are also primarily responsible for selecting an IT partner to help achieve business goals in an SOA.
I am seeing this around the world -- not quite in 90 days -- but seeing this in spades in multiple countries!
I just arrived home from Beijing China. For IMPACT 2007 in China, we had 1340 attendees! I'll share more on all the events around the world!
But in the meantime, what do you think about these survey results? Do you see this happening in your company?[Read More]
Many thanks for the notes and pings on our SOA for Dummies -- the IBM edition! If you want a copy, please send me your address in a note to email@example.com!!
Thanks for the great response!!![Read More]
I love the "for dummies" series. You can learn about anything in a "for dummies" book! Since I travel around the world with the SOA Executive Summits, I still hear from many customers that they need a very simple way to explain SOA.
Because of these requests, when Carol Barodi (yes, the author of Internet for Dummies) approached us on sponsoring a book on SOA for dummies we jumped at it. She partnered with Judith Hurwitz, both well respected authors. and they have written “SOA for Dummies”, a special IBM Edition. SOA for Dummies IBM Edition covers what SOA is, why it matters, how it can impact businesses, how to get started with SOA, and what one IBM customer has done with SOA.
You can request a FREE copy of SOA for Dummies – IBM Edition by responding to my blog or by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
You'll also want to check out the latest SOA enablement resources including a SOA Best Practices: Real World Lessons Learned webcast scheduled for August 10. You will hear European IT industry authorities Macehiter Ward-Dutton and Freeform Dynamics discuss in detail the findings from their collaborative SOA analysis: SOA—Lessons from the Front Line. Register today for this informative webcast on ibm.com/soa!!!
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Zapthink has referenced a TechTarget survey completed in February by SearchSOA.com and TheServerSide.com. Topics are SOA, BPM, and Cloud. Respondents (376, total) comprised a mix of developers, architects, C-level execs, managers, consultants and others. Potentially useful statistics for use in spring plan / marketing plans. Text below.
* SOA is in fact motoring forward. Among the survey respondents, 49% said their organization has one or more SOA projects under way, and 60% characterize their current or future SOA projects as enterprise level as opposed to departmental/divisional level (21%), or single, isolated projects (19%).
* Interest and uptick in Business Process Management with 29.7% of respondents marking BPM as one of the critical areas for their organization's technology efforts. At the same time, 35.8% respondents counted Business Process Management software among the types of infrastructure software currently used, with 38% planning to use it in the future.
* Grid/cloud software is now used by 17% of respondents, with 38% planning to use grid/cloud in the future.
*Today's SOA projects are largely about integration. The top benefits organizations hope to achieve are improved data integration (32%), enable legacy application integration (32%) and integrated disparate department applications (23%), followed by cost cutting (21%). Staying competitive (8.4%) and driving innovation (8%) tracked low on the expected benefits list.
*Those not doing SOA said it was because of skills.
* Governance is becoming more and more popular as an issue.
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In the same way that SOA is a business approach and not a product, when you deploy an ESB, you are deploying an abstraction layer which provides connectivity and integration across your infrastructure. This addresses a very real business need to simplify the interaction between both existing applications and any new services and this applies to any business approach – SOA or not.
We find that Businesses often first deploy an ESB to address a specific need to connect and mediate between assets in one part of the business. Once an ESB is in place it enables other parts of the business to use or reuse the assets connected to the ESB. An ESB can be deployed purely for connectivity benefits but it often is also a logical step in a move to a comprehensive SOA initiative.
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We have talked about SOA and the value of the SOA entry point of information. This week we went public with more focus on customers seeing value from Information as Service. In addition, to people and process, Information seems to be a big focal for many customers!
To here about this and more ... come to IMPACT 2007 -- A defining event for SOA ! Enroll me now
SOA is a diamond store's best friend By Rich Seeley, News Writer28 Feb 2007 | SearchWebServices.com
Diamonds and SOA
Customers who spend thousands of dollars for a pair of diamond earrings probably would like the jewelry store staff to remember them the next time they visit. They probably don't want to have to tell a sales associate the entire history of what they bought in the past and explain personal tastes and prices ranges.
It's basically very easy for us with any application within the enterprise to access information not only in the data warehouse, but any database within our internal network. Greg Backhus, Director of Data Warehousing, Helzberg Diamonds That is the customer service challenge faced by Helzberg Diamonds, which has been in the jewelry game since 1915. Back then, of course, store managers kept customer histories in their heads or in one of those state of the art ledger books where they could scribble information with a fountain pen. Today, Helzberg relies on SOA and Web services to put a customer's history immediately into the hands of a sales associate at any of its 270 jewelry stores nationwide. The system is so effective that Helzberg is something of a poster child for IBM's Information on Demand initiative combining SOA and data integration technology.
Using point-of-sale lookup applications built with the SOA components of WebSphere, sales representative have real-time access to customer information stored in a data warehouse at Helzberg's corporate headquarters in Kansas City, MO, explains Greg Backhus, director data warehousing for the company. Even if a customer from Kansas City visits a store in St. Louis, all his history and account information will be there so the sales associate can provide the same level of customer service as the store back home.
However, up until the implementation of the SOA lookup application using Web services to connect point-of-sale terminals to the data warehouse, that was not the case. As any database administrator knows, filling a database with information is one thing, getting specific data back out in real time right when you need it and where you need it can be a challenge.
"We have a fairly mature data warehousing environment," Backhus said. "It's enterprise-wide and hits every subject area within the organization, but we have had challenges with all the different parts of the organization accessing that information."
Prior to the SOA implementation, sales associates only had access to customer information from local stores in their city or region, he explained. So in the case of a patron from St. Louis who moves to Kansas City, the local store could not easily get the customer's previous history with Helzberg. Getting the information would have required sending a request to the data warehouse administrators at the home office and then waiting to get the data back in a spreadsheet. Not exactly real-time.
"That probably wasn't happening a lot," Backhus concedes of the old query system. Since the store in his new hometown didn't have his records, the customer might find a new favorite jewelry store, which is the last result that Helzberg Diamonds would want. So the use of the SOA lookup application has been crucial to what Backhus says is the intangible of customer retention.
"Now, by using the central lookups, it goes back to a central database where all the customer information is kept across all the markets," he explained. "So there is a 360-degree view of the relationship of that customer to the company."
While he did not have ROI dollar figures for the SOA lookup application, he said it is achieving the intangible goal of enhancing customer satisfaction.
Besides the lookup applications, Helzberg has developed an SOA customer relationship management (CRM) application, which based on customer history in the central data warehouse, pings sales associates in local stores reminding them to send thank you notes to customers or reminders of servicing appointments.
"Now we use Web services to access backend data," Backhus explained. "It's basically very easy for us with any application within the enterprise to access information not only in the data warehouse, but any database within our internal network."
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Atlas Air is the world’s largest cargo airline and the world’s largest fleet operator of Boeing 747s. Over the past several years, Atlas Air’s operations had become increasingly complex and process-intensive. Its infrastructure was also complicated, comprising a variety of “homegrown” messaging applications that did not integrate well with its back-end systems. Atlas Air needed to simplify this infrastructure and coordinate the various moving parts, and it decided to do so by implementing a middleware solution that was based on Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). They replaced their existing messaging system with a true enterprise service bus (ESB) through which all messages flow. They now have the ability to integrate real-time information with process workflows, improving efficiency, reducing costs and enhancing their ability to respond rapidly to customer needs.
Tell me your SOA Story!!!
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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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I love helping universities with their opportunities because I believe that education is so important. Education is important because it equips us with all that is needed to make our dreams come true and opens doors for all of us!!
Ball State University (BSU) is a multidisciplinary university located in Muncie, Indiana, with a current enrollment of more than 20,000 students.
Prior to adopting a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) platform, BSU had applications that were up to 30 years old. They worked extremely well, but difficulty in making changes was inhibiting the adoption of modern-day applications. A seemingly minor complaint from the parent of a student unleashed a storm of activity that has resulted in BSU’s implementing an SOA platform to pave the way to the future.
The first SOA project employed services to resolve name and address inconsistencies across multiple databases. The university has now leveraged its new SOA infrastructure to streamline and automate the entire online student enrollment process.
In addition to improving student satisfaction and reducing adminstrative costs, this project helped the University recapture lost revenues by increasing the number of successful enrollments.
Go Ball State!![Read More]