With the increasing use of open standards and open source, often brought about because of the transition to service oriented architecture (SOA), it's important to stop and think strategically about your IT systems from the "open" perspective. To me, this means trying to temporarily put aside some of the other factors among the many that concern IT, such as legacy systems, vendor relationships, hardware and software refreshes, and just think about what you need in terms of increased interoperability and better factored components. To that end, I often ask customers these types of questions:
- If you could discard everything and start from scratch, what kind of system would you build to meet your current and long term needs?
- In that ideal system, what would be the role of open standards?
- In that ideal system, what would be the role of open source?
- In that ideal system, what would be the role of your current vendors and service providers? Would you use other vendors or service providers?
- What are you doing to transform your current infrastructure to your ideal system in five to ten years?
To turn around the first sentence above, if you are the midst of transforming your enterprise to an SOA, you should also be changing over to a greater use of technologies built on open standards and, if it is right for you, open source. Web services is here today: you need not wait for the next generation of operating systems or applications to get started today. Anybody who tells you that SOA or web services will only really start with that new operating system or application is speaking with their best interests at heart, not yours. Be willing to mandate support for open standards in the systems that you are buying or having built for you. Use the Harvard Roadmap for Open ICT Ecosystems to measure your current "open maturity" and also use it to understand where your system is heading. If your system will not be more open a year from now, I would assert that you are heading in the wrong direction.[Read More]