Sandy Carter: Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) -- Off the Record
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My Virtual Model enables consumers to "try on" clothes online and this is a business model after my own heart! For companies, using My Virtual Model technology improves their bottom-line profitability by increasing revenues while cutting costs. As an IBM SOA business partner, MVM will be at IMPACT 2009.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Louise Guay, the MVM co-founder and wanted to share her insight!
Sandy: This year will be your first trip to IMPACT! What are you most looking forward to?Louise: I hope that I will have the chance to share our experience of social centrality and target advertising with the participants. The moneytisation of the social shopping and networking is “le sujet de l’heure” and we have an experience conducive to it! We can provide in the core of the shopping experience of merchants a usage of social media (Show me me how people like me wear this product!) and how the users can buy the entire look with a buy all button. Once the users register their profiles (their 3D models of themselves with a picture of their faces), ads can be targeted to them via banners or in emails or when they make their model appear on a product page. We have also an amazing network driving new clients to our merchant clients.
Sandy: I know that My Virtual Model has incorporated Social Media within the online shopping experience for Sears, Cosmopolitan and others. What is the reaction from customers and users?Louise: Merchants are anxious to make a sound usage of social media. From a merchant perspective these times command a strong metrics oriented results, we also know that users trust more and more their peers comments. Imagine if they can see their peers wearing what they like and would wear also. They can choose seeing it on similar peers body types or same ethnicity or any physical affinity they have with peers! It influences their purchases and drives strong recommendations. It is an effective outfitting approach. Publishers want to go from mass media to personalized media. My Virtual Model brings each and everyone of their readers to literally try on their fashion picks and hints and all the trends presented regularly in their magazines.Users are more and more visual and very involved in the process. They already rate products. If they can see the products on themselves and on others people similar to them it has a direct impact on their decision to purchase. It boosts their confidence in their styles, their looks and their tastes and preferences. Confirmed in their personalities they feel good to go and get what makes them look great. When we install our product on a publisher/media site like Cosmopolitan, users read fashion tips and trends and are always wandering what it will look like on them and where can they get it? These questions are answered by the virtual models of the users and the comments of other users on their models.
Sandy: What are some of the more popular elements of social media that users have really loved within the new My Virtual Model experience?Louise: Users enjoy discovering their personal styles. They also develop friendships, affinities of interests and support the efforts of others. Many great talents appear and are encouraged by the Community. Users love to create looks, publish them on their public page and get rated by other users. They also appear in the most recent and popular looks of the Community and rate other users looks. They love to click the “Try On Outfit” button and wear on their model an outfit created by another user. It is a great way to shop and buy outfits. It is quick and highly efficient. They love to describe their looks and tell a story about their looks. They also love to see how each item of their looks is worn by other users utilizing the feature “More looks featuring this item “
Sandy: Why did you choose to base this on WebSphere Commerce?Louise: WebSphere is well know for it’s foundational excellence and architecture of openness to integrate 3rd party applications that are user centric. By choosing WebSphere we were able to concentrate on what we do best, and leverage a powerful and robust ecommerce platform to create an innovative and solid shopping experience.This is exciting and thank you for stopping by and sharing your insights! I am looking forward to seeing you in Vegas next month @IBM IMPACT 2009[Read More]
Judith Hurwitz as my Guest for Q&A! SOA for Dummies Second Edition back by popular demand! Get the ebooks at IMPACT 2009
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I still remember when the first edition of SOA for Dummies came out two years ago! These books were snapped up and the feedback was tremendous. With cost optimization and business agility being more critical than ever to companies in these economic times, the timing for a second edition could not be better. So I interviewed Judith Hurwitz a leader in the industry!
Sandy Why do you think that SOA is hot today?Judith: SOA has moved from a technology initiative to a business initiative. Many companies are looking to SOA to codify their business practices in repeatable manner. Many of the CIOs we have been speaking to are looking at the advantage of being able to create reusable services that they can use to gain flexibility. Companies are also looking at SOA to replace some of the inflexible packaged applications that are costing companies too much money to maintain and change. SOA is proving to companies that it can also allow them to innovate in ways that have direct impact on the bottom line.
Sandy: What was your motivation to work on the second edition for SOA for Dummies?Judith: When we wrote the first edition of SOA for Dummies more than two years ago most companies were still in the pilot stage. Many executives we spoke with had a sense that this was something important but didn't really understand it. Things changed dramatically in the past two years and we really wanted to provide more insight not just into the technology but into the ways that real companies across a wide spectrum of markets were being successful with SOA. We were so pleased that 24 customers were willing to not only talk to us but be named in the book.
Sandy: I understand you have spoken to 24 companies across 9 different verticals. Can you give us a sneak peek to some of their experiences?
Judith Hurwitz: There are so many significant stories that the CIOs told us. What has stayed with me is that these companies were starting with business strategy rather than starting with writing code. These companies were setting up centers of excellence to help guide the progress towards SOA. They were also spending considerable time on the organizational issues and business process issues. Several of the CIOs we talked to were able to use SOA to positively change the relationship they had with customers.
Sandy: Judith, I do believe this is your third consecutive year at IMPACT! Anything you could share with the readers about your IMPACT experience?
JudithImpact is really a unique conference. At the first Impact we noticed that attendees were so pleased to find like minded people that were trying to achieve the same goals for their companies. Before that first Impact these executives didn't realize there was a real movement happening. The next year there was a clear change. Executives and mangers now had real experience under their belts and were eagerly sharing best practices with each other. I have found Impact to be a very customer centric event offering real value. I am also struck by the fact that Impact takes a holistic view of both software and business aspects of SOA.
Great insights, Judith. Thank you!
I know we will be giving away the mini book versions at IMPACT and you will be there in person. At IMPACT, we will give away a copy of a Mini Book of SOA For Dummees V2!
Looking forward to seeing you in Vegas next month.
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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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I am so excited! Coming to the East Coast — live — a Social Media Tweetup! We had one in the Valley — that was so energizing but being an East Coast girl, we must try one here!
Every day companies are devising innovative techniques to leverage Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, Lotus Connections, WebSphere Commerce, iLog Visualization and other Social Media technologies to develop deeper customer connections. And I see that many many countries are getting more and more interested in Social Media — like India, Brazil, and others
Many of you, have stories about ways you have deployed Social Media tactics to successfully drive demand. And I want to hear about them! I love social media and if you share that passion and quest for Business Savy in measuring it for great business value.
f you do, please plan to share in a casual conversation, Social Media Tweetup, hosted by Sandy Carter, VP of Marketing for IBM’s SOA and Jeremiah Owyang, a Senior analyst for Forrester.
This event will be held in Mid Town Manhattan on Monday, March 23 from 6 - 8 PM. We are limited to 30 attendees so please RSVP quickly
To RSVP or to inquire for more details, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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In Dubai, in Poland or at the Global Virtual Forum “Work Smarter, Take Out Costs In a Tough Economy last week, there was a common thread emerging from conversations with customers. How do we work smarter in today’s economy to survive and thrive without going extinct? IBM’s vision for a Smarter Planet is based on how much smarter the world has become with all the technology that exists today. We are more interconnected, instrumented and intelligent. This smart is embedded and applies to people, to industries, to companies and countries.
You may have heard my analogy of the cheetah and chipmunk (entire transcripthere thanks to @joemckendrick). The fastest animal is in danger of going extinct despite its speed but the cartoonish chipmunk has adapted to its environment due to its agility and ability to adapt to a changing environment.
Joe’s excellent post onTime to get bullish on SOA, IT and the economy drives the point home where he states “Times of turmoil always equate to times of new opportunity. As I’ve said before time and again, the current rough-and-tumble economy is really a time for SOA — and information technology in general — to shine, to prove their mettle.” @monkchips also expands the viewpoint stating that “soa isn’t about cost cutting, it is a growth engine”
I want to elaborate further on why we believe that service orientation really is the key to agility and cost optimization. By extracting services from your applications, putting those business services in a reusable format, it allows you to quickly change, based on what's happening in the environment, or to invoke change yourself on the industry. It allows you to flexibly connect information, because you isolate the business logic from the underpinning IT and you can reuse.. not just the IT assets, but the business assets as well.
As @dortchonit nicely sums it up, “Yeah, it's hard work. But if you want to run a truly agile, intelligent, and successful business, it's work worth doing. And the alternatives are harder, I promise." More coverage on Michael’s blogThe Big Mash Up
Meanwhile, if you missed the Global Virtual Forum, you can get to the replay athttp://tinyurl.com/bv3489 and we will continue these conversations on working smarter, taking down costs and why it is important in today’s economic climate at IBM IMPACT 2009
Here's to chipmunks![Read More]
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I am just back from Dubai where I saw a lot of the marina area. (More on Dubai later!)
So I thought of Crowley Maritime for our SOA story time who operates globally in a variety of businesses with a mantra of “Small Company Mentality, Big Company Efficiency.” Founded in 1892, and family run ever since, Crowley Maritime began with a single 18 ft. rowboat servicing ships and sailors in San Francisco Bay.
Their primary logistics operations are based here in Florida. Over the following century, the Crowleys have grown and transformed the business into a major provider of maritime services ranging from tugs and barges to containerships, with operations from Central America and the Caribbean to Alaska’s North Slope.
Their CEO is not guiding a carefully paced streamlining and repositioning of the company to meet the new challenges of its second century of operations. As Crowley Maritime has grown, it has accumulated business lines and strategies that needed reexamining and improvement in light of changing market conditions that have made ‘return to core competencies’ the new reality for many industries. Crowley turned to SOA as the foundation for reshaping their business for the next century.
The started with IBM Advanced Enterprise Service Bus as the backbone for corporate integration to connect disparate application components without each application component having complete dependency on other application components by service enabling existing assets. One early benefit was a reduction — by at least half — of the usual time and costs incurred in tying new, third-party applications into the Crowley core infrastructure, which included a legacy mainframe-based customer-information system. With a 30-year-old system that was heavily customized, this was no small achievement. Under previous practices, integration projects typically ate up about 300 work hours of people in the Crowley information technology group. More important for Crowley Maritime were the strategic benefits, which are part of the ongoing savings and increased operational efficiencies. Early results were seen when a major business initiative at Crowley was launched.
This major initiative, implementation of a transportation management system for inter-modal transportation, was purchased and effectively “plugging into” the adapter framework and the ESB. This particular inter-modal transportation management system automates the routing of Crowley cargo containers — several hundred per day — to dozens of terminals across North America. The application manages and improves operational efficiency of the intermodal portion of Crowley Maritime’s ocean shipping business. As the first true test of the ability of the Crowley Service Oriented Architecture to easily integrate with a substantial package, the adapter framework and Enterprise Service Bus performed above expectations and with unprecedented flexibility. They began to see immediate operational efficiencies.
The routes chosen were, on average, better, cheaper and faster. They raised the quality of services and increased customer satisfaction. The ability to create services for legacy applications has subsequently added life to legacy applications that were not ready for replacement (due to years of heavy customization and unique abilities of that existing package).[Read More]
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I love shopping! I like the hunt for a bargain, the thrill of getting great quality and the fun of haning out with friends while we hunt!
Yansha is part of my fun of shopping in China! Yansha is one of China’s largest regional retailers. An upscale brand with revenues in the billions of Yuan each year they sell high-end, exclusive goods from brands such as Versace, Prada and Calvin Klein. In order to maintain its market leadership position, they needed to increase its competitiveness against both local retailers and new foreign competitors in an increasingly deregulated Chinese retail industry.
Yansha saw that the best way forward was to transform the way it does business with its supply chain partners through the adoption of new business processes, automation and business intelligence. Yansha deployed a first-of-its-kind supply chain management (SCM) platform that leverages SOA to integrate enterprise resource planning (ERP) and SCM applications. The platform enables Yansha and its suppliers to leverage new real-time performance information to provide transparency into supply chain business processes and generate actionable business intelligence, setting new standards of efficiency.
With the SOA solution, they have reduced order lead time from 2.5 days to 4.5 hours, improved order acknowledgement rate from 80 to 99 percent, and reduced order error rate from nine to one percent. All of this was done with a nine month ROI.
To read more, click here!
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OK. I admit it. I am hooked -- the Wii and even my daughter's DS! That's why I love this SOA reference!
Sega, as a computer game company has received worldwide praise. While focusing on their core content, Sega as a company has produced entertainment products and services one after another. In recent years it has released hit products creating a market for children’s computer entertainment, including “Mushi [Bug] King, The King of Beetles”.
The company aims at dynamically developing businesses with unique products that can create new game markets, like the first ever sensory video games, “Hang-on”, and “UFO Catcher” did in the past. New ideas and new ideas are the two most important requirements for succeeding in doing this, though of course since it is also necessary to smoothly hitch a timely ride on market trends, speed is essential for such development. This means that the information systems supporting such development, must also be very fast.
To meet this demanding business landscape, Sega had to rethink their IT systems to enable business. They decided that the solution was to build a human workflow system using Business Process Execution Language (hereinafter “BPEL”) with a Service Oriented Architecture. It could then define things like service orders and branches accessed during business processes.
For the execution environment for the BPEL human workflow system, they use IBM WebSphere Process Server IBM WebSphere Integration Developer for development. The basic principle was to start small, and initially it focused on building a new human workflow engine and a new payment slip workflow system which use BPEL for its basic functions.
After implementing this, the project grew to be company wide. Their business processes included circular memoranda of approval and 30 old workflow systems that would have been wasteful to just eliminate them, but remaking them would have been very costly. So they decided to take an SOA approach and to wrap as services the processes of the old workflow systems, allowing them to seamlessly connect with the new workflow system. What the users see is identical to what they saw before, and the application procedures are as simple to use as they were previously.
When it is demanded, each unit of existing assets is individually wrapped so through loose coupling the new system can access it as a service, thus making real the potential of SOA while designing a new process layer.The system is extremely agile and productive from the design and development stage through operational implementation.[Read More]
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On our Board of Advisors is an organization for the Finnish Defense Forces. They are a strong supporter and user of the SOA approach.
The 17,000 employees of the Finnish Defense Forces (FDF) are responsible for territorial surveillance, safeguarding territorial integrity and defending national sovereignty in all situations. Comprised of the Finnish Army, Navy and Air Force, the FDF faces the challenge of managing and adapting to increasingly dynamic and complex situations with limited resources.
The FDF realized that closer coordination between its own service branches and with those of other nations was essential, but deeply entrenched silos in its command, control, communications and computing systems presented a major barrier. FDF created an SOA-based service hub that enables all branches to share common applications and—by enabling the dynamic reuse of services—allows the FDF to get new applications out to he field in a fraction of the time.
FDF is projecting 80 percent reduction in time required to develop new systems via SOA service reuse and projected 75 percent reduction in required infrastructure through consolidation and virtualization while providing tighter coordination and information sharing between FDF service branches. The solution includes WebSphere Portal with portlets enabled as services that utilize WebSphere Enterprise Service Bus as an ESB along with Tivoli software for monitoring.Read More]
I am in Atlanta due to snow in NY!!! I love Atlanta -- sun, great people, and even Sweet Ice tea!!
So in honor of Atlanta, today I will highlight AFLAC! Quack Quack! A great company using a great Approach!
AFLAC is dedicated to delivering quality products and services at affordable prices and to utilizing new technology to better serve policyholders. Georgia-based AFLAC is people-focused, providing unmatched service to its employees, policyholders and associates. The company's business philosophy is stated simply by Daniel Amos, chairman and chief executive officer of AFLAC: "If our employees do it right, our business flourishes."
The Web has created new ways to connect home-office employees, sales associates and policyholders. AFLAC’s users are demanding easier access to services such as account access and online claims processing. Taking advantage of these recent trends could help optimize AFLAC’s overall business operations, cut long-term costs and keep customers satisfied - ultimately making the company more competitive. AFLAC’s IT infrastructure, however, was ill-equipped to accommodate the changes. They needed to establish a flexible infrastructure that would allow it to Web-enable existing systems cost-effectively and continue to adapt them according to changing business needs.
AFLAC implemented an open-standards-based, services-oriented architecture that enables it to bring services online faster - keeping employees, sales associates and customers connected and informed - with less extensive development efforts. The solution allows AFLAC to reengineer existing application functionality into modular, portable Web components that can be reused, thus simplifying the development and integration of new online services. With the strategic adoption of the flexible middleware platform, AFLAC is prepared to meet the demands of a customer base that increasingly uses the Internet to do business. New process efficiencies gained through cost-effective channels mean that AFLAC can handle a greater volume of business - more policies, more quickly. The AFLAC solution represents innovation through evolution rather than revolution.
Leveraging the best attributes of previous systems with the latest, open-standards-based technology, the new solution lowers both the cost and the risk of change. The new architecture also opens existing core business systems to emerging technologies like service-oriented architecture and business process management. By extending legacy data to the Web, AFLAC dramatically shortened the time it takes to issue new insurance policies. Instead of taking days to issue new policies, it takes just hours. As a result, the revenue flow from policy premiums begins much sooner, optimizing business returns.[Read More]
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Cape Horn is one of the most beautiful cities in the world! And they are also embracing SOA in their growth!
For instance, the Professional Provident Society (PPS) is a South African provider of insurance products to a highly-specialized market: graduate professionals such as doctors and lawyers. The company has been in existence since 1941 and is a leader in its niche. They wanted to improve their ability to bring new products to market in order to respond to changing customer demands and stiffening competition.
PPS replaced all of its legacy systems with a completely new, modular application infrastructure based on the principles of the IBM Insurance Application Architecture (IAA) which is based on SOA. The common IAA-based platform unified several previously disparate policy systems.
This solution has enabled PPS to bring nine new insurance products to market in less than one year, allowed rapid modification of new products in response to competitor actions, reduced application development costs by 50 percent, decreased audit findings by approximately 80 percent, eliminated more than 90 percent of system code, and significantly improved controls for collecting premiums.
Awesome results for South Afrcia!
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I love flowers! I love Valentine's day partially due to the flowers I receive!
My colleague Georgina Castanon has taken some amazing pictures of flowers! Check them out!
So of course, one of my favorite references, is 1-800-Flowers.com. To realize its vision of synergy among its 14 brands and meet ambitious growth goals, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, INC.—the world’s largest florist and gift shop—is deploying a new e-commerce solution. Running on System p servers, WebSphere Commerce (built on SOA) is the singular front end for all the eCommerce sites and WebSphere MQ and WebSphere Message Broker comprise an enterprise service bus that through service orientation, coordinates messaging and integration between WebSphere Commerce and the company’s disparate back-end systems.
The solution makes it easy to launch (and less expensive to maintain) new eCommerce sites, in weeks rather than months – or even years. The solution enables more rapid creation and deployment of retail Web sites, allowing 1-800-FLOWERS.COM to try out new offerings with very little investment and risk.
It also facilitates cross-selling between brands by unifying the underlying technology. The solution provides the potential for information sharing across business units, opening up the possibility for more effective marketing to customers.
It also provides a rich, differentiated customer experience with reduced maintenance and development costs.
I hope my hubbie tries it out again!!![Read More]
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Over the last week, I have been asked a dozen times if an SOA approach requires that you start over. So today I thought I would show another example of reusing current applications and systems to achieve results toward the SOA approach.
Meyer Werft is a shipbuilder basd in Germany. Their IT infrastructure—based on siloed, heterogeneous systems that the company had inefficiently weaved together over time—no longer supported Meyer Werft’s need to run an adaptable, integrated business. To boost its competitive advantage, the shipbuilder needed to transform its IT infrastructure into a modern environment that would support the integration and automation of enterprisewide business processes as a set of linked services.
The service-oriented architecture (SOA) solution gives Meyer Werft an overall picture of the entire shipbuilding process and allows employees to quickly implement changes at every stage of the production process. Meyer Werft is now able to react quickly to customer needs, build its ships to even higher standards of quality and deeper levels of customization, and compete dynamically in the global marketplace. The company used IBM WebSphere Process Server and IBM WebSphere MQ to integrate with the company’s back-end Dassault Systèmes ENOVIA product lifecycle management (PLM) system.
Using Business Process Execution Language (BPEL) the new system provides an overall picture of the entire shipbuilding process. In addition to using the SOA approach to help it switch from a siloed IT infrastructure to an integrated IT environment, Meyer Werft is using the SOA approach to transform how various divisions conduct business.
Had the company not embraced the SOA solution, Meyer Werft estimates that it would have closed its doors within five years.