Messages from TechEd – Coexistence of Service Orientation, Pragmatism and Organizational Differentiation

At TechEd last week, we spent a lot of time talking to Developers and  IT Managers regarding the themes from the previous post.  We challenged them to spend more time getting clear on the core processes that drive their organizations and then sanity check the percentage of their total budget that was being invested in core processes vs. commodity processes.  It all seems very straight forward, but very few organizations are clear on what those processes are and even fewer are clear on the benefits of pivoting their  outsourcing strategy accordingly. We also further discussed the impact of Software + Services in enabling greater competitive advantage in delivering core business processes that federate your value chain, which we are delivering through innovations like BizTalk Services


Here are some specific things IT organizations can do to ensure success with SOA:

·         Take ownership of the business logic that drives core processes.  Understand the guts of the application including its strengths and weaknesses. Optimize those applications for agility rather than durability.

·         Beware of the firewall.  One of the most powerful people in IT is the firewall operator.  Clearly protecting corporate assets are important, but we are forcing B2B interactions to be very vanilla and purely transactional since the notion of exposing application logic across the firewall creates challenges.  We need to balance risk with productivity gains and business innovation.

·         Implement SOA to solve real world problems.  Service Orientation is great for composite applications that are dynamic and the investment in this area is likely going to contribute directly to advancing business goals.

·         Don’t make trade-offs between performance and Interop.  For years, one has come at the cost of the other.  In a Web Services world, as more core processes are being delivered via composite applications, performance and interop are both paramount.  We are doing some specific things in this area.  I’ll have more on this topic later this week.

·         Embrace Federation.  Assume the world will become more and more federated.  Relationships with suppliers will become more transient and we will conflate both goods and services in the value chain.  Today, there is typically two distinct sets of infrastructure to support system driven workflow and people driven workflow.  In time, those will collapse and Service Orientation will likely provide benefits to those who embrace it for the next generation of their infrastructure.

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