Reports from the SOA Conference Rounds

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Dave Linthicum is one of the best consultants to read when it comes to SOA. He spends a lot of time speaking on the conference circuit; his blog posts on InfoWorld always seem to be published while he's traveling to or from some city.

Last week, he gave a keynote presentation at InfoWorld's SOA Exec Forum, so this week, he posted the first 20 minutes of his presentation, "Full Contact SOA," online in an audio file.

Linthicum offers several insights into the problems companies and IT face when implementing SOA. In particular, there's been a lot of discussion lately about whether or not IT is sabotaging SOA. Linthicum notes that IT overwhelmingly supports SOA. Then he explains how IT is shooting itself in the foot during implementations (my words, not his).

For instance, Linthicum says enterprise architects and service-oriented architects don't talk to each other, so he spends a lot of time explaining SOA to people who should understand it. For instance, service-oriented architects don't know how SOA fits in with EA standards. And EA is generally dismissive or ignorant about SOA.

Which is odd, because, as Linthicum points out, service oriented architects are basically enterprise architects with cut-offs and earrings (his words, not mine).

This short talk is packed with information you'll need to know when gaining executive buy-in, or, on the flip side, dealing with "management by magazine" executives who announce "I gotta get me some of those SOA's."

He also spends a good chunk of time talking about the Bad Practices in SOA implementations. He identifies these as:

  • Selecting SOA without understanding the business requirements or needs. As a consultant, the first thing he does when he works with a business is to rip things out of his stack that customers don't need. Beware of vendors selling you more than you can use.
  • Not linking back to accepted EA standards and best practices.
  • Not creating a business case. You must understand the business impact and benefits or, he suggests, you shouldn't try it.
  • Using the wrong people, who lack funding and empowerment.

This is good stuff, particularly if you're in the early stages of SOA -- and who isn't. You can either listen online now or download it to your iPod for later review.

Speaking of conferences, this week is IBM's Impact 2007. When I interviewed with Sandy Carter, vice president of SOA and Websphere at IBM, she said several big SOA announcements were planned for this conference. Sure enough, eBizQ reports IBM will:

  • Offer an interactive SOA game called Innov8, which is designed to help IT and business get on the same page with Business Process Management.
  • Address the SOA skills shortage with new tools and certifications.
  • Launch IBM TV: Impact Channel, an Internet portal with video, podcasts, white papers, and other content.

ZDNet also offered coverage of the IBM's Websphere, including a few exciting stats from the conference. According to ZDNet blogger Dana Gardner, IBM Senior Vice President and Software Group Executive Steve Mills told conference-goers that, of leading SOA adopters:

  • 97 percent report cost savings
  • 100 percent reported improved flexibility
  • 71 percent reduced risks
  • 51 percent increased revenue