The Walking Dead and Who's to Blame

Loraine Lawson

I've been digging around for a while today, and when it comes to integration, the big news seems to be that IBM is going to build a new enterprise integration platform based on SOA for Mitas, a European tire company, which -- as far as I know -- is not connected to Midas auto centers in the United States.


The new platform will "enable integration of SAP ERP 6.0 system and other enterprise applications," according to the article. I'm not sure how, or even if, this project will help anyone besides IBM and Mitas. Rather, I'm just trying to give you an idea of what a slow news day it is for integration.


Of course, what most people in integration and SOA are writing about this week is the whole "Gartner says SOA is slowing" thing I shared with you last week. I've gotten a bit bored with it, but what can I say? Slow news day.


So, I'll be brief.


The reactions were not what I expected. Frankly, I half-expected to find an animated .gif with a bunch of green men chanting, "Ding-dong, SOA's dead!" But no. For the most part, the discussion fell into two camps: People who contested the meaning and merits of the survey, and people who argued the fault was not in SOA, but in ourselves.


I've got a favorite from each category. In my humble opinion, Joe McKendrick offered the best piece on why SOA's demise is greatly exaggerated, pointing out that while SOA hasn't widened as a practice, it's running deeper in the organizations already using.


Meanwhile, oddly enough, Gartner's own Frank Kenney had the funniest and best post on why the problem wasn't with SOA, but with those who implemented it.


Personally, I don't think SOA is dead. I think SOA probably isn't something smaller companies will pursue, so maybe it's reached a natural saturation point. Plus, the economy is freaking everyone out, and there's just no doubt in my mind that's had an impact on its adoption. But take that as just two cents from the water boy, not actual analysis.


If you should find yourself still pursuing SOA despite its rumored demise, you might want to check out my recent interviews with Todd Biske, a senior enterprise architect with Monsanto, technology blogger and author of a new book, "SOA Governance."


You might think you're not ready for SOA governance just yet, but after talking with Biske, I'd have to say his version of governance has more to do with ensuring SOA success than controlling SOA. Plus, as he pointed out, you already have governance because governance isn't really an option:

Every company has governance. It's a question of how formal is it, how visible is it, but there is no such thing as having no governance. There are always some broad rules, whether implied or not, that the project teams actually operate against. So to say, 'Oh, we don't need governance,' well, I don't believe that. It's a case of saying, 'Okay, what is your current governance and is it working or not?'

In part one of the interview, Biske explained why you can't buy governance and discussed the limitations of SOA governance tools. In part two, he offered excellent advice about succeeding with SOA and SOA governance.


PS: SOA may or may not be dead, but apparently, someone murdered the blog-o-sphere. Or, so you might think, after reading Nick Carr recent blog post, "Who killed the blogosphere?" Gartner VP Nick Gall offered a smart response that's worth reading.

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Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Nov 20, 2008 10:17 AM Graham Graham  says:
You don't have to be big to do SOA, and you don't have to do SOA in a big way.Much discussion for and against SOA is really about the deployment of big technologies to support a foolishly and hopelessly exaggerated vision of SOA.If you identify where two or more of your apps can share a remote service, and you deduplicate your application estate by reuse of that one service, then you have the beginnings of a SOA.If you make it easy for the designers of new apps to find and reuse that first service, and implement a few more shared services under the same management regime, then you have a SOA.Small to medium SOA is fine. Mostly, what people complaining about is BIG SOA. Don't blame the big technology vendors. Blame those CIOs, CTOs and enterprise architects who are naive about software reuse and spend their money on techology platforms rather than analysis, design and management. Reply

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