|By Bruce Tierney||
|July 20, 2011 11:30 AM EDT||
One sure fire way to keep budget and buzz away from your projects is for you and your department to be associated with incremental improvement. Projects can generally be classified into two categories. The first is "business transformation," which includes projects that generate excitement. The second category is for projects that fund incremental improvement to what is frequently considered the "cost center," often with a strong ROI but seriously lacking when it comes to excitement... And without excitement comes underfunded and understaffed projects likely to underachieve the goals they set out to accomplish.
So where does SOA belong? Is it one of the most powerful weapons in the business transformation arsenal or is it merely a tool for the cost center to provide incremental improvement? If we look at the traditional benefits of SOA, such as re-use of services, agility, scalability, and visibility, then SOA brings incremental improvement to the infrastructure. Although this incremental improvement can provide impressive returns that easily justify the investment, they are still more incremental than transformative to the business.
Imagine you had the ability to create an entirely new business offering, unlike anything available from your competition in just a few months.
How would you accomplish this? From a packaged application? Highly unlikely since it's available worldwide, meaning there is no barrier to entry for your competitors. Build a one-of-a-kind application from scratch? After a year or more of development, your first-to-market advantage is lost.
How can business transformation take place in such a short time frame? Of the many aspects of a comprehensive SOA platform, such as service creation, service orchestration, governance, integration and business rules, there is one aspect of SOA that provides the key enabler to rapid business transformation. It's not new to SOA but seriously underappreciated for its potential. It is the "composite application" that provides the ability to rapidly create an entirely new application, composed of a mix of existing and new re-usable services, unlike any other application in the world in short order. Take a moment to think of other technologies providing the ability to rapidly deliver an entirely new business offering. If you came up with anything else... it's a pretty short list.
What is so special about the composite application? Take a look at the following scenario:
In a few months' time:
- Create a first-to-market application that combines a voice recognition service with a social media API
- Use a cloud service to translate a Facebook event stream into a speaking voice inside a vehicle
- Post an audio update to a Facebook profile to update the Facebook status of the driver of the car
You have just tapped into a new business channel where over 700 billion minutes per month are spent. Equally important was the fact that 75% of this project was already completed before the project even started.
This may sound far-fetched but it is in production today. New business offerings derived directly by SOA are numerous at OnStar where they treat SOA as a key enabler for new business initiatives instead of as merely a tool to provide incremental improvement.
OnStar is one of a growing number of leading edge companies rethinking SOA. These companies have the necessary ingredients of innovation combined with an understanding that they can "Rethink SOA" from "incrementalism" into the driving force of their business transformation strategy. Although the number of companies is small today, it's easy to tell when a company has moved beyond SOA incrementalism. When speaking about their Oracle SOA Suite implementation, OnStar's Chief Architect Doug Mutart speaks less about the traditional SOA benefits of efficiency, re-use, etc. and instead refers to bringing entirely new projects to life. For example, when OnStar needed new channels through mobile devices such as the iPhone and other smartphones, a key enabler was SOA. Mutart states:
"The flexibility of SOA has enabled us to bring these projects to life."
-Doug Mutart, Chief Architect, OnStar
To deliver the mobile composite application before the launch of the Chevrolet Volt, OnStar leveraged existing services to back-end customer data and applications, transforming OnStar into a leading edge provider through new distribution channels enabled by SOA.
OnStar iPhone App Enabled by SOA
Additional examples include a European government launching entirely new composite applications such as eBirth to immediately update all health care practitioners who have a need-to-know about the birth of a baby, and "police-on-web" that lets citizens report crimes such as theft, graffiti and shoplifting.
Why is this new mindset to SOA so important? Because projects associated with business transformation get the executive sponsorship, budget, and access to key resources needed to ensure success. Projects associated with incremental improvement however are hit-and-miss...sometimes you get what you need and other times you are in the mode of "doing more with less" which translates to doing more work with less staff, less budget, and less likelihood of success.
How does one begin the process of rethinking SOA to take advantage of the opportunity of SOA, and specifically service-based composite applications within SOA, provides? To rethink SOA from incrementalism into business transformation through SOA, here is a recipe:
Rethink SOA - A Recipe for Business Transformation
- Start Before you Start: Thanks to the concept of Shared Services, in which services are built with the intention of re-use for future applications, each new project has the ability to incorporate existing services from previous projects. Over time, new projects start with 30 to 75 percent of the project already completed before the project has even started.
- Know your "Sustainable Competitive Advantages": Although you can't look into the future to know what composite applications you will want, you can look within your organization to determine what foundational services align with your Sustainable Competitive Advantages. These are the subset of competitive advantages your company has that cannot easily be matched by your competition.
- Develop Your "Strategic Service Portfolio": Building a foundation doesn't happen overnight. This is also true for the service foundation of what will become the crown jewel of your company, a service portfolio that lets you consistently assemble new composite applications to market faster than your competition. Based on your Sustainable Competitive Advantage, develop a vision for your "Strategic Service Portfolio" to grow your corporate crown jewel over time.
- Don't Build Every Service for Re-use: On average, it costs 50 percent extra to make a service re-usable, so don't waste time and money making every service re-usable. Now that you have a vision for your Strategic Service Portfolio, focus your re-use efforts only on those services that build the foundation for future composite applications. Fortunately, the break-even point has been shown to come from a single re-use of a service for your next composite application.
- Assemble and Configure: Rather than custom coding new applications, think assemble and configure. Assemble existing services and instead of adding custom code for the new services of the composite application, use a graphical "composite editor." Visual development allows everyone on the collaborative team to more rapidly understanding the project and eases downstream maintenance.
- Immunize Against the "Antibodies": Although new and innovative projects will generative the excitement and buzz required to properly fund the project, you will undoubtedly encounter others in your organization resistant to change known as the antibodies. Even if you do your homework and can justify your project, the antibodies will attempt to slow your progress. Find executive sponsorship, which for SOA often exists in the Annual Report with statements about the company focused on increasing customer satisfaction, leveraging social media, Enterprise 2.0 collaboration with customers, customer self-service and more. SOA provides the ideal foundation to realize these goals and measure their success.
- Get Connected: Chances are, your vendor is providing you and your company a win-win opportunity for free publicity and a chance to broaden your network...Good for your career and for your company. Oracle for example offers customer success podcasts, webcasts, case studies, videos, press releases and more. Selfishly take advantage of these to broaden your network with like-minded professionals to share lessons learned as you embark on your path to rethinking SOA to a higher level.
Oracle SOA Suite 11g is an integrated, best-of-breed suite that helps customers rapidly design and assemble, deploy and manage, highly agile and adaptable business applications.
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, examined three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective storage designed to handle the massive surge in back-end data in a world where timely analytics is e...
Nov. 26, 2014 11:45 PM EST Reads: 1,079
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff happens, where data lives and where the interface lies. For instance, it's a mix of architectural styles ...
Nov. 26, 2014 11:30 PM EST Reads: 971
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director of THINKstrategies, will examine why IT must finally fulfill its role in support of its SBUs or face a new round of...
Nov. 26, 2014 09:00 PM EST Reads: 1,028
We are reaching the end of the beginning with WebRTC, and real systems using this technology have begun to appear. One challenge that faces every WebRTC deployment (in some form or another) is identity management. For example, if you have an existing service – possibly built on a variety of different PaaS/SaaS offerings – and you want to add real-time communications you are faced with a challenge relating to user management, authentication, authorization, and validation. Service providers will want to use their existing identities, but these will have credentials already that are (hopefully) i...
Nov. 26, 2014 07:00 PM EST Reads: 1,014
Cultural, regulatory, environmental, political and economic (CREPE) conditions over the past decade are creating cross-industry solution spaces that require processes and technologies from both the Internet of Things (IoT), and Data Management and Analytics (DMA). These solution spaces are evolving into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems (SAE) that represent significant new opportunities for organizations of all types. Public Utilities throughout the world, providing electricity, natural gas and water, are pursuing SmartGrid initiatives that represent one of the more mature examples of SAE. We have s...
Nov. 26, 2014 06:00 PM EST Reads: 1,024
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Nov. 26, 2014 05:45 PM EST Reads: 961
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, discussed how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money!
Nov. 26, 2014 04:00 PM EST Reads: 1,067
One of the biggest challenges when developing connected devices is identifying user value and delivering it through successful user experiences. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kuniavsky, Principal Scientist, Innovation Services at PARC, described an IoT-specific approach to user experience design that combines approaches from interaction design, industrial design and service design to create experiences that go beyond simple connected gadgets to create lasting, multi-device experiences grounded in people's real needs and desires.
Nov. 26, 2014 03:45 PM EST Reads: 1,023
P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robin Raymond, Chief Architect at Hookflash, will walk through the shifting landscape of traditional telephone and voice services ...
Nov. 26, 2014 02:00 PM EST Reads: 1,493
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
Nov. 25, 2014 09:30 PM EST Reads: 1,244
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, discussed single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series data. By focusing on enterprise applications and the data center, he will use OpenTSDB as an example t...
Nov. 25, 2014 09:30 PM EST Reads: 1,299
The Domain Name Service (DNS) is one of the most important components in networking infrastructure, enabling users and services to access applications by translating URLs (names) into IP addresses (numbers). Because every icon and URL and all embedded content on a website requires a DNS lookup loading complex sites necessitates hundreds of DNS queries. In addition, as more internet-enabled ‘Things' get connected, people will rely on DNS to name and find their fridges, toasters and toilets. According to a recent IDG Research Services Survey this rate of traffic will only grow. What's driving t...
Nov. 25, 2014 07:00 PM EST Reads: 1,334
Enthusiasm for the Internet of Things has reached an all-time high. In 2013 alone, venture capitalists spent more than $1 billion dollars investing in the IoT space. With "smart" appliances and devices, IoT covers wearable smart devices, cloud services to hardware companies. Nest, a Google company, detects temperatures inside homes and automatically adjusts it by tracking its user's habit. These technologies are quickly developing and with it come challenges such as bridging infrastructure gaps, abiding by privacy concerns and making the concept a reality. These challenges can't be addressed w...
Nov. 25, 2014 04:30 PM EST Reads: 1,342
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems at Red Hat, described how to revolutioniz...
Nov. 24, 2014 07:00 PM EST Reads: 1,644
Bit6 today issued a challenge to the technology community implementing Web Real Time Communication (WebRTC). To leap beyond WebRTC’s significant limitations and fully leverage its underlying value to accelerate innovation, application developers need to consider the entire communications ecosystem.
Nov. 24, 2014 12:00 PM EST Reads: 1,527
The definition of IoT is not new, in fact it’s been around for over a decade. What has changed is the public's awareness that the technology we use on a daily basis has caught up on the vision of an always on, always connected world. If you look into the details of what comprises the IoT, you’ll see that it includes everything from cloud computing, Big Data analytics, “Things,” Web communication, applications, network, storage, etc. It is essentially including everything connected online from hardware to software, or as we like to say, it’s an Internet of many different things. The difference ...
Nov. 24, 2014 11:00 AM EST Reads: 1,665
Cloud Expo 2014 TV commercials will feature @ThingsExpo, which was launched in June, 2014 at New York City's Javits Center as the largest 'Internet of Things' event in the world.
Nov. 24, 2014 09:00 AM EST Reads: 1,687
SYS-CON Events announced today that Windstream, a leading provider of advanced network and cloud communications, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN), a FORTUNE 500 and S&P 500 company, is a leading provider of advanced network communications, including cloud computing and managed services, to businesses nationwide. The company also offers broadband, phone and digital TV services to consumers primarily in rural areas.
Nov. 23, 2014 07:30 PM EST Reads: 1,848
"There is a natural synchronization between the business models, the IoT is there to support ,” explained Brendan O'Brien, Co-founder and Chief Architect of Aria Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 15th International Cloud Expo®, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Nov. 23, 2014 12:00 PM EST Reads: 1,796
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com), moderated by Ashar Baig, Research Director, Cloud, at Gigaom Research, Nate Gordon, Director of T...
Nov. 23, 2014 07:45 AM EST Reads: 1,834