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Live from DIALOG – Sandy Carter on SOA and Web 2.0

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After a short break we had Sandy Carter on The New Language of Business – SOA and Web 2.0. Sandy has recently published a book on this topic(The New Language of Business: SOA & Web 2.0). IBM recently surveyed CEOs to see what is top of mind and found that innovation for growth in today’s market was critical. In particular:

  • They wanted to extend the ability to innovate outside their boundaries
  • They want to know how to innovate processes
  • They need to know how to use information to optimize their business.

87% of CEOs expect fundamental change in next 2 years and 78% felt that innovation requires more business/IT alignment. Add the pace of change and the need for agility makes it critical to adopt new approaches, particularly SOA. Sandy talked about Key Agility Indicators and introduced the IBM Benchmark wizard and walked through how it can be used to deliver best practice statements and process maps for best practices. She went on to identify three change imperatives

  1. Evolutionary
    Need to be able to change business scenarios using current systems as building blocks, focused on projects as well as an overall vision. Smart SOA is IBM’s phrase and believes that adding intelligence to SOA is key. Companies in their projects went through various stages and Sandy made the point that IBM has followed this evolution.
    1. Foundational projects
    2. End-to-end process
    3. Transforming processes
    4. Dynamic adaptive systems.
  2. Business led
    Business people use their language, make their own changes and drives better decisions. Web 2.0 mashup approaches are part of this, as is the use of business rules to manage business policy.
    1. Web 2.0 mashups and social communities. Sandy made the point that”The point isn’t the features, it’s the underlying philosophy of relinquishing control”
    2. Policies – something business centric managed for easy change that maps to business rules.
      Sandy highlighted Fireman’s Fund who have gone through 40+ M&As and use rules and SOA to manage changes for 42 states in which they do business along with mashups for agents at the front line. Faster deplyment, higher volumes, more business because agents have more time to build the business. Classic insurance story.
  3. Collaborative
    Subject matter experts across the business, partners and suppliers, business and IT. Sandy quotes a study that said “Aligned IT and Business result in DOUBLE the productivity gains of isolated business and IT efforts”. She also pointed out that 80% of failures in process change come from an inability to predict the impact before hand. Sandy talked about new types of people – “T” type people (broad business with deep IT or broad IT with deep business skills). I have heard these referred to as “purple” people too (not red, not blue).
    Sandy talked about the very cool simulation game that IBM has developed called Innov8, as simulators have much higher retention rates than classroom training.
  4. Sandy wrapped up with the three key success factors for SOA Projects:

    • Driven by the needs of the business
    • Utilize the right skills for continuous alignment of business and IT
    • Guarantee technology can support mission critical nature of the business with quality of service

    Sandy was, as usual, a great speaker. I look forward to reading her book.

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