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Live from the SOA Symposium – Opening Keynotes


The SOA Symposium started today in the AJAX Stadium in Amsterdam. The opening keynotes were actually in the Stadium itself – we all sat at the halfway line. Thomas Erl and Sandy Carter gave quick intros and I will add some comments later but I could not type so this is just a placeholder have had a chance to write up my notes now it is lunch time.

Thomas gave a quick overview of how far SOA has come and how far it has to go. He focused initially on SOA’s history of building on what has worked in the past and its maturation as the preferred, even dominant, design paradigm. In part, he feels, this is a response to the threat that change represents to companies. Change is such an ever-present reality that systems designed to cope with change – something SOA enables – are critical. Being evolution-oriented and change tolerant is SOA’s biggest single benefit. While it has “arrived” and become a viable and widely used approach there is more to do. In particular he challenges various communities:

  • Vendors must continue to support open standards and avoid the temptation to add proprietary extensions and vendor lock in.
  • Standards bodies must continue to work and must make their work more accessible to developers and others
  • Practitioners need to remain open minded and to avoid associating SOA with a particular technology stack. They just also remember that SOA, service-oriented computing and taking a service-oriented approach to business are related yet distinct.

Thomas was followed by Sandy Carter of IBM who begun by presenting some findings from a recent IBM survey of 1100 CEOs. 83% See more substantial change coming, 3 times as many are worried about this change than in past years and over 90% see that they will need to change their business model soon. This change-heavy environment reinforces the value of SOA. Sandy sees three particular benefits:

  • Drive agility
    This includes adopting key agility indicators as well as key performance indicators. Personally I think this reinforces the need for agile services (decision services) not just agile assembly and orchestration of services.
  • Tame the chaos of events
    Mixing in a little event-driven architecture, Sandy used the huge number of events that impact a typical enterprise to make the importance of event processing and of making the right decisions based on those events (my emphasis).
  • Meeting the needs of the new consumer
    Consumers want a personalized, engaged and connected experience and SOA is a prerequisite for this kind of web 2.0 system. Personalizing decisions, of course, is one of the main uses of decision management in this context.

I was not able to see Sandy’s more detailed version of this but I was struck by the degree to which decision management complements her three benefits.


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  • Linda Terlouw October 13, 2008, 11:34 am

    Hi James,  

    Enjoyed talking to you at the conference! If you’re interested you can find some pics over here:  http://www.servicespecification.com/?p=74 (it really was a cool location, wasn’t it? 😉 ). Let me now if you would like to have more pictures!