Next Generation of SOA is Here: Are You Taking Advantage?

[Cross posted from my JackBe blog]

Since blogging my 2013 BI predictions, I’ve come across ZapThink’s predictions and one of them caught my eye. No, it is not about Big Data. It’s about something that has gone out of fashion, almost. It was about SOA. Here is the excerpt from ZapThink:

Next generation SOA begins to coalesce – For years, ZapThink has touted the difference between the practice of SOA and purported implementations of SOA. Our mantra has always been that SOA is protocol and technology independent: it doesn’t require Web Services, or ESBs, or any of the heavyweight IT infrastructure that has given SOA its reputation of complexity and failure. With the rise of Cloud Computing, architects are increasingly realizing that the bits and pieces of SOA best practice – loose coupling, intermediary-based abstraction, and automated governance, to name a few – can and should be applied as appropriate, independent of the existence of any specific, funded SOA effort.               

Back when we started building our Presto platform at JackBe—seems long ago now—our goal was to actually build the bridge between all the services and data sources in an enterprise with the business users who really need to access it. Over time, we built our flagship Enterprise Mashup Server to fulfill this need and introduce this slice into the enterprise architecture as a meaningful way of extracting ROI from your SOA investments and delivering real value to end users and business users. Now, we do that and more.

For example, we’re delivering comprehensive insight into the full spectrum of operations for critical decision-making and for measuring the business impact of every occurrence. And we’re doing it all in real-time. We don’t advocate complex architectures or re-architecting your existing systems in the name of SOA. Why would you if there is a better way? We like to work with what already exists, leverage and complement them to bring the value of these otherwise inaccessible systems and data sources.

I like to think that we liberate these silos of information, bring them together in a quick, nimble and rapid way that we are known for, and generate new business value out of thin air. By correlating existing data sources and combining new and old information sources, we are able to mash them up to generate new insights in real-time for our customers. This now proven approach is already here and is what we have always believed as the continuation of the SOA marches toward the users. Such an approach already embraces the concepts of loose coupling, intermediary-based abstraction, and so forth, and yes also works with stringent security mechanisms already in place in your enterprise architecture.

So, the next generation of SOA is already here, you don’t need to wait for 2014 to take advantage of it. Are you ready to exploit it?

Using enterprise mashups to save billions

I just came across this from Joe McKendrick on ZDNet Blogs that caught my eye – Study: Increase data usability, save billions.
Here is an excerpt:
Researchers say data usability can be improved by focusing on the following factors:
  • Intelligence of data “can be improved through the accuracy of the prediction, trends analysis, recommendations and profile matching/associations made by the associated applications. For example, what percentage of recommendations made by a business intelligence application results in cross-selling?”
  • Remote access to data and applications is essential in an increasingly mobile workforce.
  • Sales mobility “involves the ability of salespersons to use portable devices and applications to exchange information related to all aspects of a deal or transaction with a customer.”
  • Improvements in data quality will result in improvements that “may come through better and timely decisions (which may increase customer satisfaction, loyalty and hence revenues), as well as fewer errors and rework, lower working capital requirements, faster receivables, etc. (which will lower costs).”

A 10 percent improvement can add up to big dollars. Researchers determined that if a median Fortune 1000 business (36,000 employees and $388,000 in sales per employee) increased the usability of its data by just 10 percent, it would translate to an increase in $2.01 billion in total revenue every year, or $55,900 in additional sales per employee annually. End of excerpt

I find this is very interesting. But, the question is how do you go about achieving this.
  1. You don’t want to be spending millions to save millions.
  2. You don’t want to take years to achieve this goals.

If you can afford to do either, then I suggest, you read no further.

To me, enterprise mashups have been at this for a few years. Take remote access to data and applications for instance. It is dead easy for us to create a new enterprise mashup that wraps the existing data and applications, creates a specific usable view of that data, and then expose this mashup as a Web Service (SOAP or REST), using Apps to your end users and customers. This does not take years, it can be done in hours and days today.

Consider mobility. You want to not only create a more usable view of data, but in turn ensure that this data is available for your mobile users to interact with wherever they are via any portable device. This too is fairly easy to achieve using enterprise mashups.

Basically, enterprise mashups create that agility layer in your enterprise architecture to deliver concise, specific, usable data and applications to your users, without disrupting your current enterprise architecture. This new agility layer can respond rapidly to new business needs by changing the enterprise mashups and creating new enterprise mashups when required.

Enterprise mashups don’t solve the traditional problem of data cleansing in the traditional way…Extract/Transform/Load (ETL). That’s the whole point. Most customers can’t afford (time or resources) cleansing data that way. I think that enterprise mashups thrive when conventional solutions become expensive and time consuming.