Last week I went to St. Louis to give a presentation on Insights from Early SOA Practitioners. [My luggage went to Detroit, but that’s a whole other story, replete with whining and late night speed shopping.] The members-only event was sponsored by Washington University’s Center for the Application of Information Technology.
I agreed to participate in the event for two reasons. First, I’m a fan of programs that strengthen IT communities in order to stimulate regional and state economic development. As an offshoot of my participation, CAIT’s director offered to share her insights with the director of Maine’s Software and IT Association (MESDA) – my own local IT community.
Second, CAIT’s membership is comprised of enterprises from a variety of industries, employing a multitude of technologies, spanning paradigms. In other words, CAIT’s membership reflects enterprise IT reality. So, I saw the event as a two-way opportunity. Not only would the audience (hopefully) learn a little about SOA, but I could learn from their questions and concerns. I believe interactions like these strengthen all of our work.
My presentation was based on a handful of my published papers/posts (SOA Cheat Sheet, SOA Forum Takeaways, Vanilla Layer Cake Theory, L.L. Bean Architecture Case Study) and conversations I’ve had with SOA practitioners. Fear not, all non-disclosure agreements were (and always will be) respected.
Instead of repeating material here (my presentation), or rehashing the complete Q&A, I wanted to share some of the audience’s questions that could benefit from wider discussion. If you have insights on any of the following, please comment on this post, or send me an email.
Before jumping into the questions, I wanted to call out a few bonuses from the day, including the opportunity to work with Fred Domke, the chance to chat in person with Todd Biske, and a great lunch in the Lafayette Square section of St. Louis with CAIT members.
1. At what point can/should an organization be considered service-oriented?
The gentleman asking this question was trying to understand just how much SOA, the early SOA practitioners had in place. In other words, how far behind were companies that hadn’t started?
At the core of his question, was how is the industry counting? Is it by the presence of small number of service-oriented solutions? Or, based on the percentage of an application (business solutions) portfolio that is service-oriented?
I would say the former. Which I think is fine – at this early stage – as long as the numbers are being used in context. So, returning to the bigger question, you aren’t by any means a “laggard” if you haven’t started SOA.
However, I find the percentage of portfolio aspect intriguing. This is a much better indicator than numbers of applications and/or services. I’d like to explore this further, which leads me to some questions for my readers:
a. For early SOA adopters, what percentage of your application (business solution) portfolio is (today) service-oriented? Composed of services? Service enabled?
b. Over time, what percentage of your application (business solution) portfolio will be service-oriented? Composed of services? Service enabled?
If readers have specific SOA and Compliance examples – that can be shared – let me know.
3. What is the Relationship between SOA and ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library)?
Huh. On this question, I had two options. Make something up. Tell the truth – I’m aware of ITIL, but to answer the question, I’d have to make something up!
So, I went with the latter. However, I would like to learn the answer, for the gentleman that asked, and for my own (ever continuing) education. If you have worked with both SOA and ITIL and/or have some insights you’d like to share, I welcome them. As well, I’ll be digging into some ITIL materials myself.