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Highlights from the “Pragmatic SOA Governance” seminar

We at SearchSOA.com have just finished up with the maiden run of our “Pragmatic SOA Governance” seminar. The first two shows were in suburban Philadelphia and Washington D.C. and I’m pleased to report they went swimmingly.

Here’s a few of the high points from the show:

  • Anne Thomas Manes, VP and research director at Burton Group, noted that a lot of users want to standardize on a single enterprise service bus, neglecting the reality that most every company will need to support multiple ESBs. She also suggested not thinking of the ESB as a “bus” because it implies that there’s something in the middle of your services. Instead she suggested the term enterprise service network.
  • Miko Matsumura, deputy CTO at Software AG, used the image of a crack pipe to illustrate a point during his presentation, namely that bad development habits can be hard to kick.
  • Daud Santosa, CTO at the National Business Center inside the U.S. Department of the Interior, made a great point about choosing foundational pieces of technology — if the technology in question requires consistent and costly upkeep, then it shouldn’t be a foundational piece of technology. “This is hard enough,” he said, pointing to the detailed reference architecture he’s trying to implement at NBC. “Look for technology that makes your life easier.”
  • Dan Foody, VP of Actional products at Progress Software, made a great observation in response to a question on how can you sell your business on the merits of SOA: take a sales course. His reasoning was you need to describe what service orientation means to your business and outside IT fiefdoms and that will require real professional sales skills.
  • Many attendees bemoaned the communications difficulties that plague IT projects, but Matsumura offered that there is a common language everyone speaks: money. The line drew a hearty laugh from the Reston attendees, but later one person from the audience mentioned to me that the “money” line helped crystallize what he needs to do to get executive buy-in.
  • John Woolbright, CTO at Synovus Financial Corp., noted that many real-time systems are undone due to a lack of data quality. He suggested defining systems of record for data. “If you want your SOA to be successful you need to know where that data is and how to access it.”
  • Foody stressed creating visibility not only into the IT infrastructure, but to the business process itself. Failure to provide that visibility can lead you down the path of applications that don’t deliver as promised for the business, he noted.
  • Manes continually stressed the importance of getting a handle on the producer/consumer relationship inside SOA as a key element for governance. Apparently too many users are running into problems caused by unchecked service consumption.

Most of all, a hearty thanks to our attendees. Rarely do you see audiences that are anywhere near that engaged during the presentations. It served as reminder that the practical implementation of SOA governance has become a pressing concern for app dev and IT shops.

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