IBM Launches SOA Best Practices Portal

IBM this week launched its first consolidated SOA portal, offering architects and devs Best Practices, business cases and based self-assessment tools. IBM execs also tell IDN their on-going SOA pilots will feed new SOA proof-points into the portal for all devs to use. See what SOA info is in store from IBM.

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IBM this week went live with its first consolidated SOA portal, offering Best Practices, business cases and based self-assessment tools. Company execs also say a series of on-going SOA pilot programs will feed into the portal, as the pilots yield new SOA proof-points.

At present, IBM's SOA portal, available at, includes first-generation SOA Best Practices and deployment patterns for IBM technologies, customer examples, and analyst views on IBM and non-IBM SOA, Sandy Carter, IBM's vice president of strategy, channels and marketing for Websphere told Integration Developer News.

In addition, as IBM continues to derive future SOA insight on patterns, implementations and Best Practices from various early adoption programs and engagements, that new information will also be posted to the site, Carter said.

"We are at a tipping point with SOA right now," Carter said. "For the most part, people already seem to know a lot about what SOA is and what it can do for them. What they want now are practical ways to get started."

Lack of Skills Slowing SOA Adoption
The "biggest obstacles to SOA adoption" Carter told IDN, "is available skills. So, part of that is education and collaboration among end users, and part of that will come from IBM working more closely with our channel partners." Among IBM's more notable pilot programs (for customers and partners) at present is its SOA Integration Framework.

IBM has launched an "SOA self-assessment" program to end users. "This program is based on what we've seen work from our own adoption models, and it lets customers new to SOA see where they are and see the steps they need to begin a gradual adoption" of SOA, Carter said.

Among the SOA How-To's asked for by customers include "order-to-cash" and unifying customer data across multiple (and different) databases, Carter said.

Inside IBM's SOA Integration Framework
IBM's SOA Integration Framework project, now in pilot, will be a major source of next-gen SOA Best Practices. IBM's SOA Integration Framework, brings to pilot users "a set of Best Practices, templates, recipes and scripts for how to best use IBM SOA technologies," Carter said, including Tivoli, Websphere and Rational.

"Currently, these Best Practices and such are available only through a services engagement right now, but once we find out how to make these [techniques and Best Practices] repeatable, we'll roll them out to our customers at large," she said.

The IBM Integration Framework pilot project is slated to run through the end of the year.

IBM also has expanded its SOA channel programs, providing software partners and system integrators to access IBM resources, assets and go-to-market support. The program includes a no-cost education, workshops, software and services complemented by SOA enablement engagements focused on SOA deployments with specific customers.

IBM is also offering partners a SOA-focused PartnerWorld assets, including resources for business planning, technical enablement, co-marketing and selling.
New resources include an IBM SOA Partner Workshops and Architect Hotline, a no cost e-learning interactive three day session for ISVs and systems integrators to develop the skills to successfully implement an SOA leveraging their applications and IBM software.

"This is all about helping people learn from us, and from each other, so these programs to make SOA knowledge available to partners and customers will be on-going," Carter said.