IBM Offers 7 Steps to SOA Success

On the eve of JavaOne, where SOA and ESB will both be hot topics, IDN speaks with authors of IBM's Service-Oriented Architecture Compass. The book presents Seven Steps to SOA Success, and draws from dozens of real-world SOA engagements to offer readers time-saving lessons learned.

Tags: SOA, Business, Architect, Success, Integration, SOA Project, Bose,

On the eve of JavaOne, where SOA and ESB will both be hot topics, IDN speaks with authors of IBM's Service-Oriented Architecture Compass. The book presents Seven Steps to SOA Success, and draws from dozens of real-world SOA engagements to offer readers time-saving lessons learned.

ESB-CON III -- Enabling Business Critical Integration and SOA -- March 1, 2007

Experts from ESB leaders BEA Systems, IBM, Progress Software and Oracle Corp. share their latest insights and news on tools, trends and F1000 Use Cases for deploying ESBs and SOA. This fast-paced event covers Feature Upgrades, Best Practices and Blueprints for using ESBs to deliver cost-efficient business-critical integration for your current assets, and for preparing for SOA. Click here for your complimentary ESB-CON III registration.

Some of IBM's best integration experts have collaborated on the innovative, how-to-get-started book for SOA, Service-Oriented Architecture Compass. Published by IBM Press, it draws from dozens of real-world SOA engagements. The end result: readers gain insight into some valuable SOA lifecycle lessons - from brainstorming, design, pilot and implementations.

IDN talks with the authors, who hope to bring direction to SOA questions of How, When and Where.

The Architect at SOA's Center
Co-authors Sanjay Bose, (design center leader for IBM's Enterprise integration team) and Rawn Shah (IBM developerWorks Community Editor) both agree on one element of SOA success: SOA must bridge the business and the IT elements on a business. Further, in their experience, it falls to the software architect to bring together these two factions - often at odd and always disparate

While SOA needs the architect to succeed, the goal is to seek rewards on the business level," Bose told IDN. Their book explores with practical advice how to achieve that tricky balance between the business and technical sides of a company

Based on their experiences in helping some of IBM's best-known G1000 enterprise customers migrate to SOA, Bose and Shah use their SOA Compass book to outline key steps providing readers a blend of Best Practice principles and practical "how-to" guidance.

Here's a summary of their 7 steps to SOA Success:

  1. Unravel the concept of architecture from its perceived technical underpinnings, and explain the business realities of a necessary business function.
  2. Clarify the architect's role in providing architectural function crucial to the business success.
  3. Explain why it is better to realign IT elements around service definitions or business processes.
  4. Emphasize the need to build an in-depth IT-to-business group dialogue that leads to a meaningful, constructive, respectful and regularly engaged relationship between IT and business units.
  5. Show how SOA will create a digital model of the business using a top-down approach.
  6. Describe how IT can align with business needs via processes and metrics (in a bottom-up approach that meets the top-down in the middle. IT should complement, rather than dominate, the SOA process).
  7. Show that IT can align with business needs via incremental delivery (setting tactically-designed SOA projects in place that resolve an ongoing business problem).
IDN spoke with Bose and Shah to get more insight about how their SOA Compass book helps give IT some strong direction and practical advice for planning, designing and implementing SOA success.

An Integration Developer News
interview with
IBM's SOA Compass authors
Sanjay Bose, design center lead, IBM enterprise integration team;
Rawn Shah, IBM developerWorks Community Editor

IDN How do you suggest that IT architects begin their SOA exploration, and map their projects. There just seems to be so many ways to start?
Bose: That's a great point. That's why the 'Compass' part of the book is so critical. Originally we were calling our book an 'SOA Code Book," but we found that the community is clamoring for more than just code - they want a better sense of direction This book looks to shed some light on how to navigate toward SOA.

IDN: How do your F500 engagements define SOA? Are you finding a difference in how company IT departments and architects think about SOA?
Bose: You're right. From our experience in engagements with many F100 global firms, SOA means many things to many stakeholders. Some business managers, for example, think that SOA can be a "be all-end all," to solve almost all of their business and integration issues. And, others with a technology background tend to think of SOA in a much more narrow view - like a version of web services. The truth lies somewhere in between, and the adoption path lies somewhere in between.

IDN: So, inside a single company you've found that impressions from SOA can run the gamut of a mega-technology all the way down to a more tactical web services project?
Bose: Yes, there can be a wide perception [of SOA] within a company.

IDN: So, what are your recommendations for getting started with an SOA project? It would seem that successful SOA has to mix business and technology needs - and not simply be a tech-driven project?
Bose That is a good way to put it. Clearly, we found in dealing with clients, that understanding the business issues a company faces is key to having a successful SOA project. But, more than just solving one or two specific business problems, an SOA project must also be part of a roadmap that outlines for you where you want to be strategically regarding your systems, and aligning your business with your IT infrastructure. As we have found, SOA introduces the ability to let both business and IT [professionals] react and adapt to changing needs.

IDN: So, successful SOA requires both business and technical staff?
Bose: There is a combo of both top-down and bottom- up approaches. From the top-down, you need to do your component based modeling of your business, and to service ID analysis and specs.

IDN: And from bottom up?
Bose: The bottom-up task is to select how you realize this [business modeling] at the IT layer. So, the questions there are to translate your business rules and workflows and processes into 'What are the underlying architectures?' and 'What are the blueprints you can use to promote reuse and modularity?'

IDN: Wow. How do you bringer this gap between the business and technical needs for SOA? What type of professional gets the SOA project started in a company?
Rawn: The architect is the man in the middle, and that is the focus on the book. The architect is the intermediary between the CIO and business execs at one end, and the IT professionals at the other. The approach we took in the book is this: The first person you want to convince in your higher ups. So, the architect would go to the exec level, this is what we want to do, and this is what we'd like to do an architectural plan based on what we have. Hey, you guys this is the direction we'd like to go.

IDN: How common is it to see that kind of convergence of business and IT in a company?
Rawn: It depends a lot on the adoption model of the company. Some enterprises have leading-edge architects, and there are others that are entrenched in older systems. The main thing we've realized is that for SOA to be successful is you need executive mandate or else you will end up experimenting on your desktop and it will get stranded there.

IBM's Service Oriented Architecture Compass, available now, covers these topics:
Coverage includes
  • SOA from both a business and technical standpoint-and how to make the business case
  • Planning your SOA project: best practices and pitfalls to avoid
  • SOA analysis and design for superior flexibility and value
  • Securing and managing your SOA environment
  • Using SOA to simplify enterprise application integration
  • Implementing business processes and workflow in SOA environments
  • Case studies in SOA deployment
  • After you've deployed: delivering better collaboration, greater scalability, and more sophisticated applications

  • back