Friday, August 25, 2006

Life 2.0 Launched

Have you noticed how adding 2.0 to the end of words suggests that this is a new improved version of the old more problems just all the benefits....Web 2.0, Enterprise 2.0, SOA 2.0 we even had ERP II a couple of years ago (before it was cooler to call it 2.0).

So I launch here on this blog the concept of Life 2.0 - like the old life only cooler.

In Life 2.0 things will work like they should (in no particular order).....

* Meetings would always have a point
* My children would listen to a word I said
* People would actually use video conferencing instead of dragging people half way round the world
* .....

And blog entries would be nice and short :o)

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Don’t under-estimate the importance of the composition platform

Lots of the stuff I read about SOA talks about what a service should be, how it should be charged for and how it should be governed. These are all very important aspects but are for the birds without a decent platform that allows these to be combined into applications.

Following 3 days camping this was brought into sharp focus. The site we were staying on had all the “services” that I have at home. We had empty_bladder_into_sewer, heat_food, covered_sleeping and we had additional services such as get_sun_tan, get_ice_cream and get_wine.

However the composition platform (in this case me) just wasn’t able to invoke these services as easily as it could at home. Trying to get empty_bladder_into_sewer to work with covered_sleeping was very hard to achieve, especially when combined with get_wine :-)

My main point here is that just having all the services was not enough without a composition platform that was able to take account of the non-functional requirements and make them appear to work as one.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

SO - Should you believe the hype

Service Orientation (SO) is taking over the world or that is what most of the software and service companies in the world would have you believe. In some circles it is being touted as the answer to all the problems the last big thing created.

So is they hype a word NO.

SO will not make IT projects any more likely to succeed that ones based on previous architectures, in fact some of the first project will create huge failures - as many people will not understand the rat holes they may be venturing down.

First let's look at some of the things that make an IT project a success and then see how SO will impact on these dimensions.

1) Projects must have a good business case, sponsorship and budget.
2) Projects must have good project governance and a realistic timeline.
3) Projects must have a solid technology base.
4) projects must have capability that understands the problem, the solution and the technology.

SO - Business Case
SO does not change the fundamentals of the business case. Financial returns will remain the same. Where SO might make a difference here is where the re-use factor kicks in. If you are able to re-use components then the cost side of the argument should go down and therefore the ROI will increase. This might move things from "too hard/expensive" to "why not". If your SO guys are not showing any on this type of benefit..get new ones. So the fundamentals don't change but the TCO should be lower.

SO - Project Governance

Again SO does not change the need for good plans and accurate status reporting. SO does create problems for the traditional models as if components re-use is included (which is should be) then the dependencies between workstreams and other organisational units increases. Also the amount of experience in estimating and delivering these projects is quite low. If your SO guys can't show you where they have managed this complexity before...get new ones. So projects could become more complex and harder to manage.

SO - Technology everyone is claiming to be SO now...and inter-op and standards are at the core of you can't go wrong....but you can . Don't assume that standards will be the answer to your problems, standards have the be implemented and sometimes these differ. Don't get me wrong it will work in the end but you will have to work at it. Also each of these "new" products will need to be managed, will have its own upgrade cycle and capability requirement. You could just decide to take your technology from one vendor, but this could be a) expensive and b) limit your flexibility in the future. If your SO guys are telling you not to worry about it...then start worrying and get new ones. So technology has the potential to solve your problems and create them..tread carefully and get your vendors to put skin in the game..

SO - Capability

Overnight everyone in IT is suddenly a SO expert, everything they have been doing for the last 10 years was really SO but they just didn't call it that. This makes recruitment of Systems Integrators and people a minefield. If your SO guys can't show you where they have really done this before...get new ones. Capability will increase in this area but make sure you know what you are buying.

So SO might make things quicker, cheaper and more reliable but only if you apply some good old management to the problem.