by John Ladley
Like other sophomore efforts, we are benefiting from lessons learned from our first issue. Most notably we are delighted at the response of readers willing to participate in the collection of pertinent data. In general we were well received, but at the same time, we are addressing any critiques that provided positive feedback. Thanks again.
In our first issue, we promised research and depth. We are serious about this promise and believe that this issue really launches us in that direction with solid, well-informed articles written by experts in the field. Additionally, we have our survey mechanisms up and running, so we have been collecting data from members of our EDJ Best Practices Council related to both current and upcoming issues. Look for this database (and consequent knowledge) to grow and become more profound as the months unfold. We are still accepting members into our BPC, so if you or your organization is interested, please feel free to contact us for more details. Again, our goal is to complement existing industry research sources with more focused business insights into data management topics.
The topic this month is SOA – which stands for Service Oriented Architecture. From a business viewpoint, SOA offers technology that allows the technology folks to capture the necessary processes and data for running your organization and make them services. This means (if you implement the services successfully) organizations using SOA can have a package of flexible software services that can be used anywhere in their business applications. For example, if we created a service called “Get Customer Data;” anytime anyone wanted customer data, this service would run and fetch the data. The goal of deploying this approach is to make software development and application un-coupled from their business processes, thereby improving flexibility and lowering costs.
Now, if I put on my business person face, and an IT dude tells me this, I am most apt to say “Well, DUH.” But SOA is actually, in my historical view, the fourth major technology wave to address the development and deployment of modular, re-usable, and flexible computer programs. (Not that anyone cares, but the previous ones were Structured Methods, CASE/IE, and Object Oriented Programming.) Every one of these waves raised hopes, made consultants and gurus lots of money, and left a trail of tears in many cases. There is strong justification in saying that the growth of large software applications like SAP and Oracle are the result of these disappointments.
However, we are in a flat world now. It seems that we need “flexible, reusable, and open” more than ever. Does SOA offer the solution where other areas have not met expectations? If it does, do data managers and data users need to lobby for more SOA? Is SOA making inroads in the data strategy area?
Our research article takes our survey on SOA and data management and breaks down the results. The details are there, but data management and services are not moving arm and arm together at this time.
This issue also has a broad spectrum of advice on best practices and scenarios for using SOA and managing data. From the front lines, we have Doug Stacey reviewing the guidelines for creating data services within SOA. Ken Karacsony covers avoiding common data management mistakes, echoing some of the information we provided in our data governance issue (see issue one). Joe LaFeir offers an SOA best practices case study for large scale database use of SOA. Andrew Flower covers how to leverage MDM and SOA for operational and analytic data integration; and finally, Jim Bean looks at the holy grail of data integration and the role of SOA.
Lastly we continue our series articles, written by authors Graeme Simsion and Chunka Mui, which run in parallel with our topics. As we all know, understanding the strategic vision of technology and being able to execute that vision is what businesses need. Graeme Simsion offers Part 2 of the “Consultant: Make Yourself Usefu,l” as we continue his series about consulting – this series applies to anyone who has to get stuff done, so read it even if you are not a consultant. Chunka Mui provides Part 2 of “Shockwaves from the Edge” and offers more on the strategic uses of technology with some great examples.
Lastly, a little on our next issue. We want to open 2008 with a forecast issue and will be selecting from the major trends being broadcast by analysts and other talking heads. We will be asking our readers and advisors their views on these trends. We may modify the editorial calendar a bit after this, so PLEASE let us know if there are any trends or movements you want to hear more about.