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Monday, September 24, 2007

Advantages of Service Oriented Architecture

The advantage of Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) is to make complex software systems simpler. Albert Einstein once said, "Things should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler." Unfortunately software systems do not work that way, some are made too simple to carry out the duties they are supposed to perform. While others are made too complex and the costs of building and maintaining them have rocketed, not to mention the nearly impossible tasks of integrating different systems together. To read more about this, visit this website:

So as you can see the concept of SOA is not new, but the major challenge is to find a flexible solution that fits well with existing legacy systems. As you may know replacing legacy systems to cope with new architecture is not only costly but it also introduces the risk of malfunctioning. Service Oriented Architecture provides a relatively cheap and more cost-effective way of addressing this major challenge by enabling the upgrade of individual services across different channels and making it not necessary to completely rewrite an application or to keep an existing system that no longer addresses the new business requirements.

Now I will point out the interesting benefits of SOA:

Not just an architecture of services: SOA is the polices, practices and frameworks by which you can ensure the right services are provided and consumed. With SOA it is critical to implement processes that ensure there are at least two different and separate processes for the provider and for the consumer.

Reduce development time and lower maintenance costs: SOA services are easily reused by leveraging existing assets and investments. These can then be rapidly assembled into new composite applications or built on top of existing applications, safeguarding any IT investments.

Higher quality services: A well formed service provides you with a unit of management that relates to business usage and is the basis for understanding life cycle costs of a service.

Lower integration costs: Standardized services know how to work together, enabling disparate applications to quickly and easily connect.

Reduce risk with real synchronization between the business and IT: With well designed services you can improve the communication, by aligning the business and IT processes through a commonly understood architecture.

To dive deeper into these benefits, visit these websites:,

The goal of SOA then is to allow fairly large chunks of functionality to be strung together to form ad-hoc applications which are built almost entirely from existing software services. The great promise of SOA, is that the marginal cost of creating the next application is zero, as all of the software required already exists to satisfy the requirements of other applications.

Companies have longed to integrate existing systems in order to implement Information Technology (IT) support for business processes that cover the entire business value chain. This helps you deliver new products and services quickly, reduce costs, and extend your network beyond traditional boundaries. By using the Internet, companies can make their IT systems available to internal departments or external customers.

Because of this increasing demand for technologies that support connecting and sharing of resources and data, there is a need for a flexible, standardized architecture. SOA is a flexible architecture that unifies business processes by structuring large applications into building blocks, or small modular functional units or services, to be used by different groups of people in and outside the company. The building blocks can be one of three roles: service provider, service broker, or service requestor. To learn more about these roles, visit this website:

Enterprise architects also believe that SOA can help businesses respond more quickly and cost-effectively to changing market conditions. In traditional IT architectures, business processes, applications and data were locked in independent “silos” that absorbed an enormous amount of IT budget and staff to maintain. Users would have to navigate to separate networks, applications and databases to conduct the chain of activities that completed a business process. Now after a SOA is implemented, you are delivered the data needed for business process activities. Users no longer have to log into multiple systems, search for relevant data and integrate the results manually. The information appears as a single application, delivered on a single screen, all with a single login. To see more on this process, visit:

Since SOA has a loosely coupled nature, or in other words the service interface is independent of the implementation, application developers or system integrators can build applications by composing one or more services without knowing the services' underlying implementations. For example, a service can be implemented either in .Net or J2EE, and the application consuming the service can be on a different platform or language. To learn more about the software systems that support SOA, visit the Industrial Distribution Supplement Guide at


Monday, September 3, 2007

Change Management

Peter De Jager of Technobility explains that regardless of what technology, your role or where you work, you are going to be faced with the same kind of challenges when it comes to change. There are 3 stages you will be faced with. The first is resistance, the second is incompetence or chaos and then finally if you are lucky you will reach status quo.

There is a huge misconception with change, it is that the change is difficult. However, we are the ones who make it so difficult. For example, people think that if office politics were to change then bringing about a new technology change would be a piece of cake. This is not always true.

Human beings are the most resistant to change. They recognize the need but often the work involved in that change is over looked. In a corporation, the person making the change will need to know why the change is happening. So, the ability to learn how to change will come through communication plans and training.

Peter gives some great techniques to help people through change. For more information, visit Peter De Jager’s presentation titled “Change Management” in the Education Center at this website:

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