The drums keep beating louder for the impending marriage of SOA with Event Driven Architecture and Complex Event Processing. This is top of the news for many analysts, and something IBM, Oracle, and other vendors are positioning future offerings around. Is this the year when organizations will start linking SOA efforts closely to real-time processes?
Are we ready to link SOA with real-time processing?
IBM WebSphere CTO Jerry Cuomo recently said that he sees the SOA-EDA-CEP marriage as one of the most pronounced trends to watch in 2008. As Cuomo explained in a recent interview with SearchSOA's Rich Seeley: "I really believe [event processing is] the next big thing in SOA.... we're taking it very seriously." He also indicated that IBM plans announcements in this space over the coming year, adding that "the world of SOA and complex event processing will come together and be a beautiful thing in 2008."
Where will the SOA-EDA-CEP connection likely be seen? Cuomo said that systems are developing the capability to look at patterns of business activity during selected time windows. SOA methodologies may play a role in helping to model these patterns: "When you looking into the lifecycle of SOA where you start off with a business analyst modeling business processes, simulating, connecting, executing, monitoring, we see that playing into the whole event processing space: having a business analyst being able to sit down a model a set of patterns that they are interested in looking into."
For example, the system could take data generated from a trading system and do historical, real-time or predictive analysis, Cuomo explained. "Taking the data that you have around your environment by monitoring service use, and reading events as part of your end-to-end business activity and flow, then allowing an event system to participate and make sense of the activity going on in the form of patterns, rules, decision trees that business folks could drive with IT."
There's been plenty of interest in business analytics, and plenty of discussion of how SOA-based environments can deliver these analytics as services, and also improve data delivery across the enterprise to better enable closer to real-time decision-making or analytics.
However, the SOA-EDA-CEP convergence means SOA needs to become part of the business process management (BPM) realm, and this is still a hurdle for many organizations. At a recent Webcast panel discussion hosted by ebizQ colleague Beth Gold-Bernstein, it was generally agreed that while there is a growing convergence between SOA and EDA, the relationship between SOA and BPM has always been a difficult one to pin down -- and, in many ways, still off in the future. (Transcript available here.)
As panelist Derek Miers, CEO of BPM Focus, pointed out, “To be honest, when I put a paper together on the relationship between BPM and SOA a year or so back. I thought I was going to find a lot. And the reality is, I didn't find too many [companies] that were taking that combined BPM-SOA sort of style of approach.”
Lyndsay Wise of Wise Analytics agreed that she has seen few working examples yet of companies pulling together SOA and BPM within a common effort. For business intelligence applications to operate successfully, however, such convergence is important. “SOA becomes a key piece in terms of BI moving across the organization and being placed on top of different ERP, SCMs or CRM systems, in order to really have these solution interoperate and really integrate and converge with one another.”