Gartner: SOA's next step is managing events

The new generation of service-oriented applications are adding a capability businesspeople can finally see -- real or near real-time analytics.

Service oriented architecture is here to stay, and becoming part of the development and management of every application and business process.  But what's next for this architectural approach?

Next generation of SOA apps include capabilities businesspeople can finally see

Roy Schulte, the Gartner analyst who helped define the SOA space more than a decade ago, says as SOA becomes embedded into the digital enterprise realm, organizations are moving services to support event-driven interactions, versus request/reply interactions. I recently had the opportunity to join Roy at ebizQ/TechTarget's recent SOA & Application Integration virtual conference held at ebizQ/TechTarget, in which Roy talked about the new unfolding scenarios for SOA.

"The better applications being built today assume service oriented architecture," he points out. "They take it for granted."

The next generation of SOA-enabled services and applications are addressing new capabilities, Roy explains.  "They're adding some other additional qualities that the businesspeople can see directly. The first thing they add is situational awareness -- this means giving more information to people.... situation awareness is knowing what is going on. You collect information from inside your application system, you collect event information from the from the outside world, from the Web, from sensors, from collaborative software, from database management systems --anything that is happening in the environment, in market data and so forth."

Of course, data is just data if it just comes in and sits there. It becomes actionable as analytics are applied. Roy says the next phase includes the introduction of "prescriptive analytics," in which the system provides decision makers guidance, often via rule processing with a decision engine. "You may be doing complex event processing with a CEP [Complex Event Processing] engine, and even some other advanced analytics."

"The new generation of applications runs faster because they're based on events -- they allow you to sense and respond more quickly," Roy says.  And if there are humans in the decision loop, these applications are enhancing their ability to react faster to events. "These new application systems are in fact service oriented. But they have additional qualities that weren't in the previous generation of service oriented architecture applications."