IBM's SOA Impact event this week in Orlando has turned into a much larger gab-fest than I was expecting. This 4,200-attendee-strong, "SOA comes of age" milestone gathering might not be Burning Man for CIOs, but it's as close as you can get with your clothes on.
And who would have thought that IBM would effectively take stodgy out of the SOA mix? The keynote address began with a wild jungle motif, perhaps to remind CIOs and architects of current state of IT affairs. There are indeed elephants in the room, in the datacenter and in between the operational and discretionary budgets.
The WebSphere brand may still be holding up the rain forest canopy, but the horizon-to-horizon landscape is all SOA in this "unnamed decade" of IT. Indeed, SOA better than any other concept since electricity binds together all that IBM is and does. SOA is the new IBM uber brand.
IBM Senior Vice President and Software Group Executive Steve Mills told the crowd about the "enduring impact" of SOA. It pulls together technology, business and people -- and makes change easier, he said. Adopt the SOA "style" to integrate a business as a set of linked services that can map to innovation.
IBM sees itself as the tour guide to this reengineered style of corporate management and agility. IBM has the largest direct sales force in the world, at more than 13,000. Think of them as the ticket punchers along the way.
The past is chaos, the future is modular. And you can get on the journey to SOA from many points, at many paces, and from legacy or greenfield contexts, said Mills. Do know that seeking consistent data is a great entry point. Integration and connectivity is an excellent way to get started. Reuse also poses an attractive rationale for SOA activities, he added.
You can get ROI and deploy around SOA simultaneously. Leading adopters of SOA report cost savings (97%), improved flexibility (100%), reduced risk (71%), increased revenue (51%), said Mills. There are also business alignment benefits.
This decade has no name, said Mills, because it's a business decade, not an IT decade. We are moving from an IT view to a process view to a business view inside of today's enterprises. Prebuilt models and components of business functions make this possible, leading to composites of business services from a variety of sources.
This all helps reduce the 70% of IT spent on labor, if you can get it. Automation and reuse cuts wetware and sneakerware. What's more, CIOs that adopt SOA get higher placement in the corporation. They tend to be chief transformation officers, with seats on the executive committee, said Mills. "CIOs have extraordinary leverage," he said.
Web 2.0 also brings more people into the process, while creating nice interfaces too. Social networking relates to transformation through "personal impact" on SOA, said Mills.