More or Less Rigorous
Opinion: Paths to process improvement may be formal or ad hoc.I noted in my June 12 letter my then-upcoming talk at that weeks Ziff Davis CIO Summit, where I discussed service-oriented architecture and the future-enabling of enterprise systems. I stressed in that talk the distinction between Web services (the technology) and SOA (the potential achievement). Con-Way Transportation Services, for example, built an integration bus and created an event-driven environment that addressed both its own needs and those of its customerswithout waiting for Web services standards to define its approach. Conversely, todays compelling ease of exposing functions as services doesnt necessarily lead to SOA, any more than the use of an object-oriented language leads to taxonomies of semantically complete and broadly reusable business objects. There are, I said in Napa, three key ways to do SOA wrong. You can allow each application silo to grow its own services stack, instead of defining one SOA environment and making applications conform to it. You can let service creation run wild instead of defining a governable process. You can make services easier to reinvent than reuse instead of stressing discoverability.
As is often the case, the technology most commonly available to developers makes it possible to do the right thing, but doesnt make it even the path of least resistancelet alone an enforceable discipline. I spoke last week about solving that problem with the management team at Systinet, which as of this past February has become a division of Mercury Interactive following a $105 million (cash) acquisition. On June 19, Version 2.0 of Systinets Policy Manager product will target that goal by improving the accessibility of enforceable policy creation. This major update will abstract low-level details to enable management-level policy statements, and will also provide both policy creation aids and out-of-the-box policy libraries that encode what the company considers best practices.