IBM Puts the Social in SOA

IBM introduces a new social network for SOA developers.

LAS VEGAS-IBM is taking service-oriented architecture to social networking-in essence, IBM is putting the social in SOA.

At the IBM Impact 2008 conference here, Sandy Carter, vice president of WebSphere and SOA strategy, channels and marketing, announced the IBM's Smart SOA Social Network, a new social network focused on advancing SOA (service oriented architectures).

IBM's SOA Social Network brings together a global community of thought leaders, IT and business professionals, university professors and students, and other interested parties through both online and in-person forums designed to help members build skills and share best practices, Carter said.

Moreover, as part of Impact 2008, IBM is hosting a 72-hour "online jam," known as an SOA Jam, for the global SOA social network to discuss issues, challenges and ideas related to SOA. The SOA Jam is being moderated by industry leaders, academics, analysts, IBM Business Partners and employees from around the world-with 227 countries represented.

The moderators include Dr. Bob Chu, research director at Kingdee, one of China's fastest growing enterprise software providers and Richard Welke, director of the Center for Process Innovation, and professor of computer information systems at the J. Mack Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University.

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IBM's SOA social network spans more than 120 countries, including rapidly developing markets such as Brazil, Russia, India, China-known as the BRIC countries-and the Middle East, Carter said. Virtual interaction is made possible through IBM Lotus Connections technology as well as integration with top social networking communities including Facebook and Twitter, she added.

"We have a thriving SOA community with more than 120,000 architects and developers, over 134 universities contributing to our SOA curriculum, and over 5,000 Business Partners building SOA skills, solutions, and practices to help our clients," Carter said. "Building on our successful pilot program in China, IBM is expanding its SOA social network as a way to share best practices, accelerate SOA projects and bring together the business, IT and academic worlds across roles and industries."

"As an academic and consultant, the SOA social network will help meet the needs of a growing community of IT and business professionals seeking additional, free resources to further navigate their SOA journeys," said Brian Blake, associate professor and chair in the department of computer science at Georgetown University.

Meanwhile, the IBM SOA social network is growing beyond just developers and architects to include business analysts and line of business executives, Carter said. Moreover, these groups will be able to host virtual meetings in Second Life as well as connect face-to-face with other members in the SOA social network through local chapter meetings that are being coordinated by IBM. The SOA social network also aligns members according to their role in the organization which results in subgroups of developers, CIOs and architects collaborating on the future of SOA.

"The Smart SOA Social Network is about connecting you to each other and it's based on the foundation we laid last year," Carter said, speaking of the 2007 IBM Impact event, held in Orlando, Fla., during which IBM set out its goals for helping organizations align enterprise businesses and IT departments in the quest toward increased SOA deployments.

In addition, Carter said the IBM Smart Social Network also is focused on skills. IBM officials said members of the IBM SOA social network can build both business and technical skills. Indeed, Impact attendees will be able to test in any of 189 certifications. IBM has seen a 258 percent growth in its SOA certifications since last year's Impact event.

The IBM SOA social network is open to any customers, partners, academics and interested parties aiming to advance and share SOA knowledge and best practices. Membership is free and not restricted to the IBM community.

Anyone with an interest in SOA is encouraged to participate at