White paper - A Social Oriented Architecture (SOA)


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Socially Oriented Architecture (SOA) defines the use of information services to support business requirements. As such SOA utilizes a combination of existing and new enabling technologies. A “service” may encapsulate an entire business process, or embody one or more aspects of an existing business process. XML-based Web Services are a popular way to expose these services within and across enterprises, but are by no means the only way to realize an SOA vision.
Thought leaders of SOA see it not as yet another technology hype-curve, but as a fundamental shift in the persona of enterprise information management architecture away from a state where all data is ‘owned’ by the enterprise - and IT professionals are responsible for the security, provisioning and management of all data consumed by the enterprise - to a state where information workers, as consumers of ‘information services’, are provided with the tools and competencies to serve themselves with the information that matters most to them through systems shaped by themselves for their own purposes operating within a regimented corporate computing environment protecting the best interests of the enterprise.
Seen through this broader definition, SOA is not a move from one enterprise computing architecture to another, but the definitive technology enabler to transition organizational design from an inflexible top-down command and control system to something more agile and innovative. For this reason, SOA is progressively reaching into the boardroom as a key competitive differentiator; pulling through in its wake new innovations in IT that include cloud computing, business social networking, enterprise mashups, business intelligence and master data management.

In this White Paper I review the emergence of a new computing paradigm.

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White paper - A Social Oriented Architecture (SOA)

  2. 2. ENCANVAS WHITE PAPER | A Social Oriented Architecture Contents OVERVIEW................................................................................................................................. 3 FROM SOA TO ‘SOA’ ............................................................................................................. 5 ARCHITECTURAL LAYERS .................................................................................................... 5 EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES............................................................................................... 9 BUILDING BLOCKS ............................................................................................................... 12 FOCUSING ON ‘IT DESIGN’ WITHOUT ‘ORGANIZATIONAL DESIGN’ ............... 20 STATES OF SOA IMPLEMENTATION ............................................................................. 21 THE JOURNEY ........................................................................................................................ 22 OBSERVATIONS .................................................................................................................... 25© 2009 Encanvas Inc. 2
  3. 3. ENCANVAS WHITE PAPER | A Social Oriented Architecture OVERVIEW In the face of near-constant changes to market conditions, the design of the enterprise is itself changing. Today, business agility - the ability to adapt to market conditions - is recognized as an important competitive differentiator. But hampering business agility, and therefore growth, is the ability of information systems to adapt in line with organizational information demands. Enterprise information management systems represent huge investments by companies to optimize their business processes and leverage their corporate information assets. They take a long time to get right, and they’re not so easy to change. For business managers, exploiting the knowledge they’ve already acquired is hampered by the complexity of IT systems architectures made up of many disparate data repositories originally designed to serve operating silos and peculiar business processes. And providing knowledge workers with the new applications needed to respond to the business situations they face is inhibited not just by corporate capacity but by the high cost of change and the need to repeatedly invest in shrink-wrapped software or fund high-risk software developments. The consequence on businesses is that talented managers lack the insights and optimized processes they need to adapt and respond to new market situations, opportunities and competitive threats.© 2009 Encanvas Inc. 3
  4. 4. ENCANVAS WHITE PAPER | A Social Oriented Architecture One approach to creating so-called AGILE IT is to adopt a services-oriented architecture. The underlying ethos of this approach is to enable ‘information consumers’ to serve themselves with the new applications and views of information they demand through composite applications to harvest pre-structured data feeds from disparate back-office systems and public sources. The holy grail is to completely remove the frictional cost of transforming IT systems and one of the major ingredients to make this possible is to remove the complexity (and therefore IT skills) required of today’s business analysts and software applications developers. But the focus of attention towards serving of data can disguise the real purpose and rewards of doing so. It doesn’t answer the questions ‘Serve who? And Why?’ This paper argues that the orientation of business information systems design should be on the creation, support and nurturing of social communities where people can consume applications and information on their own terms; acting within a secure and live environment. It calls on business and IT leaders is to acknowledge the pivotal role that communities play in organizations and the criticality of producing information systems engineered to create, support and nurture a socially oriented ‘secure and live’ online working environment - not for philanthropic or reasons of experimental curiosity - but for clearly defined business reasons that have a solid ROI. ABOUT THIS DOCUMENT This document is intended for business and IT leaders and provides an overview of the ‘must-do-wells’ and critical success factors surrounding the move from traditional enterprise IT platforms to a modern Social Oriented Architecture.© 2009 Encanvas Inc. 4
  5. 5. ENCANVAS WHITE PAPER | A Social Oriented Architecture FROM SOA TO ‘SOA’ Socially Oriented Architecture (SOA) defines the use of information services to support business requirements. As such SOA utilizes a combination of existing and new enabling technologies. A “service” may encapsulate an entire business process, or embody one or more aspects of an existing business process. XML-based Web Services are a popular way to expose these services within and across enterprises, but are by no means the only way to realize an SOA vision. Thought leaders of SOA see it not as yet another technology hype-curve, but as a fundamental shift in the persona of enterprise information management architecture away from a state where all data is ‘owned’ by the enterprise - and IT professionals are responsible for the security, provisioning and management of all data consumed by the enterprise - to a state where information workers, as consumers of ‘information services’, are provided with the tools and competencies to serve themselves with the information that matters most to them through systems shaped by themselves for their own purposes operating within a regimented corporate computing environment protecting the best interests of the enterprise. Seen through this broader definition, SOA is not a move from one enterprise computing architecture to another, but the definitive technology enabler to transition organizational design from an inflexible top-down command and control system to something more agile and innovative. For this reason, SOA is progressively reaching into the boardroom as a key competitive differentiator; pulling through in its wake new innovations in IT that include cloud computing, business social networking, enterprise mashups, business intelligence and master data management. ARCHITECTURAL LAYERS The principle building blocks and technologies of a Socially Oriented Architecture fall into four main architectural layers. These are:  Data management (the ‘data’ layer)  Orchestration and administration of services (the ‘orchestration’ layer)  Portals and user interface (the ‘consumer’ layer)  Platform and security (the ‘platform governance’ layer) Under each segment the author summarizes associated technologies and services described in more detail in the next section. 1. Data management Organizations grow their data structures in a haphazard way; progressively acquiring isolated software applications to serve specific business processes. The result is a cacophony of disparate data silos with self-serving data structures. These isolated© 2009 Encanvas Inc. 5
  6. 6. ENCANVAS WHITE PAPER | A Social Oriented Architecture systems will contain data items that exist in other systems – such as account or customer names and addresses – to be re-keyed into multiple databases because systems are expected to operate in isolation of other systems. In the 20th century, a prescribed solution to this problem was to build an enterprise- wide system that presented a single version of the truth; what became popularly known as enterprise resource planning systems. The excessive cost of customizing these mammoth IT systems meant that homemade ‘quick-fix’ and ‘bridging’ applications would soon be needed around these monolithic systems to serve changing business needs until they weren’t presenting a ‘single version of the truth’ any more. An evolving information working environment is demanding new thinking in approaches to enterprise data management: The source of data is changing. Up to 60% of business critical data is thought to exist on the hard drives and in the heads of workers. And information workers today want to access other data that falls beyond the limits of core systems in a digital world where more information is available outside of the enterprise than within it – not just available public data services accessible over the web but also partner sites, the social networking sites that customers, colleagues and professional bodies use, third party list brokers, expert knowledge and information service providers such as Hoovers, research and analyst firms such as IDC and Gartner. Harvesting all of this knowledge and combining it safely with corporate data has the potential to transform the workplace. Nevertheless the road to achieving value from this new data rich environment presents entirely new challenges to IT leaders. Most workers today are computer literature and accustomed to serving themselves with information from consumer sites. They also expect to be able to leverage their social networks at work while information services (like Google search) are trusted more by information workers than corporate systems to find the insights they need. To achieve their role objectives, many information workers need to access resources outside of their organization – such as online services (like online contact information sources, image libraries, websites of professional bodies, support websites etc). The idea of a single internally managed system to serve business information needs – the panacea vision of many IT leaders in the 20th century – is regarded today as a 20th century perspective.© 2009 Encanvas Inc. 6
  7. 7. ENCANVAS WHITE PAPER | A Social Oriented Architecture Technologies to consider:  Relational Database Management  Extract Transform and Load (ETL)  Data Interrogation and Data Quality Analysis  Transformational services and competencies:  Master data management design  Data cleansing and transformation 2. Designing, orchestrating and administering services Web Services is a term used to describe data flows usually formed by transforming hybrid data structures into a common Web Services Description Language (WSDL) format. This is a file format based loosely around XML. While there are a number of tools and templates for creating Web Services, the bigger challenge is to appreciate what data items consuming applications are likely to require. It’s actually been possible to acquire data from a mix of computer systems and file formats for several years now using Open Database Compliant (ODBC) connectors and middleware tools that provide feeds of XML and .CSV file formats from disparate systems but the issues IT leaders have faced using these traditional methods come in two forms: 1. Knowing how data is structured and what data exists A great many computer systems are so old, or the information about them so coveted by their suppliers, that IT leaders are unable to know what data or data structures exist until they scratch the surface on a new project. 2. Managing the demand of future data consumption traffic on core systems With the potential of hundreds, maybe thousands, of new requests to consume information from core back-office systems, IT leaders face the risk that information consumers will make so many database queries that the performance of the response platform becomes unsustainably poor. Technologies to consider:  Cloud service and administration platform  SOA library management  Transformational services and competencies:  Pre-templated Web Services (sometimes available for specific systems or industries)© 2009 Encanvas Inc. 7
  8. 8. ENCANVAS WHITE PAPER | A Social Oriented Architecture 3. Portals and user interface The web browser has become the defacto user interface of choice. In previous years, the programmatic limitations of the Hypertext Modelling Language (HTML) used by browsers to present pages of information meant that the possibilities of UI design were constrained, but with recent advances in data interchange technologies such as XML and AJAX, it is now possible for Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) to serve user experiences to Web portals that rival installed desktop software. Use of portals as the user interface for business applications as part of a client-server architecture has many advantages for organizations:  Installation of software applications is removed.  Applications can be viewed on any device with a browser – mobile phone or device, PC, laptop, games console or television!  More robust and easier to manage security frameworks can be installed that reduces the risk of data loss including the removed risk of computers being physically stolen.  Data archival and backup procedures are easier to maintain.  Deploying applications on Web Server platforms that present applications to users via Web browsers makes it possible to remove the overheads of operating hosting platforms. Traditional enterprise portal architectures were modelled on a legacy idea of ‘IT stacks’ built by expert computer professionals. The advent of socially oriented computing means that new adaptive Rich Internet Applications born out of innovations in web technology platforms (so called ‘Web 2.0’ technologies) are now making their way progressively into organizations. Technologies to consider:  Enterprise mashups portal/composite applications and BPM platform  Social operating system  Business intelligence  Geo-spatial mapping  Transformational services and competencies:  Iterative applications design and re-engineering  Systems integration  AppStore design and deployment© 2009 Encanvas Inc. 8
  9. 9. ENCANVAS WHITE PAPER | A Social Oriented Architecture 4. Platform and security SOA harnesses a series of by now well-understood methods, processes and technologies into a coherent information management architecture for the enterprise. Whilst the solution is not a ‘black-box’ that an organization can simply procure and install, it is a finite technology structure. For business enterprises, this platform must be able to meet stringent business continuity, security and governance expectations in order for it to be considered. Technologies to consider:  Web Portal architecture  Transformational services and competencies:  Platform deployment  Integrating with existing access control systems and Single Sign On  Establishing a data governance regime EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES Four technologies are set to make a huge impact on the possibilities of socially- oriented computing: Data Quality Management Software Software tools like Datanomic are presenting affordable ways for companies to first make sense of their data structures and secondly to cleanse data through powerful normalization algorithms that take much of the drudgery out of organizing content in readiness for services-oriented computing. Cloud Computing Cloud computing is an emerging computing model by which users can gain access to their preferred portfolio of information services from anywhere, through any connected device that uses an Internet browser. The term cloud is used as a metaphor for the Internet to suggest a ‘digital cloud’ that’s everywhere that can provide information services to web-connected users who are able to access their information resources from anywhere at any time of the day. One third of all new IT investment will go on cloud-based technologies by 2013’ – so says IT market analysts IDC. The three main categories of cloud computing technology are: 1. The virtualized hardware and operating systems platforms 2. Platform administration services 3. Application design and deployment services© 2009 Encanvas Inc. 9
  10. 10. ENCANVAS WHITE PAPER | A Social Oriented Architecture These enormous virtualization platforms are so vast that only the very largest computer vendors are able to compete in this market, running countless server farms the size of aircraft hangers in multiple locations around the world to provide localized data management services, backup and redundancy. As might be expected the same familiar list of vendors also provide platform administration services (i.e. the technology to operate the core platforms and enable customers to upload their platform applications, manage their server utilization and data storage etc.). Buyers gain more variety and choice when it comes to applications design and deployment services with many of the Enterprise Mashup Portal platforms now supporting modules to design and deploy applications from the desktop without requiring additional tools for orchestration or content management. The technology of cloud computing is set to have a major impact on business because it enables the complete outsourcing of the hardware, operating systems and data storage platforms required to support business applications. This lessens the need for businesses to invest in IT infrastructure, employ their own IT support staff and means they can cut energy usage. Key vendors in cloud computing include IBM, Amazon, Microsoft, Oracle (who recently acquired Sun Microsystems) and Google. Enterprise Mashup Portals (that produce ‘composite’ situational applications) This new genre of software gives business people the tools they need to develop new insights and act on new business opportunities without depending on IT professionals to deliver all of their information needs. Mashups bring together existing information services and then provide design tools to enable non-technical authors to build new applications and views. Most early mashup software applications were simple Web applications designed for stand-alone use, but the next generation enterprise mashup portals represent a fundamental new ‘information consumption’ technology layer in enterprise information management engineered to produce new portals and applications time and again without technical complexity. The ease of use matched with functional completeness of these new Enterprise Mashup Portal Platforms means they have the potential to displace the role of traditional enterprise content management and portal suites businesses use today. Key vendors in this space include Encanvas, Serena, Interneer and JackBe. Social Operating Systems A social operating system provides systematic management and facilitation of human relationships and interactions. The most well known example of a fledgling social operating system is Facebook. Increasingly people of all ages around the world are using platforms like Facebook to connect to friends, colleagues and business prospects to forge relationships. Having established relationship ties, users can exploit the rich© 2009 Encanvas Inc. 10
  11. 11. ENCANVAS WHITE PAPER | A Social Oriented Architecture features of these platforms to share knowledge, participate in special interest groups and store their rich media files and documents. Key capabilities of social operating systems are outlined in the diagram below. We’ve yet to reach the stage in technology development where social operating systems are fully complete but vendors like Apple, Facebook, Google, Encanvas, Jive, Cisco and IBM are busy building their platforms to make social operating systems deliver all of the functionality users want from their workspace in a single place. Your SOS portal is likely to be the ‘place where you go to work’ in future. This technology is maturing fast: Google is able to offer a pretty complete suite of services that includes online versions of the desktop tools people use today (word processors, spreadsheets etc.), news- services, file and knowledge management tools, live-web chat, mapping and collaboration tools. In 2009, Google started to expose its new Google Wave communications technology for live communications and collaboration on the Web; the technology earmarked to replace email. Google is busy creating an operating systems environment that provides easy to use developer tools so that third party developers have more possibilities to harness their platform.© 2009 Encanvas Inc. 11
  12. 12. ENCANVAS WHITE PAPER | A Social Oriented Architecture Facebook is the No.1 social networking site and is currently working on its meta- tagging of video and rich content so that it becomes much easier for people to manage and share their files. They have a rapidly growing AppStore of third party applications. Encanvas is the youngest of the companies in this space but its Integrated Software Platform provides a uniquely scalable portal architecture to grow innovation using structured building blocks without the traditional challenges of platform version control, security and custom programming that its rivals suffer from. The pace at which Encanvas can bring on new innovations is therefore impressive and in just 18-months the company has developed mashups, mapping, business intelligence and forms capture design capabilities that give it credentials as one of the most technically complete services-oriented technology platforms. In 2010 the company launches its rival to Google Wave (Encanvas Squork) and a new portfolio of data visualization design elements. BUILDING BLOCKS Overview The illustration below provides a simplistic overview of a Socially Oriented Architecture presenting the main architectural layers and technology componentry. Platform Governance Layer • Web Portal Architecture (includes security framework and data governance) Consumer Layer • Social operating system • Enterprise mashups/composite applications and BPM platform • Business intelligence • Geo-spatial mapping Orchestration Layer • Cloud services and administration platform • SOA library management services Data Layer • Data interrogation and data quality analysis • Extract, Transform & Load • Relational Database Management Each component is described in more detail in this section presented in reverse order to the diagram (i.e. starting from the data platform outwards).© 2009 Encanvas Inc. 12
  13. 13. ENCANVAS WHITE PAPER | A Social Oriented Architecture Technology The technology building blocks of SOA are:  Relational database management  Extract transform and load (ETL)  Data interrogation and data quality analysis  SOA library management  Enterprise mashups/composite applications and BPM platform  Social operating system  Business intelligence  Geo-spatial mapping  Web portal architecture  Cloud services and administration platform Relational Database Management The foundation of SOA is a well-organized data model that can only be achieved through the use of relational databases that describe the relationships between items of data and organize data in such as way that relationships between data items can be exposed. There are a wide variety of relational database products available today (some are free or Open Source) but it makes sense to standardize on one. Porting from one relational database system to another is not an insignificant challenge – and most cloud computing platforms will prescribe the relational database platforms they’re able to support. Without an open industry standard database format, selection of a relational database management system is an important decision for organizations of any size. Extract Transform and Load (ETL) The process of moving data out of one data source into another is complicated by the variety of data formats and structures in play. It is also complicated by impurities in the quality of data (data quality remains one of the most common reasons for project failure). Another technical challenge emerges when transformations need to be applied to data to get it into the right format, or when formulas or conditions need to be applied prior to moving the data (such as currency changes, situations when data fields need to be aggregated or accrued over a period). To assist IT professionals in solving these issues, Extract, Transform and Load software tools have been developed that automate transitions and cleanse data as it is moved from one data structure to another. ETL tools play a key role in SOA transformation projects.© 2009 Encanvas Inc. 13
  14. 14. ENCANVAS WHITE PAPER | A Social Oriented Architecture Data Interrogation and Data Quality Analysis Software tools exist today that enable the interrogation of data to expose the data assets and relationship ties that exist. This enables IT professionals to gain an appreciation of third party or legacy systems where knowledge of structures and understanding of the quality of data is weak. Having understood the weaknesses in data quality, some of the more sophisticated data analysis tools will offer cleansing and normalization tools (similar to ETL products) that facilitate data transformations and the creation of Web Services. SOA library management Creating individual Web Services is one thing but encouraging the re-use of services is another. There are a number of ways to achieve the goal of re-use of services but the decision whether to build applications or information services first is a chicken and egg argument (i.e. one has no value without the other). SOA libraries provide the glue that bind users to the information services available to them. Dependent on the privileges of the user, the level of accessibility to information services may need to vary. There are only a few ‘shrink-wrapped’ SOA library tools, though more are now emerging through demand for simpler creation and administration of web services. Enterprise mashups portals/composite applications and BPM platform Enterprise mashup portal software is Rich Internet Applications (RIA) design, deployment and run-time platforms purpose-built to mashup and ‘consume’ web services. It gives users the ability to create their own composite applications that combine web services to produce new views of information and better ways of working with it (some platforms include capabilities to capture data too). More popular tools make it easy for non-technical people to build and deploy their applications; though the presumption in most cases is that IT will continue to manage the administration and governance of platforms. Enterprise Mashups software is set to supersede traditional enterprise portal platforms because it enables users and user groups to fashion their own personalized portals in response to new business situations unlike existing technologies that require IT assistance at every stage of the applications life-cycle (The other likely possibility is that current enterprise portal platforms will morph to embrace the qualities of mashup platforms). Social operating system Social operating systems lever Rich Internet Applications Web 2.0 technology platforms to provide a computing environment where people can grow and support their social interactions on the Web. Once a consumer-oriented activity, social networking has become business-centric over recent years and is set to grow in© 2009 Encanvas Inc. 14
  15. 15. ENCANVAS WHITE PAPER | A Social Oriented Architecture popularity as organizations begin to realize the business benefits of harnessing talent and social relationship ties within and beyond their enterprise. SOS’s take the form of a live online collaborative space where people can profile themselves and their interests, contact friends, colleagues (people known to them). Then users lever a mixed bag of Web 2.0 tools such as wikis, web-chat, blogs, crowd-sourcing tools, AppStores, content management and document sharing tools etc. to fashion an engaging workspace to facilitate data access, data transfer, communications, document sharing etc. via an online browser. Unlike traditional enterprise portals, the emphasis of social operating systems is on the individualism and interests of the user. Every aspect of the information management architecture is geared towards bringing value to the information consumer. For businesses, this change in systems ideology also comes from the learning lessons of attempts to implement enterprise knowledge management systems over the past 20 years; the recognition that deployments are only successful when IT brings value to the individual first and the organization second. Business intelligence The scope of business intelligence technologies has changed over time. Once a mechanism to drill-down through known data sets and create new data views to produce reports, dashboards and graphical perspectives of insights, business intelligence software has also become more of a self-service component in enterprise information management. Business intelligence today is more about gathering insights to aid workers in seeking answers to new questions rather than providing evidence to answer questions already well understood (most business applications today provide quite suitable reporting tools today to support this need). In an information consumer-centric world, users across the enterprise expect the ability to serve themselves with insights, tapping into pockets of data held across the enterprise and enriching it with a broader portfolio of resources from known third parties and public sources. Instead of being served-up pre-defined views of data they expect to enjoy more versatile analysis and enquiry tools that give them the ability to build ‘personalized views’ and create their own ‘what if’ scenarios. The delivery of insights has been broadened to wider communities of individuals beyond the borders of the enterprise as partners and customers expect to be able to share insights in their secure workspace environments. Rather than being seen as a discrete process, it has become an attribute of modern workspace portals and SOA oriented data mashup technologies are proving useful in this area to provide the self- service, federated views that people want.© 2009 Encanvas Inc. 15
  16. 16. ENCANVAS WHITE PAPER | A Social Oriented Architecture Geo-spatial mapping Organizations have come to realize the business benefits of being able to capture, analyze and view corporate information assets on maps. Whether the subject is the location of customers, assets, events, resources or real estate, having the ability to make sense and organize insights through map views now performs a key role in enterprise information management. Once considered almost a black art, enterprise mashup technologies have made geo-spatial technologies accessible to all, without requiring specialist competencies in computing or geo-spatial intelligence. Enterprise mashup platforms like Encanvas treat geo-spatial data assets and mapping resources like any other data item and release organizations from the need to procure specialist talent and software simply to capture, analyze and present data on maps. Cloud services and administration platform The ability to publish applications to third party hosted Web environments has enormous potential to reduce the cost of IT to both large and small organizations. Cloud computing describes the latest genre of hosted technology platforms that enable processor power, memory and infrastructure to be shared (i.e. the co- habitation of a server environment by multiple clients at the same time) where the ability to scale and grow resources to serve peaks and troughs of demand is well catered for by the technology architecture. For organizations seeking to deploy their business applications to a virtualized Web Server environment, the ability to design, rapidly deploy and govern the operation of portal spaces becomes a key priority. Enterprise Mashup Portal Platforms like Encanvas simplify these processes by providing a single, integrated technology architecture that supports all stages of this life-cycle (through to on-going operational management of cloud deployed applications) without requiring deep technical competencies or use of a myriad of third party software tools. Web portal architecture The demands placed on the technical architecture of Web Portal architectures used for business are complex and demand an enormous investment in development. For this reason only a small number of enterprise portal platforms exist that can discharge the full gamut of technical capabilities. An even of these platforms can offer Web 2.0 features such as enterprise mashups and social operating systems capabilities demanded of a modern ‘consumer-centric’ services-oriented architecture. Key capability areas include:© 2009 Encanvas Inc. 16
  17. 17. ENCANVAS WHITE PAPER | A Social Oriented Architecture Scalability It’s critical that enterprise-computing platforms have the ability to scale to meet changing business needs for information. Traditional approaches to enterprise computing have focused on acquiring shrink-wrapped software to serve every key business process or line-of-business area and this complexity has created growth inflexibility. Services-oriented architectures create more commonality in the platform components used to design, deploy and operate business applications and when properly architected, this formalization of platform components provides the ability for IT systems to scale. Enterprise Portal Platforms must demonstrate their ability to support massively scaling portal architectures for the establishment of hundreds if not thousands of unique user and group portals, many of which, in future, are likely to be designed and deployed by users themselves. Version control Managing versions of software platforms is a major headache for both software vendors and buyers. The traditional approach to introducing new features in a software platform has been to gather up a series of new feature requests and supply a new version level to all customers. New enterprise mashup portal platforms remove this restriction on both supplier and user by providing a ‘toolkit’ to enable organizations to produce as many different mashup portals and applications as they like based on a common architecture – so it is the building blocks used to develop applications become common rather than the higher level presentation of forms, structures of databases etc. Security As a topic, security covers the protection of an enterprise computing environment and the business critical processes it serves. The business requirement to extend networks and processes beyond the traditional boundaries of the enterprise (and therefore over the Firewall) means that concepts of security good practice have moved away from protecting the silos of data, to protecting corporate systems and data assets by guarding access to web spaces and the data they consume. Therefore, SOA is in the front-line of corporate security. Security professionals are now thinking in terms of ‘inclusive security’ (i.e. Managing the components of a security model – the users and their privileges, messages transferred, items of data etc.) rather than some form of impenetrable security outer shell for the enterprise. Key areas of security provisioning include:  User Identity Management and Access Control  Knowing who users are and setting access privileges.© 2009 Encanvas Inc. 17
  18. 18. ENCANVAS WHITE PAPER | A Social Oriented Architecture  Data governance and security  Establishing a distributed ownership and accountability for the protection of data that extends beyond the IT department and providing tools for data risk assessment.  Systems and networks security  Ensuring the Web Portal platform architecture used is protecting systems, networks and data from external attack.  Message transport security  Preventing messages and transferred files from being intercepted.  Document-level security and rights management  Securing the confidentiality and retaining the intellectual property of files being shared (and through their onward journey if distributed by third parties). Transformational Services The transformational services of SOA are:  Master data management design  Data cleansing and transformation  Pre-templated Web Services (sometimes available for specific systems or industries)  Iterative applications design and re-engineering  Systems integration  AppStore design and deployment  Platform deployment  Integrating with existing access control systems and Single Sign On (SSO)  Establishing a data governance regime Master data management design Master Data Management describes a framework for organizing data so that every associated data component is held only once (and its most appropriate location) in the data model. For example, any data associated with members of staff should perhaps exist in a ‘People’ database while any data associated with Customers appears in a ‘Customer’ database. Why is this important? Well, by way of example, it’s not uncommon to find data about members of staff to appear in data tables found in email, HR, project management, workforce management, calendar management, document management, CRM, social networking and home-grown systems and spreadsheets. The consequences of this dispersed data structure are:  The organization is unable to realize the full knowledge it holds on its people.© 2009 Encanvas Inc. 18
  19. 19. ENCANVAS WHITE PAPER | A Social Oriented Architecture  Members of staff spend too much time keying data into computers that they already hold elsewhere in the data architecture.  The organization lacks a single-version of the truth that can cause different (potentially false or inaccurate) views of its people to exist.  For services-oriented computing to function correctly it’s important that a master data management approach is applied to data modelling in order to prevent information consumers from obtaining conflicting views of data and drawing the wrong conclusions from them. Data cleansing and transformation Sometimes seen to be the lowest level of the IT food chain, getting data quality right can involve a great deal of effort to produce a result business stakeholders already assumed was in place! But (honoring the ‘garbage in, garbage out adage’, failing to solve data quality issues early in an IT project can easily result in its failure. Fortunately there are specialist service providers and toolkits available today to minimize the cost of transforming, cleansing and normalizing data. Pre-templated Web Services (sometimes available for specific systems or industries) For some industries and business processes, experience in previous SOA projects mean that vendors are able to supply off-the-shelf Web Services templates (sometimes entire libraries). Whilst it’s unlikely these solutions will solve every business need, they can be used to cut the cost of implementations and provide a start-point for service provisioning. Iterative applications design and re-engineering Gone are the days when software needed to be created by large teams adopting a waterfall project management model. Today’s agile development tools mean that Web Services can be designed as part of iterative software development projects that enable business and IT people to work together in a workshop environment to shape right-first-time information management solutions. Using products like Encanvas that show on-screen WYSIWYG results and that remove coding or scripting competencies, it becomes easier to embed skilled business analysts (with the ability to build SOA solutions) into process improvement teams. Systems integration The enterprise mashup capabilities of modern SOA systems mean that acquiring data held in different file formats and data sources is no longer as complicated as it used to be. Still, Web Services perform a major role in enabling this consumer-centric accessibility to corporate data and formalizing approaches to data source access.© 2009 Encanvas Inc. 19
  20. 20. ENCANVAS WHITE PAPER | A Social Oriented Architecture Design and deployment of custom AppStores Organizations today have the potential to create a library of mashup applications that provide users with ready-to-use tools they can select for use in their workspaces in much the same way that iPhone users do. A services-oriented approach encourages the repeated use of applications and information sources through creative solutions like self-service AppStores. Platform deployment Specifying platform requirements and managing the design and deployment of a Web Portal hosting environment are services available now from IT services companies and systems integrators. Suppliers of cloud computing platforms will also typically offer tools and affiliates able to assist in creating a suitable hosting platform. Platforms like Encanvas fully manage the deployment and orchestration of portal sites on both cloud and in-premises hosted platforms and require very little IT skills or resources to commission. Integrating with existing Access Control systems and Single Sign On For organizations already operating a directory of users, it’s possible to integrate these existing user identity management systems with new enterprise mashup portal platforms. The most common system used by companies today is Active Directory (recommended by Microsoft). New service-oriented portal platforms can also integrate via Single-Sign-On so users need only login once to their Intranet or Extranet portal platform. Establishing a data governance regime In most organizations today it’s assumed that the IT department is the watchdog of the enterprise and is responsible for data security. The move towards self-service computing is placing more pressure on line of business areas to take more accountability for the security of data related to their business disciplines. For this reason, some modern enterprise mashup portal platforms like Encanvas provide administrative cockpits to enable line of business managers to govern the exposure of their data to Web Service libraries and require designers to specifically request for permission to access data (which is logged). They also provide data visualization tools to make sense of large volumes of data usage traffic and expose potential areas of risk through usage behaviors. FOCUSING ON ‘IT DESIGN’ WITHOUT ‘ORGANIZATIONAL DESIGN’ It’s a big mistake to attempt to design and deploy a services-oriented computing approach without a parallel project geared at re-engineering organizational behaviors. Whilst social operating systems themselves can change the attitudes and behaviors of staff, it’s unusual for a change in management approach to happen by itself.© 2009 Encanvas Inc. 20
  21. 21. ENCANVAS WHITE PAPER | A Social Oriented Architecture Technology can be a great enabler but unless managers across the enterprise encourage a culture of curiosity, the advantages of SOA as a competitive differentiator are likely to be consumed by departmental politics and people who show highly charged negativity towards ‘change’. STATES OF SOA IMPLEMENTATION Whilst many organizations are well on the way to building a socially oriented architecture (although they may not be fully aware of the fact), others have yet to start. Of those that have made the first tentative steps into transforming their information worker environment, some continue to employ traditional ‘IT stack’ portal and content management technologies and have yet to make the transformation to consumer centric ‘Web 2.0’ technology platforms (the broad term used to describe Enterprise Mashups, Composite Applications, Agile Business Intelligence and Social Operating Systems). The key states of SOA implementation are illustrated below. Accepting the business case for SOA Organizations coming to terms with enterprise agility challenges and the need for services-oriented computing (readiness assessment) Requirements analysis and definition Detailed analysis of business needs and technology challenges Partner selection Choosing the best-fit project support and technology partners Implementation and rollout Implementation of web services and composite applications. Formation of MDM architecture, Web Services library and AppsStore Technology selection Agreeing on the technology strategy for enterprise (mashup) portals and enterprise social operating system© 2009 Encanvas Inc. 21
  22. 22. ENCANVAS WHITE PAPER | A Social Oriented Architecture THE JOURNEY The roadmap for implementing a socially oriented architecture will depend largely on the activities of organization, the degree of knowledge working that takes place and the extent to which information needs to be accessed and re-used but a typical example is described below (based on deployment examples in financial services, government and the transport industry). ACCEPTING THE BUSINESS CASE FOR SOCIALLY ORIENTED COMPUTING Work out if you need SOA Although it’s highly likely that a socially oriented architecture is the way forward, just because your organization wants to harness its information assets isn’t a reason to invest millions in SOA. Modern enterprise mashup platforms are capable of acquiring and serving information assets from back-systems with or without Web Services. But if your organization relies on the knowledge, creativity and innovation of its people and you’re organization has silos of data held in back-office systems then SOA is probably for you. REQUIREMENTS ANALYSIS AND DEFINITION Scrutinize what processes really matter and where information systems underperform It sounds almost too obvious to be worthy of stating but SOA projects that start with a clear view of targeted business outcomes and the potential impact of the process improvements they’re expected to influence are more likely to succeed. Many SOA projects start with an IT focus and remain solidly bound to the Technology department. Creating a clear picture of the quick-wins and opportunities of SOA demands that SOA projects start through discussions with line of business stakeholders and senior managers committed to developing better ways of working. Model your architecture Fail to plan, plan to fail. Whilst much of the technical development of services-oriented solutions demands an iterative applications development approach, a well thought out master data management roadmap is essential to the success of SOA projects. Identify the first projects and quick-wins Any readiness assessment exercise should identify the most worthy and addressable business processes that can be improved (and return cashable efficiency savings or competitive advantage) through the implementation of a serviced-oriented approach. Check for data quality It’s a good idea to audit data quality at an early stage in the project and consider enrichment possibilities.© 2009 Encanvas Inc. 22
  23. 23. ENCANVAS WHITE PAPER | A Social Oriented Architecture PARTNER SELECTION Systems integration and Web Service development The key partner role is to steer the SOA transformation project. Sometimes, it is better to have two partners engaged:  An existing systems integrator to manage data sourcing, data quality and cleansing. This organization should possess a clear appreciation of the data structures that exist and knowledge of how to create a Web Services library. Ideally this organization should have access to templated Web Services examples for the industry  An SOA practitioner with experience in creating Web Services and working with enterprise mashup and social networking applications. IMPLEMENTATION AND ROLLOUT Get started on your first mashup applications (probably using ‘live feeds’) It normally makes sense to start SOA projects by developing some quick-win solutions with line-of-business managers. This not only achieves ‘buy-in’ with business stakeholders but also rapidly proves the economic worth of SOA. To minimize the complexity of projects, its better to start with automated uploads from core systems rather than architecting web services immediately. This approach ensures that the data requirements of the consuming applications are adequately served before a great deal of effort is invested to source data in a more formal way. Iterate, build and document the first set of applications The design of applications using iterative applications development tools like Encanvas, Cordys, Magic Software, Serena and JackBe dramatically reduces costs and increases the likelihood of right-first-time systems but it doesn’t remove the necessity for well documented help files and structured project management. User Acceptance Testing (UAT) / tuning / iteration The nature of iterative applications design is that innovation becomes more possible (and is more affordable because ‘learning lessons’ are more easily resolved). Another impact of iterative design is that expectations grow from stakeholders to build better applications with richer functionality owning to the fact that they can realize the potential impact ‘best-fit’ solutions can have on their business processes. This normally means that first-cut systems will probably go through any number of iterations – but this isn’t a problem as the time and cost involved in creating the best-fit solution is a fraction of traditional custom applications development (or shrink wrapped software) costs. Prior to final ‘go live’ on new applications, it may be appropriate to re-visit the© 2009 Encanvas Inc. 23
  24. 24. ENCANVAS WHITE PAPER | A Social Oriented Architecture data architecture and integration to create more resilient data connectors and perhaps build a ‘return loop’ to update or enrich back-office systems. Agree the Master Data Management architecture Probably as a parallel process to the design and deployment of applications, systems architects will need to formulate a clearer view of the master data management framework of the enterprise. Go live on first projects The first projects ‘go live’. TECHNOLOGY SELECTION Enterprise Mashup Portals / Composite Applications & BPM / Social Operating System / Agile Business Intelligence… It may appear odd to be considering technology at this late stage in the implementation! This is made possible by the number of software vendors prepared to provide free software for evaluation periods which means the software used to prototype and trial applications doesn’t have to be what the organization ends up with. Perhaps the most important strategic technology decision is which enterprise portal platform and social operating system to run with. While many of the traditional players in enterprise computing – IBM, Oracle, Microsoft, SAP –have portal offerings and are likely to re-build their platform architectures to embrace socially oriented computing, the new-kids from the Web 2.0 world with their social operating systems features such as Apple, Google, Encanvas, Facebook, Jive and JackBe – are quickly establishing themselves as aggressively priced technology providers well placed to create secure and live online community spaces. ASSESSMENT The purpose of the assessment stage is to review performance of the project. For example, has the project delivered on its targeted outcomes? Is the resulting environment as good as it could be? Where has the project or the resulting information management platform underperformed? Prove the ROI and get the endorsements It’s an important element of the ASSESSMENT phase to measure the business impact of the first phase of projects. An aspect of ROI not to miss is the productivity enablement of key workers made possible by the implementation of socially oriented computing.© 2009 Encanvas Inc. 24
  25. 25. ENCANVAS WHITE PAPER | A Social Oriented Architecture OBSERVATIONS From deployments conducted to-date there is a mixed picture of the value SOA brings to organizations and much has to do with interpretations of what ‘success’ looks like. Some projects have become IT driven enterprise initiatives lacking suitable sponsorship inside the business to give them clarity of purpose and direction, while others have been driven by senior management teams and have seemingly transformed business behaviors and results. The majority appear to fall somewhere between. The author draws out the following observations on critical success factors gathered from published case study examples: Achieving buy-in from business and technology stakeholders Without buy-in and reinforcement of the project by senior members from both business and technology communities there is a significant risk of under-performance, if not outright failure. In addition, SOA implementations have the potential to cut across “fiefdoms” which can translate into potential brick walls. Senior executives must embrace the initiative to ensure its success. Early appreciation of organizational culture bottlenecks Successful implementations show the importance of a clear understanding of the prevailing culture of the organization in which the implementation will reside. There must be a quantification of the level of acceptance of change within the affected areas of the organization. Starting in the right place showing the rewards of SOA investments FAST Often, SOA initiatives are driven by IT because IT leaders appreciate the potential rewards for the organization they serve, yet the complexity of IT can disguise the importance of getting the ‘difficult IT’ aspects of SOA right (such as correctly architecting Web Services, factoring in data quality issues and investing time in a Master Data Management architecture). Without qualified quick win target areas, the focus of SOA projects can quickly inherit the label of ‘just another expensive middleware project to mask over fundamental problems in our IT systems’. Investing time in gaining agreement on which processes are sub-optimal and evidencing ‘how much better they could be’ by using iterative development to create working systems quickly is a clear risk mitigator. Understanding how outcomes impact on business performance SOA implementations require a detailed understanding of the early-stage business processes targeted for improvement by the initiative. Understanding ‘what good looks© 2009 Encanvas Inc. 25
  26. 26. ENCANVAS WHITE PAPER | A Social Oriented Architecture like’ of the impacted business processes is vital and can only come from the line of business managers and systems users themselves. This is an area frequently “skimmed over” that fails to receive the appropriate due diligence because the stakeholder involvement and “mix” in the project is poorly scoped i.e. the business stakeholders are not represented strongly within the initiative’s planning process. Poor data quality So many enterprise IT projects are set to fail before they begin because the data held by the organization is of such a poor quality and therefore resulting systems are no better than the systems that preceded them. In the case of SOA, an opportunity exists to anticipate weaknesses in data quality and for IT leaders to quickly expose deficiencies in data quality to line of business stakeholders so they are in a position to ‘own’ the problem themselves. Having a vision of the end-game information management architecture Without a vision of the end-game technology architecture, SOA projects can easily run off the rails; delivering useful results at departmental and silo level yes but not fundamentally transitioning IT to a new agile state. Inevitably leadership and courage is needed in the technology discipline to propose a fundamental step change in the way information is managed and IT systems are procured and deployed. It’s easy for IT leaders to get trapped by a desire for change from the business without the necessary funds or tools to achieve the vision the business wants. In such circumstances it’s still possible to turn out a result by progressively working towards an end-game architectural vision through careful selection of early stage ‘quick-win’ projects and appropriately dexterous software tools.© 2009 Encanvas Inc. 26
  27. 27. ENCANVAS WHITE PAPER | A Social Oriented Architecture Contact information About the Author Previously holding a series of Sales and Marketing Management and Directorship positions in the European IT industry, in 2002 Ian Tomlin co-founded the International Management Consultancy NDMC Ltd whose portfolio of clients includes some of the world’s largest public and private sector organizations. With Nick Lawrie he co- authored ‘Agilization’, a guide to regenerating competitiveness for Western World companies. Ian Tomlin has authored several other business books and hundreds of articles on business strategy, IT and organizational design including ‘Cloud Coffee House’, a guide to the impact of cloud social networking on business and ‘Social Operating Systems’, an exploration into the next generation of enterprise computing platform. About Encanvas Encanvas® software makes the workplace work better. We bring added value to the Microsoft® enterprise platform by creating the technologies organizations need to spend less and receive more from their software investments. We’ve created the world’s first Integrated Computer-Aided-Applications-Design (CAAD) Software Platform. Our Secure&Live™ platform enables the near-real-time design, deployment and operation of applications without coding in workshop environments all made possible by a single tightly coupled architecture. It facilitates the massive scaling of portal architectures; so users can communicate, share information and their applications in real-time while operating in ‘secure spaces’ that protect systems, data, identity and intellectual property. Encanvas Inc. 2710 Thomas Avenue, Cheyenne, Wyoming 82001 USA. (Americas) +1 201 777 3398 (Europe) +44 1865 596151 www.encanvas.com All information of whatever kind and which is contained in this documentation shall be called for the purposes of this project ‘Confidential Information’ and remains the property of Encanvas Inc. All trademarks and trade names used within this document are acknowledged as belonging to their respective owners.© 2009 Encanvas Inc. 27