Investing in SOA in a Down Economy
The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down another 600 points at the time of writing this ZapFlash. Banks, investment houses, and insurance firms are succumbing to a combination of tight credit markets and their own bad decision-making. Consumers are feeling the pinch at gas pumps, grocery stores, facing home foreclosures, and unable to get credit, and businesses are feeling the squeeze even more, laying off employees and unable to get credit they need to fund operations. Yes, the world is in a global recession and we’re probably just at the beginning of what can potentially go wrong. So, you’re probably thinking, now’s the time to pull up the stakes and cancel your ongoing investment in SOA and related IT efforts. After all, why bother investing in something as future-looking as SOA when you can’t even afford to keep the lights on? Right? Wrong. Businesses often go through a dysfunctional,…

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Contracts as an Organizational Approach to Alignment
One of the recurring themes in the ongoing development of Information Technology (IT) as a discipline is the concept of “business-IT alignment”. It’s surprising we even have a need to talk about business-IT alignment given that we don’t talk about business-finance alignment or business-sales alignment or business-anything else alignment. Why is it that IT needs a special alignment with business? Is the concept of business-IT alignment itself a smoke screen for selling products, services, consulting, and analysis that present little value to the organization? While it might be convenient to jump on the beat-your-vendor bandwagon, the sad truth is that IT does indeed need alignment with the business. No other function of the business (sales, marketing, finance, HR, supply chain, and manufacturing) can so easily get out of whack with the needs of the business and fall down the rabbit hole of spending without clear return than IT. When technologists…

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SOA Artifact Checklist
We’ve put together this good starting point (definitely not authoritative) list of artifacts that architects engaged in SOA projects should create or have. Let us know what you think! Is this list missing something? [hide 2] ZapThink SOA Artifact Checklist.pdf (75 KB) [/hide]…

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Introducing a New (light!) Theme for the LZA Site!
Many of your comments on this website reflected the fact that the default theme is somewhat dark for many people. While many of us have our preferences, we decided to do the loosely coupled thing and let you choose your own theme! We have now added a new, lighter theme to the site, and through the magic of WordPress, you can now choose your own theme! Here are the two themes now supported: To choose your theme, look for the “Theme Switcher” option in the side bar. Pull down and select the theme you are interested in, and it will be your default theme from then on. Let us know what you think of the new theme! We will do our best to make sure that the user experience is the same and high quality in both themes.

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More SOA, Less Dogma
A while back, I made a few off-the-cuff posts on the Service-Orientated (yes, Orientated) Architecture Yahoo Group on the topic of ESBs, Vendor-Driven Architecture, and making sure architects are in charge of architecture. I’ve included a few snippets of those posts below. On the topic of vendors having too much say about an enterprise’s architecture: Everyone has an agenda. Know yourself. Know your enemy. Thousand battles. Thousand victories – Sun Tzu. You can’t go wrong if you know exactly what you want. If you don’t know what you want, then prepared to be laid astray. Vendors, consultants, analysts, your boss, your wife can lead you astray if they know better what they want than what you want. On the topic of Are ESBs Necessary?: Keep a healthy phobia of “vendor-driven architecture”, and you’ll be fine. But heck, if you already did the architecture first, and you know…

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The Business Analyst vs. the Enterprise Architect
As adoption of Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) spreads in the enterprise, one of the most notable trends in the market, other than introduction of new products and services, are changes to the organizational structure of businesses that are successful with SOA. In addition to the growth of Centers of Excellence (CoE) and competency centers focused on SOA, we’re also seeing a greater focus on enterprise architecture (EA) groups that lead and guide SOA initiatives across the organization. However, EA groups are not alone in trying to help meet the wide range of needs of the business with IT solutions. Indeed, before the discipline of EA got the visibility it has now, another part of the organization held sway with the business — business analysts. Business analysts serve an important role in the organization, helping to marry the needs of the business with the various capabilities and resources available to it.

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The Best SOA Pilots Don't Get the Services Right
When Thomas Edison was in quest of inventing the electric light bulb, he didn’t get it right the first time. In a well-documented exchange, Edison was told that he had failed 700 times in his attempts to make the breakthrough he sought. In response, he said, “I have not failed 700 times. I have not failed once! I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways would not work!” What we can learn from the king of perseverance is that failing often and quickly is one of the best ways to increase the likelihood of success, and do so sooner. However most developers and architects, especially those building Services, want to minimize the number of times they spend rebuilding anything — and for good reason. Development is expensive. Architecture takes time. So, doing things over is rarely an option. Indeed, while we often hear the refrain, “I don’t have…

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ZapTake: The Inadequacy of Microsoft's SOA Message
Today, ZapThink sat on a briefing on Microsoft’s SOA messaging, and we’re astounded by the inadequacy, inaccuracy, and tone deafness on their SOA message. Bottom-line: the official message coming from Microsoft about SOA is that SOA is just Web Services-based integration. What is particularly disappointing is that Microsoft has coined their own definition of the term “SOA” in defiance of what is increasingly becoming accepted as the understanding that SOA is an aspect of Enterprise Architecture, not a technology focused on standards-based integration.[hide -2]Download File[/hide][hide +1]Purchase: $299[/hide]…

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