What To Do When your SOA Initiative Gets Cancelled
We at ZapThink are an idealistic and optimistic bunch. We tend to see the positive side of well thought-out IT initiatives and believe that when rational planning meets incremental expenditure that provides short-term returns, all is well and companies can sail smoothly ahead. However, we realize that is not the reality for most companies. In the current economic climate, companies are giving the axe to those half-planned efforts that spent tremendous sums up front to show little to no returns well past their promised milestones. Even well-planned, rational initiatives that met distinct business pain-points and used iterative approaches and incremental expenditures justified only when short-term business goals are met also got their proverbial plugs pulled.   While we spent almost a decade trying to help you avoid this outcome by ingraining the Service-oriented style of enterprise architecture as a core tenet of dealing with continuous change, we know that for…

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Is there a Future for Enterprise Software?
The conversation about the role and future of enterprise software is a continuous undercurrent in the Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) conversation. Indeed, ZapThink’s been talking about the future of enterprise software in one way or another for years. So, why bother bringing up this topic again, at this juncture? Has anything changed in the marketplace? Can we learn something new about where enterprise software is heading? The answer is decidedly yes to the latter two questions, and this might be the right time to seriously consider acting on the very things we’ve been talking about for a while.   The first major factor is significant consolidation in the marketplace for enterprise software. While a decade or so ago there were a few dozen large and established providers of different sorts of enterprise software packages, there are now just a handful of large providers, with a…

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Understanding the Value of Reference Architectures
There’s nothing more that architects love to do than argue about definitions. If you ever find yourself with idle time in a room of architects, try asking for a definition of “Service” or “architecture” and see what sort of creative melee you can start. That being said, definitions are indeed very important so that we can have a common language to communicate the intent and benefit of the very things we are trying to convince business to invest in. From that perspective, a number of concepts have emerged in the past decade or so that have become top of mind for self-styled enterprise architects: architecture frameworks and reference architectures. In previous ZapFlashes, we discussed architecture frameworks, which leaves the topic of reference architectures left untouched by ZapThink. Since we can’t leave a good argument behind, we’re going to use this ZapFlash to explore what reference architectures are all…

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Is Your SOA Hammer Looking for a Nail?
It sounds so obvious when you get right down to it: you need to know what problem you’re solving before you can solve it. Common sense tells you to start with the problem before you can find the solution to the problem. If you start with a solution without knowing what the problem is, then there’s no telling if the solution you have will be the right one for the problems you’re facing. Obvious, yes, but it never ceases to amaze us at ZapThink that when it comes to Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) projects, time and again we run into technology teams who don’t have a grasp as to what business problems they’re looking to solve. Now, it might be tempting to dismiss this disconnect to “techies being techies” or some other superficial explanation, but the problem is so pervasive and so common that there must be more to it.

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SOA Zombies Gather At ZapForum Boston: Night Of The Living SOA Dead Event
SOA Zombies Gather at ZapForum Boston: Night of the Living SOA Dead Event ZapThink Evening Networking Event in Boston, MA – July 23, 2009   BALTIMORE, MD June 15, 2009 — On July 23, 2009 dozens of experts, pundits, and influential guests will gather in Boston, MA for an evening of networking and discussion on the topics of Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) and Enterprise Architecture (EA). Open to public enrollment and attendance, the topic of discussion for the panel will be the recent news and discussion about the “Death of SOA.” Is SOA really dead? Is it dying? Or is it changing? And what about those that are currently doing something with SOA or even just interested in the topic? Are we the “living dead”?   As a way of encouraging dialogue, networking, and communication within the SOA and EA, ZapThink is hosts its evening ZapForum networking events throughout the…

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Who's Architecting the Cloud?
As the hype cycle for the cloud computing continues to gather steam, an increasing number of end users are starting to see the silver lining, while others are simply lost in the fog. It is clear that the debate over the definition, business model, and benefits of cloud will continue for some time, but it is also clear that the sluggish economic environment is increasing the appeal of having someone else pay for the robust infrastructure needed to run one’s applications. Yet, all this talk of leveraging cloud capabilities, or perhaps even building one’s own cloud, whether for public or private consumption, introduces thorny problems. How can we make sure that the cloud will bring us closer to the heavenly vision of IT we search for rather than a fog that hides a complex mess? Who will make sure that the cloud vision isn’t just another reinterpretation of…

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