But you forgot the SOA..

Recently I have been in contact with friends who are technical evangelists.  We have been writing emails and sharing ideas over great distances.   While some of my friends are international and others are American I find it amazing that we deal with the same problems fundamentally.

What are the problems?   The first I would call the Digital Divide (not immigrant) which is within the technology community itself.   In the context of SOA developers generally write to solve a problem.   They can solve this problem in a number of ways but they write to solve them in their own artistic way.   They may solve or deal with symptoms but they are not dealing necessarily with “the problem.”   The divide is between developers, users, managers, strategists, practitioners, and leadership.  Notice, I intentionally separated leadership from management.

It is common for leadership to have a vision that they themselves cannot possibly make happen on their own.   It is common for this vision to change as it starts its path down through the organization word to mouth.  Example “He doesn’t understand what he is asking for so we will do X.”

It is common for managers to still in this day and age create stovepipes.

It is common for strategists and practitioners to work hard to bring together the ideas of leadership and the power of management.

It is common for the develops and system integrators to have to build solutions regardless of this situation.

This is why we forget about SOA.  We have moved past it because it is something different in the eyes of each representative player.   I wouldn’t say it is dead, I would say it is largely ignored.

I work with and for some brilliant strategists that understand that people, process, methods are key to the usage and application of tools.  They understand the old basic who, what, where, how and why and they know that networks and systems require thought and engineering.  They understand this and their voices are not heard.   So, I find it interesting now looking over the landscape and talking to my friends globally hearing the same stories.

As we continue to make technical strides if we ignore the voices of the innovators the chasm of our divide will continue to grow.  It will be more of us and them and we will hear more of “they don’t get it.”

The second problem is the culture of me.   I read the newspaper today and wondered why we have an opinion section.  If I want an opinion on something I have Facebook, Twitter, Yammer, Linkedin, Quorum, and more blogs than I can possibly read in a day.    It is opinion unlimited (even mine), but what we lack in is fact or constructive communication.   We have more ways to talk or write past people than ever.  Today in some case we talk to and about people in ways that are very insensitive.  We don’t take into account how people feel and we aren’t mindful that feelings matter.  We present our position or opinion as matter of fact and we forget that the pen or in this case the keyboard can be mightier than the sword.

If you are reading this right now, you are aware that you are on my blog.  By the very nature of this you are reading my opinion.    I strongly believe the way to solve our technical and even non-technical problems today is with strong effective leadership that follows the basics that we teach our children.

  • Leaders know what they need and want for the long term, understanding the big picture and where the people and the technology fits in.  This does not require an in-depth understanding of the technology from the developer’s view.
  • Leaders share the vision and find ways to build trust.
  • Managers listen, understand and feedback to leadership.  Managers work hard and understand they can be and should be leaders.
  • Everyone should understand what functions they are to perform and should have the freedom to innovate and feedback improvements with the understanding that the functions still need be performed now.
  • Leaders are coaches not dictators or bad guys.  Most leaders aren’t born they are bred, they need to coach and communicate.
  • Teams needs to learn and focus first on effective and constructive communication.
  • Individuals need to learn to focus on effective and constructive communication.
  • Everyone will make sacrifices. (Even Bill Gates makes sacrifices).
  • Everyone should understand and recognize the value in working together and understanding the big picture.
  • Remember what Service Oriented Architectures and Cloud computing strategies are for.
There are many books written about this but the only people benefiting from these books are the people reading them.  These are the same people who are responsible to be thought leaders and innovators, communicators and collaborators, coaches and evangelists.   If you are still reading, this is most likely you.  It is your job to help and your job to find ways to bring people together no matter what role you are in.  We need to close the gap on the digital divide and we should work to educate and challenge everyone to do the same.
How does this have anything to do really with SOA?
We have services to enable data, we have data to enable knowledge transfer, we have knowledge transfer to help people.   Services are for people.  If we forget why we do the things we do, we won’t accomplish our original intent.

1 Comment

  1. I am in total agreement with your comments and feel the problem with implementing SOA is the very fact that it is all about SERVICE which means that we have to think of others needs first and not our selves. Putting the focus on serving others doesn’t fit the paradigm of building stovepipe programs or individual empires. The cloud even though it is a way to simplify virtual sharing, still doesn’t get at SOA. When I heard at an Enterprise Architecture meeting about two years ago, educated people say that SOA is dead and long live the next best thing….Cloud. I was struck by the fact that leaders were being told that all we needed was to subscribe and to publish. What happened from my opinion is when cost savings were not realized; leadership started questioning SOA’s worth. It was the very people saying SOA was dead two years ago that help put the blame on SOA because it was going to open up their precious systems to find what actually was the necessary link in the service that would fit the needs of the enterprise. No program or current system wanted to do that, they just wanted to wrap a SOA label on the overall system which continued to thrive without any cut in budget. In fact this is what increased the IT budget and started the downward spiral of cost increases with little benefits being seen by leadership and opened the door for the critics who didn’t want it in the first place. Since cloud doesn’t have the same affect on systems and programs they won’t have to worry about what you put on the cloud as long as you’re doing so without having an SLA’s which by the way starts to tear into the system processes to find what is truly a service that others want to use.
    I contend that we will see some morphing of SOA but we won’t see it go away, because if we do I feel we are doomed to continue to spiral out of control with special interests taking us every direction but together. We need to understand that the network isn’t just the wires but the people and all the baggage that comes with people. SOA was a start at a new IT approach that wanted to LEAN the systems processes to find the essential service that one should and must provide. We never took this bold step in my opinion because we allowed the special interest program offices and developer shops to keep their stovepipe systems and budgets supporting maintenance of these systems at the expense of building a better future for us as a human network. Watch for the next wave from these developers…designing and building widgets and applications but don’t ask if these are to replace any current system, because they are not being designed for that but again a way to appease leadership that our IT folks are going in the right direction with industry. Don’t get me wrong, I am not against apps/widgets but they need to be built as part of the bigger picture within an enterprise approach and not just to flatter someone’s ego.

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