‘Half-Baked Ideas’ for Mega-Changes Ahead in the Next Decade

I just delivered the keynote address for ebizQ’s latest Cloud QCamp, exploring the growing convergence of SOA with cloud computing, Enterprise 2.0 and virtualization, and I thought I would share some salient highlights here at the Perspectives site.

There are several key forces converging that are reshaping the way we will do business in the 2010s (you know, that next decade that is almost upon us). We’re clearly moving to a service-oriented way of managing our information and doing business. And the services businesses will increasingly rely on and originate from a number of places – from inside the enterprise, from partners, customers, and contractors, and from the global Web.

We’ve already been working at service oriented architecture and enterprise data integration inside our organizations over the past decade, and have seen some very effective results. Now, along with SOA and enterprise data integration, forces that will be driving us into the next decade include cloud computing, Enterprise and Web 2.0, and virtualization. These forces are all interrelated.

Here are five of my top 10 HBIs (half-baked ideas) – on how these forces will play out. The remainder will be explored in my next post:

HBI #1: Less talk about “service oriented architecture” in the market. This doesn’t mean SOA will have gone away, not by a long stretch. But vendors, analysts, and commentators are talking less about “SOA” and more about “cloud” and “social networking.” But SOA will be more vital than ever. Cloud offerings need to be built in accordance with SOA principles and practices in order to be interoperable. And Enterprise 2.0 relies on SOA to function within a business. I like the way Forrester’s John Rymer recently described the phenomenon at a conference last month: SOA is not “dead” as has been rumored, because SOA principles themselves did not die. Rather, “SOA died a marketing death,” meaning that the approach has become so vital and basic to enterprises and as a part of packaged applications that marketers have moved onto the next big thing. “When a technology becomes vital, it dies in a marketing sense,” he explained. “It’s time for SOA to ‘die’ since it’s not distinguishable anymore since everybody’s using it.”

HBI #2: The new economy emerging from the downturn will drive SOA, Web Oriented Architecture, and cloud computing in new directions – as vehicles for new business growth. Over the past year, everybody was cutting or ready to cut resources; creating fertile ground for cloud computing, virtualization, SOA and Enterprise 2.0 approaches that cut and are streamlined. But these methodologies are about more than cutting costs. The combination of these methodologies means agility, and helping companies and organizations to grow.  So we need to look ahead, at the economy emerging from the other side of the downturn. We see signs that companies are beginning to think about how to tackle the challenges that will arise when they return to “growth mode”. That means SOA, WOA and cloud need to address business growth matters. How will SOA, WOA and cloud help us move into new markets? How can SOA, WOA and cloud help us expand our business?

HBI #3: The Rise of the Intelligent Web – SOA, WOA and the cloud are turning business intelligence into “collaborative intelligence.” There’s no doubt we’re casting more of our business intelligence and analytic requirements to the Web, through collection and analysis of social networking data as well as the use of third-party cloud services for the same. We’re looking beyond proprietary internal ERP and BI systems that hold only a fraction of the insights that the Web at large can bring us. A term one expert applied to this phenomenon is that business intelligence is becoming ‘collaborative intelligence,’ thanks to the confluence of SOA, WOA, and social media approaches. The convergence of Web 2.0 and SOA practices means more interesting approaches to old problems, such as gathering business intelligence. And mashups – many of which may even be designed by users themselves under the watchful eyes of IT – will become the default composite application of choice for accessing services both internally from SOA-enabled systems and externally. Organizations that have already been wrestling with governance issues for SOA will find themselves with the question of how deeply to regulate mashups and other Web 2.0-ish activities.

HBI #4: The rise of the “Loosely Coupled Business,” built on brokered or aggregated services. Ultimately, loosely coupled technology paves the way to loosely coupled businesses.  Just as businesses are evolving into loosely coupled components, so to are the systems that support them. Many of the businesses we deal with are acting more as brokers for services pulled in from partnering service providers. The broker brings these services to their markets. Thanks to new technologies, what was a linear supply chain is now close to being a synchronous network, affording greater visibility and control over processes.

HBI #5: Computing Power “Too Cheap to Meter?” Thanks to SOA, WOA and the cloud, massive data center power is available for literally pennies. In the 1950s and 60s, when nuclear power plants were first proposed and were being built to provide electricity, proponents said the power would be so abundant that it would be “too cheap to meter.” Of course, that didn’t turn out to be the case, but we are seeing some signs that a radical deflation in data center costs is in the works. For example, through cloud-based services such as Amazon Web Services, a subscribing startup could tap into servers, messaging, storage, and e-business tools for as low as $40 a month, versus the tens of thousands of dollars required for comparable on-site solutions.

Next five HBIs posted here.

This entry was posted in Business Impact / Benefits, Cloud Computing, Data Governance, Data Integration, Data Services, Enterprise Data Management and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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