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Tom Termini of Bluedog Publishes The Zen of SOA
Seven steps to SOA nirvana…

"Adopting a services-oriented architecture should be undertaken as a gradual process, working toward your vision of a new IT enterprise which is more responsive to business drivers," says Tom Termini, author of The Zen of SOA.

Complex concepts have emerged over the past few years regarding the potential productivity an organization can achieve with their website, but few take the mystery out of it. In his new book, Tom Termini has describes how top management can look and move forward with clear goals, appropriate resources and confidence with SOA.

Organizations face quite different challenges in laying out a Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) blueprint. Internal integration needs may be more straightforward, but business models may focus less on internal integration than external partners or customers. Traditional approaches like EAI, however, are notoriously inflexible and expensive, according to Termini.

In The Zen of SOA, Tom Termini shares his experience helping organizations leverage agile development practices and Web services to reduce the cost of older approaches to address their integration and new development needs. The simple addition of Web services interfaces, however, typically remains as inflexible as approaches previously available. Termini asserts that only through the application of SOA can C-level executives build and leverage loosely coupled Web services that are flexible enough to respond to ongoing change in the larger environment.

Termini sees the adoption of SOA as a continuum.

The following principles are among the many Termini recommends to successfully deploy an effective SOA:

1. Learn from others - study what worked for other organizations that may have had parallel processes, or similar objectives to yours. For example, at the Federal Trade Commission, we learned that commodity hardware and software promote the transition toward a fully-realized SOA. From the detritus of a failed EAI effort, the fruits of a SOA success can be found with the creative application of an "agile" approach.

2. Maintain a "baby-steps" approach toward a fully-realized SOA - expectations are more realistic, costs are spread over a longer period, risk is deferred, and you have the opportunity to foster organizational adoption. Cultural resistance is often the primary reason for failure in enterprise IT endeavors. If your adoption posture is incremental, you will lessen the impact on your organization, customers, and partners so they can assimilate change gradually.

3. SOA is more about the business customer than about IT innovation. Service-Oriented Architecture, when rolled out successfully, can empower the people driving the business processes in your organization, free up limited IT resources, and improve flexibility to meet change. While on task at the U.S. Department of Justice, we learned a portal is integral to Web-enabling the enterprise. Why? It provides the single, simple point-of-entry to the SOA-enabled systems for the less-technical business user. We found the portal was excellent at answering the question, where do I go to find what we already have? It also simplifies the human interface, since all Web applications share the look-and-feel or some derivative of the portal's cascading style sheet. Finally, the portal simplifies single-sign-on access - and ease of access means greater acceptance by the user community.

4. ESB does not equal SOA. Providing an enterprise services bus (ESB) to your organization does not mean you have a SOA. Gaining a full grasp of this concept is key to embracing the Zen of SOA. Think commodity software as well as hardware: one of the keys to SOA success. While we've found the messaging layer to be critical, often time success can be achieved by simplifying a few key business processes and SOA-enabling with a web service. Example: customer record lookup, because so many systems touch on that process.

5. Manage the SOA as part of the whole enterprise. Think of the SOA approach as a layer to simplify complexity - as above, consider the customer lookup process. What vital information needs to be presented to a consuming service? This layer does not stand apart from the organization's larger enterprise; rather, it supports the business architecture. The underlying services orchestrate and communicate business processes - these components are part of the technical architecture. Internal developers, external consumers and others will require access to reuse SOA services.

6. Measure progress and communicate results. The successful implementation of any SOA must be driven from the top down. This means gaining early wins that engage senior management. Define three or four metrics and regularly communicate results.

7. Promote SOA as the Future. Implementation of a SOA blueprint may never fully end, because business processes change or new ones are required. Your target architecture inevitably will evolve to accommodate changes in the external environment and corresponding adjustments to organizational goals.

About Tom Termini
Tom Termini, is Managing Director of Bluedog, Inc., a firm dedicated to helping clients improve business results through a combination of strategic consulting, software architecture and development, and web-based, on-demand software that facilitates and accelerates adoption of Services-Oriented Architecture.

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Reader Feedback: Page 1 of 1

The book “Zen of SOA” by Tom Termini, Managing Director at Bluedog Inc. introduces an original view to the challenging world of SOA. He refers to the Zen philosophy as a “therapeutic device” helping SOA practitioners to get rid of prejudices and opinions in order to apply a clear mind-set based on real-life experiences and the application of technology knowledge. Each chapter of the book is prefaced by Zen Truism that the author suggests to “revisit, reflect on it longer, and see if you are able to establish a truth from the narrative, as well as from your own experiences”.

In fact, the book is about a SOA Blueprint outlining a methodology for building a successful SOA strategy. The target audience is C-level Executives, IT Managers and Enterprise Architects undertaking or intending to undertake adoption of SOA throughout their organisations. I strongly recommend the book to all SOA practitioners involved in implementation of SOA.

The author’s vision is based on extensive experience in the SOA arena and he elegantly leads and prepares the reader for the introduction of his SOA Blueprint approach. I personally enjoyed reflecting on the Zen conundrums which stimulated me to focus and understand the content.
The book is divided into several parts:
• Understanding SOA
• SOA Best Practices
• Leverage What You Build — with a Portal
• “Future-Proof”
• Implement Incrementally
• The SOA Blueprint
• Other Considerations
• Now What?
In Chapter 1 the author explains SOA as both Business and Technical Concept and the main challenges it tackles from different stakeholder perspectives. He also emphasises some misconceptions and technology myths about Web Services and ESB which are key enablers but do not represent a holistic view of SOA.
Chapter 2 elaborates on using the SOA Best Practices as a critical success factor for maximizing an organization’s potential and improving performance. The author recommends an Incremental Approach to the SOA Implementation. This is supported by a comprehensive Case Study with the US Federal Trade Commission client.

Chapter 3 gives a technology view of SOA. The author covers a number of SOA technology components, their capabilities and positioning within the SOA technology stack including Portal, ESB, Service Registry/Repository, Business Rules and Enterprise Search Engines.

In Chapter 4 – the concept of “Future-Proof” is defined by the author and his team as “architecting to be highly available, reliable, and easy to manage.”
The future-proofing is an inherent quality factor with technological and cultural aspects which need to be achieved throughout the overall SOA Lifecycle. The author suggests that “a pilot, or proof-of-concept, presented in advance of implementation and deployment, can convincingly demonstrate the ability of the architecture to validate the business intent”.

Chapter 5 presents the author’s rationale for an incremental approach to SOA implementation. The main point is that the contemporary business dynamic creates a myriad of competitive pressures which impose significant risks, whereas an incremental approach shields the business from the SOA implementation demands and helps to accommodate the changes and utilize the benefits.

Chapter 6 “The SOA Blueprint” is the essence of the book. It is a “set of guidelines for the practical business deployment of services using SOA methods in a moderately sized, somewhat complex organization”. The author has used the OASIS’ reference models for SOA as a foundation framework. The Blueprint is also consistent with well defined and recognized methodologies such as TOGAF and Zachman. For example, the Blueprint artefacts fit well in the taxonomy of the Zachman Architectural Framework and they can be mapped to corresponding activities in the TOGAF ADM.

Chapter 7 provides practical guidance and recommendations related to the context of the SOA Blueprint. The author puts the focus on Standardization, Business Customer Perspective of Services, Risk Mitigation Strategy as well as technical aspects such as Data Integration, Service Orchestration, Security and Metadata.

Finally, Chapter 8 offers a checklist with a number of items required for the customization of the SOA Blueprint. The author provides both item definitions and procedural guidance.

Tom Termini shares deep expertise and knowledge gained by hard work on numerous SOA projects for government and private sector clients. His examples of real business value achieved can be traced in the case studies described in the book. Each case study is related to a particular SOA “koan” and comes with the description of the business context, approach, solution and the business benefits obtained as a result.

The Zen of SOA is a concise, readable and very well illustrated book which provides practical advice, guidance and immediate impetus for development of SOA Implementation Strategy, Vision, Roadmap and efficient SOA Management.


Your Feedback
Alexander Roussekov wrote: The book “Zen of SOA” by Tom Termini, Managing Director at Bluedog Inc. introduces an original view to the challenging world of SOA. He refers to the Zen philosophy as a “therapeutic device” helping SOA practitioners to get rid of prejudices and opinions in order to apply a clear mind-set based on real-life experiences and the application of technology knowledge. Each chapter of the book is prefaced by Zen Truism that the author suggests to “revisit, reflect on it longer, and see if you are able to establish a truth from the narrative, as well as from your own experiences”. In fact, the book is about a SOA Blueprint outlining a methodology for building a successful SOA strategy. The target audience is C-level Executives, IT Managers and Enterprise Architects undertaking or intending to undertake adoption of SOA throughout their organisations. I strongly recommend the book to...
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