Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Rational Conference Report 2

Business - Development - Operations

In my previous post, I mentioned the disconnect between Business and Operations, and I've now had an opportunity to discuss this with a few other people.

IBM's solution for connecting Operations with Business involves Tivoli and/or WBI Monitor. (I talked about IBM's closed loop solution in a CBDI report some time ago.) There doesn't seem to be a way to close the IT Governance loop within the Rational brand, and the full lifecycle is not covered by RUP. (As I understand it, the Tivoli Unified Process is currently separate from the Rational Unified Process.)

There is some potential for confusion here, because there is a many-to-many relationship between the IBM brands and the underlying technologies. So the technological footprint of "Rational" within IBM Software is not quite the same as the product marketing footprint. WBI Modeller remains outside the Rational brand. So I think we have to regard the Business-Development-Operations picture as a framework for the whole of IBM Software, not just Rational.

From this perspective, I think IBM have most of the components for a really good solution to IT Governance, but (as I am sure they will acknowedge) they haven't quite joined up the pieces yet.

Service-Oriented Architecture

I guess this is what I'm really here for. There was a great talk on "SOA for Mere Mortals" this afternoon, followed by a useful Birds-of-a-Feather (BoF) session.

The BoF session included some input from an IBM customer in the banking industry that had implemented many hundreds of services. We discussed how SOA could be justified from a business perspective. There was some agreement that you had to reach a reasonable level of complexity before the advantages of SOA over previous technologies became apparent. This led to the suggestion that you had to have a reasonable level of maturity before you could manage this level of complexity.

The level of granularity is then a trade-off between a desire for flexibility (which is part of the justification for SOA) and the need to contain complexity. This is a design judgement made in a particular context, which includes such considerations as the skillset of the target consumer of the service.

User recommendation: define templates as to how you are going to define services. (There is a RAS profile for web service definitions, but this organization defined its own template.)

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