Welcome!

Java IoT Authors: Liz McMillan, Jonathan Fries, AppDynamics Blog, John Esposito, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: Microservices Expo, Java IoT, Industrial IoT, Wearables

Microservices Expo: Article

Rethink SOA - A Recipe for Business Transformation

Imagine you had the ability to create an entirely new business offering, unlike anything available from your competition

One sure fire way to keep budget and buzz away from your projects is for you and your department to be associated with incremental improvement. Projects can generally be classified into two categories. The first is "business transformation," which includes projects that generate excitement.  The second category is for projects that fund incremental improvement to what is frequently considered the "cost center," often with a strong ROI but seriously lacking when it comes to excitement... And without excitement comes underfunded and understaffed projects likely to underachieve the goals they set out to accomplish.

So where does SOA belong? Is it one of the most powerful weapons in the business transformation arsenal or is it merely a tool for the cost center to provide incremental improvement? If we look at the traditional benefits of SOA, such as re-use of services, agility, scalability, and visibility, then SOA brings incremental improvement to the infrastructure. Although this incremental improvement can provide impressive returns that easily justify the investment, they are still more incremental than transformative to the business.

Imagine you had the ability to create an entirely new business offering, unlike anything available from your competition in just a few months.

How would you accomplish this? From a packaged application? Highly unlikely since it's available worldwide, meaning there is no barrier to entry for your competitors.  Build a one-of-a-kind application from scratch?  After a year or more of development, your first-to-market advantage is lost.

How can business transformation take place in such a short time frame?  Of the many aspects of a comprehensive SOA platform, such as service creation, service orchestration, governance, integration and business rules, there is one aspect of SOA that provides the key enabler to rapid business transformation. It's not new to SOA but seriously underappreciated for its potential.  It is the "composite application" that provides the ability to rapidly create an entirely new application, composed of a mix of existing and new re-usable services, unlike any other application in the world in short order. Take a moment to think of other technologies providing the ability to rapidly deliver an entirely new business offering.  If you came up with anything else... it's a pretty short list.

What is so special about the composite application? Take a look at the following scenario:

In a few months' time:

  • Create a first-to-market application that combines a voice recognition service with a social media API
  • Use a cloud service to translate a Facebook event stream into a speaking voice inside a vehicle
  • Post an audio update to a Facebook profile to update the Facebook status of the driver of the car

You have just tapped into a new business channel where over 700 billion minutes per month are spent.  Equally important was the fact that 75% of this project was already completed before the project even started.

This may sound far-fetched but it is in production today. New business offerings derived directly by SOA are numerous at OnStar where they treat SOA as a key enabler for new business initiatives instead of as merely a tool to provide incremental improvement.

OnStar is one of a growing number of leading edge companies rethinking SOA. These companies have the necessary ingredients of innovation combined with an understanding that they can "Rethink SOA" from "incrementalism" into the driving force of their business transformation strategy. Although the number of companies is small today, it's easy to tell when a company has moved beyond SOA incrementalism. When speaking about their Oracle SOA Suite implementation, OnStar's Chief Architect Doug Mutart speaks less about the traditional SOA benefits of efficiency, re-use, etc. and instead refers to bringing entirely new projects to life. For example, when OnStar needed new channels through mobile devices such as the iPhone and other smartphones, a key enabler was SOA. Mutart states:

"The flexibility of SOA has enabled us to bring these projects to life."

-Doug Mutart, Chief Architect, OnStar

To deliver the mobile composite application before the launch of the Chevrolet Volt, OnStar leveraged existing services to back-end customer data and applications, transforming OnStar into a leading edge provider through new distribution channels enabled by SOA.

OnStar iPhone App Enabled by SOA
Additional examples include a European government launching entirely new composite applications such as eBirth to immediately update all health care practitioners who have a need-to-know about the birth of a baby, and "police-on-web" that lets citizens report crimes such as theft, graffiti and shoplifting.

Why is this new mindset to SOA so important? Because projects associated with business transformation get the executive sponsorship, budget, and access to key resources needed to ensure success. Projects associated with incremental improvement however are hit-and-miss...sometimes you get what you need and other times you are in the mode of "doing more with less" which translates to doing more work with less staff, less budget, and less likelihood of success.

How does one begin the process of rethinking SOA to take advantage of the opportunity of SOA, and specifically service-based composite applications within SOA, provides? To rethink SOA from incrementalism into business transformation through SOA, here is a recipe:

Rethink SOA - A Recipe for Business Transformation

  1. Start Before you Start: Thanks to the concept of Shared Services, in which services are built with the intention of re-use for future applications, each new project has the ability to incorporate existing services from previous projects.  Over time, new projects start with 30 to 75 percent of the project already completed before the project has even started.
  2. Know your "Sustainable Competitive Advantages": Although you can't look into the future to know what composite applications you will want, you can look within your organization to determine what foundational services align with your Sustainable Competitive Advantages.  These are the subset of competitive advantages your company has that cannot easily be matched by your competition.
  3. Develop Your "Strategic Service Portfolio": Building a foundation doesn't happen overnight.  This is also true for the service foundation of what will become the crown jewel of your company, a service portfolio that lets you consistently assemble new composite applications to market faster than your competition.  Based on your Sustainable Competitive Advantage, develop a vision for your "Strategic Service Portfolio" to grow your corporate crown jewel over time.
  4. Don't Build Every Service for Re-use: On average, it costs 50 percent extra to make a service re-usable, so don't waste time and money making every service re-usable. Now that you have a vision for your Strategic Service Portfolio, focus your re-use efforts only on those services that build the foundation for future composite applications. Fortunately, the break-even point has been shown to come from a single re-use of a service for your next composite application.
  5. Assemble and Configure: Rather than custom coding new applications, think assemble and configure. Assemble existing services and instead of adding custom code for the new services of the composite application, use a graphical "composite editor."   Visual development allows everyone on the collaborative team to more rapidly understanding the project and eases downstream maintenance.
  6. Immunize Against the "Antibodies": Although new and innovative projects will generative the excitement and buzz required to properly fund the project, you will undoubtedly encounter others in your organization resistant to change known as the antibodies.  Even if you do your homework and can justify your project, the antibodies will attempt to slow your progress. Find executive sponsorship, which for SOA often exists in the Annual Report with statements about the company focused on increasing customer satisfaction, leveraging social media, Enterprise 2.0 collaboration with customers, customer self-service and more.  SOA provides the ideal foundation to realize these goals and measure their success.
  7. Get Connected: Chances are, your vendor is providing you and your company a win-win opportunity for free publicity and a chance to broaden your network...Good for your career and for your company.  Oracle for example offers customer success podcasts, webcasts, case studies, videos, press releases and more. Selfishly take advantage of these to broaden your network with like-minded professionals to share lessons learned as you embark on your path to rethinking SOA to a higher level.

Oracle SOA Suite 11g is an integrated, best-of-breed suite that helps customers rapidly design and assemble, deploy and manage, highly agile and adaptable business applications.

For more Oracle SOA Suite customer innovation case studies, follow Oracle SOA Suite on Twitter and Facebook

More Stories By Bruce Tierney

Bruce Tierney is the Director of Product Marketing for the Oracle SOA Suite. He is the author of “Eight Secrets of SOA Success for Business Integration” and has delivered SOA and business integration presentations globally to help companies optimize and simplify business integration.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
There is an ever-growing explosion of new devices that are connected to the Internet using “cloud” solutions. This rapid growth is creating a massive new demand for efficient access to data. And it’s not just about connecting to that data anymore. This new demand is bringing new issues and challenges and it is important for companies to scale for the coming growth. And with that scaling comes the need for greater security, gathering and data analysis, storage, connectivity and, of course, the...
A critical component of any IoT project is the back-end systems that capture data from remote IoT devices and structure it in a way to answer useful questions. Traditional data warehouse and analytical systems are mature technologies that can be used to handle large data sets, but they are not well suited to many IoT-scale products and the need for real-time insights. At Fuze, we have developed a backend platform as part of our mobility-oriented cloud service that uses Big Data-based approache...
The IoTs will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, will demonstrate how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and share the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the development proc...
trust and privacy in their ecosystem. Assurance and protection of device identity, secure data encryption and authentication are the key security challenges organizations are trying to address when integrating IoT devices. This holds true for IoT applications in a wide range of industries, for example, healthcare, consumer devices, and manufacturing. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lancen LaChance, vice president of product management, IoT solutions at GlobalSign, will teach IoT developers how t...
The IETF draft standard for M2M certificates is a security solution specifically designed for the demanding needs of IoT/M2M applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Brian Romansky, VP of Strategic Technology at TrustPoint Innovation, will explain how M2M certificates can efficiently enable confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity on highly constrained devices.
Manufacturers are embracing the Industrial Internet the same way consumers are leveraging Fitbits – to improve overall health and wellness. Both can provide consistent measurement, visibility, and suggest performance improvements customized to help reach goals. Fitbit users can view real-time data and make adjustments to increase their activity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mark Bernardo Professional Services Leader, Americas, at GE Digital, will discuss how leveraging the Industrial Interne...
Artificial Intelligence has the potential to massively disrupt IoT. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, AJ Abdallat, CEO of Beyond AI, will discuss what the five main drivers are in Artificial Intelligence that could shape the future of the Internet of Things. AJ Abdallat is CEO of Beyond AI. He has over 20 years of management experience in the fields of artificial intelligence, sensors, instruments, devices and software for telecommunications, life sciences, environmental monitoring, process...
Increasing IoT connectivity is forcing enterprises to find elegant solutions to organize and visualize all incoming data from these connected devices with re-configurable dashboard widgets to effectively allow rapid decision-making for everything from immediate actions in tactical situations to strategic analysis and reporting. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Shikhir Singh, Senior Developer Relations Manager at Sencha, will discuss how to create HTML5 dashboards that interact with IoT devic...
We're entering the post-smartphone era, where wearable gadgets from watches and fitness bands to glasses and health aids will power the next technological revolution. With mass adoption of wearable devices comes a new data ecosystem that must be protected. Wearables open new pathways that facilitate the tracking, sharing and storing of consumers’ personal health, location and daily activity data. Consumers have some idea of the data these devices capture, but most don’t realize how revealing and...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ericsson has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Ericsson is a world leader in the rapidly changing environment of communications technology – providing equipment, software and services to enable transformation through mobility. Some 40 percent of global mobile traffic runs through networks we have supplied. More than 1 billion subscribers around the world re...
We’ve worked with dozens of early adopters across numerous industries and will debunk common misperceptions, which starts with understanding that many of the connected products we’ll use over the next 5 years are already products, they’re just not yet connected. With an IoT product, time-in-market provides much more essential feedback than ever before. Innovation comes from what you do with the data that the connected product provides in order to enhance the customer experience and optimize busi...
The increasing popularity of the Internet of Things necessitates that our physical and cognitive relationship with wearable technology will change rapidly in the near future. This advent means logging has become a thing of the past. Before, it was on us to track our own data, but now that data is automatically available. What does this mean for mHealth and the "connected" body? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Lisa Calkins, CEO and co-founder of Amadeus Consulting, will discuss the impact of wea...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Klein, CEO and Co-founder of Rachio, will discuss next generation communities that are using IoT to create more sustainable, intelligent communities. One example is Sterling Ranch, a 10,000 home development that – with the help of Siemens – will integrate IoT technology into the community to provide residents with energy and water savings as well as intelligent security. Everything from stop lights to sprinkler systems to building infrastructures will run ef...
Digital payments using wearable devices such as smart watches, fitness trackers, and payment wristbands are an increasing area of focus for industry participants, and consumer acceptance from early trials and deployments has encouraged some of the biggest names in technology and banking to continue their push to drive growth in this nascent market. Wearable payment systems may utilize near field communication (NFC), radio frequency identification (RFID), or quick response (QR) codes and barcodes...
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...
You deployed your app with the Bluemix PaaS and it's gaining some serious traction, so it's time to make some tweaks. Did you design your application in a way that it can scale in the cloud? Were you even thinking about the cloud when you built the app? If not, chances are your app is going to break. Check out this webcast to learn various techniques for designing applications that will scale successfully in Bluemix, for the confidence you need to take your apps to the next level and beyond.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Peak 10, Inc., a national IT infrastructure and cloud services provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Peak 10 provides reliable, tailored data center and network services, cloud and managed services. Its solutions are designed to scale and adapt to customers’ changing business needs, enabling them to lower costs, improve performance and focus inter...
So, you bought into the current machine learning craze and went on to collect millions/billions of records from this promising new data source. Now, what do you do with them? Too often, the abundance of data quickly turns into an abundance of problems. How do you extract that "magic essence" from your data without falling into the common pitfalls? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Natalia Ponomareva, Software Engineer at Google, will provide tips on how to be successful in large scale machine lear...
You think you know what’s in your data. But do you? Most organizations are now aware of the business intelligence represented by their data. Data science stands to take this to a level you never thought of – literally. The techniques of data science, when used with the capabilities of Big Data technologies, can make connections you had not yet imagined, helping you discover new insights and ask new questions of your data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sarbjit Sarkaria, data science team lead ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Fusion, a leading provider of cloud services, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Fusion, a leading provider of integrated cloud solutions to small, medium and large businesses, is the industry's single source for the cloud. Fusion's advanced, proprietary cloud service platform enables the integration of leading edge solutions in the cloud, including cloud...