Welcome!

Java IoT Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Yeshim Deniz, Peter Silva

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
Video experiences should be unique and exciting! But that doesn’t mean you need to patch all the pieces yourself. Users demand rich and engaging experiences and new ways to connect with you. But creating robust video applications at scale can be complicated, time-consuming and expensive. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Zohar Babin, Vice President of Platform, Ecosystem and Community at Kaltura, discussed how VPaaS enables you to move fast, creating scalable video experiences that reach your aud...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life sett...
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain. In this power panel at @...
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
The many IoT deployments around the world are busy integrating smart devices and sensors into their enterprise IT infrastructures. Yet all of this technology – and there are an amazing number of choices – is of no use without the software to gather, communicate, and analyze the new data flows. Without software, there is no IT. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation; Alan Williamson, Principal...
Extracting business value from Internet of Things (IoT) data doesn’t happen overnight. There are several requirements that must be satisfied, including IoT device enablement, data analysis, real-time detection of complex events and automated orchestration of actions. Unfortunately, too many companies fall short in achieving their business goals by implementing incomplete solutions or not focusing on tangible use cases. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products...
Internet of @ThingsExpo has announced today that Chris Matthieu has been named tech chair of Internet of @ThingsExpo 2017 New York The 7th Internet of @ThingsExpo will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. Chris Matthieu is the co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, a revolutionary real-time IoT platform recently acquired by Citrix. Octoblu connects things, systems, people and clouds to a global mesh network allowing users to automate and control design flo...
Unsecured IoT devices were used to launch crippling DDOS attacks in October 2016, targeting services such as Twitter, Spotify, and GitHub. Subsequent testimony to Congress about potential attacks on office buildings, schools, and hospitals raised the possibility for the IoT to harm and even kill people. What should be done? Does the government need to intervene? This panel at @ThingExpo New York brings together leading IoT and security experts to discuss this very serious topic.
Businesses and business units of all sizes can benefit from cloud computing, but many don't want the cost, performance and security concerns of public cloud nor the complexity of building their own private clouds. Today, some cloud vendors are using artificial intelligence (AI) to simplify cloud deployment and management. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Ajay Gulati, Co-founder and CEO of ZeroStack, will discuss how AI can simplify cloud operations. He will cover the following topics: why clou...
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lead...
Internet-of-Things discussions can end up either going down the consumer gadget rabbit hole or focused on the sort of data logging that industrial manufacturers have been doing forever. However, in fact, companies today are already using IoT data both to optimize their operational technology and to improve the experience of customer interactions in novel ways. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Gordon Haff, Red Hat Technology Evangelist, will share examples from a wide range of industries – includin...
The WebRTC Summit New York, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Topics include all aspects of improving IT delivery by eliminating waste through automated business models leveraging cloud technologies. WebRTC Summit is co-located with 20th International Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo. WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web co...
"We build IoT infrastructure products - when you have to integrate different devices, different systems and cloud you have to build an application to do that but we eliminate the need to build an application. Our products can integrate any device, any system, any cloud regardless of protocol," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Amazon has gradually rolled out parts of its IoT offerings in the last year, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to optimizing their back-end AWS offerings, Amazon is laying the ground work to be a major force in IoT – especially in the connected home and office. Amazon is extending its reach by building on its dominant Cloud IoT platform, its Dash Button strategy, recently announced Replenishment Services, the Echo/Alexa voice recognition control platform, the 6-7 strategic...
According to Forrester Research, every business will become either a digital predator or digital prey by 2020. To avoid demise, organizations must rapidly create new sources of value in their end-to-end customer experiences. True digital predators also must break down information and process silos and extend digital transformation initiatives to empower employees with the digital resources needed to win, serve, and retain customers.
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...
IoT solutions exploit operational data generated by Internet-connected smart “things” for the purpose of gaining operational insight and producing “better outcomes” (for example, create new business models, eliminate unscheduled maintenance, etc.). The explosive proliferation of IoT solutions will result in an exponential growth in the volume of IoT data, precipitating significant Information Governance issues: who owns the IoT data, what are the rights/duties of IoT solutions adopters towards t...