Gartner AADI: Agility and SOA

In this session, Frank Kenney and Val Sribar, are discussing agility and application development in the context of a fictitious fable of a web unit in a business organization that is operating in an agile manner and how it works with the traditional application development organization. While I find the fable a bit far fetched, since I’ve yet to see a business unit pushing agile processes on IT, it’s usually the opposite, there is one key point that they made. They called out that not all business units may be ready for an agile approach, simply because they don’t change that rapidly. Hopefully, this will be a common theme throughout the conference. Any approach that claims to be one size fits all is probably going to run into problems. Whether it is agile, REST, Web Services, SOA, EDA, etc., there are always scenarios where it works well, and scenarios where it doesn’t work so well. A key to success is knowing not only how to apply a particular technique, but knowing when to apply it.

Further in on the presentation, they went through some different areas and discussed how they contribute to agility. In the subject of business process actions, they called out that there should be a single business person clearly in charge of a particular process. I think this applies not only for processes, but for services as well. There needs to be a service manager for each service in the organization. An individual may manage multiple services, but without a service manager, there will be problems.

On the subject of reuse, Frank Kenney pointed out that incentives, metrics, testing, methodology, and inventory management (registry/repository) is necessary to make it a reality. I think this is a good list, although I would have liked to see marketing included. While a registry/repository and methodology do focus on the consumption side, if a service or reusable asset is placed out there in a way that makes it difficult to find, the burden is on the provider to improve it, which involves marketing.

Near the end of the presentation, Val and Frank presented an “Application Group of the Future.” Val called out breaking out groups for User Experience, Business Processes, Business Information, an Integration Competency Center, Business Relationships, Software Quality, and Information Infrastructure. These groups would all be operating in an agile manner. In addition, the traditional development groups would also exist. These groups would all leverage common environments to support their efforts. There was one thing about this picture that I disagreed with, which was the placement of SOA. They sprinkled the entire organization with SOA experience, which makes sense, but they didn’t call out the separation between organizations focused on service consumption and organizations focused on service production. If anything, service production (unless it happened to be an automated business process) was buried in the tradition development group, and I don’t think that will cut it. On the bright side, one of the things that they called out which was very interesting, was the need for dynamic budgeting. Val made a comment that the web and mobile applications are challenging the way we book business early in the presentation. This need for dynamic budgeting is an analogous example to how a new agile IT, challenges the way we traditionally do budgeting. Annual budgets won’t cut it, we’ll need to make it more dynamic and responsive in real-time.

One Response to “Gartner AADI: Agility and SOA”

  • Diann Adams:

    I like this entry, very insightful. I particularly liked the reuse part and application group of the future part

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

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