Saturday, April 21, 2007

Once Bitten, Twice Shy

Once Bitten Twice Shy

At a client of ours, Web services were all the rage a few years back – maybe 4-6 years ago. Hearing about all the noise of the new paradigm, the IT dept there decided to embark on a Web services project as well. Busy minds worked head down researching the capabilities and the use cases that were associated with this and finally a proposal was put forth.

The proposal was essentially to offer various IT functionalities as Web services and then for IT applications to dynamically discover and bind to the most appropriate fit. Sounds vague and shocking? It was just as vague and shocking back then and the business teams at the client were just as skeptical. The project took two steps forward, five steps back; until finally it was laid to rest and Web services were forever labeled nothing more than "Hype".

Fast forward to 2007 and now we come in and propose SOA as the A2A and B2B integration substrate. And the feeling of being "once bitten – twice shy" was quite overwhelming. The reaction from both IT and business was exactly the same. “SOA!?! You mean Web services? Oh no, we tried that. It didn't work for us. It’s not for our type of business." And there began my efforts to explain the difference between Web services, the technology, and SOA, the uber-integration architecture. At the crux of my arguments was the idea that SOA is about integration rather than dynamic discovery. It's about loose coupling of integrated applications. It's not about dynamically choosing your business partners at run time. It took quite a few discussions for me to give SOA the confidence as the paradigm of choice. Our client was definitely skeptical but as of today they have a purchase order signed, sealed, and delivered for a SOA platform from one of the big guys and I sit with my soda and pizza and several architecture documents detailing the new SOA to be implemented over the next few weeks.