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Friday, November 18, 2005

Customers Must Light Up The Dark Corners Of Service Interoperability

Jon Udell writing about CalISO’s electronic marketplace finds it using Web services on an enterprise service bus to receive bids and send notifications and highlights that none of this is visible to the customers drawing power from the grid. While customers assume that there’s a competitive market and and for them suppliers are interchangeable. After all SOA is all about bringing in process flexibility. Jon urges given the state of maturity of SOA & Web Services - customers should beat up on vendors whose SOA products aren’t interchangeable at the level of basic standards. The same holds true for services - with traansforamtion enabled by tearing down the walls between IT & Business. The only acceptable solution could be the QoS lock-in. Providers that don’t make their customers’ data available in a common XML format, or whose services can’t easily be second-sourced, will meet growing resistance. When SOA-style services finally become commodities in b-to-b markets, there are reasons to hope that those markets could work quite well. Self-describing data flows will lend themselves to rigorous analysis. Formal interface contracts will enable equivalent services to substitute for one another. Service consumers will be able to easily check quality metrics published by service providers. This is actually the wat to extract business value out of SOA implementations. I agree with Jon that the transparency made possible by SOA could influence the b-to-b landscape in profoundly positive ways. With a tinge of realism it must be noted that Information silos don’t crumble just because XML formats arrive on the scene. Jon makes the right call that customers must light up the dark corners of service interoperability.

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"All views expressed are my personal views are not related in any way to my employer"