Business Process Conference 2007 Netherlands

Today I went to Microsoft Business Conference 2007 with subjects SOA, BPM and Microsoft. Location was a castle in a town called Putten. Speakers were Dik Bijl (Architect Advisor from Microsoft Netherlands), David Chappell, Chris Dial. I had to pleasure of speaking Dik and David during breaks.

Meeting Dik:

I asked Dik about his presentation if it can be used to explain SOA to the business. He agreed it can be used and said algorithms of real live like Darwin (Diversity/Selection/Amplify) and Adam Smith (Wealth of Nations) apply for SOA. I will explain this later in this post.

Meeting David:

For breaking the ice I first introduced myself to David and asked him, why number of David Chappell’s in one his jokes about his name is 2 in Europe and 3 in the States (I saw him before, for instance SOA and BPM Conference October 2006 Redmond last year). He said well nobody knows David Chappelle (slight difference) comedian from the US in Europe. Then other difference with him and David Chappell, author of ESB is that he started to work for Oracle as for him; he is independent and tells people for instance how Microsoft technology works and to be placed in a SOA according to his view and insight. In the end he mentioned that both his talks today were also done in the SOA Conference I attended.

First presentation of the day had the following subject: Why SOA and BPM? Speaker Dik Bijl.

He kicked off by saying that an answer for the question why SOA and BPM lies not in IT, but in business. One will use IT terms to define it. Currently there is a consortium of vendors like IBM, Cisco and Oracle that are working on explanations to the business around SOA. Microsoft is not in this one sadly enough.

Two tribes:

He went on with a story about two tribes: Bushmen versus New-Yorker and their difference in environment. A Bushmen only uses a few goods and services if you like, where as a New-Yorker will use multiple goods and services.

Adam Smith:

Parallel to this story was made to Adam Smith. He was a Scottish moral philosopher and a pioneering political economist. He is a major contributor to the modern perception of economics. One of the key figures of the intellectual movement known as the Scottish Enlightenment, he is known primarily as the author of two treatises: The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759), and An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776). The latter was one of the earliest attempts to systematically study the historical development of industry and commerce in Europe, as well as a sustained attack on the doctrines of mercantilism. Smith's work helped to create the modern academic discipline of economics and provided one of the best-known intellectual rationales for free trade, capitalism, and libertarianism (Wikipedia). Dik used Adam Smith for explanation how wealth is created and distributed (specialize, exchange and incentive). Today’s Enterprise Service Bus can be seen as a market (exchange of goods), where value (money) is used to obtain goods (bushmen will exchange goods for goods).

Charles Darwin:

Next example Dik used the rise of kiwi, where he made another parallel to Charles Darwin. He was an English naturalist, who proposed and provided evidence for the scientific theory that all species have evolved over time from one or a few common ancestors through the process of natural selection. This theory became widely accepted by the scientific community in the 1930s, and now forms the basis of modern evolutionary theory (Wikipedia). Kiwi’s are very easy to chill (refrigerator) so they can last very long. This is the reason kiwi’s are popular and not seen anymore as an exclusive fruit (diversity, select, amplify). Next topic was about robust, command and control and integrated versus agile, coordinate and cultivate and loosely coupling. He used a couple of comparison between the two like a stone menhir (known from Asterix & Obelix, a large upstanding stone) and small little stones. The menhir can be seen as robust, in command and control, integrated (one piece), while all the small stones can be seen as agile (easy to move in comparison to a giant stone like a menhir), coordinate and cultivate and loosely coupled. Looking at hardware the same comparison can be made between IBM Mainframe and the Personal Computer. Another comparison is software, where SAP for instance is compared to applications and services.

Keiretsu:

Dik also mention Keiretsu; prototypical keiretsu are those which appeared in Japan during the "economic miracle" following World War II. Before Japan's surrender, Japanese industry was controlled by large conglomerates called zaibatsu. The Allies dismantled the zaibatsu in the late 1940s, but the companies formed from the dismantling of the zaibatsu re-interlinked through share purchases to form horizontally-integrated alliances across many industries. Where possible, keiretsu companies would also supply one another, making the alliances vertically integrated to some extent (Wikipedia).

The major keiretsu were each centred around one bank, which lent money to the keiretsu's member companies and held equity positions in the companies. Each central bank had great control over the companies in the keiretsu and acted as a monitoring entity and as an emergency bail-out entity. One effect of this structure was to minimize the presence of hostile takeovers in Japan, because no entities could challenge the power of the banks (Wikipedia).

Patterns and Anti-patterns:

Dik compared GM/AT&T versus Toyota/Marks and Spencers. First two companies were big and did everything by themselves (robust, tightly integrated and in command and control). The other two companies did only assemble cars or sell clothes, but parts for Toyota are made by other companies. This also accounts for M&S where clothes are made somewhere else.

How to start SOA?

With SOA do not take the waterfall approach (complete design) or see an Enterprise Service Bus as your sole solution or hack it together. Real world SOA in Microsoft’s view is incremental, trail by action or their model expose/compose/consume (see my previous posts). With as default protocol SOAP not REST, even though SOAP is complex nowadays with WS*.

Hopefully his presentation will be online soon; it is a great one in my view.

Second Speaker: David Chappell : SOA, BPM and Microsoft: A Pragmatic View. Well have had this one in Redmond last year. Slides are available online.

Third Speaker: Chris Dial Microsoft Real World SOA and BPM. A marketing kind of presentation, with the model expose/compose/consume in mind and mapping of all their products/technologies concerning it and which ones are coming in the near future (1-3 years). There is a document out called Real World SOA and will tell you pretty much the same thing.

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