Can Your Enterprise See Software as a Service? - InformationWeek

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Commentary
1/16/2007
04:42 PM
David Linthicum
David Linthicum
Commentary
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Can Your Enterprise See Software as a Service?

We are moving toward a day when most of our enterprise applications may be delivered as services, and thus provide a more economical way to approach information technology management. Let's face it; the Web has grown from a simple information delivery platform to a grouping of many valuable exposed services with rich dynamic user interfaces. It's really the global SOA, and those who learn to leverage it now will be well ahead of those who ignore the trend.

We are moving toward a day when most of our enterprise applications may be delivered as services, and thus provide a more economical way to approach information technology management. This is also the great equalizer since businesses, large and small, will have access to the same number and quality of services, much as they do with Web sites today. Shared services will create many opportunities, including better agility and the ability to operate a business with fewer IT resources. All you have to do is to look around you. With the advent of Software as a Service (SaaS), firms like Salesforce.com and NetSuite are cleaning up with soaring subscriptions. Moreover, the Web is getting the right interface with rich client technologies, such as Ajax, emerging to provide a much better, dynamic user experience. Let's face it; the Web has grown from a simple information delivery platform to a grouping of many valuable exposed services with rich dynamic user interfaces. It's really the global services-oriented architecture (SOA), and those who learn to leverage it now will be well ahead of those who ignore the trend.However, in order to make this a reality, we must learn to how to bridge the gaps between our enterprise systems and SOAs, and Web service (SaaS) providers that exist across the Internet. Special consideration must be given to connectivity, interoperability, security and shared processes. Problems are easily solvable with the right technology and approaches, but I would say that most out there looking at this new opportunity don't have a clue as to how to make the new and old work and play well together. Indeed, there are a few technical issues that we must address, such as semantic and metadata management, or, the management of the different information representations amount the external services and internal systems. Transformation and routing, or, accounting for those data differences during run time. Also, we need to consider governance across all systems, meaning, not giving up the notion of security and management when extending your enterprise to SaaS. Also important, are discovery and service management, meaning, how to find and leverage services inside or outside of your enterprise, and how to keep track of those services through their maturation. Also, information consumption, processing, and delivery, or, how to effectively move information to and from all interested systems, as well as connectivity and adapter management, or, how to externalize and internalize information and services from very old and proprietary systems. Finally, process orchestration and service, and process abstraction, or, the ability to abstract the services and information flows into bound processes, thus creating business solutions within these BPM layers. So, can your enterprise see SaaS? If not, it's time to get to work. 2008 is just around the corner.We are moving toward a day when most of our enterprise applications may be delivered as services, and thus provide a more economical way to approach information technology management. Let's face it; the Web has grown from a simple information delivery platform to a grouping of many valuable exposed services with rich dynamic user interfaces. It's really the global SOA, and those who learn to leverage it now will be well ahead of those who ignore the trend.

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