IBM’s Mills: ‘Find me a company not interested in SOA principles’

May 6, 2009
144 Views

‘Nobody gets up in the morning with the idea that they want to accumulate more redundant IT assets’

At a press conference at this week’s IBM IMPACT SOA gathering, I asked Steve Mills, senior vice president and group executive of the IBM Software Group, for his take on the ‘SOA is Dead’ debate that has been raging this year. He very passionately pushed back against those questioning SOA’s value proposition. Here’s most of what he said:

‘Nobody gets up in the morning with the idea that they want to accumulate more redundant IT assets’

“I challenge anybody in the room to bring forward a company anywhere in the world who’d say that they’re not trying to make their IT operation more efficient, more effective, and that’s inclusive of their application assets.

“Companies all over the world say they want to optimize their business processes. They want to have the appropriate number of application assets to support their business processes. They don’t want redundancy. They don’t want 30 ledgers. They don’t want dozens of supply chain systems. They don’t want five CRM systems. They want one set of application assets that effectively and efficiently serve their business needs and requirements.


‘Nobody gets up in the morning with the idea that they want to accumulate more redundant IT assets’

At a press conference at this week’s IBM IMPACT SOA gathering, I asked Steve Mills, senior vice president and group executive of the IBM Software Group, for his take on the ‘SOA is Dead’ debate that has been raging this year. He very passionately pushed back against those questioning SOA’s value proposition. Here’s most of what he said:

‘Nobody gets up in the morning with the idea that they want to accumulate more redundant IT assets’

“I challenge anybody in the room to bring forward a company anywhere in the world who’d say that they’re not trying to make their IT operation more efficient, more effective, and that’s inclusive of their application assets.

“Companies all over the world say they want to optimize their business processes. They want to have the appropriate number of application assets to support their business processes. They don’t want redundancy. They don’t want 30 ledgers. They don’t want dozens of supply chain systems. They don’t want five CRM systems. They want one set of application assets that effectively and efficiently serve their business needs and requirements. And they want to use those assets to the fullest.

That’s what service orientation is about. I can’t name a single company in the world that does not have interest in this. And I can’t name a company that would not say that they’re not on some kind of journey to improve the service orientation, the structure of their application environment for better economics and better efficiency.

Because the alternative is that all your applications are disconnected from each other. Your processes don’t work effectively. Your business ratios are the worst in your market segment, and your company is on the verge of bankruptcy.

“So there’s no other choice. There’s no alternative to this idea. It doesn’t matter if your buzzword at the end of the day is service oriented architecture, or business process integration, or enterprise application integration… It all leads to the same place.

“Nobody gets up in the morning with the idea that they want to accumulate more redundant IT assets. What they want to do is they want to run their business more effectively. CEOs don’t get up in the morning thinking about acquiring more IT for the sake of IT. they don’t get up in the morning thinking about IT architecture, they get in the morning thinking about, how do they run their business more efficiently and effectively. They turn to the experts in their business, they guys that know how to do that. Notions of sharing are obvious in very company are obvious in every company. Governance, shared service, shared capabilities, shared resources.

“This is a dominant conversation globally today. Because of the fundamental lack of available capital dollars to run a company. So everybody is on a path towards greater efficiency. Everybody is on a path to share things of all kinds. Everybody is on a path to share services, which is the very essence of what service oriented architecture is about. There’s no alternative. [The ‘SOA is dead’ debate] is a useless debate.”

Lots of good insights on IBM’s SOA and cloud computing announcements are also provided by Dana Gardner here at the ZDNet community, Jack Vaughan at SearchSOA and Tony Baer at his OnStrategies site