Blog on SOA - Technologies and Trends

Avi Rosenthal

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SOA and Social Business

Electronic Social Networking Services like Facebook are very popular.The distinction between Social Networks services and similar Business services like Linkedin are not clear. Businesses use Facebook for commercial purposes and sometimes Linkedin users use it for social purposes. The identity of services such as Twitter is not clear as well: it is used for commercial and for social purposes. 

Usage of Social Networking Services in an Enterprise context is not as simple as using it in a Consumer context.  Google's Steve Yege's post published incidentally to an external Google+ circle instead of internal circle (including only Google's employees), is an illustration of issues facing an Enterprise using a Social Networking Service.

The differences between Enterprise Social Networking Services are similar to the differences between SOA Services (Enterprise context) and Mashups (Consumer context): Management and Security are essential in the Enterprise context. However, usage of Electronic Networking Services could be beneficial for enterprises.

IDC believes that curiosity in Social networking Services is turned into a business opportunity as the lines between Consumer and Enterprise continue to blur. 

In  an interesting Research Note titled: Becoming a Social Business: The IBM Story, IDC's  analysts Erin Traudt and Richard Vancil analyze one of the pioneers Social Businesses: IBM.

According to IDC's Social Business survey, Social Software usage moved beyond the Early Adopters stage. 41% of the participants in the survey conducts in September 2010 indicated that they already implemented Social Software. 

According to the IDC report, the major benefits of becoming a Social Business are:
1. Deeper relationships with customers, employees, partners and suppliers
2. Agility and Transparency
3. Higher employees' productivity and satisfaction
4. Increased engagement and feedback from customers
5. Accelerated Innovation and better intellectual capital reuse  

Social Networking Software is only an Enabler. An Organizational Culture transformation and Process changes are required in order to become a Social Business. According to IDC it is a long Journey.

Social Businesses and SOA
Usage of Web technologies as well as usage of SOA in Social Networking Software is not the important part connecting SOA and Social Networking Services. 

The important links between them are the following Organizational and Cultural constituents:

  •   Sharing
SOA is about sharing Services or Service Reuse. Social Networks essence is sharing information. Sharing information by usage of Enterprise Social Networking Software can be used for analyzing and defining new SOA Services as well as for delivering information about existing Services to IT experts and Business users.

  •  Cultural and Organizational Changes
 SOA initiative failure or success depends on Organizational, Cultural and Methodological factors. Adequate Maturity Level is a prerequisite.
A previous post is a link to my presentation titled: Methodological and Organizational aspects of SOA and BPM . The presentation explains why Methodological and Organizational aspects are more crucial for successful SOA implementation than pure technological aspects. Unfortunately, the presentation, presented in the Israeli Systems Analysts conference, is a Hebrew presentation. However, High Maturity Level and Reuse Culture are required for transforming a Business to Social Business, as well.  
IDC's opinion is: "A Social Business centers on "People as a Platform ...". This approach is very different from current approaches in most companies.  
  • A Long Journey

Both SOA and Cultural Business are paradigmatic shift, requiring a long time and a lot of efforts and commitment. 

  • Process Changes  

Expect Process changes as part of deployment of these paradigms.

  • Agility 
Research results show that Agility is SOA's most important Value Proposition. Social Business is an Agile Business which is capable to change and adapt.

  • Innovation
Innovation is another Value Proposition of SOA. 
Flexible Architecture Agile Enterprise as well as looking for similarities and commonalities between systems encourages Innovation.

Open Social interactions in a Social Business also enhance Innovation. Receiving feedback from employees, customers and partners could drive Innovation. 

 Although SOA is very different from Enterprise Social Networks, they share some basic principles and.
Both are driving more Agile and Innovative Business   

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More Stories By Avi Rosenthal

Ari has over 30 years of experience in IT across a wide variety of technology platforms, including application development, technology selection, application and infrastructure strategies, system design, middleware and transaction management technologies and security.

Positions held include CTO for one of the largest software houses in Israel as well as the CTO position for one of the largest ministries of the Israeli government.