I’m spending the morning at the media and analyst forum at Software AG’s user conference, Innovation World, in Miami. The first half of the morning covered mainframe modernization, plus a presentation by Miko Matsumura (who I met last week at the Business Rules Forum), Deputy CTO, on the state of SOA adoption. He’s just published a book — more of a booklet at 86 pages — on SOA Adoption for Dummies, continuing Software AG’s trend of using the Dummies brand to push out lengthy white papers in a lighthearted format. For example, chapter 10 is SOA Rocket Science, which covers three principles of SOA:
- Keep the pointy end up (instrumentation)
- Maintain upward momentum (organization)
- Don’t stop until you’re in orbit (automation)
He finished up with a discourse on SOA as IT postmodernism, casting postmodernism as an architectural pattern language: given a breakdown in the dominant metanarrative and the push towards deconstructionism, a paradigm of composition emerges…
After the break, we heard from Ian Walsh from webMethods product marketing to give us an overview of the webMethods suite:
- webMethods BPM, including process management, rules management and simulation
- CAF (composite application framework), for codeless application design and web-based composite applications
- BAM, including process monitoring and alerting, and predictive management
He stated that the “pure-play” BPMS vendors (mentioning Lombardi, Savvion and Pega) are having problems because they sold on the ability to allow the business to create their own processes quickly, but that doesn’t work in reality when you have to integrate complex systems. He also said that the platform vendors (Microsoft, IBM, Oracle) have confusing offerings that are not well integrated, hence take too long to implement. He mentioned TIBCO as a special case, neither pure-play nor platform, but sees their weakness as being very focused on events: good for their CEP strategy, but not good for their broader BPM/SOA strategy.
Walsh sees their strengths in both BPM and SOA as their differentiator: customers are buying both their BPM and SOA products together, not individually.
Bruce Williams was up next speaking on the BPM as the killer application for SOA. He’s a Six Sigma guy, so spent some time talking about BPM in the context of quality management initiatives: if we can manage processes well, we can achieve our business goals; in order to manage processes, we need some systems and infrastructure. He defines the killer app as being flexible and dynamic, not a fixed state or a system with unchangeable functionality. He sees BPM as being the language that can be spoken and understood by both business and IT: not the Tower of Babel created by technology-speak, but how process ties to business strategy.
Logistics are not great: they’ve billeted me in the down-market Marriott Courtyard next door rather than at the Hyatt where the conference is being held (I had to change rooms due to no hot water, can’t run the a/c at night because of the noise, and I have a view — complete with sound effects — of the I95 onramp), and there’s no wifi or power in the lecture hall. There’s supposed to be wifi, but it’s a hidden, protected network that only some people seem to be able to connect to (yes, I added it manually to my wireless network settings). They’ve promised us power at the desks and some assistance with the wifi after lunch.
In case my policy about vendor conferences isn’t crystal clear from previous posts, Software AG is paying my travel expenses to be here, although they are not compensating me for my time nor do they have any editorial control over what I write.