Via the folks over at Infoq and their article on defining the ESB I came across a link to an interview from Accenture's CTO. Now if there was a company I'd expect to understand that SOA as a technology approach won't work it would be the people who used to be accountants. But it turns out if you turn accountants into IT professionals then they become technology geeks.
Infoq's summary of Accenture's position is
- Use of eXtensible Markup Language (XML) to use application interfaces in a more standard way.
- Taking some business processes and turning them into web services.
- Introduction and full use of the enterprise service bus.
- The generation of Business Process Execution Language(BPEL) --the ability through business processing modelling tools and BPEL to create different application behaviour without changing the software
Good god, did this man STUDY to become this wrong? Yes folks, SOA isn't about thinking differently, or architecture or anything actually different its just about using XML, whacking on some Web Services, lobbing in a Bus and then if you are REALLY brave using BPEL.... oh and guess what folks, according to the CTO at Accenture changing BPEL doesn't mean you change the software, because BPEL is of course some sort of magic language.
Now from one side this of course makes me amazingly happy, but from another its just depression. Some people have already done all of these steps and found out that the technology doesn't matter half as much as the practice.
If SOA is just about adopting XML, lobbing web-services on processes, using an ESB and then trying to use BPEL then its not going to deliver on the promises. If you deliver in the same way, thinking about the problem in the same way and only change the technology then all you are doing is putting lipstick on the pig, and not even at the front where it will have some impact.
It does stun me how people, particularly people at an SI, can talk about SOA and fail to mention three things
- The Business View
Instead they concentrate on the technologies that exist today and how people can use them in the future. Even for a technology view this is brain dead. FIVE YEARS before people are using BPEL? Don't you think just for a second that something else will have been introduced above BPEL that will become the next hot thing? Taking a technology view of today's products and assuming it will remain pretty static for five years is 100% against what history has told us.
SOA has to be about the business and changing the way we think. IT for the sake of technology is what got us in this mess in the first place.