Friday, October 24, 2003

IT Doesn't Matter - Smith & Fingar

I look forward to reading this one. I really enjoyed his last work.



A new book by Howard Smith and Peter Fingar

From the authors of the bestselling Business Process Management: The Third Wave, read Howard Smith and Peter Fingar's critical analysis of Nicholas Carr's infamous IT article in the Harvard Business Review.

Smith and Fingar have been busy expanding on the BPM breakthrough through a number of articles and this new book. What prompted the book was an article in the Harvard Business Review in May that triggered a flurry of debate in business and high-tech circles, and even some calls from Harvard's business school to sever its links to the venerable Business Review. The sensationally titled article, "IT Doesn't Matter," declared that information technology has matured to the point where it no longer gives companies competitive advantages. Now comes the in-depth monograph that debunks the underlying assumptions and conclusions of the article. A Washington Post feature provides an apt summary of the new book, "In IT Doesn't Matter-- Business Processes Do," Smith and Fingar, draw the opposite conclusion: "The strategic importance of IT is actually increasing as the recent 'business process rEvolution' allows companies to innovate the way they do business." As you pursue your work and spread the word about BPM to your current and future business customers, you'll no doubt be confronted with the IT doesn't matter way of thinking--but now you you have a concise resource to explain how value is linked to IT by basing IT on BPM principles.


Thursday, October 23, 2003

Commerce One: All Hands Meeting

Commerce One, developer of a 'composite process management' solution has been facing difficult times. I've been told that their 'all-hands-meeting' this week was not favorable. They have laid off just about everyone and are keeping a skeleton crew around to service existing customers.

Best of luck to those who fought the good fight at Commerce One.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

WS-* Extensions for Axis??

Does anyone know if the WS-* extensions have been written for Apache Axis, or are in process?

I've been thinking about kicking off a sourceforge project to start knocking them out. I don't want to duplicate efforts if someone else is already working on them though... send info to: jschneider @ momentumsoftware.com
thx. jeff

Borland Exec Reads McKinsey Report...I'm packing my things

Here's a great quote from news.com:
"And because the aging baby boomer generation is nearing retirement, the United States may be headed for another work force shortage, said William Miller, professor emeritus at Stanford University and chairman of Borland Software. In the meantime, displaced IT workers should get training and be willing to relocate to find new jobs, he said. " - Now there is an individual really thinking on his own!

Here's another interesting one: "People have to be prepared to move," Miller said. "That will be one of the requirements of the work force in the future; people must be willing to move where the jobs are." - Does this mean I will have to move to India?



Moving to India will be a blast. I could go bike riding with all of my other American software associates. I can't wait!!!

My only concern is that all of the jobs in India get moved to China. But surely, India has an aging baby booming problem too... perhaps I could take care of their elderly.

Monday, October 20, 2003

Conference sells out

When is the last time that you remember a software conference selling out?



They are turning people away...

Sunday, October 19, 2003

Radovan has something up his sleeve...

Ok, Ok, I give... what is it?

http://radovanjanecek.net/blog/archives/000026.html

Where did "service fabric' come from?

I recently had someone tell me that when 'graham glass invented service fabric...blah, blah, blah...", to which I commented... you know, I don't know who invented the term 'service fabric', but Microsoft has been using it for a while now...

---- from DevX --- *a few years ago*
In the following paragraph from the same HailStorm announcement, Mark Lucovsky, HailStorm's primary architect of HailStorm, explains the architectural structure for developers:

We have a thing that we're calling the "service fabric," which is the glue that holds [HailStorm], that makes this system possible. It's a common infrastructure that we've built that all these services to run under. It's a common way to name the services. It's a common way to think about the services. It's a common set of interfaces that if you're writing a HailStorm service, that service must expose in order to have uniform query across all the different services, to have uniform data manipulation. So if I want to add a chunk of XML to a service, I don't have to learn a new way [to do it] for Calendar versus an Address Book. It's the same add method. The data might be different. The schema for that particular service might be different, but the programming model and the service fabric and the glue that holds it all together is uniform.

anyone? surely one of you dinosaurs will tell me that Iona invented it, or it was an MPI term or some shit like that...
:-)

Top 10 Reasons Why the UBR Sucks...

I thought I'd do a top ten list on the UBR - but first, I am reaching out to you... send me your thoughts on why the UBR sucks (or doesn't)... jschneider @ momentumsoftware.com

10.
9.
8.
7.
6.
5.
4.
3.
2.
1.

I'll publish the results in a couple of weeks.

Netscape 7.1 - So far, so good




About three years ago, I switched from Netscape to MS IE. I felt guilty when I did this. To rid my guilt, I have been downloading Netscape about every 6 months waiting for a version that 'works'. Well, I have to admit that Netscape 7.1 might just be the version I've been waiting for...

http://channels.netscape.com/ns/browsers/download.jsp

Saturday, October 18, 2003

Services Oriented Enterprise

Sonic has dropped a reprint from "Enterprise Architect" at their site, titled "Services Oriented Enterprise".

Basically it says that the SOE is coming. More exciting, David Chappell got a nice picture of himself posing over a marketing piece showing JMS hooking up to parnters in a bus topology.

COMPLETELY UNRELATED.... here are some pictures of crashed buses:







ROTFL - jeff.

Iona to release web services product on Monday

Although web services are still an emerging technology and part of a long-term investment program; Iona has stated that its new product "Artix" is part of a "get back to profitability" program:

http://zdnet.com.com/2100-1104_2-5093213.html

If I remember the BCG product portfolio matrix correctly, the Cash Cow is supposed to sustain your profitability. The Rising Star is supposed to bring new profits...

This poses a common dilemma - what to do when your Cash Cow runs out of milk and your Rising Star is still in early adopter stage.


Friday, October 17, 2003

Gartner has nice clipart

I just previewed the new Gartner presentation on, "The Business of Web Services: Models and Opportunities" by Whit Andrews.

Despite the amazing lack of substance, Whit managed to find some real nice clipart. However, I am now of the opinion that the clipart drove the message of his presentation. If you are looking for substance on web services, you will likely need to go somewhere else, however, if you are looking for clipart, Gartner is the place to be!

Keep up the fine work. :-)

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Market Yawns at WebMethods

If three acquisitions in the same day won't move the stock, what will?


Sunday, October 12, 2003

Offshoring and Wiping Baby Boomers Bedridden Asses

I finally broke down and read the McKinsey report on offshoring. This is the report that everyone references when they don't know the facts about the effects of offshoring on the U.S. economy, the U.S. corporation or the U.S. citizen. Instead, people just say stuff like... "well, offshoring is natural. Didn't you read the McKinsey report? It actually benefits everyone!" Normally you need an MBA to make such an asinine statement. I can say, "Yes, I read the report"

Now, I'd like to hold a made-up, virtual conversation between Senator Adam Smith and myself:

Jeff responds, "Yes, I did read the McKinsey report. Well... as I'm sure you know, it isn't actually a "report" - it is a 'perspective' that was published preceding the release of any factual data. Senator, the thing that got me was that McKinsey decided to have a person from India write the report. Now, I'm sure that the author Vivek Agrawal didn't have any conflicts of interest - nor did McKinsey - even though their entire customer base is mostly globalized corporations that get short-term benefits from laying off American workers and replacing them with cheap offshore labor. But, I’m sure that when they put out their final report it will be under FULL DISCLOSURE.

The report was a good read. I really liked the part where they referred to laid off workers as being, "freed up to take other jobs" - holy shit, Senator - that Vivek really has a way with words!


Senator Smith comments back..."Come on Jeff. You're being critical. What Vivek was saying is that by reducing labor costs we are able to produce goods at a lower cost. This will have an immediate positive margin effect on the business owner and investor, allowing them to reinvest, which would lead to hiring new workers."

Jeff comments, "Come on Senator, new jobs? Doing what? These people can't fight the Asian pay scales. They're screwed. "

Senator Smith quips, "Now Jeff, they're not screwed. You saw the report. America is aging. The baby boomers will be retiring soon. This will deplete the workforce and create a new burden to take care of the elderly."

"So what you're saying is that for the sake of corporate profits, American lawmakers will tell well educated software professionals to move into health care? Sir, with all due respect, many of these guys have masters degrees in computer science, 10 years of experience and more importantly - THIS IS WHAT THEY LOVE DOING". You can't just tell them to start wiping baby boomers bed ridden asses as a new career, can you?"

Now Senator Smith is agitated. "You know I'm not recommending all software people start wiping asses for a living. I'm just saying that in order to remain competitive, we do.... well, what we have to. And you saw the McKinsey recommendation. They recommend that we offer a new insurance to those that groups most affected by offshoring. Thus, the employee will get 70% any difference in wage losses."

Jeff smiles. "Great, now I get to wipe asses and get sympathy insurance.... and I'm still not making as much as I used to. This makes me feel great!! But wait... if the employer gets stuck picking up the tab for ‘offshore insurance’ of 'freed-up workers' and the 'freed up' worker can't get a job then won't this lead to higher insurance premiums. And won't those premiums negate most of the benefits of going offshore in the first place?"

Senator - "Yes! Now you're getting it. The insurance package will have a payment system that penalizes corporations for laying off workers when the talent pool is high. Thus, if a corporation is only laying off people because they want cheap labor and there are lots of 'freed-up' American workers, then they should have to pay higher premiums."

"But Senator, when the economy is poor we usually see two things, 1. people getting laid off and 2. corporations trying to figure out how to make a margin. What you are telling me is that when corporations really need to squeeze out margins they won't be able to move work offshore because it will be cost prohibitive due to insurance premiums. That doesn't make sense.

On that note, why would I hire American workers at all - knowing that I'm going to get stuck paying for offshore insurance? So, let's say that I start a new company with some of that money I saved by laying off my American employees. Now, why would I hire Americans? Not only are they more expensive, but now they have a offshore tax that is associated with them."


Senator, "Well, Jeff... maybe you wouldn't. Maybe you'd just go offshore and take the higher margins the whole way. Then again, maybe you would hire locally because the job was better suited for proximity-based labor," commented the Senator.

Jeff sighs. "Gee Senator - I sure wish that I could believe the McKinsey report. I wish I could believe you. But for some reason, it just doesn't make sense. It is rare to find occasion where it is a true 'win-win' - I've found that usually one party wins, the other party wins, or it is a zero-sum-gain. I clearly see how the Indian government wins. I clearly see how the Indian corporation wins. I clearly see how the Indian employee wins. Conversely, I clearly see how the American employee (ass wiper) loses. What is less clear is the fate of the U.S. government and the U.S. corporation. I could see where the U.S. corporation could take short-term gains by 'freeing-up' labor. But 'freed-up labor' makes less money, has less purchasing power and ultimately buys less from those same corporations - which means that the U.S. government is collecting less sales and income tax. Senator, if I could make one suggestion?"

"Sure Jeff, what is it?", says the Senator.

"Senator, read the McKinsey report. I mean actually study it. Keep track of who wins and who loses (US government versus offshore government), (short term versus long term), (employee versus employer). My gut tells me that you're not going to like the outcome of your matrix. McKinsey has a great reputation - but I got a feeling that this one could end up being a real embarrassment for them. "

"Jeff, that sounds like solid advice. Can I get you another glass of wine... I think it's French!"

Saturday, October 11, 2003

Microsoft just gets it...

Microsoft just plain gets it. They understand web services and they understand developer needs.

Take a look at this screen shot from the MS WSE documentation. One nice set of docs around all the WS-* specs. It is a thing of beauty...

Friday, October 10, 2003

Public SOAP Router

I pistol-whipped one of my consultants into putting up a public SOAP router. It is the WSE 2.0 impl. If anyone wants to donate another impl, I'll gladly put that up as well.

For now, there is no dynamic routing algorithm.. just a static routing table. We are going to use 'to' fields in WS-Addressing as the final destination (for now).

We are also hoping to put up an unreliable-router soon (to test WS-ReliableMessaging, along with a static WSRM Policy Assertion).

This is super-duper beta kind of stuff. Send me an email if you are interested in testing out the public router: jschneider@momentumsoftware.com

We are building an HTML front-end so that you can add your own entries but this isn't out yet. Til then, you'll have to email us your endpoint information.

[[try to use 'pistol-whip' in a casual sentence when talking to friends - it will likely bring a smile to your face!]] LOL

Microsoft & Amazon link up via web services

By integrating Amazon Web Services, Amazon.com Research Services for Microsoft Office System will provide Microsoft Office System users with access to Amazon.com from within Microsoft productivity applications via the Research Task Pane. Users can access Amazon.com information and make purchases without launching a browser or leaving a document, email message, or presentation. For example, a customer reading a bibliography in a Word document could click on a book title and purchase it from within the Research Task Pane without leaving the Word document. Alternatively, a user will be able to add a footnote, bibliography entry and cover art for books without manually entering the information into a document.

See: http://www.econtentmag.com/Articles/ArticleReader.aspx?ArticleID=5611

Thursday, October 09, 2003

Logical Services

In web service composition (service piping, orchestration, etc.) you have the ability to make one service front-end multiple services. In BPEL, every orchestration is exposed as a web service despite the fact that it potentially encapsulates *many* web service calls.

I've blogged in the past about how the granularity of the service shouldn't matter. Granularity should be adjusted on the fly (when possible). I've blogged about *cheats* - that is, in-process calls that never actually used the network services (TCP & HTTP) - or even web service calls that were too lazy to use XML Schema - they realized that they were running in the same JVM or CLR and just used shared memory. These concepts are related to my vision of SODA (a concept popularized by Darryl Plummer at Gartner) or Service Oriented Development of Applications. The fact is that SODA doesn't work unless you cheat. You must have both static and dynamic optimizations of service-to-service calls.

When you do this you begin to realize that the piece of code that you called your 'service' was aggregated with another piece of code also called a 'service'. After a while, you realize that all of your services were really just logical things that could have their boundaries redrawn.

Web services are logical - hell, software is logical. The interfaces, the boundaries, the messages between them - all logical. Thus, the ability to recombine them in new ways is not only possible and practical, but perhaps inevitable. Future SODA tools will have the ability to *compile* multiple services together into single service.

Now, what does *compile* mean? Hmm... interesting question. Well, it could mean actually compiling. Or it could mean orchestrating. Or perhaps, just redelivering the service to a runtime container that knew how to *cheat*. Any way you look at it, the art of SODA will be about the ability to combine services in a variety ways. It should protect the black-boxed nature of the service while still giving the developer all of the functionality and performance of a compiled application.

SODA is the evolution of programming; when should an object be a component? When should a component be a service? If you answered these questions based on interface granularity then you don't understand SODA.

Stencil Group Changes Mission: Conspiracy Theorists

Ok. Just kidding of course. The Stencil Group does great work - however, I really, really don't understand the conspiracy piece that Bill Robins wrote about at news.com.

Why would IBM and MS share the stage to promote web services? The answer is simple. They need to create a compelling reason for their customers to buy the next generation of software suites. The major advancement in the suites is web services - and yes again, interoperability is required. IBM and MS must do more sessions with top people demonstrating this in order for them to convince the customer base of the primary value proposition.

One more time...
A compelling reason to buy.
Microsoft makes decisions based on making money... selling products... providing value; it is real simple.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Cape Clear has a nice WSDL editor...

So I needed to hack up a quick wsdl - so I sucked down the free one from Cape Clear.
It rocks. However, I didn't fully understand this: