Sunday, March 23, 2008

JBoGS and PoPS

I noticed that Nick Malik and others have stepped up the call to stamp out "JBoWS" (Just a Bunch of Web Services). Not me. After some soul searching, I've determined that JBoWs is the natural first step that an organization takes on the path to service orientation. It's not that it's right or wrong, it's just a stepping stone.

Since the industry likes buzzwords and acronyms, I'll add to the mix. It has been my observation that the next step is to take the 'wild' services and govern them. I've been calling this, 'JBoGS' or (Just a Bunch of Governed Services).

JBoGs is the natural extension of JBoWS. Services continue to be funded in a project (and often silo manner) but are designed, built and operated according to modern governance concepts. With JBoGS, a company will most likely have some type of registry / repository solution, lifecycle governance and runtime management infrastructure and practices in place.

This is an excellent step after JBoWS and it isn't too hard. People like to say, "You can't buy SOA". Well, that's true... but for the most part you can buy JBoGS. Moving from JBoWS to JBoGS requires some infrastructure, a SOA lifecycle and governance practices, all of which can be bought from vendors like MomentumSI, IBM, SOA Software and Progress.

JBoGs might sound like a derogatory term, but it isn't. I applaud the companies that are getting experience in building and governing services. But let's get real, that's not "SOA" - it's another stepping stone.

I'm throwing out another term: "Patches of Planned Services" (PoPS). Here, we're aligning the enterprise architecture with the Services. In essence, we're performing urban planning for communities of services. This is the 'planning' view of SOA typically thought of as a top-down approach. Notice that I used the word 'patches'; I didn't use a term like "Enterprise-Wide Planned Services" - the fact is, no one (who keeps their job) will do this across the enterprise. We'll cut up domains (or patches) and plan one area at a time.

The Evolution
We have several customers who are at the JBoGS stage right now. Most companies want to get their 'wild services' governed before they move to more ambitious goals. 2008 appears to be the start of the PoPS era. Companies that have matured their JBoGS are now looking for SOA to support business critical processes like order-to-cash. This means that they now have to roll out multiple services (not 1 or 2, like in JBoGS). This is the driving force for creating planned communities of services which are typically aligned to business processes. Finally, eh?

You'll notice that in the diagram above I imply that there is something after PoPS. There is - I know it, but the future remains cloudy. In the past, I've predicted things like: organizational alignment to SOA, alignment to business strategy, external service networks, and a host of other great ideas. Bottom line is that I don't know, and most likely no one else does either. Don't worry about it. For now, keep working on the other stepping stones!!!