Daily Archives: September 16, 2005

SOA Technology Days – Germany

One thing I remember, being in Germany again, from when I spent the summer here in 1971, is that people eat a lot of soup. So I’ve had soup with about every meal, excepting breakfast of course, and it’s been a great little bit of nostalgia. Calvin Trillin would be proud.
The occasion for my visit was an invitation to present one of the theme tracks at the Deutsche Post SOA Days 2005 Technology Conference at the DP tower in Bonn.
Unfortunately I haven’t kept up with my German language skills very well so I could not completely understand all the presentations. It is hard because I don’t get much chance to practice. But I could understand a good percentage (most of the slides were in English, and after all, the technology is language independent), and my IONA colleagues helped me out as well. One thing is clear – people in Germany are already doing SOA, and many more are interested.
It really was a great conference, and I want to thank Dr. Johannes Helbig and Michael Herr for inviting me and making me feel so welcome. It is really great to work with them and their colleagues on achieving reality for their corporate SOA program.
The conference demonstrates DP’s leadership in SOA not only for Germany but also worldwide. DP now does a lot of global business through its DHL subsidiary and other initiatives in the logistics industry. And of course their SOA initiative is integral to this growing competition in the worldwide marketplace.
In addition to SOA case studies from DP we heard about another successful SOA implementation from Sparkasse bank. Both cases clearly illustrated the value of SOA investment.
It is very important that customers take an active role in promoting SOA like this, and in guiding the vendor community. Left to their own devices, vendors have no motivation to figure out the best, vendor-independent approach to SOA. By definition they are focused on competing with each other. And if an SOA isn’t vendor independent, it doesn’t really achieve its true value.
Vendor independence means the ability to better combine software from multiple suppliers and achieve “best of breed” among specialists – not to mention a better price, since dependency on a single source for any corporate supply is never a good idea.
And the existence of standards by itself isn’t enough. It took Henry Ford’s unwavering insistence with his procurement dollars, for example, to finally achieve conformance to interchangable parts standards among his suppliers and improve his manufacturing process. And of course everyone knows how the world was changed by the mass production of the Model T as a result.
The remainder of the conference covered a lot of practical topics around how to get started with SOA, how to deal with organizational, skill set, technology, and architectural issues.
I am looking forward to returning soon, for more soup, and to hear more about SOA and its success in Germany, and worldwide.