Monday, November 23, 2009

SOA and Corporate Culture change

One of the most difficult tasks of a major paradigm shift or architectural change or major technological change is Organizational Culture change (Corporate Culture change).
Without a cultural change SOA's Value Proposition could be turned to nothing, because SOA's benefits such as Service Reuse will not take place. 
In a recent ebizQ webinar Gartner's VP Distinguished Analyst Yefim Natis, talked about SOA Proponents’ Myths. 100% Service Reuse is one of these myths. The reality is that successful Service Reuse ratio is about 30%.
It is obvious that Service Reuse is easy to say and is hard to use.
The expectations of near to 100 percent usage of Objects in Objects Oriented also failed. However, there are significant measured benefits even to small percentage of Object Reuse and more significant benefits for small percentage of Service Reuse.
Why is Service Reuse limited?
The main reasons are Technical and Cultural.
As far as Technical reasons are concerned, sometimes it could be difficult and cost a lot to generalize a Service across systems. Expanding the components included in the service in order to support reuse, could require a lot of coding and increase complexity. Due to this technical limitation large enterprises architecture could include two levels of Service Bus: Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) or Big Bus and ESB like departmental or Line of Business Bus or Small Bus. The Services in the Second level Bus are reused only internally i.e. by different applications in the same department or Line of Business. 
The Cultural issue limiting Service Reuse is related to creating a Reuse Culture in the organization. Absence of Reuse Culture obviously limits the frequency of Service Reuse. The transformation from a traditional organizational culture could be difficult due to resistance to change and other factors.


Expect resistance to any cultural change. The reasons for opposing cultural changes required for implementing SOA varied:
1.Conservatives - Some people are conservative and therefore oppose any change.
2. Potential Losers – People who fear that they could not adapt to the new culture and lose their status.  The people included in this group are usually experienced and knowledgeable as far as the current corporate culture is concerned. For example, very productive programmers could lose their rewards in a new culture that rewards Reuse instead of development.
3. If it is not broken do not fix it – People who think that the current culture is good enough. However, in many cases they may be wrong because current business dynamics requires Agility or in other words used more often by Business C level managers (CEO, CFO, etc.) ability to respond quickly.

Changing Corporate Culture

Changing Corporate Culture is not simple. The methods of changing the culture could be specific to each organization.
A nice illustration of a unique way of changing Corporate Culture was posted by Peter Bregman in his blog in Harvard Business School site. The example has nothing to do with SOA, but it illustrated the creativity needed for identifying the key for change.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Do You Think Google Wave, or Some Other Application, Will Ever Make Email Obsolete?


I am not a fan of current e-mail offerings. It is full of Spam, Viruses, Worms and Phishing and the messages capacity is permanently growing.

Some of the limitations should and could overcome by technical improvements by e-mail vendors and by different approaches by Internet Service Providers (ISPs). For example, ISPs can eliminate messages including Viruses, Worms or Phising with no additional charge.

Other limitations are inherent. For example, Spam filtering by Anti-Spam is done by usage of statistical indicators and will never be 100% accurate. In an article I wrote few years ago, I pointed at the similarity between Signal Detection theory and Spam filtering: both are based on statistics (usually on Bayesian algorithms) and assign different weights to different error types.

Despite of my opinion on e-mail technology when I was asked for my opinion on the question appearing in this post's title, my opinion is that Google Wave will not make e-mail obsolete.

My Opinion
Google Wave is very creative and could have some advantages over e-mail. However, I do not think this application or other similar application will make e-mail obsolete, same as e-mail did not make mail obsolete or Instant Messaging did not make e-mail obsolete. For certain tasks, mainly collaborative mailing, it may replace e-mail, but for one to one communication traditional e-mail will be used despite its limitations. 

e-mail vs. Google Wave is similar to Word Processor vs. Wikis. Wikis did not replace Word Processor but are better fit for collaborative documents. Although, I do not think Google Wave will replace e-mail it may improve it significantly. The future e-mail may include some of Google Wave ideas, such as single copy of messages.

Other experts' opinions
Read other ebizQ experts' opinions in this link.

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