Saturday, November 21, 2009

Ecosystem 2

Last month I explored the concept of the ecosystem, and how breaking down enterprise boundaries will be a major focus in future. I discussed how the enterprise perspective needs to change in order to optimize business processes in a manner that spans conventional boundaries. Whilst I may have been a little controversial by suggesting the “death of enterprise architecture” the careful reader will know that my comments were directed at the issues of how to scope architecture and delivery projects.

I return to the theme this month in an article in the November CBDI Journal in which I explore how SOA will evolve. I examine a number of key influences which inform the evolution in which scoping forms an important part. I also look at key technologies:

1. How the confluence of SOA and maturing EDA, CEP, smart systems and Cloud Computing will encourage a revised view of solution scope that is simultaneously more narrowly drawn around specific business goals, yet spread more broadly to involve all the stakeholders that naturally participate in the ecosystem.

2. How SOA and Cloud Computing make the virtual world practical.

3. That well architected SOA should deliver highly independent, stable capabilities that implement core business logic for major resources which can support agile event processing.

4. A well architected EDA layer increases loose coupling and transforms orchestration overhead into business relevant event rules that can rapidly respond to business change.

5. CEP enables a system in which multiple stakeholders can participate in an ecosystem and concurrently derive stakeholder relevant events in support of a broader ecosystem purpose.

6. Maturing technologies including Web 2.0, Sensors and Analytics, which have naturally evolved in relative isolation, will increasingly interact with core systems architectures.

Putting this all together I suggest we have a number of really interesting new patterns that in various permutations and dimensions have a disruptive effect on our view of enterprise.

So what is an ecosystem? Try this . . . a set of business capabilities that collaborate to support a common purpose and exhibit high levels of interaction based on event relationships, shared information and data concepts. An ecosystem may comprise part or whole of one or many business processes; part or whole of one or more enterprises. It is most likely to be a series of subsets of conventional scoping mechanisms.

An ecosystem doesn’t have to be drawn on a huge scale as we measure scope conventionally. It may be sub enterprise or cross enterprise, focused on key goals of better results, in say a particular field of medicine; or key areas of high cost and low profitability. The key point is to start with a purpose, and then to examine the entire scope of business types, information needs, events, business capabilities, business services and software services. Equally important we should explore the entire set of stakeholders and actors in order to surface a rich model of complex events, capabilities and services that we can then consider various scenarios for radical change in business processes, business intelligence and management information availability in the light of new technical capabilities such as sensors, event processors and mashups.

Ecosystem might not the right word. Maybe a better definition is NOT ENTERPRISE!