UK SOA and Business Process Conference

I attended this seminar this week and I thought I do a quick review;

Keynote: Why BPM Matters – Mark Raskino
A good key note where Mark did an excellent job of putting across the importance of process management. Sure it had a lot of Analyst/Marketing phrases that usually make me cringe e.g. ‘the trough of disillusionment’ Nerd but Mark trod that line well and I enjoyed it. What I especially liked about it was that it brilliantly covered areas that I’ve been struggling to get noticed, I just hope I get hold of the slide deck – or better still a webcast!

Keynote Address: Realising the Potential of SOA – Gavin King, Mike Woods
Well I was a little disappointed with this, perhaps unfairly. This felt like a Microsoft Marketing exercise, I don’t know what it is but the mere mention of BizTalk sends me to sle…..ep. There were some little gems in there and if you’ve never heard of you-know-what then you’d probably have enjoyed it. Having said all that I did take away that Microsoft are very serious about this and are really pushing it, hurray!

Keynote Address: Business Process Management on the Microsoft Platform – Harsha Karunarantne, Adi Hofsteien
Again some interesting points, especially about RealWorldSOA and the Business Process Alliance. One of the members of the Alliance was Adi’s PNMSoft. Although it was a thinly veiled advert for the company I did enjoy the presentation and it did seems to be a working example of all the things I believe to be correct. So that was nice.

Microsoft Vision for Sofware+Services – Marc Holmes
Hmm. I thought this was a bit muddled. It seemed to be about Software as a Service (SaaS) but if it was then I disagree with Marc’s definition. Marc used Exchange as an example, arguing that because it has many channels that makes it a "S+S". No. By that premise almost every 1/2 way decently implemented client-server application would be S+S. I looked up SaaS on wikipedia (yes I always grin when anyone uses that to back-up their claims) but their definition is spot on…
Software as a service (SaaS) is a software application
delivery model where a software vendor develops a web-native software
application and hosts and operates (either independently or through a
third-party) the application for use by its customers over the
Internet. Customers do not pay for owning the software itself but
rather for using it.

That, for me, is the important difference between a client server application (albeit on the web).  IMO Marc’s channel argument is just weak, Exchange is a good example of separating out the presentation layer – that’s all.

BizTalk Server R2 Tour – Harsha Karunarantne, Jeff Johnson
Grr, a bit annoyed about this one. I understand the relevance of RFID and WCF but I couldn’t help thinking, "why BizTalk", all the way through it. Great news that a device abstracted API has been written to use RFID tags but why deploy that with BizTalk? Why not deploy DirectX 10 with BizTalk too Wink? Ok I can see the benefit of using it but I really think they should separate out the Reader layer with the Management layer and provide the Reader layer to anyone who wants to use it. Then lots of talk about WCF, and the usual failed demo (quite a few failed throughout the day). Hmm yeah, I dare say it’s great news but I can’t help feeling that when someone celebrates such an obviously needed feature there must be something worryingly wrong the original roadmap. I think the problem was that for people who enjoy BizTalk this must have been very old news, and for others it just wasn’t interesting. For me it felt like, "look you can communicate with a service using WCF". Wow.

BizTalk v. Next ‘Oslo’ – Mike Woods
I like the idea of Oslo but I’m not sure how practical it will be. For example, if they have some form of identity server in the cloud that everyone can use, then why would I install Federation Server? Still sounds like a good idea, and yes I would say this *is* (or could be) an example SaaS.

Overall I enjoyed the day, bit dull in places, bit marketing, but I did come away with renewed enthusiasm for business process management – well done MS UK.

One thought on “UK SOA and Business Process Conference

  1. Paulio November 17, 2007 / 9:46 am

    re:  Microsoft Vision for Sofware+Services – Marc HolmesI just couldn\’t believe that Marc would get something so wrong so I did a bit of digging and yes my initial assumption that S+S == SaaS was wrong. S+S is essentially a client that uses one or more services that reside in the cloud (or as an external service). However, I\’m still not very convinced by the Exchange example, true there is Exchange Services but I don\’t really think that what the example was talking about. Virtual Earth client is the more interesting example as it\’s part win client, but can get information (such as traffic delays) from other services. So the S is the Win client and +S would be the BBC\’s backstage service. Anyway the point is that I owe Marc an apology, sorry! 

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