Visualize SOA with iRise

SOA or service-oriented architecture is a chronically hot topic – and there are as many opinions about it as there are IT vendors.  According to Wikipedia, SOA is “is a computer system’s architectural style for creating and using business processes, packaged as services, throughout their lifecycle. SOA also defines and provisions the IT infrastructure to allow different applications to exchange data and participate in business processes.”  And for a more humorous definition of SOA overload, check out Greg the Architect in the “SOA This, SOA That” video from YouTube.

We recently had an interesting internal email discussion on how iRise deals with SOA and I have excerpted the highlights below:

From Sherrick Murdoff, VP of Alliances and Business Development:

  • “SOA is most often interpreted as back-end plumbing only, but this is not the case.  SOA includes the back-end plumbing, but you don’t start with the back-end plumbing and you don’t start with building web services
  • What many CIOs and industry leaders have learned and are promoting is to start with the customer experience – this should drive your SOA implementation more than anything. iRise lets you visualize the customer experience and iterate with both end-users and IT to gain alignment on what needs to be built that drives the “how”
  • Visualizing SOA is important to let the customer experience drive the requirements for what infrastructure you need to put in place
  • iRise aligns well in any SOA discussion and brings the customer back to what is important – visualizing “what” you need before you begin to think about the “how” you want to implement.”

From Matt Smith, Senior Enterprise Solutions Manager

  • “Most people over-think the relationship between SOA and simulating applications.  SOA basically means there is a provider (machine) and a consumer (machine or human) of a service.
  • The processing of the service is all the back-end wizardry that goes on within the SOA, which iRise doesn’t diagram in the traditional sense of architecture modeling tools, but it does simulate the action.
  • The line of business manager and end-user don’t care how the SOA actually processes the service request.  iRise simulates the important bit from their perspective of application usability.”

From James McWethy, Enterprise Solutions Director

  • “SOA…three loaded letters.  I’ve seen companies spend years talking about defining and implementing an SOA strategy.
  • Why not simulate the end-user experience that will result from the tiresome SOA planning process to: (1) Verify that the information being delivered via the service (informational or transactional) will be of value to the end user, and (2) simulate a set of components (portlets, widgets, gadgets, web parts, etc.) that will show the end result of a system comprised of multiple services.

iRise Customer Success Story – At Fusion ‘07, the Customer Experience team from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan gave a presentation on how they used iRise to simulate a technical proof of concept for their new member portal.  The presentation is available here and can be viewed here.

So, why risk building your SOA infrastructure without using iRise to engaging your end-users?  By simulating the end-user experience with iRise first, both business stakeholders and IT will win.


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