Sooner or later it happens to every new business-IT alignment panacea. After the initial rush to embrace the “next big thing”, the marketing razzmatazz goes quiet, and early adopters begin to count the cost of their unfulfilled expectations.
Today, says Eric Guilloteau, founder and CEO of Corizon, service-oriented architecture (SOA) is starting to hit the unfulfilled expectation barrier. However, he also claims to know what the problem is, and how to solve it.
“SOA has failed or is taking too long.” – Eric Guilloteau, Corizon
“SOA has failed, will fail or is taking too long to succeed because it is being done the wrong way around. Most of the time businesses start by creating a lot of different services, and then they try and fit them together,” says Guilloteau. It is only then, he says, that most organisations realise the truth about SOA – it is a good way of making developers more productive, but this doesn’t necessarily make it easier for users to access these systems in the form of instantly accessible new service.
Before SOA will fully deliver on its promises it has to be more user-centric by extending the concept of ‘loosely coupled’ software infrastructure assets to the user interface itself. Corizon does this by allowing systems developers and users to work together to turn formally unstructured browser-based user interface features into reusable services that can be “mashed-up” as readily as the underlying web services – an approach that not only removes the bottleneck traditionally created by UI customisation projects, but also enables the end-user to participate more directly in the business services they use.
So far, Corizon’s radical take on SOA – essentially introducing more Web 2.0-type user controls into SOA – cannot yet be said to have met widespread favour. The company’s major customer is still Guilloteau’s business alma mater – BT – and as a tightly-held private company, Corizon offers little guidance about its sales, except to say that they are growing.
Nonetheless, the last 12 months may yet prove to have been the beginning of the end of the company’s relative obscurity. Towards the end of 2006, Guilloteau quietly signed up two major business partners to help spread its user centric SOA gospel: Siemens Business Services and the BT owned telecoms engineering group, Tech Mahindra. Then, in Summer 2007, a major systems integration project at BT won an Information Age Effective IT Award.
With such powerful partners and as disenchantment with SOA’s broken promises grows, many more companies could yet seek out Corizon.