World-champion architectures in training

Michael Alexander

If there’s a constant in this month’s issue, it’s that big-time enterprises are looking for service-oriented architectures to give them the ability to float and sting like Ali.

Like everyone else, the top ERP vendors have SOA on the brain. As Alan Radding writes in this month’s cover story, “New App Dev Platforms for the Resourceful Enterprise,” the result is ERPs that combine data, processing, dev tools, process modeling, SDKs, APIs and middleware—which, when taken together—look an awful lot like an app dev platform for SOAs.

Although SOAs built on open-source apps are still rare, they’re inevitable for the same reasons open-source Web and app servers have become the platforms of choice for other development projects, reports regular contributor Alan Joch. That’s not going to happen any time soon, however.

Just how business process management fits into service-enabled enterprises also is getting a hard look by BPM vendors, writes Kathleen Richards, our new senior editor. With the right framework, Richards notes, IT can quickly deploy BPM projects and manage change from a central XML definition that represents the business data that can be reused on different levels of an SOA. Despite the hype, BPM tools have a long way to go, Richards concludes.

Enterprise apps often have different versions of what is supposed to be the same data, reports regular Alan Earls, who couldn't help thinking about the famous Abbott and Costello “Who’s on first” routine when he researched his story on master data management. MDM promises to make it possible for enterprises to build a single view of all its data through a physical or logical hub. The concept is simple; getting there isn’t, Earls found out.

Some enterprises are evaluating whether it makes sense to ask their codejockeys to agree to quality-level agreements, for the same reasons they ask third-party providers to adhere to service-level agreements. Not surprisingly, the idea hasn’t gotten much traction. Still, it seems to be the direction many Global 2000 enterprises are about to take, writes regular contributor Stephen Swoyer.

Finally, Linda Briggs checks in with a story on business rules engines, which, she found, many enterprises are using to comply with regulatory mandates and to give them speed in the market arena.

About the Author

Michael Alexander is editor-in-chief of Application Development Trends.