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Sunday, June 18, 2006
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Burton Group put on its annual Catalyst conference last week and they did a fabulous job. This was my first Catalyst, and I spent most of my time in the Application Platform Strategies (APS) content area, which is the home for SOA, with occasional forays into the Security and Risk Management, Identity and Privacy Strategies and Collaboration and Content Strategies areas.

Anne Thomas Manes, who is the Research Director for the APS area, put together a stellar lineup of folks that talked to the successes, challenges and the current thinking on SOA. I liked the way that presentations were clearly broken up into Burton Group POVs, End User Case Studies and Vendor POVs because you got to hear about problems, solutions and the way forward from different perspectives. I was gratified to note that even in the Vendor POV presentations, there was more of a focus on problem/solutions and less on marketing. Kudos to Anne for making this happen.

On a personal note, it was great to finally meet Anne in person. Even though we seem to move in the similar virtual circles and have communicated electronically before, this was the first time that we met in person. She is as knowledgeable, regarding an amazing wide variety of topics, in person as she is virtually.

The key points that were hammered home again and again by folks who are really in the trenches of SOA implementations is that it is NOT about technology but about the business/mission and the critical importance that governance plays in the success of a SOA implementation. One of the most valuable take away’s for me from the conference was the two hours that I spent on Friday in a SOA Governance BOF moderated by Anne but including both Burton folks as well as end users.  I came away with a lot of great information and insight that is directly applicable to my environment.

There were just too many good presentations from the Burton folks, but one particular item that caught my attention and is something that I will have to follow up on was the importance of modelling, especially at the business/mission level, in the SDLC by Chris Howard. The fact that Chris participated in the SOA Governance BOF and I gave him a ride back to the airport to catch our respective red-eye flights only reinforced this :-)

Finally got a chance to meet Todd Biske from A.G. Edwards Technology Group in person. He gave an excellent presentation on their SOA infrastructure and governance implementation. Todd is another one of those people who moves in the same virtual circles as I do and it was great to finally meet, hang out and share war stories.  There were many other memorable presentations including ones from Rob Vietmeyer from DISA, Benjamin Moreland from The Hartford, Jeff Barr from Amazon, Gregor Hohpe from Google and Barry Briggs from Microsoft. On a side note, Barry's "The Process-centric Organization" brief was very good and in some ways surprising.  Surprising, at least to me, in that it was at a level of abstraction and maturity that you rarely get from Microsoft given its inclination to cater to the Developer and not the Enterprise Architect.

All in all, an excellent use of my time. My one regret was that this was my first time in San Francisco and I really did not get to see any of it. With sessions sometimes starting at 7:30 a.m. and going on till 6 p.m. followed by networking sessions even later and a 3 hour time zone difference the days were just too full to do any site-seeing. I'll have to plan better next time.

6/18/2006 1:25 PM Eastern Daylight Time  |  Comments [0]  |  Disclaimer  |  Permalink   
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