Un commento a: “Finding the Real Barrier to SOA Adoption” su ZapThink

Il 3 Maggio e’ uscito su ZapThink, uno dei siti piu’ importanti che da anni fa l’advisor di quello che succede nell’IT industry su SOA, una ricerca molto interessante che analizza le ragioni per cui l’adozione di SOA da parte delle aziende non abbia un boom come nell’epoca dot.com, nonostante non ci siano dubbi che questa strada sia da intraprendere con decisione.

La prima ragione e’ che riguarda le architetture, che sono una cosa difficile. La seconda che riguarda il modo in cui l’IT si comporta, nonostante i vendor cerchino di vendere il miracolo: “Despite how some vendors may portray it, you can’t just buy a product and expect it to miraculously create the Services you need and the agile architecture and organization to support them.

E fin qui non c’e’ nulla di nuovo, e’ quanto si sta dicendo -inascoltati, peraltro- da anni.
Ma adesso viene il bello.

What ZapThink is finding is that the primary barriers to SOA adoption do not come from business management, which by and large realize the benefits of an agile, reusable, and loosely coupled architecture (even if they don’t call it that), but rather from within the IT organization that resists the movement to SOA for a wide range of reasons — many of which have little relevance to the needs of the business. Even when a business has approved the investment of significant sums in their SOA projects, ZapThink has found that in many cases, their own IT organization can and will sabotage those efforts, slowing the SOA drive to a crawl.

Perche’ e’ “IT – The Primary Barrier to SOA Adoption?“, si domanda la ricerca, se i principi di SOA sono tuttaltro che nuovi, ed escono come Best Practice proprio dalla storia dell’IT. Perche’ l’IT spesso riduce SOA ad un concetto solo tecnologico, cioe’ “IT practitioners see SOA as nothing more than Web Services and standardized middleware“. Questa convinzione e’ errata, perche’ SOA e’ “the mechanism by which Services are accessed with the architectural approach that aims to decouple the implementation from the consumption and focus on sustainable architecture that allows for continuous change, an approach that is completely technology agnostic.

Il problema e’ che l’IT non vuole prendere in considerazione il cambio di cultura e di comportamenti che deve fare: “The move away from point-to-point integration to compositional, process-driven applications that consume Services from a broad array of assets across the enterprise requires development and management approaches based on Service domains rather than system-specific silos.
Questo implica un modo diverso di fare IT, che deve spostarsi da “focusing on the short-term project management” a “meeting the long-term sustainable needs of the business as it changes“.
E’ nella lentezza con cui l’IT si sta rendendo conto e accettando questo cambiamento, che sta secondo la ricerca la ragione della lentezza nell’adozione di SOA.
La ragione di fondo della lentezza e’ la paura.
All of these big movements require significant change and thus strike fear in the hearts of IT managers who find it easier to adopt one technology fad after another. It is precisely because SOA requires a fundamental change to the way IT is done that many see it as a threat.
La ricerca spiega con dovizia di particolari le ragioni della paura, la negazione dell’inefficienza attuale, la convinzione di poter continuare come se nulla fosse cambiato, nonostante sia evidente che tutto e’ cambiato. E bolla l’atteggiamento degli IT cosi’:
Of course, if companies solely managed by fear, we’d probably still be riding in horse-driven carriages. Innovation requires change, and change does not come without uncertainty.

Le giustificazioni dell’immobilismo sono nella precaria professionalita’ e nel tentativo di mantenere le nicchie di potere professionale, minacciate dalla visione SOA. E’ una accusa molto dura.
…. it seems to make obsolete their current skills“, “if someone is a mainframe expert, say, and SOA allows non-experts to build new applications that leverage all the functionality that previously could only be accessed using system-specific knowledge, then it makes sense that they would oppose the SOA movement“, sono affermazione che fanno da corollario al concetto che se la professionalita’ di qualcuno consiste nel saper dominare argomenti complessi, allora SOA che ha come effetto di semplificare e togliere i lock alle parti “tightly-coupled and inflexible”, viene ostacolata.

La tendenza a mantenere le cose complesse, dicendo che lo sono intrinsecamente e quindi non sono semplificabili, e’ giustificata solo dal voler mantenere lo status quo. In realta’ i sistemi sono piu’ complicati di quello che dovrebbero essere, per trascuratezza e conservatorismo:
what is needed is a gross oversimplification because there’s no reason for the overly complex state of today’s IT“.
La ragione del voler mantenere le complessita’ sta nella autodifesa degli interessi obsoleti. Chi punta a questi obiettivi si oppone a SOA.

Architects? We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Architects
Il negazionismo si appoggia sul propagandare una visione inattuale della architettura e degli architetti:
Too many in IT also believe that architecture is not needed as a central and separate role from development or project management. These individuals feel that architects are theorists that pontificate from their Ivory Towers and make unfeasible recommendations without having to consider short-term time and budget limitations. For these folks in IT, the pervasive belief is that there’s time to do things over, but not do them right. After all, the business has never before invested in proper architecture and design, so why should they now?

L’osservazione si allarga a questo punto alla organizzazione attuale di molti IT, antagonista dell’azienda.
These organizations not only represent their IT systems as silos, but also segregate their management teams in system-focused silos as well. There is no incentive to share Services in an organization that separates budget and responsibility for individual projects in silos. Trying to build a shared Service that cuts across the domains of multiple systems as well as organizational hierarchy is potentially doomed for failure when issues of budget and control can’t be rectified. Such organizations not only need to adopt SOA from a technology and methodology perspective, but should also Service-orient their organizational structure.
Il ruolo delle architetture e’ invece centrale:
…and so architecture teams must have supervision, control, and responsibility for the outcome of the SOA efforts of the whole organization.
A functional IT organization empowers architecture groups with budget and authority. As further evidence of that, most CIOs are not performing the role they should be – as strategic managers of the architecture of the organization. …. The valuable CIO is one that sees and plans the strategic value of IT, leveraging SOA and enterprise architecture as the central mission of the IT organization as it provides continued benefit to the business as an asset, rather simply fighting fires and responding tactically, inflexibly, and imprecisely to the needs of the business, thus treating IT as a cost center.

Mi sembra che questa considerazione trovi corrispondenza nella visione dell’IT cosi’ diffusa in Italia, ed e’ esattamente cio’ di cui tutti gli addetti IT si lamentano.
Quindi la conclusione e’ che non basta convincere il business ad adottare SOA, ma “companies need to address the latent resistance, hostility, resentment, and fear in the IT organization that will effectively prevent SOA adoption and success.

Quindi i nemici sono in casa, e chi e’ causa del suo mal pianga se’ stesso.

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