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Thursday, May 05, 2005

SOA vs. the Long Tail

Phil Windley on SOA.

Knowing about the financials process in some detail, I can attest that spreadsheets are involved in all aspects from forecasting to closing the books. Even when enterprise software is applied, there is a good bit of export to Excel, do the work, import to the enterprise systems.

Now, tie this in with recent efforts like Jotspot, Smallthought, and 37Signals, et al. where they are trying to address that "long tail" of software in a better way than Excel, Access, etc. (Note: in some cases incorporating Excel. Side note: all three of these efforts have embraced dynamic languages.)

This is where the big enterprise companies like SAP, Peoplesoft, etc. could focus some attention. Those of us working with these enterprise systems spend a lot of time at the interfaces of those systems with the rest of the enterprise. They do not support the "long tail" that exists within the enterprise, and moving to J2EE, Indigo, SOA, "portals", etc. is not addressing the *real* problem either.

We don't need a high-tech SOA as much as we need better "long tail" support. SOA is more for geeks than for enterprises. The enterprise vendor that figures out how to make SOA just a bunch of uninteresting plumbing underneath really good "long tail" support could end up a *big* winner.

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Portland, Oregon, United States
I'm usually writing from my favorite location on the planet, the pacific northwest of the u.s. I write for myself only and unless otherwise specified my posts here should not be taken as representing an official position of my employer. Contact me at my gee mail account, username patrickdlogan.