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SOA abroad: a view of technology adoption in Europe

Visiting five countries in five days, Miko Matsumura, the new vice president of SOA marketing for webMethods Inc., evangelizes for service-oriented product creation.

The ink was hardly dry on his new business cards when Miko Matsumura, late of Infravio Inc. and newly named vice president of SOA marketing for webMethods Inc., which acquired Infravio last month, was sent off on a whirlwind European tour. His mission: to evangelize through five European countries on behalf of his new employer's vision of SOA.

The offerings you make are applications on top of a platform that is your company.
Miko Matsumura
Vice President of SOA MarketingwebMethods Inc.

Where perhaps a decade ago, the U.S. had an overwhelming lead in any new technology, he found European corporations are riding the SOA wave.

"I think on average the US companies are ahead," he said. "But there are certainly cases where people overseas are just as forward looking and aggressive."

During his stops in Britain, Denmark, Sweden, Germany and Spain, Matsumura found IT organizations on the continent are receptive to his concept of taking the services they already offer and reconfiguring them into new products following the SOA model.

"For example," he said, "we're working with a very large telecommunications provider in Europe that thinks of SOA in terms of a capability catalog. What they're thinking of is what capabilities their company can offer in this compose-able package."

In this case, the European telco is thinking in Web 2.0 terms about how to take a service they are already offering, such as downloadable ring tones, and integrating it with the company's broadband television services, Matsumura explained. With a television show that had a popular theme song, the telco could offer a few bars as a ring tone viewers could download to their cell phones while watching the show. The purchase would be added to their phone bills.

"What you're doing is assembling all the stuff that you are capable of doing into new products and services," Matsumura said. "This new product may be as simple as integrating a consumer billing service with a ring tone downloading service integrated with a media delivery service over broadband."

Matsumura is encouraging CIOs to think about the SOA concept as a way of creating new products for their business almost in the manner of software as a service.

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"Software as a service is just one class of business services provided by companies whose business is software," he said. "If you're a telecommunications company, you should probably consider yourself to be building a catalog of capabilities that define all the things you can do and look at combining them into new products. And even combining them with partners. eBay, Amazon, Google already think that way."

As webMethods integrates Infravio's policy and governance technology into its webMethods Fabric platform for SOA, Matsumura indicated this will be part of its service-oriented message.

"We're trying to help people think about how you create a business services platform and how do you treat your company as if it were a platform technology," he said. "The offerings you make are applications on top of a platform that is your company."

As for the integration of Infravio technology into webMethods products, Matsumura said, the company plans to have roadmaps ready by early November.

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