SOA heroes

Verizon's CIO Shaygan Kheradpir once told me that the obstacles to SOA success are more sociological than technical. By way of example he cited the company's renowned IT Workbench, a homegrown uber-repository that wraps a rich set of capabilities around the service registry at its core. Of course the landscape is littered with the corpses of failed repository initiatives. How did Verizon's escape that fate?

Kheradpir uses a carrot-and-stick strategy. Wielding the stick, he makes project funding contingent on the contribution of sharable services to the repository.

But there are carrots too. Developers required to use the repository -- like all employees required to use centralized corporate services -- are effectively paying a tax. And like all taxpayers, they want to see their tax dollars put to good use. Verizon says that its IT Workbench rewards developers by wrapping useful capabilities -- auditing, debug tracing, security -- around the services they develop.

And then there's this tactic, straight out of the open source playbook:

Reluctance to expose code has virtually disappeared. According to Zafar, developers are now competing to get others to use their services, as a way of gaining recognition within the company. The most-used services are listed on the IT Workbench portal with the author's name and photo. [InfoWorld: Verizon goes back to the workbench]
Exactly. On a panel here at the InfoWorld SOA forum in New York yesterday, Blue Titan's Frank Martinez echoed that thought. How do you get your developers on board with SOA? "Make them heroes," he said.

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