Thursday, May 24, 2007

BriefingsDirect SOA Insights Analysts on the SOA Consortium's Formation and Goals with OMG CEO Richard Soley

Edited transcript of weekly BriefingsDirect[TM/SM] SOA Insights Edition, recorded March 9, 2007.

Listen to the podcast here. If you'd like to learn more about BriefingsDirect B2B informational podcasts, or to become a sponsor of this or other B2B podcasts, contact Interarbor Solutions at 603-528-2435.

Dana Gardner: Hello, and welcome to the latest BriefingsDirect SOA Insights Edition, Vol. 14. This is a weekly discussion and dissection of Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) related news and events with the panel of industry analysts and guests. I am your host and moderator, Dana Gardner, principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions, ZDNet software strategies blogger and Redmond Developer News Magazine columnist.

Our panel this week consists of show regular, Steve Garone. Steve is a former IDC group vice president, founder of the AlignIT Group, and an independent industry analyst. Welcome to the show again, Steve.

Steve Garone: Hi, Dana. Great to be here.

Gardner: Also joining us is Joe McKendrick. He is a research consultant, columnist at Database Trends and a blogger at ZDNet and ebizQ. Thanks for coming, Joe.

Joe McKendrick: Good morning, Dana.

Gardner: Also, we have Tony Baer. He is a principal at onStrategies, and blogger at and ebizQ. Thanks for joining, Tony.

Tony Baer: Hi, Dana.

Gardner: Also joining us, Jim Kobielus. Jim is a principal analyst at Current Analysis. Welcome again to the show.

Jim Kobielus: Hi, everybody.

Gardner: Our guest this week is Dr. Richard Soley, the chairman and CEO of the Object Management Group (OMG). Welcome back to the show, Richard.

Richard Soley: Well, thanks for the invitation. I am happy to be here.

Gardner: We're going to be digging into a few items this week, principally to discuss the new SOA Consortium. We are going to learn more about what's going on with that. It’s an interesting approach, combining end-user organizations and enterprises along with vendors to promote adoption and, I suppose, further definition of the scope of SOA.

We’ll also be discussing some of the events at EclipseCon, wrapping up for the week of March 5, 2007.

Gardner: First for those of our listeners who are not familiar with the greater details of OMG, why don’t you give us the elevator pitch, Richard, on OMG, its mission, and where it’s headed?

Soley: Sure, the Object Management Group is an 18-year-old consortium of software users and vendors, academics, and a growing number of government institutions focused on delivering standards to make interoperability and portability a reality. We were founded in 1989 focused on object technology, later grew into distributed object technology, and were best known for the first few years for our Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA).

In 1997, we moved in two new directions; one being the adoption of a unified modeling language with the clever name, Unified Modeling Language (UML), and also into vertical markets -- originally healthcare, finance, telecommunications, and manufacturing, although we are now in about 25 different markets, everything from robotics to regulatory compliance.

In 2000, we actually leveraged that modeling technology and made it the base technology for all of the efforts that we have under way. So, we defined business models and software models, and, in some cases, even hardware models and process models.

The next big leap came in 2005, when we merged with Business Process Management Initiative (, so that now all of the modeling languages from meta modeling languages like Meta-Object Facility (MOF), to business modeling languages like Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN), to software modeling languages like UML, and systems engineering languages like SysML are all in one place. That’s been our focus, but looked at from another dimension, what my staff is really good at is getting competitors to agree on things.

We have been doing that at OMG for 18 years with, at this time, between 500 and 600 member companies. We were approached by a group of 11 companies to create a community around SOA, an advocacy group, not a standards group, which is why it’s separate from OMG. We strongly believe that SOA isn’t a technology at all, but rather an approach to achieve business agility. It’s not a technology, but rather a business strategy.

Gardner: Well, it certainly seems to fit in well with the heritage and the direction that OMG has taken. This is really an industry development that’s ready-made for many of the values that you bring to the table.

Soley: I appreciate that and I think that’s fair. But it’s important to understand that this is not a standards organization. There are plenty of organizations focused on SOA standards and, in fact, OMG is one of them. Let’s get this straight upfront -- we are going to pronounce it SOA (So-wah) from now on, because, otherwise you can’t say, "SOA what?"

Our SOA group at OMG has been focused on modeling SOA, modeling for software assurance, and modeling for software producibility, and so forth. At the other end of the spectrum, you have organizations like W3C and OASIS that are doing a great job designing the protocols and languages at the pipe level -- how do we connect the systems together?

That hasn’t been our primary focus in over a decade, so we are not in that space, but the advocacy group is exactly that. It’s an advocacy group. How do we help the CIO? And, we call this "Corner Office SOA." How do we help the CIO get the news across to the rest of the C-suite that this is not a technology but a business strategy, and a business strategy that can deliver agility and a better bottom line?

Second, "Ground Floor SOA." How do we help the enterprise architect, the domain architect, the data architect get the word across to his alter ego in the line of business that this is a business strategy and not a technology and it’s something he needs to pay attention to?

Gardner: Back on Feb. 12, the SOA Consortium announced its formation of this advocacy group, and it’s quite a nice mix of organizations. You’ve got such enterprises as Avis, Bank of America, CellExchange, WebEx -- I suppose WebEx [now part of Cisco] is a vendor, but probably could be both -- and then we’ve also got some very large influential vendors, BEA, Cisco, IBM, SAP and HP.

Tell us a little bit about what the goal of this organization is -- combining, I guess, the constituencies of the end-user issues and vendor issues. You’ve had some of these closed-door summits over the last several weeks to come up with a charter. Tell us what you can about what took place at these events and what is shaping up as the charter, given you’re straddling the fence between the user and vendor organizations.

Soley: It’s important first of all to note the mix of users and vendors. We are currently running 3-to-1 end-users to vendors, and that’s because the focus is on this advocacy activity. It’s not on whose SOA infrastructure we should buy and "Our Web service is cool," or any of those questions. I am guessing that we are actually going to be more like 5-to-1 or 10-to-1 end-users to vendors eventually, but, as you can see, on Feb. 12 four vendors stepped up to the plate to fund it and get it off the ground. They were BEA, Cisco, IBM, and SAP. As an old consortium hand, I listed those in alphabetical order.

You also saw, as you said, some very dedicated end-users who have ideas about how to get the idea across to the lines of business that this is not a technology play, but a business agility play. Some you didn’t mention, for example Wells Fargo, and, of course, Object Management Group ourselves are a member, as well as the Integration Consortium. So, that’s another differentiator from OMG, which is about half end-users and half vendors. We expect that the SOA Consortium is going to weighted toward end-users, although there will be a couple of sponsors joining.

Gardner: So, with this predominance of users, what do they say? What do they want your organization do for them?

Soley: Number one, they want to be truly vendor neutral. Over the last two years, there have been various alliances of vendors saying, "We have created this" – their usual common phrase is -- "SOA alliance to help our customers understand the products in the SOA space." That’s wonderful. That’s all well and good. That’s how the industry works.

But you notice that there are always one or two vendors and one or two of their top customers. This is four major vendor-sponsors, a couple of more that are participating and might be sponsors later, and a lot more end-users, because what they are looking for is understanding the business strategy, not trying to decide which product to buy to "SOAfy" their infrastructure. That’s a very important differentiator.

They are not building reference models. They are sharing case studies. For example, our enterprise architects and our community of practice is showing case studies of success stories and, more importantly, failure stories, best practices, what works, what doesn’t work? We have even had sessions on how to influence project managers and product managers in the line of business to understand business strategies in general, rather than think of us as “the guy who fixes my Treo.”

We received a lot of feedback from CIOs and CTOs during the [early] summits that said this is very important. We had a Fortune 100 CIO who came into the New York summit. This person is CIO of a multi-billion dollar travel organization, and the opening gambit that we heard was, “Look, this is just a technology play, and if one of my technology guys hadn’t told me I had to be here, I wouldn’t be here. I’ve already told the CEO that SOA is a technical thing, and we’ll take care of it.”

At the end of the summit, this particular CIO stayed an extra half hour and said, “The most important thing I learned is that I can now understand how I can position this as -- rather than a technology play -- a business agility play. That will support the efforts that I am making to make our business processes understood, to write them down in a way that’s reusable and discoverable, and in a way that I can make them more efficient. And, I am going to go back to the CEO and say it’s not a technology play.”

[Editor's note: More news has come from the SOA Consortium since this podcast recording.]

Gardner: Well, this gentleman obviously had not been listening to our podcast series. Let’s go to the panel.

Steve Garone, we’ve talked about advocacy and evangelism, and the intersection of the business and technology values around it for quite sometime now, and we’ve mentioned that politics is an important aspect of this cultural shift. Do you think an advocacy group like this is a good thing for the politics, in terms of getting people on the same page? And, what would you pose as some of the necessary ingredients for success for an activity like this?

Garone: It’s a great question, Dana. First of all, Richard, that sounded like a great case study, and certainly makes the case that this group is going in the right direction. The issues that seem to surface come from two directions. One, and I know, Richard, from some of the information I’ve seen in this alliance, that you guys have considered this, is that many organizations that have gone through some SOA activities up to this point. These have focused primarily, and in some cases exclusively, on cost saving and not business agility. Getting that message across I think is a very important issue, in terms of getting acceleration around SOA adoption.

Obviously, it's very important to convince the higher-ups within an organization that this is something that they can benefit from, from a business standpoint. One of the key issues also is that there tends to be sort of a push-pull, or a lack of communication and understanding, between the business functions within an organization, and that, from the line of business standpoint, can certainly benefit business agility and the IT folks. Of course, there's been a lot of activity around tools, standards, and technologies to help bridge that gap, but I think it’s still a pretty important issue. So, those are the major areas that I would look at, and it sounds like you guys are addressing them to some extent.

Soley: The first is a very important issue for us, and second is a really tough one to get past. IT has traditionally focused in most organizations on what are the right tools to achieve what lines of business are telling us we need to achieve. Sure, there are going to be tools and there are going to be technologies and there are going to be frameworks to help you implement the SOA strategy, but it’s the other way around. It’s "What is it we need to achieve?" And, what we need to achieve is fairly easy to explain, right? What we need to achieve is capturing business processes, so that we can find them, so that we can make them more efficient, and so that we can reuse them -- and this is nothing new.

What’s new here is the message that we are not just talking about workflow. We are not just talking about processes that can be automated. We are talking about any of the processes, especially customer-facing, but any value-chain processes within the organization that we might want to reuse.

Gardner: I'd like to encourage any of the analysts to kick in with their questions. I'd just like to start off with a quick one. Richard, one of the things we come up against a lot, when we talk to our guests and we examine some of the events that are unfolding, is complexity.

People are baffled in that there’s just so much, and the more you dig down, it seems daunting. It seems difficult to manage things horizontally, and therefore you relegate it to projects and pilot types of affairs. Is there anything that you expect to be doing through an advocacy role, inasmuch as you understand and are participating in this, that can deal with helping people manage the complexity issues for SOA?

Soley: You know, that’s a great point. I would like to answer in two different dimensions. First, as you can see, we are making top-down advocacy the core of what we do. If you start with your developers and try to work your way up, you are not going to change the way that company thinks about business process, and you are not going to have an effect on business agility. So, that’s why we're having the CIO Summits. And we will be continuing to do those.

Starting in June we are planning on doing them quarterly with a small number of CIOs and CTOs, government agencies, large corporations, as well as non-governmental organizations (NGOs). We actually had an NGO participate in our San Francisco event. We'll use those events not only to make sure we stay on track, but also to get the word out about what we are trying to do here, which is a top-down focus on business process and business agility.

By the way, that’s working. The participants at the events we had were very enthusiastic about the consortium. There was active participation throughout the sessions. In fact there was so much interaction that the round table discussion, which was supposed to be after the presentation, was embedded within SOA Consortium presentation at every stop. So, that’s one, and I’ve lost the thread for the second. I should have written it down.

Gardner: That it was kind of complex.

Soley: Yes, there is complexity involved in capturing the business processes in a way that makes them reusable and discoverable and to make them more efficient, but you always are going to have that complexity, and the question is, "Where is the complexity best spent? Is it best spent upfront, so that I’ve got a description of the process that I can reuse, find, and make more efficient, or is it best spent by the people trying to implement the process, looking at an ambiguous description of a process, in, at best English, and trying to figure out every single time, what in the world it means?"

I would rather do that once, capture it upfront in a rigorous fashion, rigorous both from the standpoint of how it’s captured a formal language, but also the way that it’s captured, having the methodology in place -- spend that extra money upfront and have the savings every time the process is carried out and reused.

Gardner: Anyone else out there have some questions for Richard?

Kobielus: There’s definitely a value for an advocacy organization like this to spread best practices regarding SOA and SOA deployment and management. You mentioned that one of the functions of these – for lack of better term, dog and pony shows -- meetings in various cities is for the CIOs to share both the success stories and the failure stories regarding SOA deployment. How eager are CIOs to share their failures and their screw ups in implementing SOA?

Soley: You saw how carefully I didn’t mention even the gender of the CIO who made that comment in New York. I will admit there was one time we had to turn off the tape recorder, which we were using just to have notes so we can get the quotes right later on. They are willing to share. We find this at the level of CIOs and CTOs, as well as at the level of enterprise architects. They are willing to share failure studies, if they have the safety and security of knowing they are not going to be quoted, it’s not going to be on their performance reviews, and they know that others in the room are going to do the same.

Listening to one of these stories, actually it was in San Francisco, gave me an instant flash to my kids high school in Lexington, Mass. It blew me away the first time I saw this. There's an enormous board in one of the major cafeterias. It’s labeled "The Board of Rejection," and all the kids post their rejection letters up there, and I thought, "My God. I never could have done that 30 years ago, when I was graduating high school."

But kids write notes on them and say, "They don’t know what they missed," and "You’ll get accepted somewhere else." And, they really help each other out. I think they all understand that failure stories are just as important as success stories. In fact, more important, because it’s very difficult to justify cost savings. It’s far easier to justify increased revenue. So, they do it and I will admit that the enterprise architect level folks do it more readily.

Kobielus: Which leads me to another question, I am looking at the initial membership of the SOA Consortium and I don’t see any consultants or a professional services firms.

Soley: Yes, systems integrators (SIs).

Kobielus: Those are the folks who see the broadest range of SOA implementations, successes and failures and they themselves quite often are a key component of those successes and failures. Why don’t you have the SIs involved in the consortium?

Soley: That’s a great question. In the three weeks since we’ve been live; you are only the second person to think of that. So, well done. In fact, amazingly, the entire idea for these summits was from one of the big four, a very active person who has been participating in all of the meetings. Unfortunately, their entire management restructured the day the membership agreement was supposed to be signed. So, we are talking to all of them obviously, and, in fact, unsurprisingly, IBM is participating from two different parts of the house, and one of them being, whatever IBM Global Services is called -- today is Friday, so it must have a new name.

I expect to be able to make an announcement about another major one in the next couple of weeks. We are talking to all of them. Come along to a meeting. Maybe you will see the one that I am talking about, but I really shouldn’t mention them until they can get their own processes back in order and get involved. It was really depressing to have this gentleman come to all the meetings, actually lay out the entire structure, idea, and plan for the CIO Summits and then not be able to participate in them.

Kobielus: I'll bet it was frustrating.

Soley: It was very extremely frustrating for me and I think intensely frustrating for him.

Gardner: Seeing these individuals participating in the sharing back and forth of stories, methodologies, and lessons learned, sounds a little bit conceptually like an open-source project. I didn’t see in the initial release any mention of some of these SOA open-source projects involved, whether it’s SOA Tools Project within Eclipse, or Tuscany within Apache, or some of the success in the field, such as ServiceMix. Is there a role for open-source projects within this consortium?

Soley: I'm going to go out on a limb here. Didn’t I say SOA is not a technology? When I hear "SOA tool," or "SOA development tool," or "SOA testing tool," I have to wrap my mind around that, because SOA is not a technology. It’s a business strategy.

So, I think what you really mean is "tools for implementing processes that are defined using the SOA approach." These are tools for testing implementations of processes that are defined using a SOA approach. If what we're talking about is business strategy, then software is an implementation technology. It’s not the strategy, right?

Gardner: Well, they still have a relationship?

Soley: Yes. So, let’s look at any of those. Commercial products, by the way, are no different. They implement processes that are defined by a methodology that’s part of your SOA strategy, or maybe they help you implement the methodology itself. There are tools to do that as well, and some of those are going to be open source and some are going to be commercial. There is definitely room for participation, and these vendors that have put money into the creation of the SOA Consortium obviously want to sell products and services. The good news, however, from the point of view of the end-users is that the purpose of the organization is not to help them decide what product to buy.

I will tell you, sitting around the table, enterprise architects share experiences of which products have worked for them and which haven’t, and I have seen marketing reps from our vendor participants scribbling down notes, because they want to sell more product -- and more power to them. I'm a capitalist. But whether it’s open source or commercial, software is an enabler, software is an implementation technology, but it’s not a business strategy.

Garone: I wanted to follow up on Dana’s question, because I was thinking in the background as you were talking about what the Consortium is actually doing and who is participating. Given its charter, what's in it for the vendors and how they are participating, if, in fact, this is not about generating standards that all the vendors can leverage, and it’s not about selling product, which of course it shouldn’t be and it isn’t?

I am sure that they get value out of being there, out of being in front of CIO’s and other end-users, out of taking notes, as you said, learning where their products are selling and where they aren’t. But I'm interested in the mechanics of how they participate, what they bring to the table, and how they interact with the CIOs in a way that brings them benefit?

Soley: First of all, I should mention that at the summits none of the vendors were allowed. In fact, none of the members were allowed. They were run as focus groups, because we wanted the CIO-level executives to be able to talk completely openly about their case studies, their success stories and failure studies as well. And, we wanted their honest feedback on the organization. So, no one else was in the room, except for the executives that were able to come and two OMG staffers, including me and Brenda Michelson from Elemental Links, who is the consultant who put together the vision-mission strategy goals and tactics document. She then presented that to these executives and then ran focus groups to get results and is now finalizing those documents, which we call the core documents about the organization.

The vendors have been in the room at all the other meetings, of course, and they have their own SOA strategies to implement and their own business processes that interest them, but there’s money coming from marketing departments and they want to get out in front of these users and say, "Look. We are leaders in this field, we understand how to implement an SOA, we have tools to help you with the implementation of your architecture, and we have run-time executables to manage the implementation."

Those go from anything such business-process description languages as BPMN to capture business processes, SOA governance product for keeping track of what processes you have, and making sure they follow the corporate rules and implementation of technologies.

It's no surprise that IBM mentions WebSphere, and that BEA mentions WebLogic and AquaLogic, and so forth. The group from Cisco, for example, the AON group, is all about capturing SOA and implementing it on your network. The group from SAP is changing completely the way that they implement their own products and integrate them with the other products they find in their customers, to be able to say to their customer base, "Look, we are leaders in SOA and one of the proof points is that we took sponsorship positions in the consortium."

Gardner: You know, Richard, one of the problems that we have encountered in the field around SOA is that it’s hard to measure success. There are long-term and soft-types of implications, and I suppose that the same could be said for something like this consortium. How do you measure the success of what you’re doing and have you put any milestones out there for what you'd like to attain?

Soley: That's an extremely good point, and actually one that came up at every single one of the executive summit events. We worked on that for a long time and came up with the loosey-goosey measure of self‑identification.

So, the overall goal, which you see on our Website, is 75 percent of the global 1,000 self identify SOA successes by 2010. There is an asterisk that mentions that we are also talking 50 percent of medium‑sized businesses and 50 percent of major government agencies. Because we couldn’t pull some measure of success off the shelf, we went with self identification, and at every single one of the summits we were told, "No, you are going to have to try harder. You’re going to have to deliver some metrics of success."

I don’t have any for you today, but I can tell you that that is something that we got very clear direction on from the CIOs and CTOs who participated in the summits. Also, they wanted us to look specifically, for example, at connections between SOA and Lean, Six Sigma, and ITIL best practices, all of which have metrics of maturity and success.

Gardner: Any other questions?

Kobielus: I think the industry is looking at the SOA Consortium or OMG to be a third-party certifier -- maybe that’s overstating your mission -- of enterprises' success or lack thereof in implementing SOA. So, it’s the extent to which you are going to be mapping these SOA best practices back to such recognized frameworks as ITIL, Six Sigma, and so forth that would be essentially what the industry is looking for you guys to do -- to catalyze that kind of mapping.

Soley: Yes, that’s a very good point, and, Dana, I thought you said that I wasn’t going to be get any hard questions.

Gardner: Sorry.

Soley: The SOA Consortium is looking to not only OMG, but other standards consortia, to deliver standards, mappings, and validation endorsement certifications where appropriate. In fact, it’s in the mission statement that the SOA Consortium is not a standards organization, but it will deliver requirements to standards organizations and where we were talking about modeling things, those requirements would be handed to OMG.

One of the 10 largest banks in the world sent an executive to one of our meetings, and this person said, that all they care about in terms of metrics of success are Lean and Six Sigma, so we're going to need to connect SOA to that world in order to be successful at that bank. I think that’s part of it, but there’s more than that. There are going to be metrics that are not yet in the stack when you fly through the ITIL, Six Sigma and Lean documents.

OMG, as it happens is moving into the direction of maturity models anyway. We are just starting work on a business-process maturity model. You may have read about it. It’s not a standard yet, but it was just starting. What were talking about is a maturity model for business process adoption that measures organizations and their ability to capture business processes. That’s very strongly related to SOA, but again, that’s a standard and belongs in OMG and not in the SOA Consortium.

Kobielus: One last question. Are you developing a maturity model for master data management (MDM)?

Soley: First of all, the SOA Consortium wouldn’t be delivering any maturity models at all. OMG has never delivered maturity models before, although we’ve expanded many times over our history, which is frankly why I am still there. This is a new area for us. We have to learn not only how to deliver the standard that specifies business process maturity, but how to deliver that, which means how to certify people, so that they can certify organizations at the five different maturity model levels that we are contemplating. So, no, we have never delivered any other maturity models and although there are lots on the books as potentials, let’s wait for 2008 to see what develops.

McKendrick: You talk about the SOA Consortium, and there’s a lot of discussion about business process management (BPM) and SOA. Obviously, these two areas need to converge as we go forward. As I have heard and seen, though, over the years, especially in recent years, that the BPM professionals and the IT or the SOA professionals tend to be in two different camps and kind of follow their own separate sets of disciplines. It would seem a challenge from the perspective of the SOA Consortium in bringing these two camps together. Do you see that as a challenge?

Soley: You bet, but that’s one of the results that we learned during the events. We are very worried about that. Obviously, I strongly believe that BPM -- and now I am not talking about technology, just managing business processes -- is a key part of the SOA business agility message. I also believe that BPM technology, like our own BPMN standard, implemented by 40 some vendors, is a great way to capture business processes. But, we have been worried since day one that you’ve got your business process owners, your Six Sigma experts, and business process offices in companies, and they seem to be different from the IT definition of BPM.

One of the things that we heard in every event from all the participants is that the CIO and CTO participants did not artificially separate SOA and BPM by the underlying technology. They see business processes and services tied to a cohesive enterprise architecture foundation as a major message of SOA. That message has been received at the high level, and what we have to do is help the C-suite, get the message down into the lines of business and down into the IT organization, that a business process viewed as a methodology by business process improvement office and business process viewed as a business process notation in the IT departments are the same thing, and they ought to be working together more closely.

Gardner: Great. Well, thank you, Richard. Obviously, there are so many constituencies involved inside of organizations, and then also involving their communities, and there are vendors that are herding the cats, as it were, toward SOA as a worthwhile, important, and difficult activity.

Soley: Yeah, no problem, though. These are cool cats.

Gardner: I wish you well. Moving on to our second subject, I just came back from EclipseCon in Santa Clara, Calif. [in March] and there were few announcements there I would like to go over quickly. Tony, you wrote about the Oracle move with its Java Persistence API. Tell us very quickly about that.

Baer: Well, it’s been an interesting strategy, because the fact is that Eclipse was initially known for IDEs, and Oracle with JDeveloper is one of the few major Java players, outside of Sun, who is not migrating its IDE to Eclipse.

In the past year or so, Oracle has been involved in a number of Eclipse projects. I think putting its feet in the water. What’s interesting is that they are now ramping up to board level by saying, "No, we are not going to IDE. We are going to instead work on Java persistence and essentially they are trying to coalesce it around top tier, which is their implementation of the Java Persistence API.

It’s actually the update of what is essentially about a 10-year-old product, and what the interesting thing is not so much what Oracle is doing, but it’s more reflection of Eclipse saying, "We’re more than about IDEs."

Gardner: This is runtime material, right?

Baer: Exactly, and that begs the question that I have asked the Eclipse folks as well. If you’re not just IDEs, which is what we’ve associated you with, what are you? What is your mission, and where do you draw the bounds on it? Their answer to that was, "Well, we didn’t initially form ourselves to develop an IDE. It was the idea of trying to be a proof of concept to show that you can have an extensible framework to this plug-in model."

Gardner: Around OSGi?

Baer: Well, OSGi came later. They initially tried their own plug-in model and realized, "Why are we re-inventing wheel?" OSGi just happens to work. The whole rest of the field just discovered OSGi, kind of by chance, in the same way that all the AJAX folks discovered you can use Java Script, XML and a whole bunch of other stuff together and get rich clients on the Web.

That was not the original intent of OSGi. It was supposed to be basically a home box, which would essentially Java-enable your toaster or refrigerator, and we can see how far that’s gone. But, what we have found is that it’s actually a very effective, hot-swappable component model. So, that’s what Eclipse has really capitalized on, and they are seeing that as being some of their proofs of concept to say, "Now, let’s see how far we can take this."

Gardner: I had two take-a-ways, one was that this seems like mission creep for Eclipse, that they are getting more into runtime, and not just on the client with their rich-client platform, but now, increasingly on the server. The second thing was this. Oracle, as a major vendor is going to be driving a lot of the innovation around this project. The proposed project under Eclipse has moved the project in the sense out of GlassFish and around the Java community, and they will keep it as a Java reference implementation. But the innovation will be happening at Eclipse. And then any of the changes will only then move downstream into Java.

So, my take-a-way was: one, mission creep for Eclipse into runtime, but secondarily some diminishment of the role of the Java environment for innovation. Anybody have reaction to that?

Kobielus: Actually before everybody else jumps in, I just want to top that. You have mission-creep for Eclipse, and it sounds like you could also say "mission accomplished" for IBM, because I think one of the original goals in getting Eclipse going was to essentially move the center of gravity in the Java world away from Sun.

Gardner: That seems to be happening, doesn’t it? Richard, what do you think of that?

Soley: This goes back to the conversation we were informally having at the beginning of the call, about mission creep and expansion of Eclipse goals, and where the organization goes. I think there’s sufficient demand in all of these areas, that some organization has got to get their arms around it and deliver. As long as that delivery happens, I think it’s the right thing for the user base.

Gardner: I'm not sure I understand.

Soley: Whether it’s commercial or open source -- and you hear me say "whether it’s commercial or open source" a lot -- you need product that delivers against a user requirement. My response in this was something I was saying earlier to Tony’s note this morning about results of EclipseCon is that expansion of mission is perfectly fine as long as you continue to deliver on each of the elements of that mission.

Gardner: Well, one thing I can tell you as an observation is that this is a very energetic environment. A lot of developers that had the feel of what Java 1.0 was about seven or eight years ago, and many, many vendors that I speak to, recognize that the Eclipse community is a force to go with and not to ignore. Many of them are creating plug-ins -- be they commercial or open source -- in order to ride the marketing machine that the Eclipse involvement has become. So, this is something that’s got a lot of momentum, and at a time, as I think Tony pointed, out that Java is losing momentum?

Soley: You can’t have both of those at the same time, right? A big message of Eclipse is the Java message. Eclipse supports other programming languages as well, but the success of Eclipse is the continued success of Java. So, let’s be fair.

Kobielus: One thing we have to distinguish is Java versus the Java community process. I think that’s really what they’ve meant.

Soley: Okay, fair enough.

Gardner: Where did the innovation take place? Is that kind of the point?

Soley: The open-source model has proven to be a very successful one in the Java community.

Gardner: Well thank you everyone for joining, we’ve had an interesting discussion, and again I want to wish the SOA Consortium well, and OMG as a participant in that. I guess you’re taking a leadership role in this Consortium. Is that fair?

Soley: I am the executive director of the consortium, yes.

Gardner: Well, thanks everyone. We’ve been talking again about SOA, your SOA Insights Edition, Volume 14; our guest has been Dr. Richard Soley, chairman and CEO of OMG. Thanks for coming, Richard.

Soley: No, thank you for arranging. It was a pleasure, Dana.

Gardner: Also joining have been Steve Garone, Joe McKendrick, Tony Baer, Jim Kobielus -- thanks everyone for joining. I am your host and moderator, Dana Gardner. Thanks for listening.

Listen to the podcast here. If any of our listeners are interested in learning more about BriefingsDirect B2B informational podcasts or to become a sponsor of this or other B2B podcasts, please fill free to contact Interarbor Solutions at 603-528-2435.

Transcript of Dana Gardner’s BriefingsDirect SOA Insights Edition, Vol. 14. Copyright Interarbor Solutions, LLC, 2005-2007. All rights reserved.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Transcript of BriefingsDirect Podcast on UPS's Solutions for Supply Chain Visibility

Edited transcript of BriefingsDirect[TM/SM] podcast with Dana Gardner, recorded April 17, 2007.

Listen to the podcast here. Sponsor: UPS.

Dana Gardner: Hi, this is Dana Gardner, principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions, and you're listening to BriefingsDirect. Today, a sponsored podcast discussion about visibility into supply chains and distribution networks. It’s about effective information-sharing across the spectrum of transportation options and during the distribution of goods.

"Do you know where your stuff is?" is the big question and, most importantly, "Do your customers know where their stuff is?"

Helping us to sort through this important area for ecommerce and for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and their retail operations, we have an expert in the area of supply chain management. We are joined today by Jim Rice, director of the Integrated Supply Chain Management Program at MIT. Thanks for joining us, Jim.

Jim Rice: My pleasure.

Gardner: We also have Stephanie Callaway, director of customer technology marketing at UPS in Atlanta. Hello, Stephanie.

Stephanie Callaway: Hello, Dana.

Gardner: We also have users and practitioners of this emerging art. Frank Deen is the shipping manager at Rackmount Solutions in Garland, Texas. Hello, Frank.

Frank Deen: Hello, Dana.

Gardner: And lastly, joining us from Saline, Michigan is John Schaffer, president of TrueWave, the distributor and creator of the Wadia line of high-end audio products. Thanks for joining us, John.

John Schaffer: Glad to be here, Dana.

Gardner: As I mentioned, this visibility issue is a part of the information revolution and the knowledge economy, whereby at some point either folks who are end-users buying goods or folks in the distribution channel are looking for reductions in cost, efficiency improvements, and reduced time to distribution -- all of which can substantially reduce the total cost of an overall production and distribution activity.

I want to go first to Jim Rice. Jim, help us understand the state of the art here today. What are we talking about in terms of business drivers and technology drivers in this search for higher efficiency and distribution?

Rice: Thanks, Dana. Let me start by talking about the business drivers. If we were to ask companies and leaders what their concern was, they would be talking about a number of things. They'd be talking about continuity -- business continuity. We saw that destructions like Hurricane Katrina and 9/11 caused a lot of companies to start recognizing that their supply chains are genuinely at risk.

A lot of vulnerabilities were always there, but weren’t very apparent or evident. So, there's a fair amount of recognition about this vulnerability. Right now, there is some work going on in that some companies are planning to make their supply chains more resilient and trying to actively manage risks.

Similarly, companies are aware of security as an issue, although many are talking about it, but aren't taking much action. In part, that's because it’s very difficult to show a return on investment from security investments. The trick question is, "What happens when supply chain security investment is successful?" Of course, the answer is "nothing," because it prevents something from happening.

The companies are concerned with optimal supply chain design, and this takes in the aspect of outsourcing. How much outsourcing do we use? How much of that do we even think of putting offshore, trying to reduce cycle time, cost, and uncertainty in the system? That will ultimately enable them to be much more responsive to spikes and drops in demand.

Companies continue to squeeze their supply chain to lean it out, and make it more efficient and more effective. There are a lot of drivers in the industry right now that affect the price of sundry industries differently.

Gardner: We want to have this clarity in the best of times and also in the worst of times. Is this essentially a data integration and availability exercise? What are the core issues to enable folks to get the information they need about supply-chain activities?

Rice: It’s not just about data, but certainly data is a central and a critical issue.

A lot of it comes down to having relationships with customers and suppliers. They would be open and free to share the information that ultimately will help both organizations to make better decisions, reduce uncertainty in the system, and take out some of the cost and uncertainty. That makes the system potentially much more efficient.

Gardner: I suppose this has to do with levels of trust. There are interdependencies -- "You help me, and I help you" -- in terms of making the customer at the end of the process happy. How has that gone? Has there been trust? Have people recognized a quid pro quo and have they been willing to share?

Rice: Yes. I go back to that quote by Ronald Reagan: “Trust, but verify.” There’s certainly some inherent trust that exists between individual parties, and there maybe some trust that exists over the long term between organizations, but ultimately the trust is backed up by systems or processes that enable regular engagement coordination. They are backed up by contractual agreements, or at least agreements in principle, whereby one party is going to make the other party whole in the event of some disruption or some eventuality that they hadn’t planned for.

Gardner: Before we go to UPS to learn about some of the things they are doing, what should we expect in the future? Is this a mature and fully baked technology and business approach, or are there more efficiency, visibility, and innovation to come?

Rice: I think we are just on the cusp of lots of great potential. I can’t tell you whether the potential will be realized tomorrow, next year, or in five years, but I think we are getting really close. Probably as far back as 10 or 15 years ago, you had some pundits who were saying, "Oh, in the future our systems will be fully integrated and completely synchronized." It hasn’t happened yet to a large extent. There are isolated instances. Some individual companies have demonstrated the capability of being synchronized, organized, and coordinated.

Some of these capabilities are becoming more readily available for large companies, and hopefully in the near term, to small- and medium-sized enterprises. The challenges aren't simple, but I think there are some tools and processes emerging that are going to make this much more possible in the future, and therefore get us a little closer to that Nirvana of the synchronized supply chain.

Gardner: Thanks. Let’s go to Stephanie Callaway at UPS. Stephanie, you’ve heard about the need and desire for looking for data and visibility in the best of times and the worst of times. UPS sits in a very advantageous position between all these players. Tell us a little bit about what’s been going on for the last several years to try to improve on this activity?

Callaway: Okay, Dana, thanks for having me. UPS started with tracking on the Web in the early '90s and since then we have evolved our portfolio to include a broad set of visibility solutions that address the very diverse needs of our customers.

Today, we support tracking in 63 countries, and that serves the basic visibility needs of our shippers, receivers, importers, and exporters -- both residential and commercial. Our emphasis today is on more than our traditional U.S. small package business. That's available outside of the U.S., but we also provide visibility through tracking to our UPS Freight, Air, and Ocean Freight Services.

Gardner: Jim mentioned about this trust issue for verification? Have you been playing a larger role in trying to broker these relationships or get people to shake hands and agree on visibility?

Callaway: From the perspective of our relationship with our customers, we provide full visibility of shipment status from the time they tender their package to us to the time it is delivered to their customer. We have other visibility solutions, such as Quantum View, that provide proactive information, even when the package encounters trouble along the way. Whether it’s a weather delay or an incorrect address, we can provide that information proactively to our customers, so that they can provide that information to their customers and improve customer satisfaction.

Gardner: So, you are the picks and shovels, and your customers are out there mining these relationships. Tell us a little bit about small- to medium-sized businesses in particular. Is this a high-growth area for your goods and services? Where in the whole business spectrum are these things being used the most? Then, secondarily, where do you think the larger uptake is in the future?

Callaway: Customers of all sizes take advantage of our visibility portfolio. I mentioned tracking on the Web. Even with tracking, some of our customers prefer to integrate that information into their own Web sites. We have XML tools that customers of any size who have an IT organization can take advantage of to integrate information about package status into their Web sites.

We also have this suite of Quantum View solutions that can be used by customers of all sizes. Typically, smaller customers who don’t have large information technology (IT) functions or large IT budgets would take advantage of our ready-to-go solutions, like Quantum View Notify, which is an email notification. Customers can select that at the time of shipping, and proactively notify their own customers about important shipping events, such as exceptions and deliveries. That helps them save time and increase customer satisfaction by reducing the number of calls that they receive.

We also have Quantum View Manage, which is a visibility dashboard that customers of all sizes can use to see where their packages are in transit. That would be any packages they are shipping out, any that are coming into them, or any that they’ve paid for, along with some special capabilities to help importers with compliance.

Gardner: Without going too far into the weeds on application development and integration, Web services and APIs, and that sort of thing, it sounds like you’ve got a spectrum of approaches for those who aren't interested in getting into too much of the technology, perhaps using the email alerts approach. I imagine you also will allow for those who do have application developers at their disposal to bring in the visibility benefits, and mash-up your tracking, information, and data services right into their portals for self-help and for customers to track what’s going on with their retail purchases. Is that right?

Callaway: Exactly. As I was saying earlier, we believe we have to address a broad set of diverse customer needs. I mentioned the online tools for tracking, but we also have Quantum View Data, which lets data about package status information flow proactively from UPS to customers. They can integrate that however they see fit into their own internal applications, whether it’s for their own use within their customer-service department, or whether they want to proactively share that with their customers.

Gardner: I suppose as a customer or a partner, you’re elevating yourselves to an information-sharing value, not just the logistical and transportation value?

Callaway: That’s true, and our customers expect that of us.

Gardner: Okay, let’s talk to some customers. Let’s go to Frank Deen at Rackmount Solutions. First, Frank, tell us a little bit about Rackmount, the history of the company and what you do.

Deen: Dana, we started out about five years ago as strictly an Internet company. We sell racks for IT solutions, file servers, and different types of peripheral equipment that goes into IT rooms. We ship those all around the country. Our business has grown to the point where we have a warehouse here and stock quite a number of the items ourselves, but because of the magnitude of the type of things we sell, we ship from probably a dozen locations around the country, depending upon what the item is.

If the quantity someone is purchasing makes it impossible for us to ship it from here, we have to have it drop shipped. That, in itself, has been a challenge, because our shipments are going from so many different locations. We are usually selling to people who come in over the Internet or call us direct, so everything we have does get shipped out. Being able to track and know where our packages are is very, very important to us.

Gardner: So, you have been managing fast growth. People have been building out data centers and modernizing their infrastructure for their IT departments. You’ve also been dealing with complexity in terms of the number of points that you are distributing from and the number of points that you are trying to get your things to. Specifically, what sorts of visibility services have you been using to manage this high growth and complexity?

Deen: Initially, when we started doing this, because we were shipping from so many locations, even though it was being shipped on our account, we would have to contact each one of those shipping points, each warehouse, each manufacturer to get tracking numbers to send to our customers. Of course, now we are able to have that information sent directly to the customer when the product ships. They get an email with that information.

Plus, on Quantum View, we are able to pull up a report every day that shows everything that has been shipped out on our account, whether from our local warehouse or any of those other locations. We're able to have that tracking number and see the exact progress of that package -- when it was picked up, where it’s at currently, when it’s expected to be delivered, and the address that it’s expected to be delivered to. When a customer calls and asks a question about it, we are able to go to that and immediately give them an answer that provides a comfort level that we are keeping track of their merchandise that they are waiting to get.

Gardner: So, using some of the UPS services, you're giving your call-center folks visibility. When they've got hopping-mad customers saying, "Where are my goods? I've got to build out this data center. I need these racks," you’ve given visibility to your call center, but do you take it to the next step? Do you have a Web site where these people can track their own goods? How does that work, when you face too much cost and too much traffic into your call center?

Deen: That really hasn’t been a problem for us. The fact that they have the information themselves, the tracking numbers, all customers can go in and do the tracking and look at it themselves. That has reduced the amount of calls that come into us, because people are able to see that.

The other issue is that with Quantum View, we are able to find out quite often if there is a problem with the outgoing package, and whether it’s been delayed for some reason. We get that information before the customer calls and complains about it. The call center will be proactive in dealing with the customer, and letting him know that we are out there serving his needs. That’s very big, because sometimes in the past, we didn’t know if there was a problem until the customer called, asking "Hey, where’s my package? It should have been here already." Being proactive helps us provide better customer service.

My feeling is that there is a lot of competition out there for what we do. There's a lot of competition for every business out there. Customer service makes the difference whether that customer is going to come back to see you or not, because there’s only so much difference in price that businesses can generally give. When we can do these things to show customer that we care about when they get their product and that we are going to be right there with them all the way through, until they’ve got it and it’s being used by them, that makes them want to come back to us.

Gardner: I want to check in with Jim Rice. Is there anything you heard from Frank Deen that illustrates some of the trends that we talked about, or perhaps some of them we didn’t? It seems that customer service and the trust element is pretty prominent.

Rice: I was biting my tongue here, because I wanted to ask Frank a bunch of questions. I think the example illustrates, in great part, dealing with uncertainty. Because Frank now has pretty good understanding where his materials are, he’s able to make commitments to his customers that will then allow them to be more sure of when they can expect to get their materials. That means they can take out a lot of uncertainty in their planning process.

The question I have -- and maybe it’s for another time -- but when someone has less uncertainty in their supply chain, does it make it possible then to take inventory out of the system, because inventory is basically there as a buffer to deal with uncertainties?

Maybe Frank has chosen to keep his inventory levels the same and ensure higher customer-service levels, or possibly he has reduced inventory based on the ability to have a much higher level of certainty. I think it’s a really good example, and I think it illustrates something that I didn’t mention -- the importance of maintaining high service for your customers to maintain those customers.

Gardner: How about it Frank? Have you been able to whittle down your inventory as a result, and is there some cost savings there for you?

Deen: Jim’s right in the fact that we have a comfort level, so when we need a product for a customer, we can have it directly drop-shipped to that customer and know that it’s going to get there. That means we don’t have to keep a large amount of each kind of item. We keep enough for when someone calls and wants one, two, or three of something, but when they need 20 of it we don’t have to be worried, because we know that we can go right to our supplier and have that drop-shipped and serve that customer’s need. We know it’s going to happen.

Gardner: I have a sneaking suspicion that customer satisfaction is important to John Schaffer, as well. John, tell us about TrueWave and the Wadia products. Then let’s get into how this ability to satisfy customers throughout the transportation phase of a purchase works.

Schaffer: Sure, Dana, you hit the nail on the head there. Customer service is everything to us, as well. One of the great things about the tools that UPS has provided for companies like ours is the ability to offer a higher level of customer service through the visibility that Frank was discussing.

TrueWave manufactures a product under the Wadia brand, basically high-end consumer electronics, and specifically what most people would think of as CD players and high-end stereo equipment. We have the enviable position of a brand that is very well received throughout the world. Our challenge with shipping and satisfying our customers has to do with not just the United States, but satisfying countries overseas, working with distributors throughout Asia and Europe, and North America as well.

Our challenges are a little bit different. What UPS has been able to provide for us has really given us advantages. Previously, we would work with freight forwarders quite often. They are pretty good at handling the customs side of things, but the visibility was very poor, and we would have significant delays in getting packages from point A to point B. What we have enjoyed in our relationship with UPS is the ability to have the packages transported across borders seamlessly, and have visibility throughout the process.

Gardner: So, you’ve been able to enter and then satisfy markets that you probably wouldn’t have been able to get to?

Schaffer: No, we could get to the markets, but we couldn’t do in a way that allowed our customers to have visibility into the process. There’s a lot of uncertainty when you are shipping internationally. When you have visibility into the process from point A to point B, it really changes the dynamic quite a bit. One of the tools that Stephanie was discussing, Quantum View Manage, allows us to see if there are problems along the way. Then we can communicate with our customers in such a way that we can set the proper expectations.

Communication is the secret to customer success, and visibility into all aspects of the supply chain has really changed the way that we’ve operated our business. I think for the better. Our customers are very satisfied with how we are able to offer them now a clear expectation of what they’ll get and when they’ll get it, thanks, in large part, to the tools that UPS has been able to develop and offer to us. As a small company, that’s really valuable.

Gardner: I suppose the whole notion of customer satisfaction also involves exception management, or even returns, if someone decides that it wasn’t exactly the right fit for them. Does this visibility and these tools help you in terms of managing, "I’d like another one right away," or "This one didn’t work out for me." This is working in reverse -- getting stuff from the customer back to you.

Schaffer: Oh, yeah. It does help us when packages have to come in for service, an upgrade, an exchange, or for whatever reason. It allows us to again control the situation and set the proper expectations for our customers.

It’s very helpful for us in planning for things. For example, if we have a product coming in for an update, now we can track the product back to us, have an understanding of when that will hit our dock, prepare the service department, make sure that our inventory of the parts that are needed to updated are available, and just really control the whole process in a better way. It’s really created a great benefit.

Similarly, with incoming components for manufacturing, sometimes we’ll have a supplier send products to us cash-on-delivery (COD). If we have visibility into the shipping process, we can have finance prepare the payment in advance, so that we are efficient in how we manage the process at the dock. That’s been really valuable.

The new Quantum View tools -- Quantum View Notify -- has allowed our customers to have a good understanding of when their product has shipped and how it's proceeding to their destination. Then, the Quantum View Manage has helped us quite bit with giving us visibility into both outgoing and incoming parts and products. It has really benefited us, and we are happy that, to have been able to partner with UPS and take advantage of such powerful tools.

Gardner: Let’s bounce that again off of Jim Rice, the expert. It sounds like when you’re receiving goods and you can plan for payments and schedules and manage your own manufacturing processes, that's another opportunity to reduce risk, improve efficiency, and cut your total cost.

Rice: What we just heard from John is another example of how getting additional visibility into the system gives the company a lot of power. It gives them the power to decide whether to increase the amount of service they are going to provide. They can provide products and materials on a shorter cycle time and possibly take cost out of the system, because there is much less uncertainty. In the pervious example, when Frank Deen was talking about being able to ship direct with the knowledge of where the materials were, this just allows the company to say, "All right, here’s where we need to put our capital."

Now, the confidence that they have, knowing that they are going to have this information that tells them where their products are, is very powerful for the company. It gives the companies lot of tools and lot of power to say, "Here is how we are going to chart our own destiny, and we are going to squeeze some efficiencies out of that. We are going to reduce the uncertainty and the cycle time." This is good news.

As I suggested in the beginning, companies are trying to reduce the uncertainty. They are looking for ways to take cost out of the system, and these are pretty good examples of that. I want to underscore that this is not easy. It’s hard work, and it takes working very closely with customer and supplier and really leveraging whatever systems and processes you have, so that you have a robust solution. It sounds like they’ve been able to create that.

Gardner: Even relatively smaller companies without a whole lot of resources?

Rice: That’s the beauty of some of the technologies. It doesn’t necessarily require a huge fixed-cost. That’s where this big advantage is now, as we see in many companies, outsourcing some of the capabilities, because of the firms who are providing outsourcing services. In this particular case, UPS has made huge investments to develop these very competent and capable systems that, for a piece price, individuals and small- and medium-sized enterprises can take advantage of.

Gardner: Let’s go back to Stephanie Callaway. Stephanie, how do companies get started with this? We heard that it requires a lot of work. How do companies get started to enjoy some of these benefits?

Callaway: On, if anyone is interested in more information on Quantum View, they can search for Quantum View. There's an online demo that describes the various Quantum View products and their benefits to help customers recognize their own business process pain points and identify the solution that will work best for them.

We also have a sales force, so customers who have an account executive can speak with their account executive about their specific business process pain points to be registered for something like Quantum View Manage or Quantum View Data. The things that are more sophisticated, such as the online tools that I mentioned for tracking, are available on our Website, and customers just need to login and register to access those tools.

Gardner: Jim mentioned earlier that we are perhaps just scratching the surface on what’s going to be possible. I’d like to throw this out to the entire group. If you have a wish list, if you like to see some things down the pike a little bit, what would they be? Where can we go next with this? How about one of our users John Schaffer or Frank Deen? What’s on your wish list for the next stage?

Schaffer: I think UPS has done a good job of anticipating the needs. In some cases, they have changed the way that we’ve thought about supply chain visibility and have really done a great job of leading the way there. One of the things that I think would be interesting -- and I know UPS has begun to explore this -- is in fostering relationships.

This goes back to the trust issue, but in fostering better business relationships with offshore manufacturers and suppliers, there’s a financial component that goes along with that, and UPS has set up some programs to address that. But, I think there are some additional programs that could be built to allow the issues that arise from language barriers, etc. to be broken down more. They could have financial control of the situation to go along with the control of the shipping, the movement of parts. I think that’s something that UPS has begun to explore but it’s something that we would like to see more of.

Gardner: How do you react to that Jim? Is that along your lines of what the next stages will be?

Rice: I think that the next stages are going to have lots of different pathways. What we’ve just heard from John is one example. We just don’t know what’s going to be coming, and this is one of the exciting things. We try to predict and expect these things, and we always get surprised. I think it’s through innovation in small- and medium-sized enterprise, because these are organizations that are not rich with resources, but they are very deep in innovative approaches to solutions. This is one good example, and there probably would be plenty of others.

Gardner: Are there any gee-whiz technologies still to come? We’ve heard about GPS and RFID chips. Are we going to take this a step further in terms of what the technology can provide?

Rice: I think that the gee-whiz technology that is often talked about -- and you just made a brief reference to it, Dana -- is RFID technology. In many ways, this has been oversold. It has great power in a limited number of instances and environments. Potentially, this has lots of broader application, but there is an awful lot of standardization development that needs to be done in order to make this more broadly and widely acceptable and usable.

The future is really bright, but it’s a little way off for that. The synchronized supply chain is going to come as a result of organizations working closely together using technologies like radio frequency or cobbling together a variety of different technologies. Whether it’s GPS or more sensors for security applications and containers, to software packages that allow deep analysis of rich data from RFID tags, it’s going to require a lot of hard work to pull these things together, but the potential I think is significant.

So, that’s why a lot of people continue to make investments in those areas. But I do think it’s a ways off, before the capability of those technologies to work network-wide comes to fruition.

Gardner: So, perhaps the future will have more data and more data points for us, and the ability to analyze it, but it’s the relationships and the efficiency and innovation of companies in the field that is where the biggest payoff is, at least the short term.

Rice: There’s going to be a tsunami of data that’s going to be available, and the challenge is going to be how we actually analyze all this and then do something with it. Even if you can’t do something with that data, current systems are not fully capable of responding in ways that you otherwise would like them to respond. But, by using technologies like the visibility systems we’ve been talking about today, as well as designing systems to be more resilient, it will increase the ability of supply chains and company supply chains to be more responsive. Then, when the tsunami of data does come and tells us, "Hey, here’s a forecast. We know it’s going to happen tomorrow," it will allow the company’s system to actually respond in time for tomorrow.

I remember talking with a manufacturer not long ago who sells to Wal-Mart. Their folks said, "Well, we get an 80 percent accurate forecast 10 days out from a shipping due date, but we can’t do anything with that because we need six weeks in advance to be able to respond to that." So, that's going to require some responsive systems in order to be able to utilize all that data.

Gardner: Well, great. I want to thank our panel. This has been an interesting discussion. I’ve certainly learned more about what’s possible and what’s going to be probable.

We have been talking with Jim Rice, director of the Integrated Supply Chain Management Program at MIT. Thanks Jim.

Also Stephanie Callaway, director of customer technology marketing at UPS. And Frank Deen, shipping manager of Rackmount Solutions, as well as John Schaffer, president of TrueWave/Wadia. Thanks again.

This is Dana Gardner, principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions. You have been listening to a sponsored BriefingsDirect podcast.

Listen to the podcast here.
Sponsor: UPS.

Transcript of Dana Gardner’s BriefingsDirect podcast on UPS's solutions for supply chain visibility. Copyright Interarbor Solutions, LLC, 2005-2007. All rights reserved.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Transcript of BriefingsDirect Podcast on IBM's Upcoming Jazz Collaborative Development Framework

Edited transcript of BriefingsDirect[TM/SM] podcast with host Dana Gardner, recorded April 24, 2007.

Listen to the podcast here.

Dana Gardner: Hi, this is Dana Gardner, principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions, and you're listening to BriefingsDirect. Today, a podcast discussion about application lifecycle management (ALM), collaboration, and the productivity of developers in teams. We are going to be discussing an upcoming product announcement -- perhaps maybe we should call it a community announcement -- by the IBM Rational Software division.

They are going to be announcing in June at their Rational Developer Conference in Orlando, Fla., a technology set called "Jazz." And here to tell us more about it and describe the benefits and issues around new collaborative approaches to development is Scott Hebner, the vice president for marketing and strategy for IBM Rational Software. Welcome to the show, Scott.

Scott Hebner: Thank you, Dana, glad to be here.

Gardner: First, collaboration has always been dicey issue with developers. There is a tension between individuals and small teams, and then groups of small teams, and then many groups of teams. What is the problem set that we are really addressing here with Jazz?

Hebner: Well, first of all, Jazz should be really thought of as a project to drive technology innovation in the whole space of collaborative, process-driven software engineering. It is a project that’s being managed by Rational in partnership with the IBM Research division to try some really deep innovation. We want to put some deep thought into the whole notion of how to help teams that are delivering software be more effective. And increasingly we will be opening up that technology project into an open community that more and more of our business partners and our customers and developers in general that can participate in.

In a nutshell, what Jazz is really all about is how to drive greater efficiencies, cost savings, and the ability to deliver software more effectively -- particularly in a world that’s becoming increasingly geographically diverse, increasingly modular. As customers move to things like services oriented architecture (SOA), it just drives the need to enhance the ability for teams to collaborate and gain access to the real-time information on the health of the project.

We're seeking to integrate the various services involved in managing the lifecycles of these projects. It's an evolution, but a profound one -- given where we are today.

Gardner: So we are describing this in terms of a community approach, a framework? Are there going to be contributions and plug-ins, something like Eclipse? Should we be looking at the Eclipse framework and foundation as a model for this?

Hebner: Yes, actually, I would. What is Jazz? I think maybe a good place to start would be there.

As I've said before, it is a major investment by IBM to create an innovative, collaborative software development technology base. It will not only will drive the evolution of our product for future years, but it’s also going to drive the evolution of many elements of the marketplace.

Another way of looking at it is Jazz is a market accelerator that will help customers implement some of the key trends that we see them moving toward. That includes the ability to manage software delivery more effectively, to leverage the supply chain, and to more effectively use software that’s being used to create and deliver software. You need a whole notion of community, modularity and empowerment to the path of a governance model.

To your point, I would think of Jazz as being the next big thing, if you will, beyond Eclipse in terms of shaping the IBM portfolio -- but also the marketplace. As you may know, Eclipse has more than two million users around the world. It's just had its fifth-year anniversary, and I think it's fair to say that the innovation behind Eclipse has really driven change in the marketplace. It has facilitated a lot of customer value in terms of the ability to integrate products within a lifecycle more effectively.

Eclipse did a lot on the client side, the user side, to integrate the desktop. You can think of Jazz as being a similar approach, but on the back end -- or the server side -- where the teams need to have the same ability to collaborate more effectively and to gain integration.

One of the more important things about Jazz is that it’s truly in the Eclipse way. In other words, if you think about Eclipse, it perhaps is one of the most successful software development projects in history. Over the last five years they have delivered really high-quality code. They have not missed a project milestone. They’ve been on time. It's a very efficient community that’s building and delivering software.

Jazz is being brought to us by the team that helped to lead Eclipse. What they are trying to do now is automate the lessons of this proven, open-collaborative model that Eclipse represents. And so I think we have learned a lot about how to facilitate collaboration. We have passive governance [to manage] a project that expands across multiple geographic locations and is always changing, is very dynamic. We are trying to "tool" that, if you will, to automate that, and take what we learned in that development project.

Gardner: Yes, we’d have to say that Eclipse has not only been successful on its own right, but has actually provided a great example, or model, for how community projects development should be done and governed.

Hebner: Exactly. I think many customers are looking at it and saying, "Well, there’s a lot of value in enhancing a community approach in how they develop and deliver the software. You can share skills more effectively, you can share assets, you can collaborate much more effectively around this model -- and gain a more open approach.

Right now such openness may be just within the company, or it may be within different departments in different locations. You know, we talk about globally diverse environments. But we should also talk about organizationally diverse environments, because more and more customers are outsourcing different elements of software delivery.

They may be testing in India. They may be outsourcing different parts of their project development. But ultimately you need to manage it all as one major project that needs to have some level of lifecycle management governance around it. And so, again, to go back to your original question, Jazz is being built from the team that brought us Eclipse. It is leveraging a lot of Eclipse technology as a foundation. If you think of Eclipse as sort of on the client, then Jazz is more on the team side of things.

Gardner: Okay. Now thinking about application lifecycle management as a topic, is that the large issue that we are addressing here? Is this really an application lifecycle management function, or is this more still of a development environment approach?

Hebner: I think it’s the broader notion of governance and lifecycle management -- service management, if you will. It focuses on how to help teams to be effective and to collaborate and to communicate more effectively. It also helps teams of teams. Right? And I think that’s where its ability to scale over time is going to be an important thing. I also think it’s something that Agile teams are really going to like. I mean it involves the whole notion of Agile development -- yet with the ability to scale.

So, in many ways, it is a lot more than software development. It’s really about team collaboration around the delivery of software. It's about lifecycle management, automating lifecycle management. It's about traceability of relationships between artifacts, automation of high-level processes, visibility into the processes and then reporting against it.

Jazz also helps to learn and deal with compliance issues, whether it's Capability Maturity Model® Integration (CMMI), or whether it's some regulatory issue like Sarbanes-Oxley compliance. I think it deals with the notion of integration -- of real-time access to information about the project in terms of collaboration and automation. Those are the kinds of buzz words that really starts to define what the next generation of a application lifecycle management platform needs to be.

Gardner: We are also starting to hear some things in the market around software development as a service. Are there any on-demand aspects to Jazz? Or is Jazz in a position to allow for more utilization of on-demand elements within a development lifecycle?

Hebner: Well, that’s a good question, and actually an intriguing one. I think as time rolls on much of what this technology base will do for products, and the ability to facilitate collaboration -- particularly in a geographically diverse environment -- will lend itself to doing things more effectively as software as a service (SaaS).

What I mean by that is that a part of the value of this technology is going to be greater collaboration and visibility into the process of software delivery. As I said before, you may have people that are part of broader teams in different time zones, different countries. They may be in different organizations in other companies that you are outsourcing to. And you want to be able to manage that as an integrated project, gain a lifecycle view of it. Then you will be able to manage it much more effectively, to get all those geographically distributed people in the projects to actually work together.

There is going to need to be some degree of hosting and Web access around Web 2.0 clients, or Eclipse clients, or whatever it may be. And if you think about that, in many ways it’s almost an internal software-as-a-service model.

For example, perhaps you’re providing a business partner with access to some of the key software development assets of your business so they can test against it. But you only want them to have access to certain aspects of it, and you don’t necessarily need to roll out to them all of your assets. And so how do you manage them? So I think an application of this technology over time will be the ability to better facilitate software as a service models for software development.

Gardner: Interesting. And at the same time, Scott, you mentioned a little earlier SOA. And as organizations are looking not to just create individual services, but to then aggregate, composite, and orchestrate these services, is this environment something that we could take to a higher process-level as well?

Hebner: Yes. I think SOA is a key driver behind the need for this. There is no doubt, at least in our minds, that we are seeing our customer base move to SOA. I think we’re beyond the hype-curve now. It’s just a degree of how much SOA, if you will. So I think more and more customers are moving to this notion of modularity, componentization, and reuse to align more effectively the IT investments with the business imperatives. They also want to lower costs and create greater efficiencies. And they want to address labor costs by automating things more effectively. So there are a lot of benefits to SOA.

What comes with that, though, is a lot of additional modularity in the components -- the notion of a supply chain of components -- that are then used to create applications, and then a lot more change. In the old days, it used to be quite straight forward. You built the applications from top to bottom as monolithic. You did everything from testing to requirements management, pretty much contained within your team.

Now you may have a component, a service, that’s being used in an application, and that’s also being used in 10 other applications. And then one of those applications has a change request against that one service. How do you ensure that that doesn’t adversely affect the other ones? And what governance model do you have in place to govern who makes decisions on requirements and changes?

So facilitating more and more modularity also drives more and more change. How do you manage all that? I think what it comes down to is you have to work effectively as a team. You need to be able to collaborate and communicate better. You need to be able to act as a team within these processes in ways that are flexible and actually take on the unique characteristics of how the team actually works. And I think you need to integrate the various elements of the lifecycle more effectively so that you have traceability of the artifacts; so that you have the ability to manage and gain access to the assets. You need to be able to have access to the real-time health of the project based on the real work that’s going on at that particular time.

Gardner: So developers are not only going to have to manage the creation of the code, but how that code behaves in production. But there are also going to be policies, rules, and governance set up around of variety of these services. And so they’re going to have to manage, in essence, those rules?

Hebner: Well, I think there’s really no way around it when you have a governance model, and a lifecycle management set of processes and policies in place. As you begin to componentize and reuse things, you’re setting up a situation where you can have quality problems.

Gardner: So we’re going to basically have governance lifecycle management?

Hebner: Yes, and I think the governance models, the procedures, and the decision rights are going to be the overriding definition of the lifecycle processes. But, you know, governance is one of those things that developers and development teams may not like the sound of.

Gardner: They usually thought about that as happening in the operational phase, after they’ve gotten rid of it right?

Hebner: Oh, Exactly. And we think this all can be a very empowering thing for the developers in the development teams. Because if you think about it, if you’re going to automate the governance model in the lifecycle policies -- in the actual infrastructure, so that the developers in the teams don’t actually have to do anything -- it’s all being done as part of the infrastructure. And then you operationalize it, and you automate it, and it then becomes what we call "passive governance."

That’s going to take a lot of paperwork off the developers’ backs, and they’re not going to have to really pay attention too much to it because the system is automated. If you want to make a change request, or you’re taking on a change request for a particular piece of software, the system will help keep track of the paperwork, the auditing, and who made the right decisions. We'll be able to do all that on behalf of the developer.

What we’re hearing from many of our customers is that the deeper we get into this notion of passive governance it actually empowers the teams to be more effective. It gives them more time to be able to really focus on applying their skills, which in most cases is building really good software. Where you don’t automate, it then becomes a burden.

So governance does not mean paperwork and policies. I think the goal is to automate it. And that’s what I think this Jazz technology is going to help us do more and more efficiently over time -- to automate and "operationalize" how processes in lifecycle management are made to work, and to do it in a way that facilitates collaboration and communications. It’s really nice when everyone in the project has the ability to get access to real-time information about the health of the project.

Gardner: It sounds like a strategic approach to governance -- about the relationship from design time to runtime, and perhaps a feedback loop between them.

Hebner: Yeah, it’s going to facilitate that, exactly. I think Jazz is fundamentally a technology investment around facilitating three things:
  • Collaboration and communications among the development team.
  • The ability to have customers enact business processes for the teams that can take on the unique characteristics of how those teams are operating and need to operate, so an Agile-kind of capability.
  • And thirdly it’s about an infrastructure that will help customers better integrate the various services involved in managing the lifecycle to their assets and projects.
Then how you apply that is where we get into a lot of the questions that you have.

Gardner: One of the things that is also a concern to developers is that they like to use the tools they are familiar with. They don’t like to be told what to do. Is Jazz going to be inclusive of a variety of different tools and approaches? Is this going to support the Rational products, like ClearCase and ClearQuest and RequisitePro, and also be something that you can plug in other tools and approaches to? How open should we expect this to be?

Hebner: It’s going to be very open. Just as you would go out today and become part of a community with Eclipse, you’ll be able to join and become a part of a community with Jazz. What comes with that community is access to a software development platform for actually building products -- as well as extensions, plug-ins, and processes, all based on the technology. So over a period of time, people will be able to build with partners plug-ins and products based on the Jazz technology, just like they can build based on Eclipse.

Gardner: If you do have a commercial product that you want to allow to work within this framework, can you feel free to build the modules or connectors to them, or to use what’s available in the market?

Hebner: Yes, exactly. There’ll be different degrees of this. We’re still working that out. It’s not going to be completely an open source project like Eclipse, but there are going to be key elements of that. The idea is exactly as you just said. You’ll be able to open up the parts that make sense, those that have to do with adapters and interfaces and how you communicate. We want to bridge the ecosystem of developers and partners who are building plug-ins, extensions and products based on this technology base.

By doing that, a customer that starts to leverage any products -- including commercial products -- that are being delivered based on some of this technology will be able to integrate it with other services or products built by non-IBM companies. So that’s the whole idea of it being able to integrate. Think of it as an integration of a structure. Obviously you need to have an adaptor and a plug-in capability, otherwise why are you integrating?

Gardner: One of my industry colleagues, Carey Schwaber at Forrester Research, has coined the term "ALM 2.0." And a big part of that is to be able to be inclusive, to use many tools and components across a development process, or lifecycle. And you can then gain a larger value from coordinating and managing all of that.

Hebner: This is exactly right on. This is exactly what we are referring to here. ... This is middleware, if you will, for better integrating the various services involved with how you manage the lifecycle of your projects. The whole idea of the integration bus, in layman’s terms, is the ability to plug-in different products that you may want to use as a customer that make up your software development and delivery platforms, and all the lifecycle capabilities. That’s not all going to come from IBM. We would never think that.

Another part of your question was about the IBM Rational portfolio, and I think of Jazz as being a technology innovation that we are going to use to shape the direction of our products in our portfolio for years to come. It’s going to inspire and infuse new features and functions and technology capabilities into our portfolio. So Jazz is a reason to buy ClearCase and ClearQuest, for example. It’s not -- this isn’t about replacing anything, it’s about infusing new technology and innovation. It's about the collaborative, process-driven characteristics that we talked about. So it’s an extension of the value of our current product set, and doing what Eclipse did on the client, for the teams on the back end.

Gardner: I suppose another thing has been missing in the previous one-offs and smaller monolithic approaches is analytics across the entire process. Is this coordinating effect -- even coordinating at the governance and policy and services level -- going to give us more data, more insight, more metadata into how development works well, or not well? Will it help foster a constant, iterative improvement-based approach to development?

Hebner: Yes, absolutely. That’s what I meant by the process-enactment and the access to real-time help. The idea here is that you have visibility and gain collaboration into the software development process. And so what are some of the key value points that this technology will provide to customers?

I’ll tell you. The first one is that it will enable development teams to collaborate in real time, in the context of the work they are doing, and especially in globally diverse environments. The second thing is it enables projects to be managed more effectively by providing visibility into accurate, real-time project health information, effectively drawn from the actual work that’s going on. Obviously, there is a lot of reporting that goes around that.

Building on that, it automates traceability and auditibility my managing the artifacts and/or inter-relationships -- across the lifecycle, which, as I was saying before, empowers the teams to deliver more value. So you don’t have to worry about managing auditibility issues and traceability.

The system will do it for the development teams. And, finally, I think the final key piece of value here is that Jazz provides a customizable process design enactment, a kind of capability for rules-based process guidance. It becomes a lot easier to automate, to find check points. It allows you to enact processes that take on the unique characteristics of how a team has been operating. It kind of evolves and changes and learns from what works and what doesn’t work. This is a very Agile, real-time, collaborative kind of model.

I look at it sometimes and I think, Is this going to enable a developer portal? Is it going to enable a business-process engine for software delivery in lifecycle management? Or is it an integration infrastructure for the different products and services that make up what customers think of as lifecycle management?

The truth of the matter is that it’s all three. It’s not just a portal. It’s not just a process engine. And it’s not just integration infrastructure. I think it’s really all three integrated together, optimized for software delivery in helping development teams collaborate more effectively. Again, keep in mind that Jazz is a technology infrastructure. It’s a base of technology that will then be used to infuse new capabilities, new integration and new value into our current portfolio.

Gardner: Is Jazz a project name, a code name, or is this going to be the long-term nomenclature around this?

Hebner: It’s a project name. And whoever is listening to this can go out to right now, and you can see the beginnings of the community. So, will be the name of the community, which is already out there. And the key formal unveiling of this, where customers and you and others can get a lot more detail, will be at the Rational Software Development Conference, the first of which is in Orlando, Fla. on June 10-14, 2007.

If anyone is interested, go out to our website at and you’ll get information on the conference. We are also going to be having them in India, China and Israel. And there’s a bunch of other places where we will have these events throughout the year. But come June, that’s when we are going to focus a lot more on what we are doing around visibility and collaboration in the software development process. There will be a lot more detail about what we are talking about then.

Gardner: Is this going to be in beta until it comes out in an official sense later in the year? What’s the timetable for the full, official debut?

Hebner: Well, I think you are going to start to see a lot of that articulated at the conference. But in June there will be the ability for customers to begin to get involved and get their hands on this stuff. Not only the technology and the community, but it’s likely that there are going to be betas rolling out around other new products from IBM. And obviously the details of all that, and what that all really means, is part of what we are going to be talking about at the conference.

Gardner: So there will be a series of new IBM, and I assume Rational, products that debut in conjunction with the rollout of Jazz?

Hebner: Very likely. I’d go to conference and find out, but yes, we are doing this to really enrich the value of our portfolio. So clearly there will be new products. There will be new features and functions and capabilities infused into what we have today.

This is about enriching and involving our portfolio of products that make up the Rational Software delivery dlatform into this notion, as you said before, of ALM 2.0 and collaborative, process-driven software engineering. This is the next big thing, we would like to think, in software engineering -- beyond what Eclipse delivered five years ago.

Gardner: Will there be IBM products beyond the Rational portfolio involved with Jazz?

Hebner: I think it’s likely.

Gardner: WebSphere, perhaps?

Hebner: It’s point-to-point. Well, keep in mind you have Lotus, which is all about collaboration and people-productivity, and they have Lotus Designer. So some of those things will play in this, right?

Gardner: So this could be for scripting developers, Web developers, as well as C++ and Java developers?

Hebner: Yes, it’s a team environment for managing projects and assets in facilitating communications. Part of that may be building the portal applications that you may be using Lotus Designer to do. I think your point on WebSphere is right too. And already we have some pretty good integration with WebSphere Business Modeler, and the ability to leverage that to design processes. And then from there someone has to build an architecture that allows the delivery of services to implement those processes.

So I think those linkages get enhanced over time. I think Tivoli is another important element here, in that, when we talk about lifecycle management in governance, that doesn’t stop at the delivery of the software that flows into your operational state. And many of the change requests that get created actually occur in an operational setting -- from a user, for example. Right now there is a lot of labor cost associated with getting that change into the software development process, and to the requirements.

The more we can automate that and create collaboration that extends beyond just this core software development team, the more you can address labor costs and help customers in a broader notion of managing the lifecycle of their projects. And not only in delivering productions, but also in operations. Think of it as one massive lifecycle. This is the way it should be, right?

Gardner: Compress the time from development to deployment.

Hebner: Exactly. And the labor cost associated to that, too. There is a lot of labor that goes into that hand-off, in the communications between the operational team and the development team. And you have to have the testing in the middle there. There is a lot of automation that could be done in the communications and collaboration enhancements that really can drive the bottom line for customers in terms of cost.

Gardner: Sure. Now we talked earlier about how this compares interestingly to Eclipse. It also sounds like it compares interestingly to what Java was attempting to do 10 years ago. Is there some commonality between what Java accomplished as a development framework, and what now we are talking about with Jazz?

Hebner: I think at the very high level, yes. You are onto this notion of an open infrastructure.

Gardner: Sure, automating and bringing together elements that have been very disparate and difficult to manage.

Hebner: Exactly. So we had the idea of J2EE, for example, that was facilitating Web-based transactions and an enterprise platform for building enterprise applications that, by definition, integrate with other applications across an open world, right? And the more companies that would adopt that model, and build J2EE applications, the easier it was to share skills. And it was the whole idea of an open infrastructure model, right?

Gardner: A de facto industry standard.

Hebner: Exactly. Even though it wasn’t technically open in the sense that Sun Microsystems controlled a great deal of it. But Eclipse, conceptually, was the same kind of idea. Which is, if you really want to facilitate customer ability to integrate different tools at the desktop and enhance the ability to customize them and to build an ecosystem of all these tools that are more interchangeable -- then one company could not do that. You need to have an open model. I think the same would be true with Linux, and the same would be true of Apache.

Gardner: You need to have buy-in by the people who cooperate, as well as compete.

Hebner: Yes. Our thought here is learning from those experiences over the last 10 years -- going all the way back to Linux and Java, and even prior to that. The notion here is integration of a lifecycle, collaboration and communications, particularly in globally diverse and organizationally diverse environments. By definition, if you don’t take an open approach to that you are never going to be able to integrate all of that, and to automate it. It has to be open.

Gardner: One of the other things that’s been a bugaboo for developers is the whole complexity around check-in and check-out. And developer seats. And who is a simultaneous user and who isn’t. And how you charge for use. And how you audit for that, and license for it.

How are you going to charge for something like this? And does it perhaps have some impact on managing the whole process of the payments and usage of other aspects of development?

Hebner: Well, that’s a tricky question. And I don’t have all the answers for that.

I would say a couple of things here. One would be that -- keep in mind that a lot of this value, the incarnation of the value will be in our current product set to some degree. So if I am an IBM Rational ClearCase customer right now, this is going to add value to that installation. It’s going to add additional collaborative capabilities -- sort of a collaborative developer portal that allows you to get more value out of ClearCase.

In many ways there is already a model for how you buy and pay for ClearCase, right? As I was saying before, as new things come out, though, the pricing models for those and how they work ... Well, I just am not sure that we have all the answers ready to go out on that.

Gardner: How then would someone purchase or subscribe to Jazz, or how do you expect you’ll charge for it?

Hebner: We can say that Jazz is a technology project, right? So you will be able to get access to the environment. How commercial entities -- whether they be IBM or some other company out there that chooses to use the technology -- how would they decide to deliver and price commercial products that leverage the Jazz innovation and the technology? By server, by user, or simultaneous -- all those things you brought up are legitimate questions. I don’t think we have all the answers on how Jazz is going to affect all that.

Gardner: But Jazz itself is not something that you are going to charge directly for?

Hebner: As far as the community?

Gardner: Yes.

Hebner: No. That’s not the current thought. We don’t want to announce anything that we haven’t gotten to the point of rolling out. But the idea is to facilitate open community and get access to the different elements of it. We want this to be an open, commercial development expression. We want our customers to share and participate. And how we evolve and develop our products, and the key way of doing this is through

Gardner: One last question, because we are about out of time. I suppose something this large, this impactful, this strategic, needs to appeal to a variety of different constituencies -- developers should probably be enticed to it and have a buy-in element. There should be architects enticed to it in some fashion, as well as the business side. Do you expect that you can address all of these constituencies? In a quick summation, what’s in it for each of them?

Hebner: I think each one of them should keep in mind that Jazz is an innovation technology project, and that innovation would get infused across the elements of our software delivery platform, which tends to be roles-based. In your requirements management, there’s going to be additional value in that, and that’s going to help you all collaborate and communicate more effectively with other parts of your software delivery team.

If you are a developer or an architect, you are going to be able to get better real-time information with different parts of the development team that are building different elements. You can have real-time access to who's doing what. And you can have traceability. You have the ability to better manage what’s actually going on.

If you are the project manager, or the executive in charge of the effort, you are going to have greater visibility, auditibility and traceability -- what’s actually going on in the project. You can then really predict more effectively, is it going to be a 12-month project or a 13-month or a 14-month one, right? And how are you progressing against those milestones? You are going to have more improved access to the real-time health of the project and where the milestones are, right?

So I think what it’s going to do is it's going to infuse these new capabilities into a variety of different parts of the portfolio that would then appeal to different roles at a customer. I think the overriding thing is that we have to better integrate, and have all those different roles work together and collaborate in delivering software. Because obviously they all are interdependent on each other. I think most customers would tell you today that they could always improve the ability for these people to work more effectively together, for different teams to work more effectively, and share assets, and make decisions more effectively, and not get into wars over which requirements, and so forth, and so on.

Gardner: It's really about communication, isn’t it?

Hebner: It’s about communication and collaboration in a real-time environment, so that you have real-time information to make better decisions. It’s really integrating and automating. I think these are the keywords here. So, automating how these people work with each other. It’s not just communications, but it’s automating how you work together with each other, and put a little bit more predictability and management into how it all comes together.

Gardner: It sounds very exciting, very impactful, and very ambitious. I'm glad we had a chance to talk about it.

We have been discussing the new Jazz approach to software development collaboration and application lifecycle management with Scott Hebner, the vice president of marketing and strategy for IBM Rational Software. We look forward to learning more about this in the coming months, and in June at the Rational Developer Conference. And for now, people can find out more about this at

Scott, thank you very much for your time and information. I'm sure this is a subject we’ll be discussing quite a bit over the next few years.

Hebner: You bet. Thank you very much, I appreciate it.

Gardner: This is Dana Gardner, principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions. You have been listening to a BriefingsDirect podcast. Thanks for joining.

Listen to the podcast here.

If you'd like to learn more about BriefingsDirect B2B informational podcasts, or to become a sponsor of this or other B2B podcasts, contact Interarbor Solutions at 603-528-2435.

Transcript of the BriefingsDirect podcast on the IBM Jazz collaborative application development and deployment framework. Copyright Interarbor Solutions, LLC, 2005-2007. All rights reserved.