Blogger: Richard Monson-Haefel
This week I gave what is called a "telebriefing" to our clients on Web 2.0. All that means is that I got on the phone with a lot of our clients and tried to bore them to death a Power Point presentation. The telebriefing was titled "Web 2.0: An Architecture of Participation". (The podcast is available for clients here). To make a long story short, Rich Seeley of searchwebservices.com, a reporter who has done a lot of solid reporting, listened in and then reported what he heard in this story, "Web 2.0 lacks the business impact of SOA, Burton warns". I have Google set up so that I'm e-mailed every time my name surfaces in the press. When I saw the title of the article in the Google alert I thought, "Oh no!"
My fears were confirmed when I read the article. The story is a little out of whack with the telebriefing. I don't think this was intentional, I think Rich Seeley just misinterpreted the point of the briefing.
Let's start with the title of the article: "Web 2.0 lacks the business impact of SOA, Burton warns". The problem here is that the term SOA is never mentioned in the telebriefing. I never made any reference to SOA or said or even inferred that there was any relationship between Web 2.0 and SOA. I mumble sometimes ... maybe I said, "So ... Ah are their any questions?"
The link between Web 2.0 and SOA can also be seen early in Rich Seeley article (the first two paragraphs) which say,
"Web 2.0 is great for people seeking a friendly on line community, but in the the bottom line world of business the best plan is to stick with service-oriented architecture projects with the potential to make money. That was the concluding caveat offered by Richard Monson-Haefel, senior analyst at Burton Group Inc., this week in a telebriefing entitled, "Web 2.0: An Architecture of Participation."
"He defined Web 2.0 as applications using Ajax and rich Internet application technology to allow end users to actively participate in creating content for a Web site. However, the irony of the title was the analyst's caveat that corporate IT departments do not have much place for participation in Web 2.0."
In the telebriefing I defined Web 2.0 as “an architecture of participation built on the World Wide Web”; the title of the telebriefing is "Web 2.0: An Architecture of Participation". Also on 4th and 5th slides in the deck say, "Web 2.0 is an architecture of participation built on the World Wide Web". I also said it about a dozen times so that the message is clear - I guess I should wave flags around and make loud noises next time so that no one misses the point.
So what is the point? Here is the main point of this blog. I want people to understand the following:
- Web 2.0 and SOA should not be compared. They are totally different architectures.
- Web 2.0 builds on available content and content contributed by its users; SOA builds on processes and data normally owned and maintained by an organization.
- Web 2.0 leverages the power of anarchy (not chaos); SOA requires extensive enterprise oversight.
- Web 2.0 is about human interaction and participation; SOA is about the backend.
Except for drawing comparisons with SOA these are exactly the points made in the telebriefing. SOA is never mentioned but I'm glad Rich Seeley brought it up as it offered a chance to compare the two architectures.
I was pleased to see that the rest of the article reflects Rich Seeley steady journalistic hand. I've been quoted by Rich many times and never had a problem with his reporting - its always top notch. But, in this case, I wanted people to know about the misunderstanding.
Analysts and reporters are sometimes thought of as the same thing, but our jobs couldn't be more different. A good analyst spends weeks researching a topic and then another week or two writing about. The document is then vetted by others - usually experts - for errors. A good reporter, on the other hand, has to digest lots of information quickly and get it out to the public as fast as possible. A reporter's job is to inform the public quickly but usually without much depth. An analyst job is to inform his clients deeply after taking a lot of time to consider the matter.
While analysts and reporters are very different with respect to the way they work and their responsibilities and audience, they depend on each other a lot. Reporters often seek out the opinions of analysts to ensure that their story reflects informed opinions. Analysts depend on reporters to help make the general public aware of analysis that would otherwise only be seen by a relatively small audience. It's a very symbiotic relationship. One that is based on trust. It's a system that works well and I wouldn't change it for the world.