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SOA World - Exclusive Q&A with David Linthicum, CEO of StrikeIron

Data Services Will Set the Enterprise IT World on Fire

'I'm surprised people are paying me for this work, I'm having a blast,' quips the newly appointed CEO of StrikeIron David Linthicum, in this exclusive Q&A with SYS-CON Media's SOAWorld Magazine. In this wide-ranging interview Linthicum addresses the hot new Data Services trend (exemplified by DataServices World in June for example) and the all-important notion of enterprise mashups, which he pinpoints as the defining technology of the year ahead.

SOAWorld Magazine: You have said that enterprise architects are often ineffective in their SOA endeavors. Could you explain?

David Linthicum: Sure. The key issue is that they have a tendency to think tactically around architecture. In many instances it’s all about the latest technology, and not what will work for the company long term and in consideration of their business objectives. That’s the core problem in a nutshell.

Therefore, most failures around SOA can be traced back to the inability to focus on the business and requirements, and too much focus on the latest buzzwords. This is easily remedied with some strategic planning, a better understanding of their business issues, and putting the right technology within the proper context.

SOAWorld Magazine:
You once claimed “Many SOA Vendors Can't Explain Their Own Product” – do you stand by that contention? Do you still believe that the vendors that will succeed will have “the heart of a teacher, not a salesman”?

DL: Yes. Unfortunately, many of the SOA vendors out there don’t understand the value of SOA, or how their product fits within a SOA problem domain. They sell it as providing “the solution” and don’t do a good job in explaining where their technology will provide the most value, and the least. Not all vendors, mind you, just a few that need some SOA education.

Any technology vendor, especially SOA vendors, should have the heart of a teacher. The best technology salesmen out there know how to listen to their customers, understand their issues, and guide them through the SOA journey looking out for the interests of the customers and not their own. You need to teach to sell SOA, and the better you teach, the more SOA you’ll sell.

SOAWorld Magazine:
How does this approach map into your plans for StrikeIron, which you have recently joined as CEO?

DL: StrikeIron is an innovative and unique company, providing services for consumption over the Internet, as well as a platform for hosting, distributing, controlling and managing services…all on-demand. Thus we are not a “traditional SOA” technology company. In essence we provide services, on-demand, for any application inclusive of use within an SOA, enterprise applications, mashups, or any application where pre-built remote services will have value. We are clearly a core component of SOA…the ability to leverage outside services for use within composites and processes, along with enterprise services.

The approach is easy to define. We provide things already built, as a service, on-demand, and self provisioned, in other words we provide the pre-built component parts for adding value to architecture.

StrikeIron also provides service externalization services, allowing core enterprise applications to produce services for outside consumption, using an on-demand pre-built platform that provides all of the management components required to provide key APIs for any partner, customer, or even unknown users.

Want to turn your core business processes into on-demand services? Come see us. Want to pick and choose from hundreds of services for your applications? Come see us.

SOAWorld Magazine:
Will “Data-as-a-Service” remain the key to the StrikeIron value prop?

DL: Yes, we provide data-oriented services on-demand, or services that deal with the production or consumption of data. In other words, data in the context of behavior, the essence of data services or Data-as-a-Service.

SOAWorld Magazine:
What metrics can be most usefully used in tracking the growth in the consumption and distribution of live data and business functionality over the Web?

DL: Metrics are essential to the success of delivering data services over the Internet. There are pure usage metrics such as consumption rates of services, peaks and valleys for usage as well as server statistics. Tracking the depth and breadth of the services being used and the number of applications and/or solutions that are integrating with these services will aid in delivering more advanced data and extended functionality to users. Also, examining the increasing number of verticals using data and that are solving real business problems delivers key information - all completely transparent to the user.

On the Next Page, Dave Linthicum addresses Enterprise Mashups, Data Services, and offers business advice to would-be technology entrepreneurs...

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

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