A few weeks ago I wrote how SOA is not just for integrating legacy systems but could also be a strategic approach for launching a brand new startup. I argued that startups can build their products and services from scratch in a true service oriented fashion without the burden of culture change issues, business process reengineering efforts, and changing the way the firm develops. Starting from scratch creates a tremendous opportunity to build it right from the start.
Fred Luddy, CEO of Service-now.com agrees with me. This is exactly the approach his company took to gain competitive advantages on its competition. Service-now.com is an on-demand IT Service Management solution provider. Their SaaS solution combines ITIL v3 with Web 2.0 technology and SOA to provide a rich user experience to address a firm's problem management needs.
Luddy, former CTO of Remedy and Peregrine founded his company knowing there had to be a better way of delivering software solutions then the way traditional shrink wrapped solutions of his past were being delivered. Previous systems were too inflexible, took too long to change, and were not customizable enough for the users. After spending several years with companies who are now his competition, Luddy came to the realization that it was time for "significant simplification." In 2004, he formed Service-now.com with the intent of leveraging the Internet as the platform to build his product on. His vision of the underlying architecture was that software must be "simple, approachable, configurable, and easy to integrate" and had to be as "restless and stateless as possible." Luddy also wanted to eliminate the data formatting issues and figuring out how to communicate with various other applications. In his own words he states that "there were no alternatives, no decisions to be made. There was no other way then with a SOA mindset."
Luddy and team had the luxury of starting with a blank sheet of paper and applying the lessons learned from his years of working on packaged software products. Like I mentioned in my previous article, startups do not have to deal with some of the big challenges that established companies have to deal with while implementing SOA: namely culture change and business process reengineering. The whole team clearly understood the SOA vision and the benefits that came with it. There was no resistance to change here. Also, the business processes were being created from the ground up so there were no existing business processes to change. This was the perfect scenario for implementing SOA. The team established standards upfront and created an architecture that provided them the simplicity, flexibility, agility, and ease of integration that would separate them from their competition. In 2005 their Java-based product was commercially available. Today their product has over 30 built-in integrations such as Tivoli, OpenView, LDAP, SMS, SiteMinder, and Oracle Financials.
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