5 pillars of Connected Systems

Today Paul Flessner in his keynote at TechEd talked about the evolution of applications from the monolithic app of the mainframe era to today's connected system applications.

I was very pleased to hear him talk in front of a packed TechEd audience about the different "pillars" [even though he was not as explicit as calling them pillars] that enable a connected systems. Of course messaging (i.e. service orientation, web services and Indigo soon) is the core pillar and is the enabler of the heterogeneous "connectedness" among systems; but once you achieve “connectedness”; in other words once you have hooked together systems that (a) were not meant or designed to be connected (b) that span across multiple organization, there are a series of additional issues that you must address (hence the additional pillars complementing messaging)

The pillars are therefore:

  • Messaging of course; bringing the underlying fabric of connected systems
  • Identity and access; this pillar becomes paramount, managing the trust relationships and access to resources of these systems now connected.
  • 360 view of data (sometime called entity aggregation)  allowing a single view of the customer; even though the customer is duplicated a multitude of times in all these systems that now are logically becoming one
  • Explicit flow controls (or workflows) external from the services themselves; flow control mapping to business process of course, but flow control managing user interaction, ad-hoc processes, exception management...
  • And of course, user interactions; a pillar dedicated to the human consumption of services.

These 5 pillars will be the center of my ARC presentation on Thursday; I can't wait for the discussions and feedback post session. Again, to me the great pleasure of presenting in front a very clever, passionate and experienced crowd such as the one at TechEd is to learn and grow through the ad-hoc discussions following a session.