Comparing ESB and Integration Suite Functionality

One of the more common questions we get from clients is about how to decide between enterprise service bus (ESB) and comprehensive integration solutions (CIS's) for meeting integration needs.  The answer will depend on the type and depth of your integration challenges.

Forrester defines ESB's as:

"An intermediary layer of middleware through which a set of reusable business services are made widely available."

These services typically include features for supporting multiple levels of connectivity, a wide range of mediation services (including dynamic provisioning capability), lightweight orchestration and multiple features for supporting change and control aspects of the ESB's behaviour.  The model below provides more details on the specific features.

The ESB Reference Architecture Model

ESB Reference Architecture Model

ESB's are a great starting point for enhancing integration capability and in many cases, this level of technology is all that many enterprises need or can afford.  For a deeper discussion of ESB features, check out my March 26, 2010 document entitled, "The ESB Reference Architecture Model".

In a similar vein, Forrester defines CIS's as:

"suites of tools that provide a broad array of capabilities for supporting internal and external integration requirements including enterprise application integration (EAI), B2B integration (B2Bi), and integration-centric business process management (IC-BPM)."

It is important to note that CIS products all include ESB features at their core as shown in the architecture layer of the following picture:

The CIS Reference Architecture Model

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Security For Industrial Control Systems — Is It A Missing Link To Critical Infrastructure Security?

I was just reading the recent Elinor Mills interview with Joe Weiss, and I wanted to share a few of my thoughts on the subject of securing industrial control system (ICS). Security for industrial control systems is an important topic in the modernization of critical infrastructure components. Sometimes we get too hung up on concepts like Smart Grid, but we forget that we've been dealing with similar systems for some time now. Currently, supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) and programmable logic controllers (PLC) systems are commonly found in electric, oil, gas, and water environments. Over the years these components have gone through varying degrees of modernization, but they are no less susceptible to security threats than smart meters or grids.

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From The HP Archives: Lessons Learned On Market Entry

International orders grew 34% for HP . . . not this year but actually back in 1964 when non-US orders accounted for 23 percent of HP’s revenues.  While the growth of non-US tech revenues is in the news today, HP’s international orders first exceeded domestic orders not recently but as far back as 1975.

In my research on market entry and market opportunity assessment (MOA), I recently spoke to strategists at HP about how they evaluate markets.  As I was leaving the building, I stopped in to the HP museum and spent some time with the HP archivist.   The highlights of the visit include seeing the first HP device built in the now famous Palo Alto garage and a calculator that brought back memories of my father in his overstuffed chair “figuring out how to pay for college.”  I was not only impressed by the history embodied in that room but also with the value that HP places on recording and memorializing its “life” as an organization.  Not to sound too sappy but it really brings the company and the industry to life.

I’ve spent the last few weeks reading through some documents on the history of HP’s entry into international markets.  There are valuable lessons to be gleaned from their experiences.   I’ve written about many of those lessons in reports and blog posts but thought I'd draw out a few of them here.

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Six Organizational Practices BPM Initiatives Should Implement

As you may know from my previous blog post, on Thursday last week I delivered the Forrester Teleconference titled Increasing the Maturity of Your BPM Center of Excellence. This blog post summarizes the organizational practices discussed during the teleconference for those of you who could not attend:

  1. Assess the enterprise's BT maturity level. Forrester has developed a business technology (BT) maturity self-assessment approach. I presented an example of how to use it in a recent blog post. Perform the assessment with key business stakeholders first -- the CEO, COO, CFO, BU leaders -- then go for IT. Visualize the existing business-IT alignment gap at your enterprise and develop an improvement plan focusing on organization, enabler processes, and behaviors.
  2. Develop unified BT demand management function. BPM initiatives emerge when and where business stakeholders need them. The pervasiveness of technology services allows these change agents to roll out process improvements with or without support from the IT department. But you will need a place where everything comes together to ensure that investments are synchronized and beneficial at the enterprise level. This business demand function must establish also the enterprise's governance, monitoring and control framework, and provide strategic directions for BT.
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Come Join The Sourcing & Vendor Management Analysts At IT Forum

Forrester’s IT Forum 2010 in Las Vegas (May 26-28) and in Lisbon (June 9-11) is around the corner, and our team is looking forward to the opportunity to share our latest experiences, research insights, and strategies for maximizing the value of your technology and vendor investments.

The theme this year is "The Business Technology Transformation: Making It Real." As firms embark on the transformation from IT to BT, sourcing and vendor management professionals must assume new roles. They must help the business understand key technology trends and the trade-offs of new and legacy sourcing models. They play a crucial role in optimizing technology spend -- and in making sure their firms are taking advantage of newer models like SaaS and cloud services where it makes sense.

We’ve got a series of great sessions focused on sourcing and vendor management strategies for making BT work across major areas of technology investment in applications, infrastructure, services, and telco. The sessions include:

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Starbucks' Stephen Gillett Weighs In On The Changing Role Of The CIO

Forrester’s IT Forum 2010 is right around the corner, and much of Forrester’s research community is gearing up for a great event. Having spent a considerable amount of time working on the content, I’m really pleased with how the industry keynotes are taking shape. If the growing attendance figures are any indication, our theme of “making the business technology (BT) transformation a reality” seems to be resonating with CIOs.  I think Forum attendees are going to enjoy the real-world examples provided by keynoters such as Stephen Gillett, SVP, CIO, and GM of Digital Ventures at Starbucks.

Stephen is one of the rising young stars in the IT industry, helping transform Starbucks’ digital business. At IT Forum, he will be talking about how to elevate the role of the traditional CIO to that of a digital business leader. We thought we’d give you all a chance to pose a question of Stephen about the changing role of the CIO. Please leave your questions for Stephen in the comments section, email them to us, or tweet them to us @Forrester. We’ll choose the best of those questions, ask Stephen, and post his answers here during the week of May 17.

Which Is A Better Improvement Measure: The Perfect Order Or No-Touch Orders?

Recently, one of Forrester's packaged food clients contacted me on the topic of no-touch orders, e.g., receiving, processing, and shipping customer sales orders electronically without human involvement. After talking with this client and doing some further digging on what others have done to improve their processes to enable this kind of automation, it struck me that a simple and visible metric like the % no-touch orders is a close-cousin to the perfect order concept (a long-standing research area at Forrester). Why do I say that? Both improvement goals drive amazing clarity on some fundamental opportunities to improve your Order Management Cycle, such as:

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Wait! Don't Throw Out Those Sun STK Libraries Yet . . . Oracle Lays Out Their Tape Roadmap

It's been a little over a year now since it was announced that Oracle would buy Sun, and in the intervening time, there has been a great deal of speculation over what would happen to Sun's storage division. I know I've been waiting with bated breath (ok, that might be a BIT strong) to find out what the future of Sun storage would be, and now we have at least a small nugget of information (Oracle has been frustratingly mum on the topic since the acquisition). As you might have guessed, there is good news and there is bad news for Sun storage customers:

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Social Computing For Product Development

Over the last few years, I think most would agree that leading product development organizations have gotten much savvier about designers collaborating with internal stakeholders – such as manufacturing, sales, and marketing – to harness contributions and feedback from more business perspectives, get the product right the first time, and ultimately better transform technical inventions into market-relevant innovations. What’s really interesting is that, over this same period, the social Web – which Forrester calls Social Computing and includes peer-to-peer activities like social networking sites, blogging, user review sites, wikis, podcasts, and other user-generated content – has steadily grown in popularity among consumers as well as expanded its presence among manufacturing enterprises. The question is, will these new technologies and corresponding social trends make their way into product development organizations and – once again – transform the way leading product development teams collaborate to bring great products into the marketplace?

In short, I think so. The fact is, the increased prevalence of Social Computing presents product development with some compelling new capabilities:

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Come Join Us At IT Forum 2010 In The Application Development & Delivery Track!

How many times have you sat through a long application delivery management meeting and wondered, “Does it really have to be this complex? Aren’t we making this harder than it needs to be?” Well, it can be simpler, and many Forrester clients have been working with us to find a simpler approach. This frees development and delivery professionals to serve the business better, with more innovation and value.

How do they do it? They begin by getting requirements right the first time, with more effective business analysts and QA. They have learned how to scale Agile up across the organization and use Lean strategies to connect more closely with the business. They are improving business results with more strategic PMOs and more effective application portfolio rationalization. And they have built a world-class development team.

They also know how to deliver compelling user experiences and how to apply the latest advances in application technology, whether that is Java, DBMS and information management, integration, or Web development using SharePoint 2010.

If you’re interested in learning more strategies for improving business results, join us at Forrester’s IT Forum 2010 in Las Vegas, May 26-28, and hang out in the Application Development & Delivery track. Our team of experienced analysts is looking forward to another opportunity to share our latest experiences, research insights, and strategies for improving your application delivery effectiveness:

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