Technology & System Architecture

Meet Cheetah, Boston Dynamics' Terrifyingly Fast Running Robot ..

Meet Cheetah, Boston Dynamics' Terrifyingly Fast Running Robot(Published in Forbes)

Robotics has always fascinated many like me since its the best business technology innovative integrator.The earliest to understand these concepts were the Japanese who have defined so many modern management and time motion theories. I would keep a strong watch on these companies keeping in mind that 5 to 10 years down the line the world's aging population would rise tremendously and robotics would become a part of industries like pharmaceuticals, healthcare ,  infrastructure to name a few. 

 This article in Forbes is pure adrenalin rush. Watch the video.


Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) -- My perspective 

(by S. Mandgi)

Architecture (Latin architectura, from the Greek ἀρχιτέκτων – arkhitekton, from ἀρχι- "chief" and τέκτων "builder, carpenter, mason") is both the process and product of planning, designing and construction. ( Definition from wikipedia). This includes two important words, process and product. Now what are these?

A process is made up a sequence or series of interdependent events which consume data, resources or both as its inputs. The end result of execution of the process results in outputs which could also be an input to other events or processes. The execution of the process steps could be sequential, parallel, network or a combination of the three.

A product is an intangible resource such as a service or a tangible resource such as FMCG goods which meets the needs and wants of a customer.  

Considering the above, we can now arrive at the definition of what is Service Oriented Architecture. An architecture oriented towards services, or in other words the key to construction of the architecture are a web of services. These services could be independent or linked ( integrated or collaborated) with internal or external data and or resources through various processes and or sub-processes.

I do not believe that we need to restrict this definition to information technology but this could even extend to any other industry where open architecture and standards could be followed and i could consider using and replacing resources or services from multiple vendors with existing resources or simply plugging in new resources which would be easily accepted and provide a perfect fit in my system architecture. The advantage for the vendors is the opportunity to build a range of services or products to meet the customer needs and demands and the opportunity for the customers to pick , choose and change without bearing high costs and consuming large numbers of  resources.

Coming back to Information Technology and getting back to its history till date, we see that there are many vendors manufacturing many computer and peripheral hardware and software products and each having their own manufacturing and integration standards. This was a big drawback for any customer buying these products because if the customer wanted to add another product , he/she had to make sure that this new product could integrate with the two and then again spend a huge pile of cash for hiring  resources to buy or develop hardware and software to integrate the three.

In the meanwhile , companies had migrated to ERP systems and with the web technology development and the coming of the internet era, companies found opportunities to show case their products and services to the world through B2C and B2B . Banks used the internet for internet banking and so on. But with all this development, the number of customers of information technology increased ( using Murphy’s Law)  and then globalization followed.  All of this had the governments , different bodies and user groups putting pressure of the manufacturers and vendors of information technology to open up their construction , align to uniform construction and also provide an open platform for constructing and the outcome of these were open standards which led to Service Oriented Architecture(SOA).

The Service Oriented Architecture is made up of a web of independent or linked services following open standards of construction through an open platform on which these services communicate, operate and connect to a plethora of hardware and software of various vendors.  The best part of SOA is that you can construct a completely new additional service or services over and above these existing information and services using them as building blocks. You can construct this service across different horizontals ( Finance, HR, Production Planning etc) with seamless integration and you have some amazing BPM tools in the market to help you business model and build these services. You do not have to change your erp systems and spend time on writing custom code for any new development or integration and even if you do the integration is not often seamless. Collaborating to your customers and vendors is made simple and writing new web application services (also called as x -applications) is simple using BPM tools which generate most of the code for you. There is beautiful communication open integration platform which permits customers and employees to connect through mobile technology from multiple service providers and vendors and be able to check stocks, their billing and invoice status, bill for service hours etc.

Vendors find it easy to develop new x -applications and companies with SOA would see a choice of x-applications to meet their requirements, and if they do not see such an application, can even build one in 30 to 50% of reduced effort and time.

However, what customers implementing web services are concerned about are :-

1. Security issues?

2. Maintenance of these cross platform cross application web services. Are these vendors who are providing SOA platform and applications capable of providing easy to use and operate tools to identify and plug these problems.?

3. Can you choose to pay only for certain web services and not opt for all services, thereby permitting the customer to take advantage of SOA and limit the IT costs only on need based basis.?

4. How does the cost of implementing SOA compare  v/s cloud computing or any other such option?

5. Does implementing SOA improve my production cycle and delivery time, customer and vendor satisfaction etc?

6. Does SOA through collaboration provide vendor feedback for service or product analysis, innovation and improvement in quality and improved ROI?

To sum it up vendors with SOA need to provide turnkey solutions and not product or service solutions for more customers to understand and use SOA.


ERP on the Cloud - A New Era of ERP systems

With those organizations implementing ERP wanting to reduce operating and maintenance costs, offload their scale able hardware and software requirements and risks to specialized third party vendors and also take full advantage of the internet services through the portals, there exists a new opportunity through cloud computing. There is no doubt that cloud computing is the technology in the near future and you see a lot of small and mid sized business have already moved towards cloud computing. There is a very nice article in, the link for which is provided below. Click on the link to read.