Friday, February 22, 2008

SOA and Business Intelligence

This post follows on from my post on SOA and the "Universal Truth". The "Universal Truth" as it was described, referred to the ability (or inability as it turned out) to find the complete truth about a given business entity (such as a customer or an order) at any given point in time. What was not addressed was the ability to see a wholistic view of a number of entities distributed across a number of services.

For this, we create a BI service which sits on the service bus, subscribed to all relevant business events. When these events occur, the BI service stores the relevant information extracted from the notification messages into a local data mart, which is then used to populate one or more OLAP cubes. The business can then use a standard BI package to query and present the data.

Note that this BI service does not constitute centralisation of data in the context of my previous post on Centralised vs. Decentralised Data. Although we have a large part of enterprise data stored in a single location, that data is also still duplicated in all the various business services throughout the enterprise. As such, data has in fact become more decentralised.

There is also some debate as to whether a BI service would constitute a service in the strict sense of the term in the context of SOA. A service should have both behaviour and data. A BI service that has only a reporting capability would probably be considered a shared component of all services whose data is duplicated within the data warehouse.

In this regard it is similar to an enterprise portal (where portlets can be exposed in a central portal although actually being hosted in other portals elsewhere in the enterprise). The central enterprise portal is just an aggregation of portlets in a central location and doesn't itself constitute a service. I'll be doing a series of posts on defining services and service boundaries next, so stay tuned!

1 comment:

Digihost said...

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