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.