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Success with SOA: a Cisco IT Case Study

Harvinder Kalsi, an IT architect in Cisco’s internal information technology organization, presented an insight packed case study at the SOA Consortium’s December meeting in Santa Clara on adopting a holistic SOA approach in support of Cisco’s business model expansion and IT enablement strategy.

Setting the presentation context, Kalsi shared that Cisco views SOA as the policies, principles and frameworks that enable business capabilities to be provided and consumed as sets of services. Starting with the business capabilities, Kalsi described Cisco’s business drivers, an expansion into software product lines, the corresponding business architecture work, defining business capability maps, and how Cisco’s existing IT applications, which were web services based, prevented the efficient addition or change of business capabilities. For illustration, Kalsi spoke to Cisco’s Commerce Transformation initiative and the use of services to support pricing and promotion capabilities.

In describing Cisco’s SOA approach, Kalsi shared artifacts, anecdotes and tips covering their four-step maturity process, major design concerns, and SOA platform. The SOA platform is comprised of these major components, service development framework, SOA dashboard, SOA registry, SOA gateway, business rules management, SOA governance and SOA governance lifecycle. Drilling into the SOA platform, Kalsi spoke of implementation challenges and the techniques used to address them, including open source, open standards and network based services.

Throughout the presentation, Kalsi took questions from attendees on a range of topics including user and application security, governance automation, reconciling new subscriber demand with operational performance, service identification, investment and prioritization and cost and funding models.

In closing, Kalsi spoke of SOA success factors across people, process and technology dimensions, including the importance of business participation and business ownership of processes, policies and rules.

Presentation Abstract
Cisco’s IT organization has adopted SOA as a key pillar of its IT enablement strategy. In this session, Harvinder Kalsi, an IT architect responsible for SOA across Cisco, will describe the evolution of SOA adoption within Cisco IT, including steps taken along the way to overcome several enterprise-scale technical and operational issues, as well as actions taken to improve business-IT alignment which have become internal best practices. Key to Cisco's successful use of SOA has been consideration of available network services early in the process in order to ensure that security, performance, and scalability were maintained as application services were rolled out on a global scale. The resulting solutions have delivered solid improvements in efficiency and productivity throughout the company.

About the Speaker:

Harvinder Kalsi, IT Architect, SOA/BPM Domain

As the domain architect, Harvinder leads the BPM/SOA domain at Cisco, and provides leadership in Service-Oriented Architectures across all Cisco IT business units. His role has paved the way for implementation of Cisco’s world-class SOA platform, with significant innovations to support enterprise-class, agile business services. Additionally, Harvinder has over 15 years of software industry experience in designing and building business applications. He holds an MS in Computer Science from IIT Roorkee, India

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