By Heather Kreger, CTO International Standards, IBM
I was very excited to see OSIMM pass its ratification vote within the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) on January 8, 2012, becoming the first International Standard on SOA. This is the culmination of a two year process that I’ve been driving for The Open Group in ISO/IEC JTC1. Having the OSIMM standard recognized globally is a huge validation of the work that The Open Group and the SOA Work Group have been doing over the past few years since OSIMM first became an Open Group standard in 2009. Even though the process for international standard ratification is a lengthy one, it has been worth the effort and we’ve already submitted additional Open Group standards to ISO. For those of you interested in the process, read on…
How it works
In order for OSIMM to become an international standard, The Open Group had to first be approved as an “Approved Reference Organization” and “Publically Available Specification” (PAS) Submitter, in a vote by every JTC1 country.
What does this REALLY mean? It means Open Group standards can be referenced by international standards and it means the Open Group can submit standards to ISO/IEC and ask for them to follow the PAS process, which ratifies standards as they are as International Standards if they pass the international vote. Each country votes and comments on the specification and if there are comments, there is a ballot resolution meeting with potentially an update to the submitted specification. This all sounds straightforward until you mix in The Open Group’s timeline for approving updates to standards with the JTC1 process. In the end, this takes about a year.
Why drag you through this? I just wanted you to appreciate what an accomplishment the OSIMM V2 ISO/IEC 16680 is for The Open Group. The SOA Governance Framework Standard is now following the same process. The SOA Ontology and new SOA Reference Architecture Standards have also been submitted to ISO’s SOA Work Group (in SC38) as input to a normal working group processes.
The OSIMM benefit
Let’s also revisit OSIMM, since it’s been awhile since OSIMM V1 was first standardized in 2009. OSIMM V2 is technically equivalent to OSIMM V1, although we did some clarifications to answer comments from the PAS processes and added an appendix positioning OSIMM with them maturity models in ISO/IEC JTC1.
OSIMM leverages proven best practices to allow consultants and IT practitioners to assess an organization’s readiness and maturity level for adopting services in SOA and Cloud solutions. It defines a process to create a roadmap for incremental adoption that maximizes business benefits at each stage along the way. The model consists of seven levels of maturity and seven dimensions of consideration that represent significant views of business and IT capabilities where the application of SOA principles is essential for the deployment of services. OSIMM acts as a quantitative model to aid in assessment of current state and desired future state of SOA maturity. OSIMM also has an extensible framework for understanding the value of implementing a service model, as well as a comprehensive guide for achieving their desired level of service maturity.
There are a couple of things I REALLY like about OSIMM, especially for those new to SOA:
First, it’s an easy, visual way to grasp the full breadth of what is SOA. From no services to simple, single, hand-developed services or dynamically created services. In fact, the first three levels of maturity are “pre-services” approaches we all know and use (i.e.: object-oriented and components). With this, everyone can find what they are using…even if they are not using services at all.
Second, it’s a self assessment. You use this to gauge your own use of services today and where you want to be. You can reassess to “track” your progress (sort of like weight loss) on employing services. Because you have to customize the indicators and the weight of the maturity scores will differ according to what is important to your company, it doesn’t make sense to compare scores between two companies. In addition, every company has a different target goal. So, no, sorry, you cannot brag that you are more mature than your arch competitor! However, some of the process assessments in ISO/IEC SC7 ARE for just that, so check out the OSIMM appendix for links and pointers!
Which brings me to my third point–there is no “right” level of maturity. The most mature level doesn’t make sense for most companies. OSIMM is a great tool to force your business and IT staff into a discussion to agree together on what the current level is and what the right level is for them – everyone on the same page.
Finally, it’s flexible. You can add indicators and adjust weightings to make it accurate and a reflection of the needs of your business AND IT departments. You can skip levels, be at different levels of maturity for different business dimensions. You work on advancing the use of services in the dimension that gives you the most business value, you don’t have to give them all “equal attention” or get them to the same level.
The following resources are available if you are interested in learning more about the OSIMM V2 Standard:
- Source Book on The Open Group Website or
- Webcast recording from The Open Group and IBM
- The Open Group SOA Work Group
- IBM’s library, which offers tools (some free), papers and services to help with assessments
IBM is also presenting next week during The Open Group Conference in San Francisco, which will discuss how to extend OSIMM for your organization.
Heather Kreger is IBM’s lead architect for Smarter Planet, Policy, and SOA Standards in the IBM Software Group, with 15 years of standards experience. She has led the development of standards for Cloud, SOA, Web services, Management and Java in numerous standards organizations, including W3C, OASIS, DMTF, and Open Group.Heather is currently co-chair for The Open Group’s SOA Work Group and liaison for the Open Group SOA and Cloud Work Groups to ISO/IEC JTC1 SC7 SOA SG and INCITS DAPS38 (US TAG to ISO/IEC JTC 1 SC38). Heather is also the author of numerous articles and specifications, as well as the book Java and JMX, Building Manageable Systems, and most recently was co-editor of Navigating the SOA Open Standards Landscape Around Architecture.