Gartner has chosen to re-arrange the conference deck chairs -- so the event formerly known as "AIWS" -- for Application Integration and Web Services, has been recast and renamed "Application Architecture, Development and Integration," or AADI. Agenda slightly expanded, but not enough to grow attendance, at least in this attendee's humble opinion.
Plenty of the usual presentation tripe on offer at the main event -- but for me the value came from the seven or eight briefings we were able to conduct with the folks who follow our products: Yefim Natis, Massimo Pezzini, Roy Schulte, Jess Thompson, Michele Cantara, Dale Vecchio, Daryl Plummer... to name a few.
We were able to float some long-term strategy notions that we are considering for our portfolio (focusing on Sonic, Actional, and Apama offerings). And, the echo back on some of our directions was very encouraging. Evidently the rumours of the death of best-in-class middleware vendors has been greatly exaggerated.
There were some other crazy antics going on that are worthy of note. First, this event was the occasion for the publication of a new group of Magic Quadrants, or MQs, for the middleware space. They establish a hierarchy under an "uber-Quadrant," [my term], called Application Integration. The sub-categories are, "Composite Applications," "New Service-Oriented Applications," and "Back-end Integration." Progress is evaluated only in the Back-end Integration MQ, and only vendors included in two or more sub-categories are evaluated in the uber-Quadrant. This is bad for customers and prospects for two reasons.
First, it fails to acknowledge a number (greater than any other vendor, I humbly suggest) of active, production deployments of our technology in composite application, and new service-oriented application environments, solely on the basis of Gartners rigid product capability criteria. Rather than evaluate the vendors on the basis of how customers are actually using the vendor offerings, they control inclusion according to a feature list.
Second, for executives in a rush, who only have time to trundle through one of the four MQs in this family, and who therefore reach for the summary uber-MQ, significant options, including the vendor with the most deployments globally -- er, Progress -- will be excluded. Ah well -- all the more reason to post on topics like this going forward!
SOA What? Why should you care? Because power structures need to be challenged. Because the "establishment" must be threatened if we are to continue to optimize, innovate and improve. Because Gartner appears to be reinforcing the establishment view, and Gartner needs to be challenged.
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