The concept of “Experience Oriented Architecture” (XOA) is really picking up momentum within the corridors of Adobe in California, as we continue to think about how we help our customers and partners create innovative customer-centric solutions for the digital enterprise. Though I have spoken about XOA in this blog in the past, I want to share more real-time the hallway conversations that are taking place as we align and define on what we mean by taking an experience-oriented approach to a technology project.
I first spoke about XOA at a Butler Group presentation in London, in July 2007, when invited to speak at a Service Oriented Architecture conference. The contentious position I wanted to take amongst a SOA audience, was that focussing on the SOA challenges like governance, fine grained versus coarse grained services, OASIS specifications and service bus approaches was fine and well, but it was missing the most important consideration in software development — that all of our efforts are in service of an end user, and that we must put them in the center of our approach.
To position this argument, I cited 3 of the acknowledged failures of SOA initiatives (in terms of not realizing the intended ROI), as taken from an Information Week article from March 2007:
- Re-use (by creating a well-exposed service-tier, one hopes that services will be re-used more readily)
- Business Agility (with a well-exposed suite of services, one hopes that others will be able to more rapidly deliver new products to market)
- Alignment of Business and IT functions (with the service-tier arguably the exposition of the underlying IT infrastructure to support business needs, it could be argued that an SOA initiative brings these groups to the same table, and offers the opportunity for an alignment that otherwise can fail to occur)
I very much believe that the philosophy of Experience Oriented Architecture (XOA) can address these failures, by reframing the problem around users, not systems.
I thought a quote from Annrai O’Toole, the CEO of ClearCape, that appeared in the March 2007 edition of Information Age was apt here, “…unless you really understand what services you are going to create and why, there is no point in doing SOA. You must have a revolutionary approach.”
I believe that XOA, though simple in concept, is indeed a revolutionary approach to thinking about how to create innovative customer-centric solutions in today’s digital enterprise.
Do you know of any other approaches ?