Sunday, September 28, 2008

SOA has Indian origins

Purist would argue that SOA is not a new phenomenon that is taking up the hype-curve of IT, but an age-old principle – since the days of early packaged applications.

I propose a hypothesis that SOA’s origin can be traced to India. Rather, our dear babus of Indian Government were the main motive for SOA to come into lime-light.

After the burst of the dotcom bubble, there was not much of activity in Enterprise IT world. Sales dropped to an all time low, which gave a much needed breather to IT vendors to think of better solutions to the Enterprise world. One can recall that earlier generations of packaged application vendors adopted “silver bullet” approach when addressing the Enterprises.

This slack time gave them enough dope to do some research and provide a better (?) solution.

During the dotcom boom, many vendors opened their own shops (captive centers) in India. Every vendor worth their salt appointed one of their senior executives in India to overlook their Indian operations.

These senior executives when they went back to their homes (mostly in California) they were totally changed people. Their Indian experience gave them new insights into operations and this learning can be credited to be the founding principles for SOA.

Imagine acquiring 200 acres of land in Hyderabad (or any other metro) for setting up “campuses”; roughly the following are the steps that one needs to take, along with the approximate stipulated timelines. (Timelines are estimates – not actual)

Register a company in India:

  1. Apply for a limited company with the Registrar of Companies. (RoC) {2 days}
  2. Get clearance from RoC for the name. {1 week}
  3. Get clearance from Dept. of Commerce and Trade for FOREX clearance – so as to get money for other operations etc. {3 weeks}
  4. Join the STP or SEZ scheme. {4 weeks}
First to acquire land:

  1. Identify the location – in or around the metro; usually outside the metro. (3 weeks)
  2. Then talk to all the “patta” holders of the earmarked land and negotiate the price. (2 weeks)
  3. Then you need to talk to a solicitor and get legal opinion about the authenticity of the ownership documents. (1 week)
  4. Then get the land surveyed by the Revenue department, so as to map the details give in the ownership document with that of the official records. (1 week)
  5. Register the land in the company’s name. (transfer of ownership) (1 day)
  6. Apply for the conversion of the land type; say from agriculture to industrial or from barren to commercial etc. (1 week)
Start building the structure:

  1. Get the building lay out ready and applies for HUDA approval. (HUDA is equivalent of any Urban Development Authority in Hyderabad) (1 week)
  2. Incorporate the recommended changes. (1 week)
So technically the entire exercise of starting from scratch to getting the new building and to start production in India should not take more than 10 weeks, but in reality this would take at least 6 months. (In Singapore, with/without SOA it takes a mere 72 hrs to get things going.)

There are some unwritten protocols that need to be followed called the goonda-tax, where you need to give 10% of the total valuation of the project need to be paid to the local “political” leader.
Despite all these steps the senior executives could not get their stuff started, due to the underlying babudom.

It was then that they were introduced to the concept of SOA. Just approach the SOA vendor (in case of these senior executive, it was the local power-broker) where you have a single window to get all the things done within a small period of time. The entire “orchestration” of getting approvals from different departments would be easy and fast. The executives need not run between pillar and post to get their things happen, but be assured that the SOA-agent is getting things happen for them.

That senior executives were really amazed at the concept of agents here (India), be it the ROC, or the RTA or the Banks or rather at any other government agency. The simplicity of getting things done without going through the ordeal was something that stuck them with new set of thinking.

They went back to their country and then thought of something similar that can make the tedious tasks in Enterprise IT systems easy and thus started their research in “Indian” angle.
They named their research outcome as SOA (pronounced as SO-aAh!). Origin for that word is a story in itself: that was the first sound they all heard when they went to any Govt. Office in India. “saab soyah” – meaning “sir is asleep”.

Thus proves my theory. 


Anonymous said...

Cool.... It gave the big picture of what is happening in Hyd.

The last paragraph is excellent.

Unknown said...

:) :) :)

Ooh boy!! You don't know how much I loved this article.