Broccoli and ice cream is a phrase Thomas Otter, enterprisey HR Maven, Gartner Analyst, cycling nutter and all round good egg, uses a lot in talking about enterprise software. He grew up with it –
“you can’t have your ice-cream without your broccoli.”
As systematic viewpoints translates it:
“broccoli – not as much fun as ice cream, but way more nutritious.”
For further broccoli and ice cream reference material see this podcast with SAP’s Jeremiah Stone. Anyway, I was re-reading Enterpriseyness the final sequel or my secret demo weapon exposed from Thomas recently (yes because someone tweeted it!), but unlike when I checked it our in 2006 I actually watched the video this time. Very funny, and to me it just shrieked SOA.
SOA should not just be about ice cream. It requires work, discipline and analysis. Its no good just leaving your existing business processes wheezing away, having a crafty cigarette behind a gleaming portal (looking a bit like Dennis in fact). That’s not SOA. SOA means diving into your broccoli, doing the work to really understand how things fit together, what can be jettisoned, what your data models are, how they can be usefully extended. Hey with SOA your enterprise architecture might even give up smoking.
Forget the ice cream. Real World SOA is all about the broccoli.