Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Movie Review: Greg the Architect provides stiff performance in SOA thriller

Unaccustomed as I am to reviewing animated short features, the latest installment of "Greg the Architect" squarely tackles the confusion many enterprises encounter over SOA.

Throughout the clip we are left hanging on an emotional cliff, trying to decide if Greg can focus on SOA rather than be overcome by myriad nonsensical distractions from vendors and industry analysts. [I'll drop the price of that ROI assessment to $9k and guarantee delivery in 14 months.]

Greg the Architect is a creation of TIBCO Software. In the latest installment, "Focus Pocus," Greg, a long-suffering enterprise architect, desperately needs a vacation, but he's sidetracked by Jerry, the CIO, and dragged to a SOA conference at the Biscotti Center.

I don't want to reveal the thrilling conclusion, but let's just say it involves a colleague, a small mountain of turgid white papers, and a clever subterfuge by our hero, Greg.

In Focus Pocus, Greg's performance comes across a little stiff, although that may have a lot to do with the fact that all characters are portrayed by GI Joe-type action figures (Thunderbirds?).

Enterprise architects may see themselves as a little more flexible than that. If the producers want to win over architects, claymation may be the way to go (Gumby?). Let the architect bend a little to adapt to the situation. And your little pony, too.

Greg started out as part of the SOA Now Journal, also produced by TIBCO, and he now has his own Web site (fan club?), where viewers can see past episodes and download "fun stuff." A social SOA network in the making.

Perhaps TIBCO should consider a virtual reality game where users could put Greg through some grueling IT paces, sort of like Toontown Online meets Second Life meets the corridor outside a typical CIO's office. Flying white papers that land anywhere but on your head would cost 20 life points. Data cleansing stations could renew his energy. The registry/repository lounge could be where text messages are shared with end users. The player with the shortest requirements list at the end wins. [No charge for that consulting, BTW.]