The Strategic Importance of Web Services

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The Strategic Importance of Web Services Powered By Docstoc
					        The Strategic Importance of
        The Strategic Importance of
               Web Services
               Web Services


EDUCAUSE Conference
November 5, 2003
Richard Spencer, Executive Director, e-Business
Ted Dodds, CIO
University of British Columbia



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Key Themes
! Aligning technology with institutional goals
! Keeping an end user point of view
! Open standards
! Web services in practice
! Systems thinking




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Aligning IT initiatives

A university’s key goals:
! learning and development
! scholarship and discovery of knowledge
! transmission of knowledge
! community engagement

people are a university’s most important
resource

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People
! Faculty and students need
  – less time on administration, and better service
  – technology that enables research and learning
  – opportunities to be more productive

! Staff need
  – shared information and knowledge
     ! improved processes (Web self-service)
     ! access to multiple systems (Web services)
  – more time for value added work


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UBC’s e-Strategy
a guiding framework to
align UBC’s technology
initiatives with the
University’s strategic
goals




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Web services
“Any piece of software that makes itself
 available over the Internet and uses a
 standard XML messaging system”


 “Improve end-user productivity and
 convenience by tying together
 heterogeneous systems so that application
 silos disappear while underlying processes
 and data become visible”


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                                       Portal Framework

                             (circa 2001)
                                                             End User
     Portal                   MyUBC
                              MyUBC                          Perspective



Web Access




Back Office                           Student    WebCT
                Finance      H/R
                                       Admin     Courses




 "   Business process view, not application silo view
 "   Publish and subscribe, not static content
 "   Integrate, personalize and customize, not transaction-centric
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Personalized
                           Portal – Single Sign-on
                           Portal – Single Sign-on
     Access


Web Services

    Customer
                                                              …
       Facing


       Utility

                                                              …
                                         Student
                                          Student
Legacy Silos     Finance
                 Finance      H/R
                              H/R                    WebCT
                                                     WebCT
                                         Admin
                                          Admin


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What others have said
! About standards, not about infinite choice
  (Walsh, 2002)
! Seductive but fuzzy, the next evolutionary step
  (Oblinger, 2002)
! Most promising aspect is ability to resolve
  differences among shared networked
  applications (Jacobson, 2002)
! The capabilities of Web Services will expand
  and a new generation of service applications
  will emerge –designed and built by business
  integrators, not programmers. (Gleason, 2002)
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Mainstream will find XML/SOAP-based solutions to
be more appealing and do not need services
registry (UDDI). (Gartner, 2003)




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Separating Presentation and Data
! HTML
  – Web page as a single aggregated data entity
  – Focus is on presentation
! XML
  – Identify data elements and types in a web
    environment
  – Focus is on data
     ! Tuition amount
     ! Learning object
     ! Journal citations



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     The standards
                           Data XML
                     Validation Schema
                      Transport SOAP (real-time)
                                SMTP (batch)
                       Security SAML
        Discovery/Description WSDL
                      Directory UDDI
                         Portlet JSR 168
               Transformation XSLT

Source: Jim Farmer, Japan Education and Research Conference, Nov. 2002
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 System silos                ! ERP systems
! our systems reflect our       – Finance
  paper based                   – Human Resources
  organizational structure   ! Other systems
                                –   Student admin
   – filing cabinets
                                –   Course management
   – separate departments
                                –   Continuing studies
   – compliant customers        –   Library
! different, incompatible       –   Residence and
  technologies                      conferences
                                –   Food services
! lack of networks
                                –   Advancement
! no demand for real-time       –   Land and building
  service                           management, etc.
                                –   Parking


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A shift in perspective

        From      To
 An application   A person

     A function   A process
                  The integration of functions
 My department    My customer
                  My institution



    Systems Thinking

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Systems thinking
! work on small pieces
! only build each piece once
! tie the pieces together
! keep the pieces aligned with the vision
! only store information once
! let customers enter and update information
! align service delivery toward the customer



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 Consolidated billing
                          Admission fees
Student
Service    Consolidated
Centre                     Tuition fees
              billing

                          Residence fees
  credit
  EFT to
    EFT
   card
 student
   from
   bank
   auth
    a/c                     Meal plan
           Accounting


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       UBC CV – Overview and Demo




    Researcher                     Granting Agency
                                   (NSERC, SSHRC,
•   Populate personal activities    CIHR)
    from external data sources
•   Enter data once or never       •   Use Common CV
•   Retain control
•   Construct multiple views
•   Store granting council data
    remotely
•   Store UBC data locally
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Observations
! Well-suited to academic environment
   – Loose coupling # Decentralization
! Enabled by power of open standards
   – XML is license free
! Publishing and discovering
   – Control rests with end user
! Effective between or within institutions
   – Personal agreement within institution



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Evolution on campus
! Build a community to support the model
   – May be more successful if left informal at first
   – Could be built around a single important service
! Establish trust
   – Iterative dialogue between clients and builders
! Develop governance
   – To formalize “how we do things”




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Thanks for listening!

    Questions?



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Faculty and students need:
! more time
   – fewer administrative tasks
   – less time spent on remaining tasks
! technology that enables research and
  learning
! better service and support

opportunities to be more productive


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Staff need:
! more time to focus on customers
! shared information and knowledge
! tools to support customer service
! we need:
  – improved processes (Web self-service)
  – access to multiple systems (Web services)

  more time for value added work


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Web services
 “any piece of software that makes itself
  available over the Internet and uses a standard
  XML messaging system”
! include:
  – a means of locating the service (UDDI)
  – a public interface, defined in an XML grammar (WSDL)
! use:
  – XML & SOAP for messaging
  – http and tcp/ip for communication



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Web services light
! description and discovery off line
! trust between services established off line
! services communicate behind the firewall
! users agree on standard APIs
! XML messaging, SOAP
! http and tcp/ip
  end-user services can loosely couple systems
  common services can link systems

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