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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Should Systems Engineers Study Psychology?

Given the fact that systems engineers deal with systems, and most systems comprise of a human element in it, it seems to make sens that systems engineers need to know a little about how people act.

Humans are very complex system components, they can be viewed as a system in themselves (human system), or even a system of systems (SoS) (digestive, neural, circulatory, psychological, muscular, etc..)

So maybe after all those biology classes we used to study in middle school do have some benefit to enterprise architecture. I guess systems engineers who are involved in soft system should study not only psychology, but maybe also other human systems of interest to the largest SoS.

I came across an interesting article at which discusses cognitive systems engineering, which is defined as, "A combination of psychology, anthropology, computer science, design and systems engineering, the field of cognitive systems engineering is the understanding and designing of systems that require human intellectual work".

Got to go dig those science books..

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

So What are the Services in SOA?

Service-oriented architecture has gained heavy adoption over the past few years. The next several postings will provide a high level SOA introduction. I am hoping the posting could serve as a basic primer for systems and project professionals working on a SOA project.

What is service-oriented architecture?
An architecture that allows the alignment of business processes and objectives to Information Systems in a flexible and adaptive manner, through the defintion of services.

What are these services
Services are modular and repeatable business processes. A service could be defined at different levels of the organization. for example, a "customer update" could be a service that allows a customer to update their profile. On another level, a subscriber authentication process - to allow customer to gain access to her profile to update it - could be a service.

What are the main characteristics of a SOA service?
Services are also loosely coupled, maintaining a relationship that minimizes dependencies and only requires the awareness of connected services. Services are stateless and minimize information related to a specific activity.

So some examples of simple services in a sales department of a business could be; "collect customer information", "collect product /service information", collect payment terms". Each of these services could be broken down further as needed