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Peanuts, Popcorn, Crackerjack – And Mobile-First, Digital SOA

You may not recognize its name, but you’re sure to have frequented one of its venues. Buffalo, NY-based Delaware North manages and provides food and beverage concessions, retail, and more at many large venues including sports stadiums, entertainment complexes, national and state parks, airports, and casinos, ranging from the Chicago White Sox to the Kennedy Space Center.

In spite of this extensive network of businesses, only a few years ago it “had a ‘traditional’ IT department,” explains Scott Mercer, Senior Manager, SOA Solutions at Delaware North. “Point of sale systems and desktop computing brought Delaware North to IT.”

tdgardenHiring a CIO was also an important step. Kevin Quinlivan, previously the CIO at Norwegian Cruise Line, fit the bill. “We needed a technology strategy aligned with growth,” says Quinlivan, who joined Delaware North in 2011.

He soon formulated a strategy based on four pillars – cloud, service-oriented architecture (SOA), a solid network, and mobile. Quinlivan adds one more pillar: “Wrapped around all that was security.”

Service-Oriented Architecture: Key to Digital Success

SOA, in fact, was the key to the entire strategy. “SOA was foundational. It freed up data locked down in our legacy systems,” Mercer explains. Furthermore, SOA was a critical enabler of the mobile-first pillar of its strategy. “Ultimately SOA brought data to the mobile interface.”

As an architectural approach for solving knotty enterprise integration challenges, SOA was a hot topic in the 2000s, but immature standards coupled with heavyweight integration technology from large vendors gave the approach a spotty reputation (see my recent article on SOA for Forbes). Delaware North’s striking successes with SOA, therefore, offer important lessons for any enterprise.

In contrast to the heavyweight approaches of the last decade, Delaware North’s implementation of SOA was decidedly lighter weight. It started with a “REST-first approach to web services,” according to Mercer – an alternative approach to SOA that uses modern, web-friendly protocols. It also implemented an Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) from Fiorano Software.

Read the rest of the article at http://www.forbes.com/sites/jasonbloomberg/2015/05/13/peanuts-popcorn-crackerjack-and-mobile-first-digital-soa/.

Intellyx advises companies on their digital transformation initiatives and helps vendors communicate their agility stories. As of the time of writing, Fiorano Software is an Intellyx customer. None of the other organizations mentioned in this article are Intellyx customers. Image credit: Kid Clutch.

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More Stories By Jason Bloomberg

Jason Bloomberg is the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise. As president of Intellyx, Mr. Bloomberg brings his years of thought leadership in the areas of Cloud Computing, Enterprise Architecture, and Service-Oriented Architecture to a global clientele of business executives, architects, software vendors, and Cloud service providers looking to achieve technology-enabled business agility across their organizations and for their customers. His latest book, The Agile Architecture Revolution (John Wiley & Sons, 2013), sets the stage for Mr. Bloomberg’s groundbreaking Agile Architecture vision.

Mr. Bloomberg is perhaps best known for his twelve years at ZapThink, where he created and delivered the Licensed ZapThink Architect (LZA) SOA course and associated credential, certifying over 1,700 professionals worldwide. He is one of the original Managing Partners of ZapThink LLC, the leading SOA advisory and analysis firm, which was acquired by Dovel Technologies in 2011. He now runs the successor to the LZA program, the Bloomberg Agile Architecture Course, around the world.

Mr. Bloomberg is a frequent conference speaker and prolific writer. He has published over 500 articles, spoken at over 300 conferences, Webinars, and other events, and has been quoted in the press over 1,400 times as the leading expert on agile approaches to architecture in the enterprise.

Mr. Bloomberg’s previous book, Service Orient or Be Doomed! How Service Orientation Will Change Your Business (John Wiley & Sons, 2006, coauthored with Ron Schmelzer), is recognized as the leading business book on Service Orientation. He also co-authored the books XML and Web Services Unleashed (SAMS Publishing, 2002), and Web Page Scripting Techniques (Hayden Books, 1996).

Prior to ZapThink, Mr. Bloomberg built a diverse background in eBusiness technology management and industry analysis, including serving as a senior analyst in IDC’s eBusiness Advisory group, as well as holding eBusiness management positions at USWeb/CKS (later marchFIRST) and WaveBend Solutions (now Hitachi Consulting).