Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: Liz McMillan, Stefan Bernbo, Michel Courtoy, Amitabh Sinha, Mike Wood

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, SDN Journal, @ThingsExpo

@CloudExpo: Blog Post

SDLC Tool Integration Requires Domain Understanding | @CloudExpo #Cloud

These impedance mismatch examples require an understanding of the underlying business problem specific to software delivery

Consider the following integration scenarios: Moving medical records between EMR systems; financial information between banking systems; HR information between ERP systems; and software development information between SDLC tools.

At first glance the approaches required for these integrations may seem the same. But if you look slightly deeper you will realize that this can't be the case because of impedance mismatch. I'm defining impedance mismatch as the friction that occurs when trying to align two things or concepts that don't naturally/actually match. Because many of the hardest impedance mismatches are domain specific, to overcome them you have to have a layer of domain understanding "baked into" your integration software to address business problems.

That's what too often has been missing, because historically integration has primarily been perceived as being accomplished by overcoming a series of low-level, generic technical problems.

This misconception about addressing integration becomes evident as soon as someone comes into your office to sell you integration software. Invariably, the conversation quickly turns to questions such as: What is your message queue policy? How do you handle conflict management? What value transformations are available?

Those are secondary questions. Of course every application that you use should have those qualities. Shouldn't any integration application have a robust message queue implementation?

If you think of integration as nothing more than a series of low-level technical problems then you're going to default to those questions. No business person knows or cares about message queues, conflict management or value transformations. They care about getting the information they need when they want it. And that requires domain awareness.

Domain Expertise
Begin to move away from that misguided thinking about integration. There are virtually no troublesome technical hurdles anymore. Integration is a business problem that requires higher level technology solutions that are domain specific. And for different categories of business problems you need very different technical solutions. As a result, the next wave of integration will be all about domain expertise and nuance.

This brings us back to impedance mismatch. When you have something that has "friction" because there are fundamental differences between the two sides, what do you do?

Consider this example: If you are integrating requirements between IBM Doors Next Generation (DNG) and Atlassian JIRA, you need to know that JIRA only allows two levels of hierarchy (three if you include sub-task, but sub-task is used differently in JIRA to other artifact types). However DNG has an infinite number of them.

This business problem can only be solved by having the domain experts (the business analysts and the developers) decide how they will structure DNG such that the right layer in the tree translates to the epic/story in JIRA. JIRA can't handle more than two levels, and no amount of technical magic will help that. The only solution is to add a layer of domain expertise by practitioners, who must make some decisions. And the underlying integration software has to be "domain aware" to know that this situation can occur and what to do about it.

Here is another example. Let's say your organization is implementing the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe). You need to have the high-level status of either "Ready for Release" or "In Development" at the Feature level. That is all the portfolio manager needs to know - and his tool is configured to handle those statuses.

But your developers have gotten deep into kanban, so the statuses for them are not just "In Development,"  but rather "Ready for SWAG," "Ready for UX Design," "Ready for Scoping," "Ready for Done Review," etc. What do you do?

Any integration software will know to provide a transformation that allows for multiple statuses in one tool to map to a single status in another tool. But domain aware integration software will provide a much needed level of ease of configuration (i.e. no coding) and should be able to automate the transformation needed. This is only possible if you "layer on" the domain expertise on top of the underlying technical engine.

General integration solutions that are nonspecific to the problem simply can't do this because they have no semantic understanding of the underlying information. Without really understanding the meaning of the data, which requires domain expertise, it is much harder to craft solutions that actually address the business problem you are trying to solve.

Dumb vs. Smart Integration
Consider this next example of integration using what I call dumb (generic) integration and smart (domain aware) integration techniques: Your organization needs to flow defects between itself and all suppliers. Defects are probably the most well understood and clearly defined artifacts that exist in software development. A dumb integration approach would simply list all the attributes that all defects have and then have you map each attribute to an attribute on the other side. If you have no insight into the actual goals of why these defects need to flow between systems, it would be legitimate to use this approach.

Since you are crossing organizational boundaries, you might want to create a "smart" integration to ensure that no proprietary attributes are being flowed outside your organization. And you may wish to limit attributes, for example, only to primary attributes such as priority and status to ensure efficient flow.

Rather than starting from scratch and working through all of the many impedance mismatches (e.g. one tool uses two attributes to represent priority and the other one uses only one attribute to represent priority), it makes sense for the integration tool to tell you what aspects of a defect should be flowed between tools and offer suggestions regarding when and how to best transform information when necessary. Without a layer of domain expertise, this can't be done.

Is the Tool Domain Aware?
All of these impedance mismatch examples require an understanding of the underlying business problem specific to software delivery that is being solved. As such, they are not low-level technology problems. And thus, it is critical that the first question that anyone asks when considering the right tools to help with integration is, "Is this tool domain aware?"

When moving medical records between EMR systems, consider software from a vendor that understands the healthcare industry. The same approach holds true for financial software. Software development is no different. Your approach to integrating SDLC tools should start from a place of domain expertise. Because to do SDLC integration well, you can't just simply throw technology at it. You have to bake in domain knowledge. It's as simple as that.

More Stories By Nicole Bryan

Nicole Bryan has extensive experience in software and product development, focused primarily on bringing data visualization and human considerations to the forefront of Application Lifecycle Management, and is currently Vice President of Product Management at Tasktop. Prior to this she served as Director of Product Management at Borland Software/Micro Focus, where she was responsible for creating a new Agile development management tool. Prior to Borland, she was a Director at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) Regulatory Division, where she managed some of the first Agile project teams at the NYSE, and VP of Engineering at OneHarbor (purchased by National City Investments).

Nicole holds a Master of Science in Computer Science from DePaul University. She is passionate about improving how software is created and delivered – making the experience enjoyable, fun and yes, even delightful.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@CloudExpo Stories
The question before companies today is not whether to become intelligent, it’s a question of how and how fast. The key is to adopt and deploy an intelligent application strategy while simultaneously preparing to scale that intelligence. In her session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sangeeta Chakraborty, Chief Customer Officer at Ayasdi, will provide a tactical framework to become a truly intelligent enterprise, including how to identify the right applications for AI, how to build a Center of Excellence to ...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devic...
While some vendors scramble to create and sell you a fancy solution for monitoring your spanking new Amazon Lambdas, hear how you can do it on the cheap using just built-in Java APIs yourself. By exploiting a little-known fact that Lambdas aren’t exactly single-threaded, you can effectively identify hot spots in your serverless code. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Dave Martin, Product owner at CA Technologies, will give a live demonstration and code walkthrough, showing how ...
As DevOps methodologies expand their reach across the enterprise, organizations face the daunting challenge of adapting related cloud strategies to ensure optimal alignment, from managing complexity to ensuring proper governance. How can culture, automation, legacy apps and even budget be reexamined to enable this ongoing shift within the modern software factory?
SYS-CON Events announced today that Elastifile will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Elastifile Cloud File System (ECFS) is software-defined data infrastructure designed for seamless and efficient management of dynamic workloads across heterogeneous environments. Elastifile provides the architecture needed to optimize your hybrid cloud environment, by facilitating efficient...
There is only one world-class Cloud event on earth, and that is Cloud Expo – which returns to Silicon Valley for the 21st Cloud Expo at the Santa Clara Convention Center, October 31 - November 2, 2017. Every Global 2000 enterprise in the world is now integrating cloud computing in some form into its IT development and operations. Midsize and small businesses are also migrating to the cloud in increasing numbers. Companies are each developing their unique mix of cloud technologies and service...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Golden Gate University will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Since 1901, non-profit Golden Gate University (GGU) has been helping adults achieve their professional goals by providing high quality, practice-based undergraduate and graduate educational programs in law, taxation, business and related professions. Many of its courses are taug...
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo taking place Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 21st International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is ...
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to w...
With Cloud Foundry you can easily deploy and use apps utilizing websocket technology, but not everybody realizes that scaling them out is not that trivial. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Roman Swoszowski, CTO and VP, Cloud Foundry Services, at Grape Up, will show you an example of how to deal with this issue. He will demonstrate a cloud-native Spring Boot app running in Cloud Foundry and communicating with clients over websocket protocol that can be easily scaled horizontally and coordinate...
SYS-CON Events announced today that DXWorldExpo has been named “Global Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation is the key issue driving the global enterprise IT business. Digital Transformation is most prominent among Global 2000 enterprises and government institutions.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Grape Up will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct. 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Grape Up is a software company specializing in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market across the U.S. and Europe, Grape Up works with a variety of customers from emergi...
21st International Cloud Expo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Me...
From 2013, NTT Communications has been providing cPaaS service, SkyWay. Its customer’s expectations for leveraging WebRTC technology are not only typical real-time communication use cases such as Web conference, remote education, but also IoT use cases such as remote camera monitoring, smart-glass, and robotic. Because of this, NTT Communications has numerous IoT business use-cases that its customers are developing on top of PaaS. WebRTC will lead IoT businesses to be more innovative and address...
In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Scott Davis, CTO of Embotics, discussed how automation can provide the dynamic management required to cost-effectively deliver microservices and container solutions at scale. He also discussed how flexible automation is the key to effectively bridging and seamlessly coordinating both IT and developer needs for component orchestration across disparate clouds – an increasingly important requirement at today’s multi-cloud enterprise.
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to w...
Recently, WebRTC has a lot of eyes from market. The use cases of WebRTC are expanding - video chat, online education, online health care etc. Not only for human-to-human communication, but also IoT use cases such as machine to human use cases can be seen recently. One of the typical use-case is remote camera monitoring. With WebRTC, people can have interoperability and flexibility for deploying monitoring service. However, the benefit of WebRTC for IoT is not only its convenience and interopera...
Vulnerability management is vital for large companies that need to secure containers across thousands of hosts, but many struggle to understand how exposed they are when they discover a new high security vulnerability. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, John Morello, CTO of Twistlock, will address this pressing concern by introducing the concept of the “Vulnerability Risk Tree API,” which brings all the data together in a simple REST endpoint, allowing companies to easily grasp the severity of t...
Any startup has to have a clear go –to-market strategy from the beginning. Similarly, any data science project has to have a go to production strategy from its first days, so it could go beyond proof-of-concept. Machine learning and artificial intelligence in production would result in hundreds of training pipelines and machine learning models that are continuously revised by teams of data scientists and seamlessly connected with web applications for tenants and users.
Connecting to major cloud service providers is becoming central to doing business. But your cloud provider’s performance is only as good as your connectivity solution. Massive Networks will place you in the driver's seat by exposing how you can extend your LAN from any location to include any cloud platform through an advanced high-performance connection that is secure and dedicated to your business-critical data. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Paul Mako, CEO & CIO of Massive Networks, wil...