Finally, A True Collaborative SOA Ecosystem: IBM and KANA

The enterprise application vendors have been touting their SOA (service oriented architecture) platforms and ecosystems for a few years now, but there was something that always bothered me:  the creator of the SOA platform shouldn’t also be the provider of the applications that run on the platform.  To use an example I’ve heard applied to Microsoft over the years:  the guy who provides electricity shouldn’t also determine the size and shape of electric plugs. 

A closed ecosystem, in which you buy all the infrastructure and applications from a single vendor, has been the only choice for CRM and ERP buyers wanting Web 2/SOA…unless you wanted to jump on the Open Source bandwagon with its own set of risks and limited functionality.  To me, today’s joint announcement that “KANA Embeds IBM Open Technology to Deliver Next-Generation Customer Service Solutions” finally delivers the first steps of a true SOA ecosystem, in which customers can select the right application functionality, and not be stuck using the only plug that fits the electrical outlet, even if it doesn’t meet their business needs.

But this announcement is about more than just distribution partnerships, it launches a new development relationship. KANA and IBM will jointly bring to market a new Service Experience Management (SEM) solution, built on IBM’s SOA Foundation and including KANA’s customer service capabilities. IBM is doing this right: investing in an innovative strategic partner with the domain expertise to deliver the best CRM/eService capabilities on the highest adopted SOA platform–the best of both worlds.

The timing of Service Experience Management seems excellent, as our industry has finally recognized the importance of the customer experience and its influence on satisfaction and loyalty. In related news, KANA’s strategic services subsidiary, eVergance, recently hired Esteban Klosky, the Gartner analyst who created the “Customer Hub” concept, who will be launching some new services offering around Customer Experience. If you don’t know eVergance you should check them out; the company has an impressive list of consultants in addition to Esteban, including popular speaker at SSPA conferences Allen Bonde, and one of the original authors of Knowledge Centered Service (KCS), John Chmaj.

For you members who are KANA and/or IBM Websphere customers, if you have questions on SEM or other aspects of this announcement, shoot me an email or add a comment, I’d be happy to track down answers for you.  And as always, thanks for reading!

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