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Enterprise SOA by Thomas Mattern, Dan Woods

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Chapter NINE. Project Mendocino: A Product Based on Consuming Enterprise Services

On any given workday, information workers at companies around the globe can be found performing the same task: planning time off for a vacation. It starts with opening a calendar program, most likely Microsoft Outlook, and scanning for available dates. Appointments get moved forward or back, and eventually a week—or two—gets cleared for takeoff. After emailing a manager for approval, the next step for many employees is to log on to the company's enterprise system, find the HR workspace, scroll down to the correct section, and ultimately submit a vacation request. This process is often tedious.

Even if the vacation request screen has a nice-looking user interface (UI), employees still have to use two different tools with two different views of reality, and often the conversion from the calendar to the vacation request form is done by hand. This laborious task of updating information in one system that is not automatically reflected in the other also increases the probability of erroneous data being entered. Completing just one simple vacation request requires all these additional steps. If these steps were part of planning the vacation itself, a travel agent could be called on for assistance. Unfortunately, there is no travel agent to call on when problems are encountered during the request-for-leave process—instead, a power user who understands the system is all too often called on for support. Figure ...

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