04 Jan

Putting China in Touch with the Wider World

Using technology to become more nimble and agile is important for all companies today. But it is especially important for firms in China as they strive to establish stronger ties with business partners in the west and Asia
After giving presentations on service-oriented architecture (SOA) and Web Services to companies at CeBIT Asia 2004, which took place at the end of April at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre (SNIEC), Mark Glikson, Strategic Architect, Asia Pacific & Greater China Regions for Microsoft, said he was impressed by the sophistication of the Chinese.
“They realise that SOA is important, that you can’t build buildings without planning them properly,” he added.
Even before Glikson made his presentations, an experienced Chinese professor spoke in English about many of the issues the Microsoft strategic architect was later to raise in his presentations, particularly the relevance of SOA.

Glikson spoke at the CeBIT Asia 2004 Software Development and Architecture Conference. The conference, organised by Masoud Kamali of Germany’s Herausberger dot.net magazine, also attracted speakers from SAP and Borland.
The room was packed for both of Glikson’s presentations. The audience consisted mostly of system integrators (SIs), executives from MNCs and project managers.
“Of course, we have our own Microsoft-organised events where we speak to people that we know already,” said Glikson, explaining why Microsoft participated in the event. “But there are many people that we don’t ordinarily touch base with. An industry event with multiple vendors is good to attend because we don’t want to just preach to the converted.”
Glikson admits that he met a couple of SIs who initially were “very anti-Microsoft”. He sat down with them over dinner and discussed their problems.
“They had developed a perception about what Microsoft is without actually researching this in a deeper way, which we find is quite a common and regular occurrence,” said Glikson. “By the end of the dinner, I think I had changed their perceptions.”
Asked why he had decided to organise the Software Development and Architecture Conference at CeBIT Asia, Kamali said: “I have read somewhere that Shanghai alone needs 100,000 more software developers by the end of 2005. It is important for the world to find out what Chinese software developers are up to, and to put China in touch with the wider world.”
He went on: “It was crucial to have Microsoft’s involvement because it is one of the most important software companies that set and push standards in the software industry. Every serious software architect should know about Microsoft’s road map for the future.”
For Microsoft, the shift to services-based computing and SOA is the next major transition in enterprise computing after the move from the mainframe model to client-server computing, and then to the browser-based architectures of the Internet.