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Lets talk more about SOA ...

I have been reading allot on SOA recently whilst I've been getting my thoughts more in order since previous posts that have been admittedly hap-hazard.

Rather a lot of pundits on blogs or in the media have pondered numerous questions and made many predictions, I’ve even read a lot on Geeks with Blogs! Will 2005 be the year for service oriented architecture (SOA)? What is this technology? Is it new? Has it really been around for along time? Will SOA be most talked about term of the year? Will it become the most over-hyped term? I'd like to add one more to the list.

Does business even want SOA?

Many customers do not care what technology solutions are as long as it supports their function moving forward, this is the bottom-line.

Nearly all conversations about SOAs focus on flexibility, breaking down applications into services, modular, reuse, increased availability and management of services, Don Box’s 4 tenets and so on.

What does all this really mean? OASIS is wrestling with just that as we speak as they try to create a reference model!  These conversations are often discussed in a vacuum void of any real business problem or opportunity that needs to be addressed. This creates risk that SOA may evolve into the use of technology for technology's sake.

The industry is just starting to recover from the downfall created the last time this happened.

With my contact with people in business they have always wanted better service, not better web services. What are missing in these conversations are real business problems customers need to solve today. My company worries about customer churn, the share price, being able to cope with the ever increasing amount of work and a few thousand other things besides. I.T. needs to focus on how to solve real business problems is critical in helping business transform to on demand businesses that can quickly respond to rapidly changing market environments, because it’s not going to get easier and there are no certainties anymore.

An SOA can help do this by providing an industry standard framework that is interchangeable, adaptive and flexible, but most importantly is closely linked to the business. The argument for nearly every successful use of industry standards also applies to SOAs. Standards make it easier to do business and create efficiencies of scale.

Business Leaders who are not aware of the benefits an SOA can provide is likely to lose a competitive edge in the marketplace as more nimble competitors take advantage of this new, enabling technology.

The business value SOAs provide is so great that analysts predict in just a couple of years enterprises will spend $21bn on software and services to achieve these benefits. I.T. this time has to insure that this isn’t another gravy train to ride.

SOAs are strategically centred at the intersection of business and technology to enable enterprises to adapt quickly to changing environments. SOA allows the IT department to literally keep pace with business imperatives as it automates business processes by abstracting the process from the underlying application and IT systems and this is an important point.

This separation of automated process from IT creates enormous business flexibility, allowing business leaders to take greater control of how business is transacted within the enterprise.

Nearly every business process in every company is linked to technology, no application is an island! With SOA, an organisation can provide services to employees, customers and business partners without the time and expense involved in past proprietary efforts.

Because everyone follows the same set of standards, enterprises can be responsive, flexible and competitive this in essence is the point.

Evolving a SOA across the enterprise frees up IT resources and helps to ensure that investments in technology are focused on core capabilities aimed at growing the business.

Customers need to approach building an SOA based on the needs of the business. A detailed identification and prioritisation of services that a business needs to develop or expose to support improved business processes must be developed. A company, or more specifically, and IT department, can't guess what services will add the greatest value. They need a systematic approach to building a roadmap for implementing a service-oriented architecture.

This approach can help ensure that goals set by business process modelling can actually be implemented to generate the greatest result in an efficient manner.

The best way is to start is small and grow the technology with your knowledge taking it a step at a time, don’t be afraid to start small with a ‘Proof of Concept’ on a non-essential system. Its well worth keeping in-touch with the what the rest of the I.T. industry is doing with SOA as time goes on as patterns on best practice are constantly being developed. Some organisations have developed SOA Blueprints as cookie-cutter examples of how to grow a SOA. As Best Practice evolves, Anti-Patterns are also emerging on implementations had failed and why, which by keeping your ear to the ground will allow you to learn from others mistakes.

Getting back to my original question, I doubt that I'll meet with a customer this year or in any other year that demands a SOA!

In summary, SOA is a roadmap. It's a means to an end. What customers are demanding is flexibility to maximise revenue, provide better customer service, lower costs and assist in regulatory compliance. SOA is an industry standard way to help them to do that.

Posted on Monday, May 23, 2005 10:12 PM SOA | Back to top


Comments on this post: Does business even want SOA?

# re: Does business even want SOA?
Requesting Gravatar...

you don't half write a lot of bollocks. keep off the coffee dude, and keep cool. the utter verbage above is mindless drivel
Left by anon on Apr 19, 2006 3:08 AM

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