Back in 1998, I was doing a Masters degree at Leeds University. An IT Module on my course posed a question something like “What is the case for transactional websites in UK retail banking?”
Do you remember 1998? It was the year Netscape announced they were going open source. Home broadband did not exist in the UK. The vast majority of people did not have a home internet connection of any type and probably almost no-one over the age of 25 regularly used the internet or had a personal email ID. There was not one single UK bank offering meaningful transactional capabilities on their website. The internet (or should I say Web 0.1) was only just taking off.
Polls at that time were concluding that only about a third of the British public expected to have online retail banking within 5 years with some really tech savvy people (13% of the population) wanting it within 2 years! Wow!
About 3,000 words (on paper) later I concluded that there was no current short term ROI case for fully transactional internet banking but it was blatantly obvious that it would take off and any bank that didn’t take the leap of faith and invest, would get left behind both in customer service and cost per transaction.
This unremarkable conclusion somehow managed to get me a good mark for that paper – it seems even more unremarkable today.
So is SOA in the same boat then today, being blatantly obvious but needing a leap of faith? I don’t think so.