SOA is just a tool

Since my last post has clearly ruffled some feathers, I wanted to clarify my position.

I am pro-SOA.  I think it has great possibilities in delivering a more agile enterprise.  But at the end of the day it’s just a tool and one means of getting there.

Business people are not interested in the “hows” they are interested in the “whats”.

When we talk about measuring the success of SOA it’s like talking about measuring the success of my builder digging a hole.  He may have used a spade, a pneumatic drill, a JCB or his fingers but when I come home at the end of the day I don’t even want to see the hole.  I want to see my new shed ready to occupy and for a reasonable cost.

In this sense the only way to measure the success of SOA is to see whether it is the most appropriate tool to solve the business problems of the day in a cost effective way and then measure the value added to the business.

So I suggest that its very adoption will be its measure of success.  IT people pushing SOA as a solution for its own sake instead of trying to address business challenges by whatever suitable means is just another example of why the divide between the business and IT in the enterprise continues to grow.

3 Responses to “SOA is just a tool”

  1. Todd Biske Says:

    Thanks for the followup post, although I don’t know that I even had any feathers ruffled! I respect your opinion. The one thing I would add is that it is possible for the business to take a view of themselves as a service provider, where appropriate, so SOA isn’t necessarily relegated to the halls of IT as is sometimes the view when using it in the toolbox analogy. You’re absolutely right that showing how a service oriented view of the business and a service oriented view of technology can help accomplish the business goals in a way that is faster, better, cheaper is the marker of success. Thanks for the conversation.

  2. Alastair Bathgate Says:

    Hi Todd

    Thanks for your comments. I subscribe to your blog and enjoy it.

    I am not anti-SOA Consortium. If the role of the SOA Consortium is to agree standards, promote best practice and consider interoperability between the “gorilla” and other vendors then that is a powereful force. I stand by my original comment, though, that setting targets for adoption is missing the point.

    Have enjoyed the debate which is, as you suggest, good for everyone.

  3. » Blog Archive » On business cases Says:

    […] think this all rather misses the point.  SOA to me, is just a tool for delivering business value.  There are many tools in one’s kitbag.  Promoting SOA for […]

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