Is SOA success down to the business/IT relationship?

Clive Longbottom writing at The Register asks is SOA dead or alive?

Clive contrasts successes in Scandinavia against failures and lack of adoption in the UK and puts this down to the difference in the IT/Business relationship.  In Scandinavia the relationship is more aligned and this has resulted in an incremental approach to SOA based on solving one business problem at a time within the context of an overall long term aim.  In the UK, the IT function has seen SOA as a massive corporate wide infrastructure upgrade which leaves the first local project with disproportionate upfront costs to swallow into its business case.  This often results in the business choosing to go for cheaper packaged solutions or worse still, the oxymoronic (and plain moronic) “tightly coupled” SOA implementation.

Clive recommends a “tactically strategic” approach where business focus is paramount.  SOA is ingrained into the corporate psyche and each business project primarily solves one problem using SOA approaches.  Secondarily the project ensures that functionality built is reusable in the wider strategic context and can interact with other SOA based solutions in the future.

Fortunately, Clive concludes that SOA is far from dead and that vendors such as IBM, Tibco and BEA are now aligning their messages to be more business focussed and acknowledging the above approach as lower risk and likely to lead to more successful SOA adoption.

My view is that SOA is supposed to enable business agility.  It’s just not possible to deliver this in one hit unless you are a greenfield site.  So taking a business priority led view is the only option.

Any US readers care to comment on the most prevalent (and/or most successful) approach used in US organisations?

One Response to “Is SOA success down to the business/IT relationship?”

  1. Francis Carden Says:

    I concur. The “A” in SOA stands for Architecture which is not an overnight affair (some analysts put it in the 5-10+ years category which is correct in my view).

    Few “C” level executives can afford to hold up or stall business requirements / pains / crises for the sake of a complete re-architecture. Business should not and will not tolerate that in today’s ultra competitive global economy.

    Too many people focus on the “S” in SOA and think that everything as a service is a panacea that can happen overnight. It cannot lest it would have already been done. The “O” in SOA stands for oriented, so to me implies a direction or better still a goal. SOA is not the be-all-and-end-all. SOA is a long term strategy for enterprise. History also shows that the chance of some “next new thing” before your SOA re-architecture is complete / succeeds / fails is high.

    Business and IT must align around the business goals and SOA may or may not be a part of it.

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