Archive for April 1st, 2009

SOA bleeding heavily but not dead yet

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

I saw an article in British Computer Weekly this morning by Jim Mortleman “SOA in the cloud”.

The basic premise of the article is that whilst the hype around SOA is overblown (no, really?!) the fundamental concept is good.  So the solution is…….change the name to cloud computing and press on.

I have been pretty right wing in my views on SOA in the past but I do genuinely believe that the concept is brilliant.  It is delivery that is flawed and there are two good reasons for this:

1.  Organisations take on too big a challenge in trying to deliver a service oriented architecture.  Grand vision = grand design = big bang = big cost = big risk = failed project.  There has to be a more incremental way of getting to SOA.

2.  SOA projects are almost always run by IT people.  No wonder they never meet business requirements.  Put business leaders in charge and watch the priorities change.

I spend a large portion of my life talking to senior customer service professionals.  The common story is that they are tired of IT projects that don’t deliver, and IT departments that cannot respond to change at the speed of business.

Change happens!  New product launches, regulatory change, product promotions, merger/acquisition, processing errors.  Shouldn’t SOA be enabling the business to provide appropriate responses to such change?

If the principles of SOA are to succeed, it is not going to happen by nomenclature, or adding more layers of complexity.  IT professionals need to distil SOA into simpler, more incremental, more business focussed chunks, and empower the business with platforms that enable them to react to everyday change without the usual lead times.

I believe that the ability to make a business operation truly agile will be one of the defining competitive advantages of the next decade.