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Blake Caraway

Still trying to determine what this SOA thing is all about? Or maybe you do know quite a bit, but are still struggling with how it can help your company or your client get to the next level (or merely survive)? Unfortunately, too many projects are being carried out in the name of SOA yet only deliver costly technical solutions that do not address the identified problems. Further complicating matters is the fact that the identified problems these SOA projects are supposed to solve have little to no business case justification.

This is the focus of an excellent article by Piet Jan Baarda, entitled 'Your SOA needs a business case'.

The promises of SOA can never be fully realized without a good amount of analysis on a company's goals, in addition to being open to changing how a business segment is structured (or even the whole organization, in a more extreme case). Notice technology decisions are not being discussed/determined here from the outset. If SOA efforts begin and end within an IT department...it's not SOA. You can bet a company in this situation is, at the very least, incurring avoidable expenses. At it's worst, lucrative business opportunities continue to pass by while a company fails to make the most of any competitive advantages.

So how do we ensure we are developing a solid SOA strategy? As Piet Jan teaches, it's all about the business case. Depending on a particular company and the market segment(s) it's located in (in addition to many other factors), technology may or may not play an important part in deciding upon an SOA strategy. Some companies' strategies will rely more on technology leadership and innovation to create and enhance their competitive advantages, some will not. These realities should help decide the appropriate level of technology investment. Often the decision NOT to invest in SOA is a valid one b/c the cost cannot be justified. However, it's important to always apply SOA thinking as a company faces new situations and opportunities.

I highly recommend Piet Jan's article and consider it a must read for anyone involved in planning and implementing technical solutions for a company where SOA is being considered.

Here are a few quotes from the article definitely worth remembering:

  • "SOA has benefits, by definition, only where agility is required."
  • "Many organizations are not able to create the enterprise architecture and governance competence that  is needed to achieve the benefits of the application of these [SOA] concepts.”
  • "Agility will only improve when a coherent set of business services is created that can be used in many orchestrations without a need to perform cumbersome transformations to translate information concepts (especially semantics!) from one silo to those of another."


Also, for what it’s worth, here are just a few of the blogs that discuss SOA and business agility that I always make a point to read:
    Udi Dahan - http://www.udidahan.com/?blog=true
    Bill Poole - http://bill-poole.blogspot.com/
    Jack van Hoof - http://soa-eda.blogspot.com/
    ZapThink - http://www.zapthink.com/
    Todd Biske - http://www.biske.com/blog
    Smart Enough Systems - http://smartenoughsystems.com/wp

Posted on Monday, November 24, 2008 9:58 AM SOA | Back to top


Comments on this post: Is Your SOA Strategy Justified?

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awesome post- thanks for the link to that article!
Left by Andy Forex on May 22, 2010 6:22 PM

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