Sunday, September 04, 2005

Snake Oil SOA

I just read this piece of Snake Oil SOA from a VP of Web Services (one assumes describable via a WSDL), where there are a few choice phrases my favorite of which is certainly
The key technology behind an SOA is Web services, a poorly named term for easily identified and encapsulated business processes delivered over the web
If ever one sentence failed to describe what was important in SOA and what Web Services are then it is this one. Its an absolutely classic in the genre of "SOA will solve everything" and attributing that change to a technology (Web Services). This is exactly the sort of thing that is getting SOA a bad name with business people because its just another technology being thrust at them as a silver bullet for the enterprise.

I mean "An SOA can also handle more elaborate tasks. A retailer, for example, could reroute trucks automatically based on a weather report."

You can do that using a phone call, or indeed with quite a few packaged solutions. Its got bugger all to do with SOA enabling that, you can write a non-SOA solution to exactly the same problem. It would of course help if the industry analysts started calling people on this sort of "snake oil" approach to SOA and start pushing a fundamentally different message, namely one about SOA being an ARCHITECTURAL approach to solving problems that works from the BUSINESS perspective, thus enabling everyone to agree on the solution at all levels, and provide a mechanism for monitoring and managing the systems in a way that the BUSINESS wants.

I'm just picking on this one article because its pretty typical of the work that is out there, "Buy SOA, also solves baldness". SOA will fail miserably if it continues to be about the underpinning technologies rather than IT actually changing the way we work with our customers (the people who pay the wages).

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