Monday, June 12, 2006

SOA Maturity? SOD IT more like

Just came across this post that tries to describe The Three Levels of SOA Maturity - - now I have to say that I like the Systinet guys and its a good product and governance is definitely a large part of SOA... but I have to take issue with their three stages of "maturity" for SOA

In the first stage companies service-enable their applications using standard APIs. Although the costs are modest, so are the business gains, Erickson says.
So the first stage is "whack a WSDL" a technology first, point to point integration solution. Surely this isn't any stage of maturity in a 21st century technology solution. I know some might argue that YAGNI says that you shouldn't design for mediation from the start, but I call bollocks on that one in the integration space, ripping out Point-to-point calls is costly and messy. This is development, you might claim its Service Oriented Development in IT but its certainly not architecture.

Next up we have
The few companies that have entered the second stage are those that use SOA services to build new or modernize existing applications. Reaching this stage means a company has visibility into who is using which services and a sense of application interdependencies.
Oddly enough for a governance company its about governance and visibility of interaction, but even so its still about technology. This isn't SOA either, its still SOD IT again. This second element sounds like level one maturity was random use of WSDL and its actually at level 2 that people are planning what to whack a WSDL on.

Finally the nivarna of the mature organisation using SOA is...

One limitation remains, however: There is no automated way to ensure changing a service doesn't break linked components, Erickson says. That comes in the third stage, with the arrival of what he calls dynamic SOA.

In this environment a new version of a service would notify consumers about the upgrade, who could then determine if and how they might benefit from the update. If it might cause more harm than good, the consumer could decide to keep the existing service. "It all becomes more dynamic," Erickson says.

Yes folks the nivarna is when consumers have to make active decisions on technology upgrades, using of course a governance solution. Its not about having services that make business sense, having a clear plan and structure or even about having flexible services that can change quickly... nope its about auditing all the changes and ticking an approval box.

Come on Systinet, I know you don't really believe this is the top of maturity tree. The idea that the most mature SOA is a technically driven one where consumers can (have to?) approve WSDL or functionality upgrades is just plain barking.

I know from experience that many businesses just upgrade stuff and you have to cope, that is part of the contract that the service lays down (the expense policy at work has to be seen to be believed for instance). I'm not sure what the fully mature SOA technology infrastructure looks like under the covers, but I know what it looks like from outside... it looks like the business. And this is the difference between SOA and SOD IT. SOA is caring about the consumers, while SOD IT is caring about the technology.

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