Thursday, October 26, 2006

SOA - shoot the technologists

There are lots of statements made about SOA not being something you can buy from a vendor. I'm getting more extreme in my views... I think it isn't even something you can build. Clearly there can be technology delivered that meets an SOA, but can you actually do SOA if you are thinking about it as something that is just built?

People seem to be approaching SOA more and more as something that is resident in IT only, or even worse is where IT "understands" the business and builds things that are more responsive... without actually getting the business to own or define anything.

If SOA is going to actually make a difference to what is a failing industry then it needs to impact the structural problems, rather than just trying to deliver a new set of technology projects. 80%+ of IT spend is on "business as usual" aka "keeping the lights on" the support and bug fixing of current solutions, paying the maintenance licenses, patching things and generally just keeping them on life support. And then with the 70% or so of new projects that actually fail to deliver what was expected this means...

This means that around 6% of IT spend actually delivers new value to the business. This is fundamentally broken. Therefore if SOA is going to succeed it needs to help more projects succeed, and more importantly either reduce the 80% spend or help deliver more value for that 80%. This means that SOA truly has to be about how you govern and deliver IT, including how you continually deliver IT to the business once it has gone live.

This is why I'd argue that SOA isn't even something that gets built, its something that becomes a part of your culture, it changes all aspects of your IT organisation. Otherwise it really just will be yet another techy idea that delivers little or no value down the line.

IT is a broken industry, it takes more than an ESB, some Web Services and changing some design guidelines to fix a problem this large.

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Anonymous said...

I completely agree, SOA adoption will never happen in a organisation that doesn't tie together its SOA strategy with governance, funding model, procurement, project management and operations. Too many organisations are still delivering SOA out of IT!

Daniel Marchant said...

This is one of the main problems with SOA. The adoption is really based on how an organization adapts and understands the concepts within the architecture.

Anonymous said...

I agree but would take it even further into the business model. Unless you have the business commitment to viewing itself as a discrete set of business services orchestrated by business process then you're setting yourself up for almost certain failure. the failure will not only be in (Web)Services that don't align to the business but also at every stage of the governance process.

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