Monday, July 23, 2007

SOA needs marketing

Communication is "The transmission of information so that the recipient understands what the sender intends." too often people in SOA projects appear to be making the same mistake that HR departments make on a regular basis, namely assuming that lobbing something onto an intranet page and acting surprised when nobody reads it.

Now I talked a while back about Selling SOA to the Business and how it was selling. Well guess what, the think about trying to communicate your SOA strategy, service repository, service or whatever is... a marketing job. You've got to think about it as a core part of your SOA approach and develop an actual marketing plan.

Bleating about people not reading documents on an intranet page (often with a helpful internal page name like /12345ofq.htm) is just dumb and people who expect that publishing an intranet page is enough should be quickly shot for their blind optimism or laziness.

Develop a communication strategy, develop a marketing plan. Work out which people you need to talk to directly and which can be done via email and who will just get a link to an intranet page. Go and speak to your corporate comms team, find out from them what can be done, a section on the intranet, a podcast, posters or inclusion in monthly briefings. Plan the launch as if you are going to market, because that is exactly what you are doing you are going to your market, its internal but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be treated in the same way.

Then once you have done your launch keep it up, its no good to have a big splash if everyone forgets about it in 3 months. Keep on the active communication front, have something on the intranet home page that just says how many services there are, how many users, how much money has been saved or whatever metric will get it noticed. Have a continual update that is easy and interesting for people to engage with.

The more I see companies struggling to communicate and then complaining when people don't come to the limited comms they've put up the more I think that SOA Marketing is becoming more and more important and that people in SOA programmes should start considering allocating marketing budgets as a core part of their operation.

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