Saturday, March 28, 2009

Is SOA Dead! Nope.

Year 2009 started with bang, SOA is Dead; Long Live Services by Anne Thomas Manes. In her blog and subsequent interview in IT Business Edge she emphasized that SOA is dead in business parlance due to it is failed to deliver its promises of aligning IT with business in real time. She advises not to use SOA word while asking for funding in today’s recessionary economy.

But I have simple question, do we as analysts, architects (not as business person) have analyzed why this phenomena is happening. I don’t think so.

When I read her blog entry in starting of year, I thought of protesting. But, then I though of analyzing the whole story wearing multiple hats – IT Service Company, Tool/Platform Provider, Business Person, Analyst and finally as Architect. Nearly a quarter long conscious analysis, has given me few insights:

1. Most of the SOA initiatives started as integration project where services were used as integration medium in stead of MOM. To maximize reach (in terms of market capture and revenue) Tool/Platform Providers and IT Service Companies have added fuel to fire.
2. Most of the established Tool/Platform Providers saw SOA as new business opportunity, so re-branded their Integration Tools/Platforms as SOA one.
3. To maximize their revenue Tool/Platform Provider created grandiose Tools/Platforms which have resulted bleeding IT departments.
4. As usual, Analysts are folks who can offer criticism on every thing. So they provided argument on both sides. They provided criticism on Tools/Platforms, Methodologies and frameworks but sadly, never on SOA independent of vendors.
5. Architects are greatly influenced by Tools/Platforms to which they were conversant. That’s why we see Java Architect, WebLogic Architect, WebSphere Architect, .Net Architect etc in Architects’ resume and at monster.
6. Business persons wanted quick return on their investment (essentially, they want their investment should be like expense) due to business compulsion which prevented them justifying long term investment.
7. Nobody paid any attention to business process restructuring and operation restructuring which are essential foundations of successful SOA.

So, SOA is dead or just acronym SOA has become dirty. Certainly SOA is not dead but we have to work for its acceptance with business people. Business persons sanction budget not IT ones. Whether, acronym SOA remain in vogue or not, it does not matter. So, the core question is how to keep alive SOA and not only alive but healthy and thriving.

1. Understand SOA philosophy (SOA stands for Service Oriented Architecture) independent of Tool/Platform Providers offerings.
2. Technical folks have to understand business realities. Due to present economic conditions business wants quick returns. So, it is time of tiny SOA (not even small), which should fit into grandiose Enterprise Architecture. This world in not perfect.
3. Businesspersons also have to understand that there is no silver bullet; Architecture requires time, money and humans.
4. If acronym SOA has become dirty, change it or clean it. I leave this choice to analysts; it is their job to invent new acronyms.

Underlying fact is, SOA is not dead and will not be dead but morphing itself as Web 2.0/3.0, SaaS, PaaS, BPM, EPM, Cloud computing, etc (Refer:

Further reading:

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