Service Oriented Architectures is probably already far beyond the hype cycle but there doesn’t seem to be much common understanding of its impact on IT departments. The concepts of services and the technology behind SOA are complex and the promises to the business are very demanding. It could well be that IT managers feel like being strangled by a big BOA.
A while ago I was invited to talk to a group of IT managers about service oriented architectures and concepts like software as a service. It must have been somewhere in the beginning of 2008 and, just around that date, the Dutch secretary of state for the finance department – Jan Kees de Jager – stated in the Computable, a leading Dutch IT magazine, that in his opinion service oriented architectures could be a break-through. He stated that it was a way forward to increase robustness, flexibility and technical as well as functional scalability and, with that, solve the big challenges of the tax department, which, at that time, was highly exposed in the news due to losing 'some' of tax assessments.
This is a real challenging expectation from business to IT, wouldn’t you say? So the question to the IT managers in the audience was: ‘are you ready to deliver’?
Referring to one of statements of Gartner in 2004 I believe it was:
“By 2006, more than 60 percent of enterprises will consider SOA a guiding principle in designing their new mission critical business applications and business processes (0.7 probability). By 2006, more than 75 percent of midsize and large enterprises will have deployed SOA enabled development tools and middleware (0.8 probability).”
So I was a little surprised that there was no straightforward yes coming from the audience only a little mumbling.
But has the status changed a lot nowadays? Definitely SOA has entered the building, somehow playing a role in application integration and modernization. But is IT also ready to deliver the promise of SOA to the business? For that, in my opinion, the internal IT department should act like a SaaS provider delivering services provisioned either internally or externally and focus mainly on governance and architecture. And that, in my opinion, is still a big step. But I can fully imagine that IT managers have the feeling being strangled either by the promise or by the complexity of SOA.
We like to share with you experiences, opinions and ideas on the promises and challenges of SOA. Lots of us have questions like how to position the IT organization as a provider of business services, how to cope with the increasing complexity of your IT landscape, do vendors meet up expectations, if there will be SOA in the cloud and so on.
Maybe we can share and find answers in this blog, your comments are appreciated.