The SOA big picture

Michael Meehan discusses the need to aim higher when it comes to implementing SOA into a business.

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Last week we had an article about CIO and CTO insights into SOA. The overarching message was that high level executives are thinking huge when it comes to service-oriented architecture.

If SOA isn't being used to transform your company, if it's not changing the entire way you buy and build software, then you ought to be asking yourself if you're aiming high enough. Executives apparently have grown sick and tired of being told good business ideas can't be implemented. It's hard to blame them. Inflexibility and a seeming disconnect from the goals that drive the rest of the company hasn't made IT the most popular kid on the block.

Though you hear it all the time, systems need to conform to people instead of constantly asking people to conform to systems. It's not just some throw-away statement. People really mean it and they expect it to happen. More than anything else, that's what the executives are saying about SOA. They're looking to bring IT to heel.

One of the things you may notice on the SearchWebServices.com site is the diversity of companies looking to implement SOA and the breadth of technologies being brought to bear in those efforts. It's not happening by accident. Companies are rethinking the way they're using information technology to support their businesses. The organizational requirements are changing and no amount one-off project tunnel vision is going to make that go away.

Today we're going to have news about how H&R Block has brought SOA to bear in its tax services business. This week we'll also have a tip from Daniel Rubio on how to use the technology from the Eclipse SOA Tools Project and a column on SOA urban legends.

For those of you who haven't read it yet, I highly recommend checking out are recent column on operational risk and WS-Policy. It's part of our lesson on the architecture of SOA governance and it does an excellent job of synching up the technology behind SOA with the business of managing risk.


This was first published in April 2007

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