SOA has two possible destinations: a technology based approach to enable business process allowing organizations more control of their business (where they continue to ask for more) or another technical obstacle the business sees as expensive, confusing and unnecessary (and avoid at all costs).
The Integration Horizontal Spanning the Business
Typically we envision software and the solutions they flaunt to satisfy a specific need in a niche within the enterprise. From marketing and sales to IT, from operations to quality assurance each has its own problems and therefore its unique solution and technology is quick to run with open arms offering promises to all. SOA is not a traditional IT application with a singular focused value proposition nor is it this ever-transforming magical black box that is always the solution to any business problem.
The challenge is and continues to be this force to keep SOA in the abstract and wrap it in so much buzz-ology that its identity is lost in favor for something that really does not exist. Understanding SOA as a strategy and set of standards to achieve that strategy, the SOA tools and platforms become a transport on your integration roadmap that can help deliver true value. SOA is best described as a Strategic Enabler. Add to that mix: Business buy-in, Architectural oversight and IT discipline and no doubt SOA becomes a legitimate contender for most valuable player. Truth be said, if you have those three key enterprise elements with any baked strategy - success is almost unavoidable, SOA perhaps is the most far reaching.
Enterprise SOA can enable value in at least these four horizontals across the organization.
The key takeaway is that SOA reaches beyond just IT as another cutting edge technology; rather it's a solution suite that should have everyone in the organization excited. The hype is about the collaboration, planning and execution that is at core of the SOA world, finally giving disparate business departments a reason to come together much in the same way their systems will. The business if you will, a term representing the management, subject matter experts and stakeholders, must be involved as much as the technology architects in each one of the above horizontals to achieve their expected value. Service Oriented is about enabling business process to be readily consumed. Without the right processes describing the real business SOA becomes nothing more than overhead or integration plumbing.
SOA has two possible destinations: a technology based approach to enable business process allowing organizations more control of their business (where they continue to ask for more) or another technical obstacle the business sees as expensive, confusing and unnecessary (and avoid at all costs). The difference starts with education, so up next is a deeper dive into what can SOA really do in the integration horizontals.