The Scope of SOA Adoption

I just finished giving a webinar on the importance of SOA pilots with Alex Rosen, and I hope the attendees found it informative. One of the things that I discussed in the webinar was the scope of SOA adoption. Given the recent attention to my last post, I thought I’d discuss it a bit more, since it’s one of the two dimensions of the maturity matrix. It’s also what makes the effort more than just a “search and replace” on the SEI CMMI models as one commenter over on InfoWorld thought.

The last post introduced the levels of maturity, which are:

  1. Ad Hoc
  2. Common Goals
  3. Pilot
  4. Extend
  5. Standardize
  6. Optimize

Those levels are a pretty straightforward way of describing the maturation process of just about anything. So what’s really import is the other dimension which defines exactly what we’re maturing.

In the case of this model, we’re discussing SOA adoption maturity. SOA adoption is not simply about purchasing technology. No one can sell you an SOA, although there was someone selling “SOA in a box” back around Christmas on eBay in Australia. SOA adoption does involve new technologies that can provide support in service development and hosting, such as orchestration engines or web service frameworks, service connectivity, such as SOA appliances or ESBs, and service management. SOA adoption also involves organizational changes. If your organization is structured around application development, which team is responsible for building a service that spans multiple groups? SOA adoption involves governance, whether it be funding models, design time policies, or run time policies. SOA adoption involves new processes designed around the consumer/provider interaction. SOA adoption involves training and communication. How do we market services that have been created to ensure their reuse? Clearly, SOA adoption involves architecture. Enterprise architecture must provide appropriate reference architectures and reviews to ensure both tactical and strategic success. SOA adoption involves Operational Management. Services can’t be dumped into production and forgotten, we must take a proactive approach to monitoring and metric collection and feed that information back into the machine for continuous improvement.

SOA is not easy. If it were, we’d all be done by now. Every company will have different drivers, and different technology needs. An assessment of their maturity in SOA adoption should examine all of dimensions required.

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One Response to “The Scope of SOA Adoption”

  • [...] This does come back to the notion of a maturity model, or at least some form of assessment criteria. In the maturity model that I’ve worked on and continue to refine, the very first level above ad hoc activity is all about planning. Part of planning is establishing goals and assessment criteria. It’s at that stage where you define what SOA adoption is for your company and what criteria you’re going to use to evaluate where you’re at in the effort. Is technology infrastructure part of it? Absolutely. Are your architectural models part of it? Absolutely. Are your operational processes part of it? Absolutely. Are your governance processes part of it? Absolutely. Is your organizational structure/approach part of it? Absolutely. There’s a lot more to it than just buying a product or building a few web services. [...]

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