SOA Adoption – What does it mean?

Evans Data Corporation released another survey that stated that, according to Sys-Con’s article:

…close to a quarter of enterprise-level developers indicated that they already have service-oriented architecture in place, and another 28% plan to do so within the next 24 months.

I have two major issues with this. First, while I don’t mean to diminish the role of the developer, that’s not the person I would be asking about SOA adoption. From a developer’s perspective, this could mean anything from having used web service technologies within a single project to having tens or hundreds of shared services, orchestrated by BPM solutions. What does the Chief Architect or the CIO say? That would increase my faith in this data, although, there’s still problem number two. What does it mean to adopt SOA and how do you know when you’re done? The statement in the Sys-Con release says, “have service-oriented architecture in place.” Again, what does that mean? You don’t put SOA in place, you put services in place. The architecture is the set of guiding principles that led to the particular services that are in production. What is the domain of those guiding principles? Was it at a project level? A line of business? The entire enterprise? I would have liked to see every respondent who said they had SOA in place also answer a question asking them to describe their SOA and then do some analysis on the responses. It certainly could have made for some good quotes.

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.

2 Responses to “SOA Adoption – What does it mean?”

Leave a Reply


This blog represents my own personal views, and not those of my employer or any third party. Any use of the material in articles, whitepapers, blogs, etc. must be attributed to me alone without any reference to my employer. Use of my employers name is NOT authorized.