SOA Consortium Goals

Alastair Bathgate is taking the SOA Consortium to task in a response to Joe McKendrick’s recent post about the goals of the SOA Consortium. The stated goals of the SOA Consortium, as Joe correctly states, are to have 75% of the Global 1000 complete a successful SOA implementation by 2010.

Alastair asks, “What on earth is the measure of success?” This type of questioning is certainly appropriate, and probably the biggest hurdle that the SOA Consortium will need to overcome. Joe McKendrick calls this out as well, stating that success with SOA is a long-term gain, and that “the only true measures of long-term success in the market are either increased revenues or increased stock values, and many factors besides SOA will contribute to this. The real issue is figuring out how to measure SOA’s contribution to this success.”

For the record, I am a member of the SOA Consortium. The first conference call I was on did include discussion on how to assess SOA success, so I have confidence that this will be addressed. Personally, I think the greater concern is Joe’s final comment. What is SOA’s contribution to the success? Already in my own efforts, there are plenty of things that SOA adoption can call attention to, such as having solid Security and Management architectures or standardized infrastructure practices, none of which are necessarily tied to SOA, but can certainly make life more difficult for SOA adoption. If success is measured in terms of the company’s stock price, can you really say whether SOA had anything to do with a fall or climb? Financial statements are always interesting, because the raw numbers give some quantitative insight, but the qualitative analysis is somewhat of a free-for-all, and highly subjective to the views of both the company’s PR group as well as the analysts.

Alastair expressed some concern about ‘Gorilla Vendor sponsored “clubs”‘ and that’s certainly within his right. Personally, I’m a glass half-full kind of guy, and always look for the good in these things. I think an SOA advocacy group is a good thing. It’s a targeted opportunity for group discussion, similar to a BoF session at a conference. I’ve learned a lot in these environments, and they haven’t been dominated by vendors pushing their will. Maybe I’m the exception, but to each their own. Everyone has to judge the value they see in these efforts and decide accordingly. In any case, I’m glad Alastair is paying attention and blogging on the subject, as it will only help the broader community in the long run.

So, rather than lamenting that SOA success is difficult to determine, what are your thoughts on how to measure SOA success? Comment or trackback with your thoughts. I’ll dedicate an upcoming post to my own thoughts, as well.

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