Has anything changed?

Joe McKendrick posted a followup with some of the discussions that have went on within the comments of his blog regarding his commentary on the recent ZapFlash about barriers to SOA adoption. While most of the comments amount to vendor bashing, the one that stuck out to me was the one that said, “SOA offers nothing different than what the vast majority of good IT teams have been doing for more than a decade. Think strategically? We do. We recognize SOA for what it is: nothing.”

My first comment is that SOA is indeed, evolutionary, not revolutionary. That being said, I simply don’t believe that most IT departments can truly believe that they’re doing a great job. Are there some that are? Absolutely. Are those great ones thinking strategically? Probably so. But what about the rest of the pack? To them, I ask one simple question: What has changed? If you’re viewing this strictly as a technology thing where you throw some REST or Web Services into the same-old solutions that you’ve been building, you’re not getting it. If the business is unhappy with IT, something needs to change. Perhaps its a change in how things get built and how we view lifecycles (such as product lifecycles instead of development lifecycles). Maybe that manifests itself in organizational changes. Perhaps it is more operationally focused with visibility and reporting on subsystems that are of significance to the business rather than another IT worker. These are just some examples. If you’re still defining projects in the same old way, deploying them in the same old way, etc., well then, not much has changed, has it. I hope that 10 years from now some things have changed, but IT moves very slowly. 10 years ago, I was hoping usability and user-centered design philosophies would continue to gain prominence, and those are still in their emerging stages in many corporate enterprises. At least I know I’ll have a long career in advocacy!

One Response to “Has anything changed?”

  • […] If you’ve been lucky enough to have someone really think about what it means to adopt SOA, you’ll understand exactly what Anne is saying here. SOA winds up touching all aspects of IT. If your doctor tells you that you are at risk of a heart attack, simply eating less fatty foods is not enough. There is no magic pill or single activity that will make your SOA adoption efforts successful. It is a lifestyle, and you need to be committed to everything that it may entail, rather than only doing it where it is convenient. We have to recognize that to make things better for the business, things have to change. If we’re only implementing minor changes, we can only expect minor successes. If your IT department is already very successful, minor changes may be fine. If your IT department is on a path to a heart attack, major changes may be in order. […]

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