Big SOA? Small SOA? No- Right SOA.

I just read about three blog entries that all had to do with Joe McKendrick’s recent post titled, “Enterprise SOA concept falls out of favor.” Others commenting on this post include Jeff Schneider and this one (author unknown).Personally, I’m tired of these articles that are lamenting SOA. If you read between the lines, the real story is that there are very few case studies of “big SOA” in the way it was originally hyped. Therefore, we need to start hyping “small SOA” to keep it relevant. Neither one of these is the right thing. If “Big SOA” isn’t succeeding, we should be asking why? Odds are, it’s because the organizations involved are simply trying to do IT the same way that they’ve always been doing IT, and merely hoping that by creating some “services” things will suddenly be better. Sorry, won’t happen. In this scenario, what’s really happening is “Small SOA.” Because we haven’t changed anything about the way IT defines its activities, the only hope of achieving any of the hyped goals of SOA is to find some existing projects that are of sufficient enough scope to create that potential. If they don’t exist, now it’s a pure bottom up approach where people are throwing arbitrary services out there and hoping for the best. Certainly having some services is better than no services, but you’d be hard pressed to claim that the organization has adopted SOA and shown value that a CIO would appreciate.Coming back to “Big SOA”, it also doesn’t do any good to say, “it must be enterprise” and try to get funding for some all-encompassing, top-down enterprise initiative. That’s unlikely to happen. What needs to happen is “right SOA.” In order to do it, however, you need to have some knowledge of where you’re going to get the most bang for your buck. I point back to my post on horizontal versus vertical thinking for this. If you don’t have an idea on how to break down your functional capabilities into this, you need to take the time to better understand your business. Do the analysis, and then make the decisions on where to apply it. If you only focus on projects at hand, you may have success on a project with appropriate scope, but then it all falls apart when you don’t have the next target area. This doesn’t have to be some huge, all-encompassing analysis effort, but it does need to be enough to ensure that the techniques you’re going to apply are relevant, will add value, and will be successful. If we don’t have this knowledge, how can we have any confidence that any new technology approach, whether it is SOA, REST, BPM, EDA, AJAX, Web 2.0, etc., will be successful?

One Response to “Big SOA? Small SOA? No- Right SOA.”

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.