Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) has promised many benefits for both IT and business. As a result, it has been widely adopted as an architectural style among both private business and government enterprises. Despite SOA’s popularity, however, relatively few of these enterprises are able to measure and demonstrate the value of SOA to their organization. What is the problem and why is it so hard to demonstrate that SOA can deliver the much needed business value it promises?
In this post we will point out some root causes for this problem and highlight how Bodhtree experience, Define and Govern Service-Oriented Architectures can help organizations maximize their return on investment with SOA.
The main problem is rooted in the way SOA adoption is approached. In most cases, organizations approach SOA by limiting the scope to individual solution implementation projects – using it purely as a tool to group software functions into services described by some standard interface. As a result, each SOA implementation is disconnected and void of the larger business problem context. This creates disconnected, technology-focused SOA silos that are difficult to manage and govern. Reuse of services across business lines, arguably one of the main advantages of SOA, in turn becomes very limited if not impossible without increased cost of integration.
SOA calls for standard-based service infrastructure that requires big investment. Many IT organizations struggle to establish a common SOA infrastructure, but fail to do so. The main reason for this failure is again the way SOA is approached in those organizations; limiting SOA’s scope to solution projects makes it hard for individual projects to justify the investment in service infrastructure. As a result they fall back to their tactical implementation which cannot be reused by other projects down the road.
SOA, as an architectural style, becomes recognized as part of the organization’s overall Enterprise Architecture instead of leaving it linked to only individual projects. SOA projects in the enterprise share a larger enterprise context and each project adds value to the whole enterprise business in an incremental, reusable fashion.
SOA concepts can be incorporated into the strategy by indentifying the business areas or segments in the enterprise that benefit from a SOA approach. Likewise, the strategy could point out the areas in which SOA is not adding any value to the business.
This allows users to identify the expected key metrics from the start and focus their SOA investment on high value projects. This also makes sure that each smaller SOA project is initiated in the context of larger business objectives and as such, can add measurable business value.