SOA: 6 Best Practices for SuccessBy Mel Duvall | Posted 2006-06-22 Email Print
You won't get buy-in if the business sees service-oriented architecture as a million-dollar black hole. Job No. 1: CIOs must show the strategic benefits of application integration, advises one SOA consultant.
Service-oriented architecture (SOA) has become one of the hottest buzzwords in technology. The technology promises to make integrating disparate applications much easier by providing standard mechanisms to exchange data. But many chief information officers still have difficulty getting buy-in on the technology.
The reason is obvious: Why would business unit managers, for example, want to consider sharing the cost of a big-budget SOA project when all they really want is a simple fix to a particular challenge? An executive may just be looking for, say, his or her sales agents to be able to access warranty recordsnot to be involved in a million-dollar technology black hole.
The reality, says Gary So, co-author of a new book, Integration and SOA: Concepts, Technologies and Best Practices, is that CIOs need to be able to sell their organizations on the strategic importance of integration. Continuing to follow a point-to-point or application-to-application approach will limit an organization's ability to build on the work achieved and gain economies of scale.
"What you'll end up with down the road is another 20 stovepipe applications with their own integration headaches," says So, who is vice president of technology for application integration software vendor webMethods.
Instead, argue So and co-author Beth Gold-Bernstein, organizations need to take a more strategic approach to integration going so far as to setup a separate entity responsible for integration issues throughout the organization, and to capture and promote best practices. Some organizations, such as Johnson & Johnson, have done just that, setting up Integration Competency Centers, or ICCs.
When it comes to integration, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. However, So says, there are six critical factors that can lead to success.