I gave a presentation with Jerry on SOA today at the Sapient Executive Summit. There is some much stuff going-on on SOA right now, yet most people I talk to are a bit confused as to what this thing really is. Here is what came out of the presentation today…
As with many other "technology trend of the year", the issue is that the infromation technology industry at large is guilty of hyping things up yet again (yes I am including myself in this, and all participants in the IT industry).
The concept of software services is not new. I have had a chance to build services with a lot different technologies over the years: RPC, Tuxedo, CORBA, COM/DCOM, etc. And when I say services, I mean enterprise services to support broad sets of functionalilty across a business (e.g. retail banking services including things like accounts, customer, credit checks, etc.). But technology vendors are druming the SOA mantra as if it were the new silver bullet.
Reality is, the technology has evolved, and is better than it ever was to support service models. yet it still has a long way to go to better support a broader deployment of services. In addition, the challenges to SOA are more people and organization related, rather than technical. The creaton and the on-going operation of a service tends to raise all sorts of questions regarding funding, and who gets to decide how the service evolves, etc.
As with many other technology trends, the best way for organizations to adopt SOA and be succesful at it is to have an IT Planning & Strategy process that is the right forum to discuss these trends and how they affect individual initiatives.