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Elizabeth Book

Anne Thomas Manes' Keynote: 'The Great Potential of SOA Comes With Great Risk'

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Anne Thomas Manes, VP and Research Director at Burton Group, in her InfoWorld SOA Executive Forum keynote, said widespread adoption of SOA presents great advantages.

"But with great potential, comes great risk," she said.

"If you are unprepared to make the big changes that will need to be made in your organization, then you have to scale back your investment. You can't do SOA next week and not do it the week after. You have to commit, for life.

"Like physical fitness, SOA is a lifestyle. This is not a short term investment, it is a long term commitment. You will start to realize good value quickly, but you will not realize the full flexibility until much later."

Many SOA adoptions are going to fail, Anne said, due to insufficient enterprise-level planning.

Then she said, "Elizabeth Book (that's me!) coined a term yesterday, called Service-Averse Architecture. That is what most organizations have currently."

"IT is not healthy. 70 percent of total capital spending by the company is on IT budgets, and projects fail regularly. They are late, they're overbudget, and they don't deliver on the service they're expected to provide.

"This is the problem," Anne said. "More than 80 percent of the budget is spent on maintenence and operations and new projects account for only 20 percent.

"How many of you have over 1,000 applications in your organization? Most of the organizations I work with have well over 500 appllications, and they are essentially accomplishing about 35 different things, but less than 20 core capabilities," she said.

"How many of you have more than 500 databases? There are way too many databases that contain virtually the same information, which are incompatible.

"You are spending too much money on boat achors. These (legacy) systems are weighing you down, and you have very little money left for innovation," Anne said.

The SOA fitness program requires a new and different perspective:

1. Be aware of your bad habits. Don't build a new application if you need one new capability.
2. Look at your existing applications. Identify redundancy.
3. Retool your application into a service.
4. SOA is about refactoring duplicate capability into a service. Applications then turn that capability into a service.

SOA is not integration, Anne said:

1. SOA is about design, not technology. "Technology provides the tools. It's up to you to use them effectively."
2. SOA is about reducing redundancy, or dismantling application silos.
3. Integration increases redundancy, and reinforces application silos.
4. Designing Shared services is hard, and requires a very different mindset.
5. It takes time to build services that are actually usable.

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Peter Schooff

Peter Schooff is Contributing Editor at ebizQ, and manager of the ebizQ Forum. Contact him at pschooff@techtarget.com

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