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Is SOA Something Small to Medium-Size Businesses Can Work With?

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From Joe McKendrick: Is SOA something small to medium-size businesses can work with? Or is it still a luxury of well-heeled corporations and large government agencies?

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  • Yes. I beleive SOA is something any companies can work with I beleive if you are building services for re-use you are doing SOA and many companies are already doing that. SOA governance is also mandatory for small environment. There are tools such as JaxView that are both cost-effective and easy to operate which make them ideal for small SOA environments.

  • SOA never was a luxury. Back in 2005 it was something you needed to start doing. In 2009 it's something you need to be doing. It doesn't cost anything to embrace Thomas Erl's core principles of service-orientation. And the SMB market needs to produce better engineered apps just like large enterprises.

  • Absolutely. SMBs are often a microcosm of large corporations. Like their larger brethren, SMBs often have problems aligning business and IT. They face issues with integration—just not on the same scale as the corporate enterprise. SMBs own legacy technology that they cannot turn their back on. And increasingly they need to integrate with customers and third parties to run their business effectively. All of these are problems that SOA as a whole attempts to address, regardless of an organization’s size.

    Always remember that SOA is an architectural approach and not a blueprint. People, process and policy (and the technologies that support these) can—and should—scale to address the problems at hand. Indeed, if something in your “SOA? doesn’t scale up or down, then it’s probably not really SOA, but a point solution.

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    To Joe McKendrick: SOA is healthy for all organisations. Since small and medium-size businesses are even more dependent on business services, thinking in services is highly recommended.

    To John: I would not insist on building services for reuse, it is optional, but building business services is the core goal of SOA. BTW, not many business services are reused in the organisations.

    To Michael Meehan: I would like to comment on the statement: "It doesn't cost anything to embrace Thomas Erl's core principles of service-orientation. And the SMB market needs to produce better engineered apps just like large enterprises."

    Initial formulation of service orientation done by Thomas Erl 'kept in mind' Web Service technology, which, as it is clear in 2009, does not constitute SOA by itself. I have wrote on many occasions that no interface can change the essence of the thing despite any names the interface is assigned (like web Service). I agree that "It doesn't cost anything to embrace" SOA while its driving principles look a bit different in 2009 (see my post: http://www.ebizq.net/blogs/service_oriented/2009/02/principles_of_service_orientation_reviewed.php )

  • Absolutely. If done correctly, with a top-down approach, SOA through BPM can actually provide concrete ROI benefits for companies of all sizes. The key though is to start with BPM and the business value. The SOA patterns can be adopted through the BPM context. I have recently written about this: http://www.ebizq.net/topics/soa_management/features/10956.html?rss .

    The SOA through BPM is even more relevant for small to medium sized companies.

    A word of caution: sometimes organizations have launched “pure? technical infrastructure initiatives to realize service oriented architectures – as pure IT projects. Immaterial of the size of the organization, this might not pay off and can potentially lead to large, expensive, and complex SOA “modernization? efforts - with little or no business value.

  • Interesting. I believe that “to start with BPM and the business value? leads exactly to SOA “not pay off and can potentially lead to large, expensive, and complex SOA “modernization? efforts - with little or no business value?. Yes, we better start with business value but it is not in BPM, i.e. it is not in HOW we doing things, but in WHAT things we do to reach our business goal, WHY we do these particular things, WHO we are and WHO our consumers are.

    Starting with processes always leads to an ad-hock and ‘organic’ grows of mess. Are we doing this due to getting a chance to apply BPM later and feel a bit of pain doing process optimization and re-engineering? When you are buying a train ticket, are you starting with learning how to drive to the book office or with defining your destination and travel date (and ticket prices)? I have an impression that BPM is a strong medication but it treats consequences, not the disease itself.

    If we start analyzing any new or existing business with natural questions WHAT, WHY and WHO, and only then HOW, i.e. we will do analysis of business values in top-down manner, we rater end-up in SOA than in BPM. That is, SOA encapsulates and engages BPM as an instrument of optimization of SOA implementation, and this instrument must be always properly handled to its purpose and not replacing the reason for its application.

  • No question SOA is something SMBs can work with. Business imperatives like reuse and maintaining cost-effective procedures are not limited to the large enterprise.

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