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Business Transformation in Action

Joe McKendrick

Spring Into SOA: The Season to Measure (2)

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Measuring SOA success is important, but how do you know a successful project succeeds because of SOA? There could be other forces as work as well.

That's the issue raised by Dan Foody of Progress Software, who observes that measuring SOA progress is important, but corporate buy-in is even more important:

"Measuring SOA doesn't matter if you can't get buy-in to do SOA," he observes. "You can build the best measurements in the world, but if your targets say that, after your large up-front investment, SOA will begin paying back in 1-2 years, you're probably not going to get the funding. Time to value is a critical component that can't be underestimated (especially in this economy)."
Time to value is critical for SOA projects; meaningful metrics is another part of the equation. Dan observes that "when you want to measure the ROI for SOA, you have to measure it versus alternative options. Building a revenue bearing service with a SOA architecture doesn't mean that the entire benefit for the service is attributable to SOA infrastructure.  What you need to measure is the cost-to-build-with-SOA versus the cost-to-build-without-SOA (because, in either case, the revenue generated will likely be the same)."

Dan urges SOA proponents to measure and measure deeply, but to take a "realistic" approach to it. "Don't focus on metrics that are "suspect" (e.g. ROI for SOA) - the business won't believe you," he cautions.At the same time, "don't focus on metrics which can't be measured until years later (e.g. mean-time-to...) - the business won't listen to you." And focus on deliverung results as quickly as possible -- time to value is of the essence.

In this blog (formerly known as "SOA in Action"), Joe McKendrick examines how BPM and related business and IT approaches can promote business transformation.

Joe McKendrick

Joe McKendrick is an author and independent analyst who tracks the impact of information technology on management and markets. View more

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