Business Transformation in Action

Joe McKendrick

SOA Symposium: Is SOA Still Dead? And What's the 'New SOA' Looking Like?

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I'm at this year's International SOA Symposium in Rotterdam, and the prevailing theme is "Next-Gen" SOA, in which we see service-orientation emerge from its bout with the skeptics to take a stronger role within the enterprise.

Setting the stage for the event was Anne Thomas Manes of Burton Group, who declared in a post at the beginning of the year that "SOA" -- at least as we knew it -- was "dead." However, the second part of Anne's post was "Long Live Services," which is the theme that she picked up on in her keynote address.

"Business wasn't really interested in buying something called 'SOA," she declared, adding that in her own research, fewer than 10% of companies have seen significant business value in their efforts.

However, that is not to diminish the importance of service oriented architecture. "We should be service orienting everything we do," she says. What's getting in the way is the feeling that an "SOA program" needs to be launched to get there, she states. "We have an opportunity at this point to resurrect SOA. We need a different approach, one based on architectural principles."

Anne also observed that current cloud computing initiatives bear a striking resemblance to SOA efforts. "All the discussions I hear about cloud are the same discussions we had about cloud four to five years ago," she says. "How are applications in the cloud going to talk to the applications back home without intrinsic interoperability?"

I had the opportunity to lead a panel discussion later in the day in which Anne further elaborated on her thinking. Essentially, she still holds fast to the points she made in the January blog. She emphasized her point that both end-user organizations and vendors are still too wrapped up in the idea of delivering some type of "SOA" package, versus delivering agility and flexibility.

I will also be joining a host of industry experts and practitioners to discuss the "New SOA" -- more business-savvy, more business driven -- in next week's two-day SOA in Action conference here at the ebizQ site (October 28-29).

1 Comment

I think Anne is right on the mark. What the economic downturn killed was the hype-cycle around SOA and the ability for vendors to be able to market vague products that promised "SOA in a box".

Delivering service-based business capabilities can now make some progress because all of that noise is behind us. (Finally!)

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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