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Business Transformation in Action

Joe McKendrick

Gartner Keynote: Shattering the Myths of 'SOA Fanatics'

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In his keynote that opened the second day of ebizQ's SOA in Action conference, Gartner's Yefin Natis sought to dispel some of the myths that surround SOA -- not only by the skeptics and naysayers, but also those promulgated by the eager optimists as well.

Here are the five most common myths that SOA proponents -- or "SOA Fanatics" -- often put out there:

Myth #1 - Services were invented in the IT department and are spreading out to the business. This myth assumes that SOA architects and designers "will be bringing solutions to the business that the business itself couldn't invent," Yefim says. However, he observes, "encapsulated functions have existed in business forever. This is how business is structured." Instead, SOA is about improving the "ability of software designers and software architects to model the real world better. Software is not bringing the solution to the business, its better understanding the business."

Myth #2 - SOA applications are assembled from pre-built components. "SOA is not a Lego game," Yefim says. "Although service oriented systems indeed include encapsulated components, or services, they also include clients, batch components which are not service oriented, and include legacy systems that need to be connected to."

Myth #3 - Sharing or reusing application logic is the main benefit of SOA. "In reality, a successful environment will have reuse of about 30%, so that is a ballpark number where you should feel good about your level of reuse," Yefim says. "If that's the case, it means many organizations will have less than 30% -- so reuse is not the primary benefit, although it is one of the benefits of service oriented architecture. There are many other things, such a making your internal architecture more manageable, having greater extensibility, and applications that function a lot better when they are service oriented."

Myth #4 - SOA eliminates the need for application integration. No matter how effective your SOA infrastructure, you're still going to need enterprise application integration, Yefim says. What SOA does do is "introduce a consistency to the architecture, as well as tools and standards that help application integration."

Myth #5 - SOA reduces the cost of IT. It may help reduce IT costs in the log run, but early on, "investment in SOA costs in fact costs more," Yefim says. "Not because SOA is more complex, but just because when you do something new, you have to understand new approach, you have to train people, you have to buy new tools -- and that all is costs." What SOA does do is "shift the costs, distribute the costs differently."

Next post: Yefim goes on to shatter the myths of the Naysayers!

2 Comments

What about the naysayer side (which I thought was equally insightful)?

You wouldn't be a closet SOA naysayer now would you? ;)

Robert: Me -- a closet SOA naysayer!!?? Nahhhhh....

In fact, I have just posted the Naysayer myths:
http://www.ebizq.net/blogs/soainaction/2009/11/gartner_keynote_shattering_the.php

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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