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Business Transformation in Action

Joe McKendrick

Gartner Keynote: Shattering the Myths of 'SOA Naysayers'

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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 overeager optimists, but also those promulgated by the skeptics and naysayers as well. 

In our last post, we reported on Yefim's top five list of the hyperbole the SOA "Fanatics" have been hoisting on us. Now, here are the five most common myths that SOA proponents -- or "SOA Naysayers" -- often put out there:

Myth #1 -- SOA introduces new complications and new problems. "That might be true, depending on what you were doing before," Yefim says. "After all, complications and problems are all relative to prior experience."  However, he points out, "most issues that have to do with deploying and establishing service-oriented systems are not issues of SOA; they're issues of distributed computing, or of modern grid based computing networks."  Without SOA, he says, companies would "probably be facing the same complications and issues." At least SOA provides a more consistent approach to tackling these problems.

Myth #2 -- SOA is nothing new, it's hype, it's taking old wine and trying to sell it in a new bottle. SOA is merely a set of coarse-grained remote procedure calls (RPCs). SOA builds upon earlier models of distributed computing and RPCs, but it's something different, Yefim points out. "SOA is intended to address a business topology of the business functionality of the application, whereas RPCs  were intended to simply distribute an application."

Myth #3 -- SOA is doomed because Web services don't work well enough. This widely held misconception is based on the view that SOA is entirely based on SOAP. "There's nothing in common between the two, yet people confuse SOA with SOAP. SOA is not about Web services -- Web services is one of the ways of establishing connectivity between the clients and the services of SOA."

Myth #4 -- SOA is hard to sell because the business can't see the benefits. This is probably true for basic-level SOA, but as more companies move into advanced SOA, business benefits will become more apparent, Yefim says. "After all, SOA is an architecture, and the business sees software as a means to a goal, rather than the goal in itself.' However, as SOA begins to support new initiatives such as event-driven processing, business awareness may grow. "Event-driven SOA has very important components to it that allow direct benefits, clear benefits to business operations, to any business that wants to gain control over its overall IT information environment or wants to build situation awareness." Event-driven SOA, Yefim adds, "is the foundation for business activity monitoring, business intelligence, situational awareness. All of these directly serve business."

Myth #5 -- SOA is obsolete, and its time to move on. Indeed, the industry is probably ready for a new round of buzzwords, Yefim says. "There's no intrigue anymore in basic SOA.  We know how to do it, it's not talked about as much as before." But, he asks, "What are you going to move on to? The only alternatives you're going to find to SOA are going to be advanced forms of SOA." [See SOA Nay-sayer Myth #4, above...]

1 Comment

Now we're talking! :D

I just realised I didn't read your first post properly or would have realised there was a part deux. The follies of multitasking, sorry.

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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