I struggle to keep up with the number of industry organizations that claim association with SOA these days. Unfortunately, they seem to be either focused on generating yet more technical standards (just what we need!) or to be vendor-dominated organizations interested primarily in business development for their backers.
Therefore, I noticed with some initial dismay the appearance of the SOA consortium . However after finding out a little more about it, I believe that the SOA consortium has the potential to be a useful addition to the world of industry groups for a number of reasons:
- It is focused on advocacy and not becoming yet another standards body: SOA needs effective supporters, not more technical complexity right now!
- It recognises not only the importance of engaging with the business but also the need for both business and IT management to change in order to benefit from SOA.
- Its founders include not only major vendors (IBM, HP, BEA, Cisco and SAP) but also major end-users (Bank of America and Avis). This balance between vendor and buyer is essential if it is to become credible as an advocacy group.
- Finally, it also has the involvement of two industry organizations who know how to engage both end-users and vendors in a constructive way. In particular, the OMG has a long track record in doing this successfully. (The Integration Consortium is a mere baby in comparison, but set-up with the same concept of end-user engagement).
My only caveat is that the claim to target the Global 1000 seems undermined by the consortium’s decision to hold only three meetings to formulate its charter – in the obvious locations of New York, Dallas and San Francisco. While there must be limits to consultation, this choice does seem a little short-sighted if the consortium intends to be truly global.