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Over the past few years I've seen an increasing shift of organizations moving away from point-to-point integration toward SOA.

While point-to-point integration certainly works and there are plenty of times and places to use it, it can be cumbersome and increasingly expensive in terms of resources, time and management effort over a long period of time. Furthermore, it can become difficult to adapt or modify as an organization's needs change. Granted, it's not impossible -- it's just that at some point the level of effort required to maintain, update and develop custom point-to-point integration connections and processes becomes considerable. Issues with scalability, reliability and total cost of ownership are driving organizations to consider alternative solutions.



That's why a number of organizations that I've talked to recently have been shifting their integration and development efforts toward SOA-based solutions. And while SOA-based systems are generally not necessarily simple, they do offer real advantages: when implemented right, with appropriate technologies, good best practices and real SOA governance. Organizations transitioning from point-to-point type integration to SOA programs have achieved real benefits. Here are some possible gains based on examples from companies aggressively pursuing (and succeeding at) SOA development:

  • Reduced total cost of ownership. Using reusable design patterns is an approach that allows organizations to look at the big picture and the key requirements for a service or set of services, then create a design pattern and technology solution that will satisfy those requirements. Once a design pattern is created organizations can keep reusing them for similar needs. One key benefit of this approach is a reduction in the total cost of ownership, especially in terms of future, incremental changes, because organizations can reuse the components that are already developed.
  • Increased reliability. When an organization designs a new SOA integration solution (hopefully using design patterns) the general rigor it puts into the initial design and creation of the solution will help increase the quality and reliability of the solutions.
  • More standardization. Instead of having different tools and technologies to implement integrations and connectivity, an organization can leverage consistent approaches and tools across multiple environments: increasing standardization, reducing training and maintenance costs and (once again) helping to increase the reliability of the architecture.
  • Faster time-to-market. Being able to start from existing patterns and using consistent tools can have a big, positive impact on an IT organization's time-to-market for new or updated solutions.

When implementing SOA solutions, organizations need to keep in mind that SOA isn't really just a project -- it's a program. That's why it's important to figure out the overall goals (business and IT). Once an organization has defined those goals, the approach for reaching them should be divided up into tangible phases and specific deliverables, so that you can obtain business benefits throughout the development process.

About the Author

David Kelly - With twenty years at the cutting edge of enterprise infrastructure, David A. Kelly is ebizQ's Community Manager for Optimizing Business/IT Management. This category includes IT governance, SOA governance,and compliance, risk management, ITIL, business service management,registries and more.

As Community Manager, David will blog and podcast to keep the ebizQ community fully informed on all the important news and breakthroughs relevant to enterprise governance. David will also be responsible for publishing press releases, taking briefings, and overseeing vendor submitted feature articles to run on ebizQ. In addition, each week, David will compile the week's most important news and views in a newsletter emailed out to ebizQ's ever-growing Governance community. David Kelly is ideally suited to be ebizQ's Governing the Infrastructure Community Manager as he has been involved with application development, project management, and product development for over twenty years. As a technology and business analyst, David has been researching, writing and speaking on governance-related topics for over a decade.

David is an expert in Web services, application development, and enterprise infrastructures. As the former Senior VP of Analyst Services at Hurwitz Group, he has extensive experience in translating the implications of new application development, deployment, and management technologies into practical recommendations for enterprise customers. He's written articles for Computerworld, Software Magazine, the New York Times, and other publications, and spoken at conferences such as Comdex, Software Development, and Internet World. With expertise ranging from application development to enterprise management to integration/B2B services to IP networking and VPNs, Kelly can help companies profit from the diversity of a changing technology landscape.

More by David A. Kelly

About ebizQ

ebizQ is the insiderís guide to next-generation business process management. We offer a growing collection of independent editorial articles on BPM trends, issues, challenges and solutions, all targeted to business and IT BPM professionals.

We cover BPM standards, governance, technology and continuous process improvement, as well as process discovery, modeling, simulation and optimization, among many other areas. We follow case management, decision management, business rules management, operational intelligence, complex event processing and other related topics. We closely track important trends such as the rise of social BPM, mobile BPM and BPM in the cloud. We also explore BPMís use in functional areas, such as supply chain and customer management, and in key verticals, such as financial services, health care, insurance and government.

ebizQ's other BPM-oriented content includes podcasts, webcasts, webinars, white papers, a variety of expert blogs, a lively online forum and much more.

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