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Untitled Document

Sometimes, to better understand things, we question ourselves. These days, during our current economic crisis, something we might want to understand better is SOA, or more accurately, service orientation (SO). Thus, here is a dialogue with myself.

Q: Why do you connect economical downtime with SOA?

A: For the era of automation provided by IT departments of organizations, the business market experienced "downtime" several times already. Business has learned that it has to switch from "go-go" to "go-slow" mode in tough economic conditions. That is, it has to move attention and investments from the strategic initiatives onto the sustainability, which is expressed via minimization of expenses while doing the same business with less possible changes.

The most popular expense reduction mechanisms are cutting spending in cost centers such as IT, cutting investments into new business solutions (assuming that market just moves slower with no significant changes), and trying to produce the same with fewer resources. And this did work for short while but not long enough to "sit through" the slow-down.

At the same time, business orients to service naturally; this is how it makes its living. Business consumers (in contrast with technical ones) are not only those who consume at the moment but also those who have intentions or needs to consume. The OASIS SOA standard positions SO as the business-oriented, consumer-centric concept. This outlines SO from other known business and technical concepts; SO collaborates across business-technology boundaries. Thus, if business faces slowdown, i.e. reduction of service, SO is hardly affected.

Q: What are the specifics you see for current downtime and do you agree that SOA is going down as well?

A: In short, SO can go down in a crisis only if it is misused. What matters is the current downtime is different from the ones the business and technology experienced before and "go-slow" does not work anymore. SO has all the needed potentials to move a company through the crisis and win after all. Here is an illustration.

Someone runs a flower-growing business located on an ocean coast. During a calm season, the flowers ought to be covered to be protected from the nightly breeze. If the wind is stronger, the cover should be made stronger so the business can go forward. When next season comes with constant storms, a strong cover can sustain for only so long. If a crash happens, the business fails. This is what we have in our current economical crisis: it is so strong and promised to be so long that just "go-slow" bids on the business existence itself, not on its revenue. We witness how strong companies suddenly collapse every day.


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