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Sometimes better described as a "methodology," SOA seeks to define reusable components or "services" -- repeatable business tasks -- that contain application logic that performs a specific business function such as "validate customer number" or "insert employee ID number." These services are defined in business terms, without regard to a specific application, operating system, programming language or platform.

The greatest benefits realized by SOA are reusability, flexibility and agility. The other major benefit of SOA is productivity, which translates directly into cost savings. By managing changes to the business processes rather than maintaining the way those processes are addressed in dozens of individual applications, companies save significant expense over time. Each time a service is reused, cost savings accrue from not having to insert it into or maintain it in another application.

As more companies embark on this journey, more studies and experiences are available that can point us to the best practices for project implementation. An integrated services environment is needed to deliver a rich set of tools that support the SOA integration process.

The following tips are to help you ensure the success of your project as you move forward.

Success Tip #1: Clearly Define Your Goals

Goals are critical for a project that not only impacts the heart of your business processes but also may cross several major departments and may lead to some organizational change as well.

Prior to embarking on the design phase of the project, make certain that you have done the following:

  • Define clearly your goals and objectives.
  • Define specifically what you mean by "success."
  • Identify the key business processes that will be addressed in the project.
  • Identify the key internal and external services to be addressed in the project.
  • Identify the key reusable steps.

Success Tip #2: Understand the Nature of SOA Services and "Loose Coupling"

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