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A 2006 study by Yankee group said 85 percent of businesses are implementing SOA. This has been corroborated by a recent study which proclaims that 36 percent are planning SOA deployments, 47 percent have implemented SOA projects, 9 percent have implemented enterprise SOA, and 9 percent have no SOA plans.



What would be interesting to note would be how many of these ventures were successful and why. Or: how many were not successful and why not?

A similar study by Burton Group found a 50 percent complete failure rate. Another 30 percent were considered neither successful nor wholly failed -- which leaves an out and out success to a measly 20 percent.

Adoption of SOA and ensuring that it is met with success is critical in ensuring that the enterprise is not disillusioned with what to the business is just an IT buzzword. However, implementations today are marked by challenges that are cultural, procedural or strategic.

This article looks at some of these and proposes how these challenges can be addressed. An industry success story has also been analyzed to showcase that doing things right the first time around is so significant to ensure that SOA delivers more value than Service Oriented Integration.

A recent study by Burton Group found that only 1 in 5 SOA projects actually succeed! So what is it that leads to so many failures?

Current pitfalls

SOA attempts to bring together the people, the processes, the applications and the technology to the business users, continually, in such a manner that to them, it seems like one application. The complexity that comes with it, therefore, converts failure to address fundamentals into major pitfalls.

  • Initiatives missing coherent plan

Absence of a coherent plan that takes a holistic look at business needs leads to an anarchy-ridden. project-centric approach. Services just become a means to connect one application to another.

This results in multiple silos interfacing through modern web services interfaces and perhaps connected through an ESB.

  • Trace your path: SOA vision and roadmap

SOA vision defines the overall architecture, encompassing the whole organization, describing the target state of the enterprise IS. Roadmap outlines the course to realize identified vision. It should separate the various streams -- the architecture, the infrastructure, and the business processes into various streams for easier planning.

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