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Why SOA, Why Web 2.0, Why Now?

Two key waves are coming to shore for IT. One has had a longer incubation although it is early in its broad scale adoption and that is Service Oriented Architecture. According to IDC Research, the percentage of SOA-based applications will double within two years . The other wave has just become to materialize but is crashing upon the beach of IT quickly and with great force and that is Web 2.0.

An interesting dynamic is occurring. IT is busy and focused at modernizing and rationalizing its infrastructure, dealing with leveraging legacy infrastructure, changing point-to-point integration to more flexible loose-coupling, and breaking up application silos to become more modular and ultimately responsive-reflecting both the benefit and challenge of SOA. SOA promises IT agility and responsiveness to the business but also can be disruptive to existing IT organizations and processes, require new skill sets and the adoption of new processes and best practices. As a result, SOA realization can be slow. IT has started embracing and using proven SOA disciplines such as identifying key re-useable capabilities and exposing them as standards-based services. However, end-users don't have time for planned and meticulous processes and they are taking many of their needs into their own hands using "wild west" approaches such as mash-ups and Web collaboration-Web 2.0 approaches.

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Web 2.0 is being adopted rapidly by end-users because it offers lightweight, flexible and essentially frictionless technology that empowers non-technical end-users with the ability to personalize their IT environment and experience. However, enterprise adoption of Web 2.0 is being hampered because it has no obvious control mechanisms. Leveraging a SOA approach with governance can offer a new level of control. In many cases, these emerging mash-ups are resulting in big productivity gains, grabbing the attention of CEOs, and becoming business critical applications in their own right-regardless of buy-in from IT. It is inevitable that the business will put more pressure on IT to embrace and support these highly productive solutions.


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