Companies that have already adopted a services-oriented architecture (SOA) are well versed in the benefits of such a migration. The flexibility enabled through an SOA environment makes it much easier for companies to quickly respond to changing business conditions. SOA also provides a cost-effective, timely solution to managing growth that has outpaced a company's existing infrastructure and resulted in the need for more robust systems and formal processes. Although it is undeniable that more and more companies are choosing to migrate to a services-oriented architecture, the key factors driving these organizations to join the SOA movement have shifted, mostly due to the current economic environment.
A shifting business case: from "nice to have" to "need to have"
For many companies, the business case for the adoption of SOA has gone beyond the obvious business drivers of improving service levels and customer satisfaction. As many companies prepare for a "no-growth" year, executives are shifting their focus from top line revenue to bottom line profits. 2009 is all about keeping companies lean and conserving cash. SOA is emerging as an integral part of many companies' overall survival strategies to help ensure that bottom-line profitability is sustained in a no-growth environment through greater agility, reduced infrastructure cost, and streamlined operational efficiency.
Tipping the IT priorities
The increasing importance of SOA environments is presenting a great opportunity for IT and operations managers to re-align their priorities with strategic business objectives. SOA introduces a whole new level of infrastructure complexity, as composite applications and fragmented network systems make it difficult to pinpoint network issues and determine if critical business applications are performing as expected. SOA has, once again, redefined the parameters of the two most common problems in existence for IT managers and operations teams: visibility and information management. As a result, IT and operations teams should be putting major emphasis on implementing best practices and technologies that provide a real-time window into the state of health within SOA environments to enable seamless management across all services and systems. Without technologies that can address these two evolving problems, IT effectiveness will deteriorate as the number of services in the data center grows.