Introduction



SOA has reached a point where organizations are optimistic about the promised benefits of SOA and are starting to implement SOA based projects. Yet SOA is a broad set of concepts that will influence an organization and its activities beyond one project, thus the frequently asked question: “What are the activities and best practices for a successful SOA implementation?” To realize the promised benefits of SOA, an enterprise must progress and build capabilities in multiple dimensions such as architecture, infrastructure, organizational culture and alignment of people and processes, information and analytics capabilities, governance, techniques and utilize standards-based tools.

This 3-part series, The Path to SOA, puts forth a realistic business and technology view of what it takes for companies to successfully adopt SOA at what we have deemed Level 5. What is Level 5 SOA? Level 5 SOA is the final level of SOA capabilities in our model and represents the ultimate state of SOA within an IT environment. Within Level 5 SOA, applications and systems operate as optimized, automated and self-adapting control systems for the business. Each system has complete flexibility to continuously adapt in real-time, based on user direction or automated response to business performance measurements.

Each part of this series covers activities necessary to achieve Level 5 SOA: Part 1, Assessment, outlines how to identify existing capabilities and future goals; Part 2, Project Selection, describes how to chose the right projects to achieve your goals; and Part 3, Planning & Execution, summarizes an SOA specific methodology for implementing those projects. Together, these will enable you to formulate a long-term strategy for introducing and leveraging SOA, assemble the planning pieces to achieve your goals and successfully execute SOA projects.

The Path to SOA, Part 1: Assessment

This is the first part in the three part series on The Path to Level 5 SOA, which puts forth a realistic business and technology view of what it takes for companies to successfully adopt SOA. We discuss Assessment and outline how to identify your existing capabilities and future goals to help drive your SOA adoption.

SOA Maturity—Why Care?

A maturity model is a “handbook” for process improvement. When you look across organizations, you see that there is a wide level of commonality in the generic capabilities. These commonalities are captured as maturity levels in a maturity model. A service-oriented architecture (SOA) maturity model serves as a means for you to understand the capabilities that are central to a successful SOA, and a tool to help you chart your SOA plans. It also serves as a mechanism for you to start equating IT investments with business benefits while managing risk—since each increasing level of maturity has investment requirements and brings increasing benefits. The nature of any maturity model is that there is no right or wrong approach—any model is a framework that provides a set of benchmarks, which may be helpful to your organization in developing your own approach.

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