There’s no doubt that Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) can greatly benefit organizations that are looking to improve on inefficiencies, waste, data sharing, and other critical tasks. But without a solid SOA maturity model in place, the process can yield tepid results.
As SOA continues to increase in popularity as a defining approach to structuring business solutions and processes, it is easy to recognise that the discipline itself is outside the realm of traditional development approaches, and that it is not accustomed to failure if approached incorrectly. The fact is, however, that no matter how religiously an organization may embrace SOA standards and practices in designing and implementing a business process, the end result can end up to be not the intended result.
The SOA maturity model provides SOA consultants and businesses alike with a roadmap for successfully designing, implementing, and managing SOA components of a business solution so that a clear set of requirements, goals, and measurable feedback can be gained throughout the entire process. The following article defines Oracle’s five-stage approach of the SOA maturity model and how they are successfully approached.
Stage One of the Oracle SOA Maturity Model: Opportunistic
The first stage of the SOA Maturity Model puts organisations on a fast track toward implementing SOA strategies that can have an immediate, short-term effect on efficiency, revenues, and operations. In this organising and strategising stage, businesses benefit from gaining experience with SOA best practices by building, deploying, and managing SOA services that are badly needed in a company’s business process. A successfully implemented stage one leads organisations into having the confidence and knowledge to continue along the four other phases of the SOA Maturity Model.
Stage Two: Systematic
Whereas stage one of the SOA Maturity Model focuses on internal operational improvements, stage two stretches out the reach of SOA to include how it can benefit an organisation’s clients and customers. In this stage, SOA is implemented into existing projects portfolio, and becomes a feature of the company that can be sold as a strength to prospective customers. This is done by applying SOA to simple integration projects, deploying service management, focusing on standards, and using BPA for modelling.
Stage Three: Enterprise
The SOA Maturity Model at the third stage begins to leverage the Lean Six Sigma method and SOA as a means of achieving BPA across critical systems of a organisation’s business process. This is the stage where a business begins to adopt SOA as a concept across the entire scope of the business, wherein the Enterprise Architecture group really starts to drive the company. For some businesses, this can be a critical juncture in the SOA Maturity Model, since it requires businesses to make a large investment in SOA. However, if stages one and two commence effectively, there are by this point enough measurable results to substantiate a stage three implementation of SOA.
Stage Four: Measured
Like any new business idea or system, time needs to be allotted to fully grasp the results. By this stage in the SOA maturity model, organisations can use BAM and BI analytics to measure, report, and ultimately improve on processes, measure and improve service reuse, and make necessary changes to fine-tune SOA adoption.
Stage Five: Industrialised
The final stage in the SOA Maturity Model is the arrival point for organisations that have committed themselves to adopting SOA best practices and putting them into place across the scope of their operations. Once a business reaches the Industrialised stage, the entire organizational structure of the business operates in a kind of “SOA ecosystem,” wherein new business processes are organically conceived of, designed, implemented, and maintained using SOA methods. In this way, adaptive business models are implemented and event-driven technologies are deployed to enable automated self-optimising applications.
Where Do I Start?
When looking at the Oracle SOA Maturity Model, it’s important to note that not all organisations are required to enter the model on stage one. In many cases, businesses have already dabbled into SOA, and may feature some SOA framework in their overall business model. In this way, some organisations might enter at stage two or even stage three, when they are ready to take their SOA usage to the next level.
Regardless of where your organisation currently sits on the SOA Maturity Model, you can be assured that following through on Oracle’s approach to systematically introducing and managing SOA best practices is the most measured and organized means of transforming into an SOA-driven organisation.