28 Oct 2012

SOA and Corporate Perspective Integration Challenges

The use of SOA, or service-oriented architecture, has been widely adopted around the world in many different types of corporations. As widely adopted as SOA is there are still many different organizations that still have yet to fully embrace, and utilize the extent of SOA possibilities and integration. When looking at it through a business perspective, the focus has always been on getting the most value for the organization. In order to accomplish this, an organization relies on their IT department to strategically automate business operations.

The problem with this type of thinking is that it is inherently flawed. The ultimate success of this relationship – the organization and the IT department – often comes down to how that IT environment is designed, staffed, and what resources are available to it. Then there is the actual culture that has developed within the IT department. This culture can play an important part in determining just how in synch it is (or wants to be) with the business side.

Throughout the years, with the advent of SOA and other technological advances, the gap between the business side and the IT side has closed. However, there is still room left in order to move closer together. Service-oriented architecture as part of service-oriented computing represents a sincere effort on the part of the technology community to offer a framework capable of conquering this gap.

But, first there must be some challenges that are conquered between the IT and business services gap. One such challenge that many businesses have to grasp is that fact that both the business side and the IT side speak in different languages and think in different parameters. One side is thinking of end results, the other is thinking of processes and applications.

The consequence of this is the creation of disposable application silos no one bothers to change or applications that are awkwardly extended into integration architectures. As the quantity of silo-based applications increases, the drain of IT on the organization increases also. The result is a loss of confidence on both parts, predominately with the organization, that there will be a suitable return on investment.

Looking at the IT side of things the business side tends to propose certain requirements that are unrealistic and that currently available technologies cannot meet or which require too much change to existing legacy applications.

In order to combat these two concerns SOA must be looked at through two specific challenges and if current SOA platforms can meet these challenges.

First Challenge: Avoiding a Sense of Arbitrariness

One of the biggest problems with SOA is that there is no cohesive ideology from which companies within the same framework can develop from. There is a high rate of customization that confine businesses to the application scope only to make the ongoing application development with the SOA architectural model non-universal. Others believe SOA should be applied to their integration projects, connecting backend applications and enabling process automation and management. Different ideas and applications.

Second Challenge:  Confining the Complex

The role of SOA’s essence is to organize and open up functions of any kind as services for sharing within and across an enterprise, therefore, an IT ecosystem’s complexity inevitably grows in both perceived and real senses.

This is considered complex because SOA technology demands in integral approach so IT professionals are in the climbing edge of the learning curve. The complexity continues because of the increased granularity of services and capabilities and the increased agility for composing something new and publishing it in a short timeframe with less people involved.

From the business side it is important to contain this complexity so that they can see not only real improvement in the SOA side, but also in the bottom line and returns.

These two challenges can disrupt and attempt at adopting an SOA perspective within an organization. Meeting these challenges head on is the work of a strong leadership group that is committed in seeing the project through and knowing the importance of organization wide application of processes.

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