9 Mar 2011

A Simple, Straightforward Guide to the SOA Maturity Model

Looking for a way to get a handle on what the SOA Maturity Model is all about? This simple guide will help keep you on track with all of your SOA projects.


SOA continues to become more and more mainstream in the business community, with many large and small businesses alike looking to transform their legacy business processes and systems into a streamlined SOA ecosystem. For as much as reaching a completely SOA-driven business operation seems like a sound business practice, getting to that arrival point can be daunting at best.

Much in the same way that all software development must adhere to standards, such as the traditional waterfall method or more newfangled approaches like Agile or Model Driven Development, SOA, too should be approached in an organized and targeted manner in order to achieve positive results.

The SOA Maturity Model will help you detect where you are and locate the next step on your SOA journey.

There is more than one SOA Maturity Model to follow when engaging in SOA implementation. As we will soon cover in another article, Oracle’s SOA Maturity Model gives businesses a long-term model for incrementally implementing SOA processes, measuring their results, and detecting when is the best time to ascend to a new level in their model.

However, there is a more streamlined, developer-based approach to the SOA Maturity Model in four steps, which helps developers and business stakeholders keep SOA efforts on track at the project level. This helpful guide outlines the four critical steps:

Stage One: Assess

Stage one of the SOA Maturity Model typically lasts about 30 days, and emphasises identifying success factors and criteria. In this phase, it is also critical to establish a funding model aligned with the business, as well as analysing and identifying ROI expectations. In stage one, an SOA consultant should also seek to lay out a phase of quick-start SOA implementations, which can help the business see measurable results from their SOA efforts in the shortest amount of time possible.

Stage Two: Design

After the entire scope of an SOA project has been formally assessed and agreed upon, the design phase can begin. It’s important to note that the design element of the SOA Maturity Model should be kept to its own stage and not prematurely discussed during stage one, which is chiefly concerned with establishing reasonable criteria for success and indentifying areas of a business model that need to be streamlined via SOA. In the design stage, mapping out reference architecture takes center stage, indentifying components such as the Enterprise Service Bus, Mediation layer, and monitoring. The design stage also addresses the service design model via service granularity and by identifying the contract specifications.

Stage Three: Execute

Stage three Execute is a stage about governance of the SOA project. This involves the development of a service lifecycle, an SOA competency centre, and also identifying organizational impacts. Often times, without the guidance of the SOA Maturity Model, stage three, which focuses on executive of the design stage, is prematurely started, leading to a lack of fully realized goals for the SOA framework.

Stage Four: Operate

The final stage in the SOA Maturity Model is reached once all elements of the SOA project have been fully realized, and can now be implemented. In stage four, you have Continuous Process Improvement (CPI), Service Composition (CAF or BPM driven SOA), versioning, testing, and deployments. It is only from this point on that the results of a new SOA framework can be accurately evaluated, and because the initial approach should always include short-, medium, and long-term implementations, results should be provable within a reasonably short timeframe from the start of the operational stage.

About Integrella

Integrella are expert providers of SOA and BPM solutions that increase profits and create new business opportunities.

If you are interested in adopting SOA you may be interested in our SOA Readiness Assessment (10 – 30 days), or an SOA Roadmap (5 – 20 days).

Alternatively if you have an existing middleware, SOA or BPM solution that needs fine tuning you may be interested in our Enterprise Integration Review (5 – 30 days) in order maximise your existing investment.

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