Another view: WOA vs. SOA debate a distraction?

Is the SOA-WOA debate too much background noise?

Todd Biske has been following the WOA vs. SOA debate presented on these pages (here and here), and feels that if anything, the discussion is a distraction from the real work that needs to be done.

Is the SOA-WOA debate too much background noise?

IT practitioners need to concentrate on delivering value to the business, not the tools and technologies. "It’s disappointing that so much of the discussion on SOA has focused on the 'how' rather than on 'what,'” Todd says. There needs to be more discussion -- both within the blogosphere as in corporate planning rooms -- of solving business problems, not the technology. As Todd puts it:

"While there is plenty of value in [SOA vs. WOA] discussions, I’d argue that their focus has been on how IT implements solutions. What they don’t focus on is what solutions IT builds, which is where I believe there is much more value to be gained. Are there opportunities for incremental gains in using WS-*/REST/etc.? Absolutely. But is there a change in the solutions that we are delivering other than the implementation under the covers? Make the wrong decisions on what gets built (or bought), and it won’t matter what technology was used to build it, because that will be far more of a limiting factor than whether it was built using Java, C#, Python, WS-*, REST, or anything else."

I agree with Todd that the emphasis should always be on helping the business grow, and all the nitty-gritty details of platforms, languages and standards should take a background role.

But at a high level, the WOA-SOA phenomenon goes well beyond tools and technologies -- they represent changes in the way businesses organize themselves. CEOs, CFOs, and business strategists need to understand and be ready to embrace what is taking place here.

SOA, and increasingly, WOA, will put many companies, and their employees, contractors, partners, and customers, in the roles of agents or brokers, connecting services with consumers as demanded. Services to meet market demands will be drawn both from internal corporate resources as well resources available from the network. An organization's ability to embrace SOA-WOA will help put it on a path to a more streamlined, online presence.

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