How to sell SOA: business first, technology later

Everyone agrees that SOA is, or needs to be, embedded in the business. However, as discussed in recent posts, it is viewed mainly as an IT project.

Everyone agrees that SOA is, or needs to be, embedded in the business. However, as discussed in recent posts, it is viewed mainly as an IT project. SOA often gets sold as a technology fix, but shouldn't it be sold as a business enabler?

Mike "Mad Geek Greek" Kavis says that when it comes to selling SOA, there are three camps. First and second, there is the sell-it-as-technology camps, and then there's the sell-it-as-business camp. Lo and behold, there is a third way -- a camp that recommends speaking to both the business and technology benefits of SOA. Mike, an enterprise architect who works with SOA everyday, subscribes to this third view.

It's a two-step process. In a recent post, Mike explained that it's important to first, sell the business aspects. Then, after the business is sold, get down to the technical nuts and bolts.

In a recent project, Mike reports he and his team first "sold the business on the benefits of BPM [business process management] and then explained how SOA was the key to allow the BPMS tool to talk to our legacy systems. This approach is much simpler then drawing multiple layers of an architecture on a white board and describing what an ESB is, what MDM [Master Data Management] is, and how Web services or JMS queues work. In fact, we were able to get the funding for our SOA initiative without having to describe in gory detail what the different software modules were."

"Once the business knew that SOA was the enabler for their BPM initiative, which happened to have an eight-figure ROI over five years, they didn't need to hear anymore."

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