Selling SOA: different strokes, different folks

How are companies cost-justifying SOA projects? Some organizations provide a lot of leeway to managers, others demand: "show me the money -- make it fast, and make it last.

How are companies cost-justifying SOA projects? Some organizations provide a lot of leeway to managers, others demand: "show me the money -- make it fast, and make it last." ComputerWorld's  Heather Haverstein explored this question in a recent article, which posits that when it comes to selling SOA, it's different strokes for different folks. Every company has its own alignment of hot buttons as to what is "business value."

The challenge to SOA proponents: Soon after committing to use Web services and SOA, "many IT managers find themselves searching for ways to justify the cost to top corporate management," Haverstein writes.

Being there with the right tools at the right time can really impress the bigwigs. David Berry, senior vice president and CIO at Coty Inc., is quoted as saying his company's C-level executives became converts after he employed SOA tools to absorb, in six months, a new acquisition representing approximately 30% of its business. The company used the SOA as part of an SAP rollout "was the key to integrating our existing business to our distribution centers," Berry said. "What it really means is that we can ship our products to our customers."

Reuse is the key value to SOA, another executive points out. "When I go to IT management, they don't care how many services are out there," the executive, who is overseeing a rollout of 100 services, is quoted as saying. "But if we know the value of a service -- which we get people to model once it is discovered -- and we know how many reuse [instances] there are, we can start backing into the value of reuse."

Some managers are born lucky -- they say they don't need to sell SOA to upper management; they can just do it.  Executives "don't care how we solve a problem, as long as we solve it," said Alan Anderson, director of application development at VP Buildings Inc.

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