SOA business case: smaller is better

There's been quite a bit of debate as of late as to whether SOA should start small and incrementally, or be introduced from the top down as a transformative venture. The word out of the recent BEA Systems executives annual Arch 2 Arch customer conference in Nice, France, is 'start small, and build from there.

There's been quite a bit of debate as of late as to whether SOA should start small and incrementally, or be introduced from the top down as a transformative venture.

The word out of the recent BEA Systems executives annual Arch 2 Arch customer conference in Nice, France, is 'start small, and build from there.'

Edward Cobb, VP architecture and standards at BEA: "It's all about starting small so you can learn how to monitor the benefits and see how your business is becoming more flexible and adaptable."

Mark Prichard, product marketing director at BEA: The benefits of SOA "grow over time ... through a series of small incremental wins" as shared services and the benefits of governance and clear practices take shape.

Roman Stanek, SOA director EMEA at HP: Building the case for SOA was easier in businesses that had experienced a range of smaller projects. "The most effective discussions we have are with customers who have been through both pleasure and pain before with SOA," he said.

Clive Keyte agrees that smaller projects directly targeting specific business problems may be the best way to go for building a constituency for SOA across the enterprise. However, as he also notes in a recent post, vendors don’t make it easy for customers. All too often, he says, vendors "go for the strategic sale, looking to put in place a large-scale business transformation rather than concentrating on the immediate business issue."

The good news about SOA, however, is that it can go both ways -- giving customers both "small-scale technologies to fix a business problem while providing scalable, secure and resilient platforms that can used as the basis of a transformation."  Well said.

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