One of the unfortunate aspects of the current SOA wave is the way it imprisons our thinking. The term itself invites us to obsess over IT "architecture." The problem is our "stacks" simply don't rise high enough.
With that in mind, it's probably worthwhile to step back at least once or twice (or more) a day and start thinking about the people that our architectural offerings will house -- and the business activities they will enable. The bigger picture here is about refashioning and redefining business so that companies can be more agile and adaptive. It is about redefining work, particularly "service work," so that it proves more productive, innovative and even personally fulfilling. It is also about redefining business processes and workflows -- and providing the capabilities that enable these elements of work to be continually rethought, redesigned and improved.
Management theorist Peter Drucker and others have long noted how unproductive and mindless much of today's so-called "knowledge work" remains. Even Dilbert shows us that. However, this SOA movement may represent an important step out of the Dilbertian trap. It lays the groundwork for people to play immensely more creative -- and productive -- roles in their companies. Of course, IT architecture won't transform our companies and business lives. The question to spend more time considering is how it can help do these things.