'Corner office' vs. 'ground floor' SOA

ZDNet colleague Dana Gardner points out that "when the hype curve descends, advocacy takes over." That's what is happening with SOA as of late, as evidenced by the emergence of the SOA Consortium, which includes large enterprises and vendors on its membership rolls.

ZDNet colleague Dana Gardner points out that "when the hype curve descends, advocacy takes over." That's what is happening with SOA as of late, as evidenced by the emergence of the SOA Consortium, which includes large enterprises and vendors on its membership rolls.

SOA Consortium Executive Director Richard Soley wants to address the two challenges of SOA. First, there's "Corner Office SOA," he points out. "How do we help the CIO get the news across to the rest of the C-suite that this is not a technology but a business strategy, and a business strategy that can deliver agility and a better bottom line?"

Second, Soley continues, there's "Ground Floor SOA." The challenge here is to "help the enterprise architect, the domain architect, the data architect get the word across to his alter ego in the line of business that this is a business strategy and not a technology and it’s something he needs to pay attention to."

I recently had the opportunity to join Dana, along with Tony Baer, Jim Kobielus, and Steve Garone in a podcast chat with Soley, chairman and CEO of the Object Management Group (OMG) as well as executive director of the SOA Consortium. (Link to podcast here.)

Soley noted that the consortium is focusing on "top-down advocacy" as the main thrust of its activities. "If you start with your developers and try to work your way up, you are not going to change the way that company thinks about business process, and you are not going to have an effect on business agility."

The goal is to help position SOA as a business initiative versus a technical project. "Sure, there are going to be tools and there are going to be technologies and there are going to be frameworks to help you implement the SOA strategy, but it’s the other way around," said Soley. "It’s 'What is it we need to achieve?' What we need to achieve is capturing business processes, so that we can find them, so that we can make them more efficient, and so that we can reuse them -- and this is nothing new."

The message of SOA extends beyond workflow and process automation, Soley said. "We are talking about any of the processes, especially customer-facing, but any value-chain processes within the organization that we might want to reuse."