Hub Vandervoort, CTO of Progress Software, has a simple and direct way to measure SOA success -- check out the level of IT backlogs. Hub shared this approach as part of a podcast interview I conducted as part of the run-up to recent InfoWorld Executive Forum. (Download MP3 podcast file here.)
In companies implementing SOA, the overall backlog of IT requests is starting to shrink, Hub pointed out. Companies are seeing drastic reductions in project cycle times and consolidation in purchasing across the enterprise.
The decrease the IT backlog can be an interesting metric to judge the efficiency and ROI of the SOA implementation. Then, Hub suggests, look at the arrival rate and analyze the revenue stream from the line of business and look at the numbers in the reuse cycle. "If you see the batch rate going down and it becoming more of a continuous stream of delivery, those start to point to the loftier goals of reuse and agility," he says.
Hub's other piece of advice is to adopt a "laser focus" on the business problem at hand. Hub cited the example of a company that leveraged its buying power with SOA and is saving $40 million a year. The project wasn't sold as an "SOA" project -- rather, it was positioned as a purchasing consolidation effort. The manufacturer was, in effect, "buying all the raw materials at a corporate level across 136 plants,” Hub said. This purchasing power was consolidated into a single service. Now, vendors see the company as one entity, not 136, he explained. This enabled the company to basically reduce 40 million from the demand-side supply chain annually. SOA allowed them to achieve those kinds of benefits.”