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Making the case for SOA in a tough economy: remember, services are the business

There's been no shortage of fretting that today's rough-and-tumble economy may cut SOA-related efforts to shreds.Not to worry, says one commentator, who says if anything, a tough economy will prove the mettle of SOA.

There's been no shortage of fretting that today's rough-and-tumble economy may cut SOA-related efforts to shreds.

Not to worry, says one commentator, who says if anything, a tough economy will prove the mettle of SOA.

As I mentioned before on this blogsite, the principles of SOA were forged during the IT slump of 2000-2003, when managers and architects were looking for ways to build better, more streamlined systems with assets already in place.

Michael Poulin, a UK-based enterprise solutions architect and contributor over at the ebizQ site, says SOA is key in a related way -- it inherently supports the essential services that keep the business in business. Plus, technology is now more more than just the machines that support business operations -- technology is the business.

In a Q&A in which Michael interviews himself, he points out that at a time when companies seek to cut, cut, cut to save costs, this is the time to ramp up service orientation. Cutting only gets a business so far -- but SOA will strengthen the business over the long haul. Because SOA provides the means to quickly, almost on demand, break down business processes that aren't hitting the mark and rebuild them to more sharply penetrate the problem or market opportunity.

"From the history, we know many examples where small armies won wars against much more powerful enemies. The secret was in the activity and efficiency of small armies; they did not stand still, they moved and regrouped trying to discover to the enemy's weakness. They demonstrated flexibility in reactions to the threads; they flew around to avoid collisions. Thus, business effectiveness, flexibility, dynamism and adoptability to external changes is the business strategy for surviving an economic storm.

Today, SO is the methodology that possesses all mechanisms for flexibility, dynamism and adoptability to external changes because of its core service orientation. The strength of SO is not in an integration of legacy systems somewhere inside IT, but in the ability of services to independently change its collaborating partners, resources, compositions and creating new collaborations to address new changes. SO is the methodology that can direct business toward organizational and operational efficiency under the pressure of constantly changing requirements."

So, for keeping service orientation thriving through a rough economy, Michael advises instead of slowing down, businesses "become proactive and dynamic." It all boils down to being service oriented.