Other views: IT resists SOA because it's jaded

IT departments have heard it all before -- that's why they may be cautious about SOA promises

Who's the 'decider' when it comes to SOA? A couple of days back, I posted thoughts around Ron Schmelzer's observation that it is IT departments that are the worst obstacles to SOA, and got quite a few interesting reactions from readers.

The general consensus, at least among this group, is that if indeed IT is attempting to resist SOA, it's because they already been through years of vendor hype and FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt). Management gets snowed by the latest hype wave, spends tons of money, and ends up throwing the ball into IT's court to turn the mess into something that can bring value to the business. Of course, when the project doesn't deliver, IT gets blamed.

Is this aim-and-blame game what we're now seeing with SOA? what Here are a couple of interesting reactions:

One reader, Chad-z, feels that "stupidity is sabotaging SOA," observing that "management sees SOA as some magic IT bullet." The reason why IT departments are skeptical about SOA is because they've already "heard the same pitch from a steady parade of technologies, most of which did not deliver on the promised efficiencies." SOA doesn't deliver on promises either, the reader adds, noting how one customer brought in a large vendor to help out with SOA. The vendor took a working project built by three programmers and turned it into a SOA project that now has 33 people."

However, this reader holds out hope, noting that SOA can be made to work, mainly on a project-by-project basis. "Mainly what works is simplicity. Simplify your IT environment and stop chasing the buzz word of the week. If a service architecture simplifies and streamlines your IT environment, it's a good choice. If you're doing it just because some dipwad decided that it's a chapter in this week's edition of IT 'best practices' then you're going to spend a lot of money and fail miserably."

Another reader, Jonathan Doe, doesn't see IT's gumming up SOA efforts as sabotage, but actually providing crystal-clear clarity as to what "SOA" really is:

  • "Perhaps IT departments can see through the SOA cloud of FUD and vapor to recognize it for what it really is; just another marketing buzzword dreamed up by sales weasles.... SOA offers nothing different than what the vast majority of good IT teams have been doing for more than a decade. Think strategically? We do. We recognize SOA for what it is: nothing."
  • Another reader, Stormkrow, agreed with Doe that "SOA is nothing more than a buzzword slapped together by a sales team to sell some form of vaporware. It is nothing it does nothing it means nothing." The reader goes on to observe that we've all seen this movie before:

  • "Just like ERP and MES they are just some acronyms that some MBA came up with to justify having a job. Period. Every customer I have seen that has tried to implement anyone one of these "products" usually ended up dying a slow painful death by hemorrhaging huge amounts of money for trying to increase efficiency where none was needed."
  • If it's true that IT departments themselves are putting the brakes on SOA efforts, perhaps there's an underlying reason beyond simply resisting new ideas or wanting to stick to old ways. Always consider this question: What will they be saying about today's SOA movement at conferences 10 years from now? A black hole companies sent their money down, or an important step toward a fully integrated, loosely coupled enterprise?