Out of the box

What does SOA mean for the future of the software industry? Who wins and who loses?
Written by Britton Manasco, Contributor

What does SOA mean for the future of the software industry? Who wins and who loses? Good questions. But the answers are not predetermined. The future will unfold in relation to the actions that software vendors take.John Hagel, author of thegroundbreakingOut of the Box, offers a few guidelines to help companies on the "sell side" of the value equation as they explore how to capitalize on the SOA movement.

"Enterprise software vendors have embraced the language of SOAs and many have made significant progress in service enabling their software," he explains. "Yet software vendors have generally not adapted their selling and marketing processes to effectively help their customers migrate to SOAs."
In an article at SandHill.com, Hagel argues that future success lies in helping clients "bridge thegap that currently exists between the I.T. departments struggling to define a pragmatic migration path for SOA deployments and business executives seeking to harness the near-term business value of Web services technology. Most enterprise software vendors are still too focused on large-scale, long-term implementations of software platforms and have not made the difficult organizational changes required to effectively commercialize much more targeted and pragmatic, implementations of technology. This will be a very painful transition process for most enterprise software companies."
In an effort to helpvendors define the key salesand marketing steps necessary to capitalize on"the SOA opportunity," Hagel offersthree compelling recommendations:

  1. Develop cost-effective pull-oriented marketing programs designed to reach non-technology business decision-makers and to get the executives who have the most pressing business needs that could be addressed with Web services technology to identify themselves.
  2. Re-configure at least a portion of your sales force to cost-effectively pursue smaller sales opportunities with a SWAT team capacity designed to generate near-term business results and rapidly replicate these results with aggressive reference selling within the same enterprise.
  3. Develop an architectural services team that can work with IT departments to develop a high-level architectural vision that can be rapidly translated into early stage deployments delivering tangible business results-- avoid the temptation to sell or support massive architectural redesigns that are decoupled from specific near-term business initiatives. This architectural services team should develop an outside-in mindset and approach that focuses on the near-term potential of SOAs to enhance collaboration across business partners.
Hagel points out that the challengesahead on the near-term horizon will not be technology challenges."The winning vendors will be those who re-think their economic and organizational models from the ground up to become much more effective at commercializing technology in smaller units of functionality with compelling near-term business cases targeted to non-technology line managers," he states. "And the really big winners will be those who master this capability while at the same time figuring out how to help I.T. departments pragmatically evolve I.T. enterprise architectures."

Editorial standards