Session seeks SOA secret sauce

Conference will explore SOA roadblocks, among other things.
Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributing Writer

An e-mail for the "Transformation and Innovation 2006" conference, to be held May 22-24 in Washington, DC, just crossed my desk. 

The conference is very heavy on the SOA sauce, which is just the way I like it, of course.

What really caught my eye is the description for a session to be led by Jonathan Mack, senior architect for 1800FLOWERS.COM, on "Building SOA in Cost-Constrained Environments." Basically, the session description just says it all, which is what many SOA advocates come up against in their corporate environments.

Here's a repost of the hitting-the-nail-on-the-head synopsis: 

"Discussions of SOA rarely consider realistic conditions of most IT organizations. Mature companies with commoditized products, thin margins and complex legacy architectures are under constant pressure to increase margins via IT cost reduction. At the same time, forward-looking CIOs recognize that their environment will become increasingly inflexible and stifle growth without SOA."

The presentation will examine "the pros and cons of strategies for implementing SOA principles in an environment in which IT costs are seriously constrained. These alternative strategies include:

  • "Bite the big bullet and go for the big bang;
  • "Implement one key SOA element at a time (e.g. Message broker, then portal for on-the-glass composites, then ESB for process orchestration and finally BPEL for full BPM;
  • "Slip in the back door – build an SOA under the cover of meeting business functional requirements; and
  • "Minimalist SOA – expose only a limited number of activities as services while focusing investment on cleaning up and improving existing processes.

I don't know if Mack will be advocating the more incremental strategies to get around calcified corporate attitudes, or urging a full frontal assault with an SOA big bang. But there's merit in all of these alternatives, and every organization will need to find its own approach.

Or, as they say: "Just do it."

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