Ever wondered what we might learn about SOA if we looked back from the future? Bruce Richardson, chief research officer at AMR Research, has. He flew his time machine to the year 2010 and offered a report back. His wisdom (and warning) for us: "SOA is a journey, not a destination."
He further warns that we won't anticipate the hidden costs associated with hardware upgrades, business process management and business activity monitoring tools, and consulting fees for integrators.
Security will also be a problem. "In the initial pilot [of SAP's ESA] , there is no way to keep track of the various versions and changes to specific Web services," says Richardson. He adds that this will create a need for a metadata repository to define the catalog of Web services and address security loopholes.
That said, he is encouraging in other respects. "I see a lot of hope for analytics and handling unstructured information. The space for knowledge management and content management is getting larger," Richardson says.
"The ERP platform of the future consists of a new hub-and-spoke architecture. The center consists of a much thinner, stripped-down applications hub. The spokes are a set of much richer Web services that radiates out through the enterprise and into the extended trading partner community," he adds.
ERP vendors, he believes, will benefit in a "me too" environment of undistingushed offerings because they will have control over aggregated services in the near-term. In the longer term, however, he sees SOA interoperability opening things up for best-of-breed services and vendors."When will the future arrive? That's too hard to predict," he says. "Client/server took five to eight years to reach the promises made in 1990 and 1991. With SOAs, the trip will be longer. I think we are embarking on a 10-year journey--all aboard."