Enterprise software consolidation -- such as that resulting from Oracle's Siebel acquisition -- may provide the kick in the pants needed for major SOA projects.
My ZDNet blogging colleague Dana Blankenhorn points out that "Oracle is now Microsoft," meaning they are the consolidation kings. "In the last year Oracle has spent billions consolidating its space, not just the big database software area but the application space. Just as Microsoft has embraced-and-extended (some would say engulfed-and-devoured) its application niches, often by adding their capabilities into Windows, so Oracle has now essentially eaten its own young."
James Governor of RedMonk puts forth a thoughtful proposal in his latest MonkChips post: "Why not use the Oracle Siebel acquisition as the justification for an SOA initiative?"
In other words, Governor writes, the acquisition may be the impetus to balance Oracle's potential dominance over the enterprise stack with vendor-neutral middleware. Oracle, of course, now has a fairly healthy lock on the ERP and database space -- comprised of Siebel, PeopleSoft, and its own Oracle applications suite, not to mention the huge reach of its database. Customers of these solutions should consider establishing an SOA governance organization that can keep customers in the driver's seat.
SOA governance is a matter that needs to be addressed by any company that wants to move beyond the JBOWS phase (Just a Bunch of Web Services). But there are many priorities competing for technology dollars, many of which may have powerful executive sponsors.
Governor says that enterprise product consolidation may be just the kick needed to begin to plan a long-range SOA strategy. "SOA isn't a product. It's about IT governance, simplifying the business of IT in order to simplify IT for the business. Many successful SOA projects have involved a vendor rationalization. Its all about setting standards at the center."
Of course, let's not just pick on Oracle here. We have other software infrastructure giants that would love to take control and call the shots on your enterprise stacks. The ultimate vision of SOA is, then, freedom from domination by any single vendor.