Speaking of cities and SOA (see Britton's posting below), here's a literal example. BEA Systems just announced it has signed on the city government of Chicago to implement a citywide "service-oriented architecture." Chicago intends to expose its ERP, CRM (which Chicago cleverly calls its "citizen" relationship management system), billing and finance, and data warehouses as standardized services through BEA's WebLogic application server platform. The goal is to provide more self-service to citizens, enabling them to buy parking stickers, and pay traffic tickets, as well as improve the ability of employees to conduct city business.
Nice stuff, but remember, SOA doesn't come in a box, especially for a job of this magnitude. There will be no shortage of mainframe and other legacy systems to wrestle with here, as well as IT fiefdoms that may not be ready to cede control. SOA is a build -- a highly incremental build -- not something you can buy and deploy in a neat package. Chicago wasn't built in a day, and neither will SOA.
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