Start small, emphasize reuse, say early SOA adopters

Words of advice from early adopters shared at recent SOA conference
Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributing Writer

For those of you who could not make it to last month's SOA Executive Forum in New York, Brenda Michelson of the PSGroup provides some details in her recent Weblog.

Enterpises are justifying adoption of SOA three ways: through reuse, agility, and productivity gains, Michelson relates. With reuse, there was the "purist" definition, used by a lot of vendor presenters, in which the service itself is redeployed within another business role. "If you create a customer account service that three lines of business use, across three channels, then you have achieved significant re-use payback," Michelson said.

Michelson also took note of another way reuse was defined, in that a piece of an existing legacy application was extended across various services. "Presenters spoke to the value of liberating existing data,” she relates. Reuse is already delivering benefits for companies that have adopted the methodology. Michelson observes that Guardian Life Insurance Company was able to document a 30 percent savings in development costs by reusing 50 services across three separate business units.

Enterprise presenters also talked about speed bumps on the way to SOA success, Michelson relates. Those include skepticism from executives who "still have scars from previous IT paradigm shifts." An important piece of advice rendered by conference presenters was to start small, and grow SOAs "organically," Michelson relates.  Start with low-risk projects that can show impressive returns. "Implement a small services project—perhaps just one service connecting previous disconnected channels or domains, and share the results. Explain how SOA is a foundation, and incremental investment brings incremental gains."

(Michelson's full conference report is also available here from PSGroup-- free registration required).



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