Experts urge firms not to rush into SOA

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Experts urge firms not to rush into SOA

Companies racing to implement service oriented architecture (SOA) systems risk fatally damaging their existing business processes, a technology consultant warned today.

Companies racing to implement service oriented architecture (SOA) systems risk fatally damaging their existing business processes, a technology consultant warned today.

Diamond Management & Technology Consultants insisted that a two-phase approach to SOA transition is necessary to successfully implement such systems.

"A company can totally disrupt its operations if it races towards SOA without first getting its IT organisation into shape," said Chris Curran, chief technology officer at Diamond Management.

"Technology SOA is the essential foundation of the business-driven SOA which has many business leaders excited.

"But shared services to help IT move data, respond to system errors, log activities, and generate reports must be built before beginning business SOA."

Diamond Management urges firms to ensure that IT departments are adequately prepared for successful SOA initiatives.

The company's report contains an SOA Maturity Gauge that outlines key capabilities and characteristics associated with each level of SOA maturity.

At the first level, for example, ongoing service delivery will need to be characterised by solid service level agreements, high end-user satisfaction, and a clear understanding of the costs to deliver various services.

At the next level, new project delivery, governance and alignment will be buttoned down.

According to the report, the IT team will need to be expert in defining business requirements for new projects, effective in managing project issues and risks, and have accurate ways of measuring the business value generated by a project.

"The hype surrounding SOA being generated by technology vendors can drive corporations to put the cart before the horse," said Curran.

"The shared nature of SOA demands that the IT organisation have at least basic capabilities in project delivery and governance in place before expanding into the creation of services.

"Veering off the path can lead to services that are unjustifiable and not reusable, which defeats the purpose.

"Enterprise architecture planning will help the SOA team identify opportunities for the creation of technology and/or business SOA."
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