Samisa Abeysinghe calls out the lack of ‘A’ – architecture, being promoted in SOA solutions, primarily by vendors.

For our SOA initiative at Partners, I try to be as holistic as possible. Viewing SOA just as a set of infrastructure components is essentially missing the point and won’t result in the business transformation at the heart of the SOA value proposition. An SOA approach is a fairly new concept to a majority of our IT organization, so I’ve spent a significant amount of time evangelizing both the SOA concept and its potential impact to our business. For part of the presentation, I break down the acronym into its three parts, quickly summarized below:

  • S: A major success factor for SOA is having a services portfolio that consumers are incented to utilize. Creating operational and lifecycle processes to govern and manage services isn’t enough. Think of your services as products and apply product management strategies and techniques where appropriate. Services, as business capabilities, need clear market analysis, definition, rationalization and business unit alignment. We need to lead the conversation with our business leaders on the S, not the A.
  • O: Are you oriented properly to deliver, manage and sustain services? Our environment is very heterogeneous and federated resulting in a complex enterprise governance process that can be driven top-down and bottom-up at the same time. Orienting around services extends beyond just providing the development resources, infrastructure and related support services, it means connecting to consumers at a business level to motivate adoption of enterprise services to address a range of issues from cost to agility.
  • A: Your organization’s definition of SOA, not your vendors’, is the one that matters most. Take the time to approach your architecture from multiple angles (business, process, technology) and express your architecture using conceptual, logical and technical models. You’ll then have a re-usable asset for both internal alignment and for vendor conversations and decisions.

As our SOA initiative grows, I’ll further elaborate on our experiences, successes and failures.

Update: Corrected some horrible grammar.