by Sharyn Leaver

Sharyn-Leaver Some recent buzz in the industry would have you believe that “SOA is dead,” but that just isn’t the case — SOA is far from being dead, outdated, or irrelevant. In fact, its use and influence are still growing. A recent Forrester survey indicates that 75% of Global 2000 organizations will be using SOA by the end of 2009. 60% of current users are expanding their use of SOA, and a substantial number recognize SOA’s strategic business value and are using it on a sizable portion of their solution delivery products.

Stories of less-than-successful results may dent its reputation, particularly in today’s climate of pessimism and uncertainty, but when done right SOA has the potential for broad-reaching positive impact on the enterprise. Instead of getting caught in the hype or jumping ship on their SOA efforts, CIOs should keep in mind that: 

 • Misconceptions and misuse can give SOA a bad name. Many negative stories are the result of common missteps. For example, failing to recognize that SOA rests on principles of business, not software design, or prioritizing simple reuse over the creation of a design model that allows for flexibility and adaptation. Some companies see SOA as simply a technology to link specific applications and create service libraries, rather than using it to develop a coherent portfolio of software-based business capabilities. If you treat SOA as a specific technology solution in itself, rather than an approach for improving your business, you won’t realize its benefits.

When done right, SOA is a foundation for other technology initiatives.  For example, it can facilitate BPM by making it easier to refine and reorganize business processes, and provide a base for business optimization by sending business service request information to complex event processing (CEP) technology. It can also feed business activity monitoring (BAM) and dynamic business applications.

SOA’s ultimate value comes from its role in the larger vision. It is a key part of the transition away from traditional IT silos and toward Business Technology.  Many technology trends — from cloud computing and virtualization, to business service management, business intelligence, and document management — either use, support, or should be designed in coordination with the business design focus of SOA. SOA should be the underlying foundation of a larger vision, such as Forrester’s Digital Business Architecture (DBA), that accommodates all of your technology initiatives, represents your business capabilities, and guides the ongoing development of your architecture and architecture strategy.

I encourage you to read the full report on this topic, titled “SOA Is Far From Dead – But It Should Be Buried” and written by Randy Heffner on Forrester’s research team serving enterprise architecture professionals.