• January 26, 2006
  • By Marshall Lager, founder and managing principal, Third Idea Consulting; contributor, CRM magazine

SOA Success: Tips From IDC's Recent Forum

SOA is the natural evolution of enterprise software systems, with benefits for companies at all stages and levels of implementation, but success is strongly tied to a well-planned development strategy and an expert partner. This was the theme of the IDC Service Oriented Architecture Forum, held in New York City on Wednesday. Attendees learned how integration can benefit an enterprise, its customers and partners; saw examples of successful implementations from planning to delivery; and learned the best methods for scaling up and reaching out with SOA. IDC Program Managers Sophie Mayo and Sandra Rogers held a discussion on achieving the alignment of IT and business. The session set the context for the day by considering the drivers and inhibitors for IT and business alignment, how they are propelled by SOA and who is responsible for accomplishing that alliance. Mayo described various value propositions for SOA adoption, measuring business value against the scope and risk of changes made. Cost savings, Mayo indicated, could be achieved by making discrete business functions and processes SOA-enabled to support basic needs. Beyond this, Mayo explained that as value expands beyond cost savings and into operational efficiency, best practices, and innovation, SOA development scales up to integration with partners and the entire value chain, enabling new strategies, and even new products and services. Seeking external help is crucial to any SOA effort, Mayo said. She outlined the key assets to seek in partners. "SOA must be a key component of their services portfolio, with a track record in your specific industry and a level of intimacy with your business. They should have an active ecosystem of partners to round out their expertise, the ability to tie projects to productivity metrics, ROI, and cost savings, and always be looking ahead." The challenges implementation partners could face, according to Mayo, include aligning service providers' business acumen with their IT expertise, simplifying delivery and containing complexity, and defining their place in the management and maintenance of IT and business processes. "SOA is the next level of sophistication-Web services was much more contained, focused on single processes," Mayo said. SOA is far more useful in cross-functional and cross-departmental applications. "SOA is the natural evolution of enterprise software strategy," Rogers said. "Moving to service-oriented architecture allows businesses to establish value first, and then worry about retirement issues with older equipment and software." Businesses see this is the new platform, and realize it answers the issue of maturity in their applications and systems. "Don't look at particular physical systems, but [look] at needs and how to address them, regardless of the source." Related articles:
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