One of the main benefits of implementing an SOA strategy is the end of legacy data silos that exist in most enterprises. The thinking is that greater access to data and applications across all organizational units improves efficiency, productivity and competitiveness.
But now we're hearing that a vast number of SOA implementations are being made not to improve overall network operations but to meet short-term business goals. This is a tempting, yet dangerous, approach because while it may deliver short-term success by meeting immediate business needs, the long-term legacy will be more siloed data and applications, not fewer.
This is rather an odd state of affairs, considering that most enterprises are already spending a significant amount on integrating existing business process applications. Many are turning to SOA as the means to bring all operations into a unified whole, which it can do if implemented properly. It would be a shame if business executives' relentless focus on short-term success were to translate into the network realm.
Still, a number of positive developments greeted the SOA market this week. BEA Systems, for example, released a new search engine that should do wonders for users trying to manage information spread out over their new distributed SOA network. And there seems to be growing recognition among vendors that it will be virtually impossible to provide an all-encompassng SOA solution, leading to an increase in technology-sharing and partnerships.
So the tools and the technology are coming into place. All that's needed is an awareness on the user side as to the true benefits that SOA offers.