A couple of new SOA developments from IBM and Microsoft signal that the major vendors are serious about the prospects of the fully integrated architecture. This despite a growing chorus of critics who are calling it a lot of marketing hype designed to get you to buy more stuff.
As we've mentioned in this space before, we think SOA has enough legs to make a significant impact on the enterprise, although we still worry about the industry's long history of over-promises.
That's why our eye was caught by two recent articles describing the major changes that IT faces if the front office gives the go-ahead to implement an SOA strategy. The first, by Eric Boduch of Vitria, describes the new kinds of applications that will be necessary to bring SOA up to its full potential. In essence, the single-function, single environment application will be a thing of the past, replaced by a more holistic approach in which a single app operates across vendors, silos and network architectures to provide users with complete end-to-end service for whatever transaction they are interested in. Naturally, these applications will have to be industry-specific to provide the greatest functionality.
But increasing operational efficiency will only get you so far if the quality of your service is lacking. That was the gist of a recent post by Dana Gardner on ZDNet. With IT rapidly evolving from a cost center to a business service, success or failure is dependent largely on how processes are executed.
So whether SOA turns out to be hype or not, at the moment it looks like the enteprise is on the cusp of radical change.