I ran across this headline yesterday on Virtualization.sys-con.com: "SOA and Integration-as-a-Service."
Obviously, it caught my eye. It sounded pretty exciting, so I read it.
I admit, I was a bit disappointed. I guess I'd hoped someone had discovered an easy way to outsource internal integration, which would be very interesting.
But no. It's about how you can integrate with external customers using SOA, and it seems to apply primarily to those doing B2B.
And then I reread it.
It's still an interesting proposition, isn't it? Integration as an SOA service (IaaS) in and of itself is still pretty darn compelling, even if we're talking about integration outside the enterprise walls.
And as the author, Andrew Kent (a CTO and founder of an integration platform company), points out, maybe we do spend too much time talking about integration within the organization while missing out on opportunities SOA offers to integrate with outside customers and partners.
I'd be interested in hearing from companies that have outsourced customer integration, because this piece makes it sound like the easiest possible answer:
IaaS doesn't require extended executive sponsorship, endless meetings, facilitated workshops, or any of the other components typically associated with enterprise-level application implementations. Rather, a knowledgeable service provider works with key company resources, and integration proceeds rapidly and unobtrusively.
Still, even if it's not so simple, as the sidebar at the end of the article explains, outsourcing customer integration could speed up initiatives that internal IT doesn't have the skills or time to implement. So, it's worth checking out. I also like the fact that Kent outlines what returns and services you should monitor to make sure you're getting your money's worth out of a provider.