Last month, I shared big and small use cases for service-oriented architecture and referenced an article by Mike Kavis about start-ups and SOA. The article was theoretical, meaning Kavis didn't offer specific examples, but rather made a strong case for how start-ups might benefit from starting with a service-oriented architecture.
This month, Kavis followed up his piece with an article sharing how a real start-up called Service-now.com used SOA to obtain a competitive edge. Kavis focused on demonstrating that SOA is not just for integrating legacy systems -- but along the way, he manages to show that SOA really does have a positive, long-term impact on integration needs.
Service-now.com is an on-demand IT service management solution provider. Apparently, the CEO -- Fred Luddy - contacted Kavis after reading the first column and offered his company up as an example of what SOA can do for start-ups.
But I think the story also has implications for all companies considering SOA, particularly when it comes to demonstrating how SOA can change integration. Luddy reports that the biggest challenge they now face is when they have to integrate with partners who do not have a flexible architecture. In these cases, they have to write customized adapters. In some cases, they've had to build a SOA layer on top of legacy systems before they could complete the integration.
When the partner is already SOA-based, they found their integration time was greatly reduced. In one example, they integrated with SalesForce.com in only one week.
Kavis also shared this:
"Also with SOA, Service-now.com claims there are fewer moving parts to complicate integrations. A pure SOA implementation should be largely platform and technology neutral, meaning that .NET to Perl or Perl to Java for example is very easy to achieve. When properly designed, SOA makes versioning of software on both sides of the integration less challenging."
It's a good read, though I really could've done without Luddy's ageist opinion about how the service-oriented approach requires a "young mindset." Please.
Bill Chapman of Avnet shared a similar, SOA-related integration success story at InfoWorld's 10th SOA Executive Forum, according to this post by Eric Knorr. Avnet used SOA as a way to integrate companies it acquired and outside partner companies. Chapman estimated that SOA reduced development times by 45 percent and increased order-to-quote efficiency by 30 percent.