Readers of IT Business Edge are very well informed about the cutting edge of technology, and it's easy to forget that concepts like SOA are just beginning to percolate upward to the executive suite. But it's happening. And this year IT executives can expect questions from their CEO of the "What are we doing?" variety on the subject of SOA.
There are lots of analogies for explaining SOA to higher-ups, but our favorite is the fast food restaurant. You don't have to know what's going on in the kitchen to get a hamburger. You just have to know how to order one. So one service (or the individual who creates it) doesn't have to know how other services work. Just their input requirements.
Locating SOA in its historical context for technologically sophisticated people is more complex, and SOA often turns out to be a hard sell to the technically savvy. Said one executive quoted in a recent E-Commerce Times article, "Isn't this just another layer on top of all the other layers that won't be the magic bullet either, and, in the end, will also require endless maintenance?"
Whether he's right or wrong, SOA was picked by CIO Magazine as one of the two key cost-cutting strategies for 2007 and, as we all know, cost cutting is popular among those who run corporations. So, magic bullet or not, SOA is going to be in vogue this year, in spite of the numerous pitfalls that still await IT groups as they learn the SOA ropes.