A Tenth Business Problem SOA Solved in 2007

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One of SOA guru David Linthicum's predictions for SOA in 2008 is that the press and bloggers -- including yours truly -- will highlight huge SOA failures.


That's an easy prediction to make. When people are spending tons of time and money on something, and it fails, you can bet it's news, I don't care what field you're in.


His point, however, wasn't to state the obvious, but to remind us that there will be major failures because a lot of enterprises are investing in technology -- in other words, trying to buy themselves a SOA - rather than building an architecture that suits their needs.


Frankly, as someone who's been following SOA news for eight months, I can tell you that Linthicum's predictions are pretty safe bets. The only one that really caught my eye as new was his prediction that more companies will decide to build a SOA to take advantage of new online resources. But then again, given Salesforce.com's strength, the growing popularity of SaaS, and the recent focus on Web-based productivity suites -- maybe that's not so surprising, either.


Before the SOA failure stories start rolling in, you might want to recall all the SOA success stories we've seen this year by reading Joe McKendrick's "Nine places where SOA is making a difference, right now." It's a really awesome post summarizing nine business problems companies solved with SOA in 2007. As you'd expect, the list includes several examples involving data and enterprise application integration.


I've blogged about several of those same stories here, including lessons learned from SOA implementations at Intel and BT (British Telecom).


Since I prefer round numbers, I'd like to add a 10th item to McKendrick's list. This story only recently made news in the UK's Financial Times.


The 10th Place SOA Is Making a Difference, Right Now: 10. To improve customer service and more accurately project dividends in the gaming industry. Harrah's is a U.S.-based entertainment and casino company that successfully used SOA to learn more about its customers across all its properties. Thanks to SOA initiatives, workers can easily identify and reward regular customers across the company's numerous holdings. SOA also made it easier for Harrah's to acquire and integrate new companies. SOA also helped The Tote, a UK company, generate more precise racing odds by cutting the calculation time down from two minutes to 12 seconds.