Federal Agencies Intrigued by SOA's Cost-Saving Potential


The buzz from FOSE (Federal Office Systems Exhibition) this week is that federal government agencies are intrigued by the cost-saving potential of SOA and cloud computing.


That's according to David Linthicum, who participated on a FOSE panel about SOA and BPM. In a recent blog post, Linthicum theorized on why SOA and why now:


"I suspect that SOA will be the battle cry of many federal agencies that are both looking to change with the demands of the new administration and have some extra money around now to make it happen."


Government agencies tend to nurse tons of legacy systems. As Joe McKendrick noted in November, SOA could help them save money on these systems.


But will government learn from the mistakes of the private sector with SOA or will it just repeat them? Linthicum noted that the key to SOA success is to focus on the right talent, not the right technology. Let's hope the government listens.


They might also do well to check out our list of four keys for SOA success, even in Government.It's from 2007, but I think the advice is still excellent.


Linthicum also offered this bit of advice, which might be a bit harder for federal agencies to hear, because it hits closer to home:


"Moreover, the federal government continues to be a 'closed market,' and the larger contracts are owned and driven by the usual suspects. Perhaps it's time to break that pattern a bit and get some new thinking into the world of federal information management. There's no better time, now that people are accepting change, which is a good thing, but it's going to take some planning and whole lot of work."


By the way, if you're curious to know what Vivek Kundra, the new U.S. CIO, has planned, you can read a transcript of his FOSE speech at Federal Computing Week. It strikes me as basically a good pep talk about how government IT has and will continue to lead, not follow, when it comes to technology. I did like this:


"... technology for technology's sake is useless. It needs to enable a core mission. The core mission when you look at some of the most complex systems across the federal government, we need to stop dissecting and looking at them as one - again, going back to being so special that no one else can do it."