Friday, March 05, 2010

SOA still a hype?


Some people are thinking dat Service Oriented Architecture is a hype while for others it's common sense. I often hear this comment from customers not
from partners. I heard this signal at an Oracle Event "Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g: Weblogic or Wait".

As I work as consultant with this Oracle SOA technology for many years, for me this is common knowledge. As this is also the case by partners and colleagues, I assume this is also the case at the customer.

So is SOA a hype or not? How about technologies as complex Event Procesessing (CEP), Service Composed Architecture (SCA).
It depends from which perspective you look at it. Every customer is different and unique. Depending on on the technology that the customer is using, the knowledge of the staff , the past experiences the SOA technology and the branch of the customer. Some of them will find it a hype, while for others it is obvious.

SOA is not a just walk in the park. Every one carries his own bag of experience. Starting with SOA technolgy will take through a learning curve. This curve is as follows:
At the beginning you will be dissapointed on on the new technology. You need to implement more steps for a simple action, for example an insert in a table. But during time and experience you will see the benefits; such as re-usability, business process flow implementation. What I see at most customers using the SOA technolgoy, they need to step out of the current view to the application and think in business process flow. Most users run monolithic applications, or silo apoplication, for many many years. The often result thar functional owners of these application are think in entities and screens. The business process flow is within their head and implemnented over different applications. This is were SOA comes in. It can/must/will/is able to take over the process control of this functional business flow.

So how do we implement a service oriented architecture successfully? There are three subjects to cover:
  • Organisation
  • People
  • Project
The organisation must be ready for these type of projects. Therefore the organisation should execute a SOA assesment. In this assessment various parts of the organisation is measured on their maturity on SOA. This assessment show the current status to SOA and what steps to take to increase the maturity level.

The people should be trained, from technical point of view as well from functional point of view. Technical training can be done via the normal ways; Oracle University; hire consultants to train the technical people. The functional people should also be trained. They should now the new way of approaching this new implementation and usage of this architecture. The should be trained to think and describe in processes and business flows.

In the beginning, start with a small project that is easy to implement and add values to the business. This project should create a win-win situation for every one. Because these type of projects is new, everyone should learn and benefit from it. Design and Implement this project with expiernced people. The are able to succeed in these kind of projects and they can guide and train the organisation.

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