BEA Arch2Arch Summit: IT pros told SOA is multi-year journey

BEA Systems'

Arch2Arch Summit

In addition, organisations seeking SOA success must ensure that their patience is complemented by a committed management team and reference architecture to provide ongoing guidance.

Today, more than half (57 per cent) of companies are now engaged in SOA activities in some form, according to Cliff Booth, vice president of enterprise architecture at BEA. But he warned delegates attending the conference that in order to succeed they must ensure they've got the fundamentals covered.

"The first point I want to get across to everybody is that SOA is a multi-year journey," he told the audience of architects. "A two to three year window is ideal. Longer and it doesn't make sense and offers a low return, shorter and it changes all the time and becomes a nightmare to manage."

He added: "Because of this you have to bring it all together and have a roadmap. It also comes down to leadership. You need [good] leadership to pull together the business capabilities of these projects and IT."

Taking pragmatic, incremental steps is also key to success, Booth claimed, as it is easier to realise and demonstrate business value in this way.

"Do what you can do. Taking smaller steps can actually change the way an organisation think around funding which is one of the current challenges for SOA."

Booth also said it's important for companies to resist the temptation to reinvent the wheel every time a service is needed as they might well be able to make use of shared services and the associated cost and resource benefits.

"[You need to think about] whatever project is coming through the pipe [and can I] maximise the use of a service that already exists or with a minor extension can I do what I want? This can help collapse development time and stop the service sprawl.

"One of the traps people fall into [with SOA] is they create more and more services and nothing is ever concrete, with 10 services all doing almost the same thing and all needing to be maintained," he said.

Finally, according to Booth, organisations must be careful to match the rate of SOA adoption within their business with the competency levels and skills of those tasked with carrying out such projects.

Maggie Holland

Maggie has been a journalist since 1999, starting her career as an editorial assistant on then-weekly magazine Computing, before working her way up to senior reporter level. In 2006, just weeks before ITPro was launched, Maggie joined Dennis Publishing as a reporter. Having worked her way up to editor of ITPro, she was appointed group editor of CloudPro and ITPro in April 2012. She became the editorial director and took responsibility for ChannelPro, in 2016.

Her areas of particular interest, aside from cloud, include management and C-level issues, the business value of technology, green and environmental issues and careers to name but a few.