Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Is "Guerrilla SOA" a Realistic Option When the CEO Doesn't Approve Your Budget?

A great question… and one that occurs more often than one might think and most definitely more than it should. In August 2006, I had written an article on SOA Antipatterns in ebizQ. Antipatterns #3 and 4 specifically talk about this exact issue. The antipatterns are duplicated below for convenience:

Antipattern #3: Service Fiefdoms
This is the corollary of antipattern #2 (The "Big Bang" Approach). Here, instead of taking an enterprise view to the SOA transformation, each vertical silo within the company goes off on their own and recreates their applications as services within an SOA. In this case, there is the potential for a lot of duplication of effort due to the lack of an enterprise view. Furthermore, this fragmented approach to the SOA transformation often fails to create reusable organizational assets, which is one of the key benefits of undergoing the transformation that leads to higher organizational efficiency and improved cost effectiveness.

Antipattern #4: Technophilia
This is an antipattern that occurs when the SOA initiative is led bottom-up instead of top-down i.e. when the "techies" are leading the initiative. Instead of the SOA initiative starting with the study of the processes that drive the business, the technology that will power the SOA becomes the apex of the effort. Instead of representing the business, the drivers of the SOA initiative get too wrapped up in technology specifics such XML, Web Services, determining which versions of the various technology standards to use, deciding how much BPEL will be needed, etc. Ultimately, such an SOA initiative does not yield the intended business benefits of creating reusable organizational assets.

The bottom line is that several years of experience has shown that for an SOA initiative to truly achieve its objectives it has to be a top-down effort; both organizationally and architecturally.

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