Tuesday, March 4, 2008

SOA Maturity Model: Deep inside SOA

Again I have a book to recommend for reading if you need to understand/revise the philosophy of SOA and get some practical guidelines on implementing Service Oriented Architecture in your organisation.

SOA concept is quite old now but mostly we face challenges in implementing it successfully.

The basic issue that we face is when to start and where to stop or where to start and when to stop.

Some people get it confused with web services and they will build a whole stack of web services, every function within an application will be exposed as a web service, some will redesign the applications from scratch using some SOA framework and some will buy expensive tools to expose business functions within some legacy existing applications .

No doubt there is a lot of confusion out there. Even some people who have a good understanding of SOA find it really difficult to map it to a real business problem/environment because every place is different and SOA initiative required to be largely context driven.

For me, the major challenge is to decide if some project qualifies for SOA or not. The major issue is the time that we invest in developing SOA ready applications. I have seen the places where development teams follow strict standards, processes and develop highly reusable applications (or components) at the cost of slow response time to new business requests and changes. Sometimes the management gets so frustrated (as I witness a number of times) they themselves ask to compromise the quality and just deliver the solution because that's what the business demands. Sometimes it works (where we really need a throw away application) but many times it backfires (where we need a stable system, an LOB application).

So how can we achieve success with SOA?

The first basic thing is that the developers alone can not bring SOA revolution in an organisation. The SOA implementation must occur both in functional areas (business units/departments) as well as in technical areas. Business processes indicates what "functional services" can become the candidates of reusability and then IT attempts to model and deliver the systems that would map the interactions in real business world. Also studying business models will help understanding what services we might need and what not.

the book,

It is difficult to explain all here, therefore, I recommend reading this book SOA in the Real World which is a nice book and starts from the basics, takes you through the practical steps for a successful SOA implementation and talks about Enterprise Service Oriented Maturity Model (ESOMM) in good details. This book is free to download from Microsoft.

Happy Reading.

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