I was interested to see, in a recent survey carried out by PMP Research, that the top-scoring benefit expected from SOA adoption was still reuse.
The research was documented in the September 2007 issue of Conspectus, and on 1 1-5 scale ‘Business process service re-use’ scored 4.1 on the benefit list, followed closely by ‘provides a more effective integration platform’.
Many SOA advocates talk about SOA being fundamental in terms of building a flexible and adaptable infrastructure while aligning IT and business requirements more closely, resulting in a more agile and effective platform for supporting business needs – so how come reuse still tops the list?
My own view is that reuse is simply the benefit that is the easiest to take in. The others I list above are very powerful, and can promise significantly more overall business value, but they require more than just a technology change. They require changes to working procedures and practices, and much better communications between business and technical communities. So, perhaps, in the eyes of the pragmatic respondents, reuse suggests itself as a reasonably obvious gain which even has a fairly clear and measurable monetary return attached. Reducing redundancy should have a direct correlation on application maintenance costs, for example. And on top of this, it can deliver value from a purely IT point of control (although the value will increase if business departments are involved too).