I just saw a piece by Zap Think that really got under my skin.
The article says
What ZapThink is finding is that the primary barriers to SOA adoption do not come from business management, which by and large realize the benefits of an agile, reusable, and loosely coupled architecture (even if they don’t call it that), but rather from within the IT organization
This lead-in comment is way off the mark in my experience. At one level, if you ask a business exec whether she sees benefits in an agile, reusable, loosely-coupled architecture, the first problem will be a completely blank look. But if you then translate that to an IT system that enables business agility, reduces ongoing costs, is flexible to new solutions and lowers operational risk, the business exec will naturally agree. This is just stating the obvious.
So the article then states that, in Zap Think’s view, an organization’s IT department is the single biggest obstacle in the movement to SOA.
This view makes the incorrect assumption that, just because the business side of the house is convinced of the need for agility, etc, that removes them as a barrier to SOA. If you changed the above question to be more realistic, and ask whether the business exec is prepared to make a substantial investment into a new technology which may take some considerable time to break even but which will in the long run enable business to be more agile, flexible, efficient, lower risk, etc, then there is likely to be a series of considerably detailed and lengthy discussions. Many companies today are keen to get to the benefits promised by SOA, but find resistance on the investment front when it comes down to asking for a new budget. After all, the platitudes surrounding SOA have been used for 20 years on business execs, so they can be forgiven for having grown rather cautious, and desirous of looking for incremental investment where payback can be validated at each stage.
It would be a dreamworld if wanting the benefits and agreeing to invest were the same thing…