The Need for an SOA Ecosystem
Service-oriented architectures (SOA) are the latest craze, and for good reason. The service-oriented approach inherent in SOA changes the focal point of IT systems from technical program components to reusable, business-oriented services. SOA promises organizations a flexible IT system that can respond quickly and effectively to new business demands, while also offering dramatic improvements in IT productivity. Service levels can be more easily met and preserved, while operational risk is reduced through a reduction in complexity combined with a ‘reusable component’ approach that limits the amount of new code.
But many of the early SOA visionaries encountered problems. Although productivity and responsiveness initially improved, by the end of the first year these gains had often fallen away. Hopes of high levels of IT component reuse had failed to come to fruition, and programmers were having to write significant amounts of ‘plumbing’ code to make the SOA work. Gradually, companies became aware that a successful SOA needs an ecosystem within which it can prosper and grow, in order to deliver sustainable business advantage.