A review of best practice and adoption reality
by Jon Collins and Dale Vile
SOA is as relevant in growth economies as anywhere else
When researching the economies covered by this study, a clear relationship was apparent between
certain contextual criteria and an organisation’s affinity to adopt SOA. Notably, we see positive
relationships between how IT aligns with the business, the organisation’s willingness to embrace
change, and the acceptance and/or adoption of SOA. This is a similar picture to that we have seen
in more established economies such as in Western Europe.
The principle of SOA is sound, but the practice is still relatively immature
Only a subset of the organisations researched report comprehensive experience of SOA, in terms
of having completed more than one project. As such, it is unsurprising that the level of competence
is seen to be relatively low. All the same, all the countries researched did demonstrate significant
levels of early adopter activity. Interestingly, the expected benefits professed by organisations yet to
adopt SOA, were different to the benefits achieved in practice by those with experience.
Early adopters see SOA as more about improving IT systems, than impacting the business
Besides the organisations that profess little interest in SOA as defined, we can identify two main
categories of SOA adoption. The first concerns more how SOA can be seen as a platform, enabling
better use of existing IT systems to deliver new and improved application functionality. Building on
the first category, the second sees SOA as the basis for the delivery of flexible IT services, both
enabling and enabled by a stronger relationship with the business.
Legacy IT organisations are potentially missing a trick when it comes to SOA
There is a clear level of disinterest in SOA from the group of respondents that also acknowledges a
large amount of legacy equipment and software in place. However, the challenges faced by this
group – such as how to improve application integration and delivery – are fundamentally those for
which SOA was designed. It is likely therefore, that this, ‘legacy’ group has as much to gain as other
organisations when it comes to SOA adoption.
Practical lessons can be learned from more experienced organisations
Organisations further down the SOA path can help us understand the necessary pre-requisites for
SOA adoption, not least the existence of a pro-active relationship with the business and the ability
to think and collaborate in terms of services. In addition, we can gain a clear picture of how
different sources of information can help, depending on the stage an organisation has reached with
regard to SOA understanding and adoption.