muSOAings for 3/19/09

So have I sold you on SOA yet?  I think I hear several loud Yeas.

SOA by itself is not hard.  What really makes it hard for people making their initial foray is this tendancy to bite off more than they can chew.    With SOA the strategy of choice is definitely divide and conquer.   Have an overall strategy for a vision but implement this strategy by taking bite size chunks for tactical advantage.  Strategic in Vision but Tactical in execution.

So what is this SOA and how do I get my arms around this.  Well,  good questions.  SOA is really about maturity levels.  How mature is your internal IT organization.    It is always not a question of if you are ready of SOA,  any organization with a reasonable IT infrastructure is ready for SOA eventough they may not know it.   Question is,  how and when do I hop onto the SOA bandwagon.

Before you embark on this exciting journey,  organizations should take the time to do what is called an SOA audit.  It can also be termed as an SOA discovery phase.  A well structured questionnaire will aid in this process.  Depending on the size of the organization and their goals and ambitions, this phase may last from anywhere from a month to a maximum of 3 months.     Please keep in mind that this phase should never go beyond 3 months.

This phase should result in some key findings key among them being,

  1. Formalization of a SOA strategy or Vision.
  2. A list of the key systems that are the revenue drivers and have a say on the bottom line
  3. The state and complexity of said systems

Remember that is is a two way street so the inputs from the SOA Architect conducting this phase are also crucial.   The goal here is to arrive at the size of the iceberg and at the end of this exercise if all you have done is seen it’s tip then you have failed in this exercise.    Some of the other key findings that should result from this are the budget that the organization is willing to allocate,  the resources in terms of staffing and infrastructure.

Once you have reasonable answers to all the questions in your questionnaire, then it is time to move into the next gear.     Stay tuned.

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