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August 12, 2009



Yes, but the answer is a bit deeper than that. It starts with this...Bill Buxton (Microsoft) reiterates what I've been blabbing for a while -- IT doesn't know how to hire REAL architects. It starts with their job descriptions. They hire for tool jockeys, bit twiddlers. Buxton calls them "structural engineers", I call them "drafters". Typically they're just 'old coders'.

Ed Horst

We continue to see customers succeed with a blended approach of both:

1) A overview/"roadmap"/concensus of where their overall SOA inititive is taking them -- enough, but not too much analysis of the overall picture of the common services they are moving toward.
2) Combined with a few projects with deadlines where they gain practical experience to feed #1, above.

Anne Thomas Manes

Ed: I agree with you that a blended approach is typically the right model for most organizations to get started with SOA. Let me clarify: We don't recommend an autocratic, centrally managed, tightly governed, "BIG" SOA initiative. Too much central management and control typically results in analysis paralysis and the ivory tower syndrome.

When we talk about strengthening the organization's pillars (governance, management, leadership, skills, and practices), we aren't recommending central command and control. Strong organizational pillars enables more delegation of responsibility. It relies on good communication to ensure that people understand governance policies and guidelines so that you can trust them to make good decisions.

Bernard Manouvrier

I think Anne mentioned the main problem in her "SOA is Dead" post: "SOA needs to be part of something bigger. If it isn't, then you need to ask yourself why you've been doing it."

That's perfectly true. In order to succeed with SOA, the story must begin at the business level. Companies need to create innovative models and processes in order to produce at the lowest cost and sell better, and to quickly create new products and services and offer them to the market before their competitors do. To achieve this goal, companies need to transform themselves internally and externally. They must adapt their organization and clearly define the interaction models between their different business units, their IT department and their partners. As part of this transformation, each business unit must take into account the internal and external ecosystems in which it performs and then express its needs as business services required to achieve their goal.

This will require business units to work closely with IT and, consequently, demand an important interaction model to be well defined. SOA is only a part and a mean for this evolution. That's why instead of having the "A" in SOA representing "architecture," I would personally prefer having it represent "approach." And the final target of this evolution will be the "disintegration" of the famous spaghetti architecture that exists today in most of the big companies' IT. SOA (Service Oriented Approach) is just a natural offspring of the more global IT city-planning approach starting at the business level and resulting in the disintegration of the IT spaghetti architecture. Yes, that's "something bigger," and SOA must be part of it in order to be successful.

Bernard Manouvrier
Chief Architect

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