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SOA & WOA: Article

Spiral SOA Web Services Target Agility - Part I

How to Achieve Short-Term ROI While Building Agile Architectures

(The author is Chief Science Officer with XAware, Inc.)

Companies use information technology to automate business processes in an effort to reduce costs, increase efficiency, and provide better service to their customers. Historically, the process of automating a business process involved a large investment of time and money. If the business environment were stable and unchanging, then this large investment would deliver business value year after year, indefinitely.

Unfortunately, businesses face constant change caused by new regulatory requirements, changing market expectations, mergers and acquisitions, and the desire to continually improve processes. Because of the high reliance on IT, such changes in the business environment lead to a change in what IT is asked to do. The value of IT in this environment is largely measured by how quickly it can satisfy these new requirements.

An IT strategy called Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) offers hope of providing rapid implementation of new business requirements, enabling a company to be agile in the face of a changing business environment. This paper describes SOA and an enterprise adoption strategy that manages risk while extracting value, in an evolving process that ultimately leads to an agile business.

Such a business is positioned to excel in the face of changing business requirements. The agile business is one that is not afraid of new requirements. Rather, it sees change as an opportunity to surpass the competition by exploiting its ability to rapidly adapt to the new environment. It achieves market advantage by rapidly retooling to meet the new challenge, avoiding impending business obstacles, and increasing its market share by competing and winning against its less nimble competitors.

This paper addresses several dimensions of the problem faced by a company seeking increased agility.
• The need to manage costs while providing agility. SOA, if implemented properly, is inherently cost-efficient, as it reuses existing IT resources such as applications and database sources, rather than replacing them.

• Adoption strategy. This paper describes a strategy called Spiral Adoption of Service Oriented Architecture. This is an overarching strategy to manage risk in the long-term move to service oriented architecture, while still extracting value on a per-project basis.

• Guidance in selecting an SOA software platform. Here, the selection should be optimized in light of the adoption strategy. For example, a big-bang, rip-and-replace strategy to implementing SOA might call for one set of criteria for selecting an SOA-enabling software platform. A longer term, lower risk strategy would have a completely different set of criteria.

More Stories By Kirstan Vandersluis

As a founder of XAware, Kirstan Vandersluis has been instrumental in developing and patenting XAware’s product suite. Vandersluis has extensive experience in software development spanning multiple industries, including DoD, semi-conductor and telecommunications, where he has engineered the deployment of both corporate and commercial software products. Previously, Vandersluis was a software development manager and senior architect at MCI. As a published author of, “XML-Based Integration with XAware,” Vandersluis often speaks publicly about XML-related technologies and XAware product strategies.

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SOA Web Services Journal News Desk 06/16/06 01:12:31 PM EDT

While new business functionality traditionally requires multi-year development projects, SOA promises new functionality by orchestrating existing services into required business processes. Unfortunately, adoption of SOA is not practical in a single, enterprise-wide, 'big-bang' conversion.