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SOA World Expo Authors: Mark O'Neill, Jason Bloomberg, Trevor Parsons, AppDynamics Blog, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: SOA & WOA Magazine, SOA in the Cloud Expo, Microservices Journal

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SOA Architecture: Enabler of the Digital World By @TheEbizWizard | @CloudExpo [#Cloud]

Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) is an approach for abstracting enterprise software capabilities as reusable services

Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) is an approach for abstracting enterprise software capabilities as reusable services in order to support more flexible business processes and ideally, more agile organizations. SOA was one of the hottest topics in information technology (IT) back offices and enterprise vendor marketing departments for a number of years back in the 2000s.

However, in retrospect the original promise of SOA was largely unrealized at that time. Vendors used the approach to sell middleware, which led to expensive and difficult implementations. The architectural focus on improving IT and organizational governance in order to achieve greater levels of business agility was largely subsumed into the technical minutiae of enterprise integration.

Then along came cloud computing and SOA was no longer the cool kid on the block. Vendors and their hype-driven marketing teams quickly dropped SOA from their product lines, replacing it with cloud and big data and now Internet of things. It seemed that SOA was nothing more than a difficult step on the road to better approaches, a learning opportunity to be relegated to the technology history books.

Now that the hype surrounding SOA has long since blown over, however, we can shine the light on the reality. SOA never went away. “Over years of surveys, only 2% to 3% of those trying SOA have decided to give it up,” according to Randy Heffner, VP & Principal Analyst at Forrester Research. “The tales of SOA’s failure and demise are simply wrong.”

In fact, SOA is going stronger than ever, as organizations adopt SOA enterprise-wide. “Moving to a Service-Oriented Enterprise is a journey,” says Sundar Ramanathan, Manager of IT Advisory and enterprise architect for global professional services firm Ernst & Young. “However, modern business drivers of cost, globalization, and agility make this easier to understand and justify.”

Yet, this enterprise context for SOA has been a hard-fought battle, as the path to success with enterprise SOA typically begins at the departmental level and builds from there, as opposed to trying to boil the enterprise ocean with SOA.

“The main change is that instead of going ‘enterprise-wide’ with a massive strategy and calling in Accenture and others to ‘solve’ the ‘SOA problem’ or lay out a grand architecture, the customer wants to solve tactical problems fast,” according to Atul Saini, CEO of middleware vendor Fiorano Software. “The pressures of cloud, social computing and mobile devices make rapid delivery of projects even more critical.”

In fact, the larger shift in focus from back-office integration and middleware concerns to customer-driven digital initiatives has both changed the priorities for many SOA initiatives as it has driven SOA maturity overall. “The problem with SOA was that the entire concept was ‘sold’ to the enterprise as a complex technology or process,” continues Saini. “The ‘services’ in classic SOA tended to be way too large and dev teams spend months just on interface specifications.”

Read the entire article at

Intellyx advises companies on their digital transformation initiatives and helps vendors communicate their agility stories. As of the time of writing, Fiorano Software is an Intellyx customer, but provided no input to this article other than Atul Saini’s quotes. All other organizations mentioned are not Intellyx customers. Image credit: Don Graham.

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More Stories By Jason Bloomberg

Jason Bloomberg is a leading IT industry analyst, Forbes contributor, keynote speaker, and globally recognized expert on multiple disruptive trends in enterprise technology and digital transformation. He is ranked #5 on Onalytica’s list of top Digital Transformation influencers for 2018 and #15 on Jax’s list of top DevOps influencers for 2017, the only person to appear on both lists.

As founder and president of Agile Digital Transformation analyst firm Intellyx, he advises, writes, and speaks on a diverse set of topics, including digital transformation, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, devops, big data/analytics, cybersecurity, blockchain/bitcoin/cryptocurrency, no-code/low-code platforms and tools, organizational transformation, internet of things, enterprise architecture, SD-WAN/SDX, mainframes, hybrid IT, and legacy transformation, among other topics.

Mr. Bloomberg’s articles in Forbes are often viewed by more than 100,000 readers. During his career, he has published over 1,200 articles (over 200 for Forbes alone), spoken at over 400 conferences and webinars, and he has been quoted in the press and blogosphere over 2,000 times.

Mr. Bloomberg is the author or coauthor of four books: The Agile Architecture Revolution (Wiley, 2013), Service Orient or Be Doomed! How Service Orientation Will Change Your Business (Wiley, 2006), XML and Web Services Unleashed (SAMS Publishing, 2002), and Web Page Scripting Techniques (Hayden Books, 1996). His next book, Agile Digital Transformation, is due within the next year.

At SOA-focused industry analyst firm ZapThink from 2001 to 2013, Mr. Bloomberg created and delivered the Licensed ZapThink Architect (LZA) Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) course and associated credential, certifying over 1,700 professionals worldwide. He is one of the original Managing Partners of ZapThink LLC, which was acquired by Dovel Technologies in 2011.

Prior to ZapThink, Mr. Bloomberg built a diverse background in eBusiness technology management and industry analysis, including serving as a senior analyst in IDC’s eBusiness Advisory group, as well as holding eBusiness management positions at USWeb/CKS (later marchFIRST) and WaveBend Solutions (now Hitachi Consulting), and several software and web development positions.