Friday, March 12, 2010

Critical Success Factors for SOA

A lot of organizations are embarking on the SOA journey and it is important to understand the factors that would make the SOA initiative successful. Based on our experience in SOA consulting, we have learned the following.

1. Adopt an evolutionary approach to SOA: It’s impossible to sustain a big-bang approach to SOA at the enterprise level and even more difficult to make a business case for the large investment. The best approach is to have an enterprise level SOA governance and adopt an incremental and iterative approach. This approach is called the ‘hybrid’ or ‘middle-out’ approach.
After gaining success in early iterations, it becomes easier to make a business case for further investment or create a self funding model. It is a great idea to focus on immediate business pain points during the initial iterations, such as automation, reducing duplicity, etc.

2. Ensure top management support: This is very crucial because SOA strategies would require many departments/LOB’s to come together and function as one unit. And unless you have the top level executive sponsorship to support the SOA initiative, you could get entangled in a mesh of organization politics.
Also it is important to address the cultural issues and involve all layers in the organization during decision making. If we are able to define WIIFM (What’s in it for me?) for each important business stakeholder, then the changes of SOA success are very high.

3. Implement SOA Governance from the start: SOA governance is a very board area and covers many aspects. SOA governance includes 2 dimensions – the methodology/process that is established and the tools and technologies used for governance.
Service Life Cycle Management, Service monitoring and Service SLA management are all important points of SOA governance. In fact, if the organization has a EA practice, then SOA governance should be part of it.