Review your SOA projects to avoid failure

Project reviews coupled with a greater understanding of SOA deployment is vital if systems integration is to be successful.

During an address to a group of IT professionals in Sydney, Gartner analyst Matt Holte shared recent findings from Gartner’s SOA research and answered questions around investment justification.

“People are asking ‘how do I justify an investment in SOA? How can you link a set of application measures to a set of practical measures?’ The biggest barrier to SOA is cost justification and budget. Bigger than skills, innovation and legacy systems,” Holte said.

Holte spoke on the topic of “Why SOA? Why now?”.

“There is a growing emphasis on why we are doing this. The problem is, very few people either build their capability around a ROI or have any capability that allows them to demonstrate the use of SOA. 36 per cent of people say justification impedes SOA efforts. Why is it so difficult to build this case?,” he said.

While he admitted it is difficult to build benchmarking around SOA, Holte did emphasise the need for IT professionals to tie business capability and SOA together when pitching a deployment.

“If you walk into a business manager’s office and say ‘I want to start doing SOA, they aren’t likely to care. They care about business capability. The problem is when you start to look at SOA at one end and business value at the other, you find you can’t build a business case around that gap.”

“However, you can build a business case for building an ROI measurement but you need to do this on a granular level. Ask yourself, ‘What am I building? What can I do to get that into my cost justification?’,” he said.

The Gartner analyst said a project review should be completed by any organisation when SOA is adopted.

“Most organisations when they do a project review just file it away. We forget about it and go on to the next project. Your challenge here and now is to build processes to harness the benefits.”

“There should be something at the end of the project. It should be a project review. A company needs to look at measures associated with its effort and the other part of that is typically realising you need to do business benefits evaluation,” he said.

Holte concluded by stressing that cultural change will be important to the success of a SOA deployment.

“Cultural change and skills set management are important. The goal is to look at each of these things and fill in the profiles connected to each one of them,” he said.

Other topics covered at the recent Gartner SOA summit included the need to separate cloud and SOA deployment strategies, and a case study where traffic solutions company Tenix outlined the changes its GUI customer service app has made.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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