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I.T. SOA vs Business SOA?

by Mark Little on Aug 20, 2008 |
In a recent post Jeff Schneider discusses separate conversations he's had recently with people from IBM and SAP in which they are talking about differentiating between I.T. SOA and Business SOA. The former helps you to run a more efficient I.T. group, whereas the latter is about creating new information products and capabilities. Several years ago Steve Jones spoke about Technical SOA as the drug of choice for I.T. departments, so maybe when IBM or SAP talk about I.T. SOA they mean Technical SOA?

According to Jeff, SAP ...
... have positioned SOA as a technology enabler to their large suite of business applications. They sell [SOA based] business solutions.
... which does seem a bit circular in nature. However, Jeff is pleased that this means IBM and SAP are assuming that SOA is in place acting as an enabling technology. Therefore it's time to move past these enabling solutions, which includes ESBs and other possible implementations of I.T. SOA and concentrate on Business SOA.
In Business SOA we need to think about a new set of "Business SOA Patterns":

- How do we deliver new business products through new channels?

- How do we deliver more/better information to our distributors, retailers and consumers?

- How will consolidated/shared information lead to a tighter supply chain?
Related to this, Jeff has come up with what he called the 7 Dirty Words [of I.T.] SOA:
  1. Loose Coupling

  2. Abstraction

  3. Reuse

  4. Autonomous

  5. Discoverability

  6. Composability

  7. Interoperability
Maybe there has been too much emphasis on the technical aspects of SOA. But if so where does the blame lie? Surely some of this is this the fault of the technology companies such as IBM and SAP who (obviously) had those solutions to sell? Or as Steve says:
how [technologists] become obsessed with a given technology or approach and just can't help using it everywhere. Sort of like addiction ...
It is unclear though how this idea that I.T. SOA has reached a threshold ties in with reports that SOA is failiing, particularly when many of the reports emphasize technical aspects. Of course it is possible that those failures simply indicate poor technology choices, or alternatively to paraphrase Mark Twain: reports of the death of I.T. SOA are greatly exaggerated?

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