SOA Readiness Assessment

Service Oriented Architecture is now a common concept, it appeals to common sense, and its not hard to see the reason for it. But, before rushing into a big-bang implementation of SOA, an organization needs to go through a self-assessment to understand where to start, and what to expect. Here is a basic guide for an SOA self-assessment that will throw light on some of these areas.

What are your SOA goals – from a business perspective?

  • Common view of data across multiple sources and applications
  • Calculate ROI and other KPIs more accurately
  • Reduce development costs by leveraging existing resources and processes
  • Clear understanding and cataloguing of business capabilities/services
  • Agility to market needs

What are your SOA goals – from an IT perspective?

  • Accessing information locked in legacy systems
  • Visibility and Transparency
  • Flexibility, ease of change
  • Loose coupling leading to easy extensibility and interoperability
  • Reuse and lesser development effort and complexity
  • Clear understanding and cataloguing of IT capabilities/services
  • Agility to business needs

What are your key organizational barriers?

  • Lack of organizational awareness
  • Lack of organizational readiness
  • Lack of organizational sponsors, or their belief in the returns

What are your key technical barriers?

  • Tightly coupled architectures and applications
  • Complex applications hampering the ability to reuse applications
  • Unclear on the security strategy
  • Wary of it turning out to be an uncontrolled spaghetti of services

What are the key problems that you think you might face?

  • Lack of detailed business knowledge to be able to refactor or rationalize services
  • Performance or scalability
  • Difficulty in managing services
  • Poor reliability or security
  • Governance – ensuring that the services adhere to the organizational principles and guidelines
  • Change management – for all kinds of users and processes

A generally accepted and practiced approach to an SOA implementation is to start small – with services that have a good business impact, but are low in risk of successful implementation. There might be a trade-off here, so there is a need to choose wisely. As these initial set of pilot services are designed, implemented, and used, there will be a lot of lessons learnt, many assumptions will be validated, best-practices will be established, and the concept and its value will be proven to stake-holders – of course, if all this is done well.

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