Enterprise Initiatives

This blog focuses on Enterprise IT topics such as Enterprise Architecture, Portfolio Management, Change Management, Business Process Management, and recaps various technology events and news.

My good friend James McGovern asks, "I wonder if Mike Kavis understands why SOA shouldn't be sold" to the business and references the article Most enterprise SOA deployments fail to deliver ROI. This article makes some good points about the total cost of ownership (TCO) which includes extensive training and expensive tools like registries and repositories. The article continues with this quote:

The survey found that companies using SOA did experience an improvement in developer productivity by an average of 28 percent; however, the productivity savings do not warrant broad SOA deployment.
A little further down in the article, a very important point is made.
Despite these obstacles, Nucleus Research’s survey found that SOA is assisting companies in the areas of business process improvement and portals, followed by master data management and partner integration.
I think this sentence is where many of us EA bloggers start to disagree on whether you should sell SOA to the business or if an ROI is even achievable. In a previous article I described my view on selling SOA to the business. In my case, I was not trying to implement SOA by itself. Instead, SOA was being implemented in conjunction with BPM and Master Data Management (MDM). If I was only trying to implement SOA, I would have to agree with James's stance. But since SOA is part of a larger project, which includes business process reengineering, and the funds are coming from the business, I had to sell SOA to the business.

For James's sake, no I did not Power Point them to death or talk about web services and JMS queues. Instead I explained SOA in business terms and as a major contributor to the overall ROI. In an earlier post James states that if the business trusts IT then IT shouldn't have to sell SOA to the business. Once we convinced the business that SOA was the key to maximizing their BPMS investment, they trusted us to go figure out what tools we needed. Not once did we have to sell the concept of the ESB, MDM, repositories, training, etc.

Back to the ROI. The ROI will be achieved through huge operational efficiencies that lead to increased sales, improved customer support, better quality, and improved speed to market. One could argue that the ROI is a result of the process reengineering and not SOA. I am fine with that argument although SOA does allow us to leverage our legacy systems without causing major disruptions to our business and current projects.

So hopefully we can put an end to the "Selling SOA" discussions and move on to implementing SOA. As far as SOA and the ROI goes, SOA by itself is a cost of doing business. SOA in conjunction with BPM can pay for itself if done right.


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