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.

One of the most critical tasks that the champion of your SOA initiative must perform is to quantify the total cost of ownership (TCO) of the SOA initiative. Some executives might think that once they buy the ESB they are done. This is far from the truth. Here is a list of items you should plan for up front and create a road map for how much and when each of these items need to be procured:

  • The Stack (BPMS, ESB, Data Services, Portal, etc.)
  • Testing tools
  • Training, training, and more training
  • Professional services from the Stack vendor(s)
  • Professional services from the implementation partners
  • Conferences, site visits, partner meetings, and other learning opportunities
  • Acquiring personnel with new skill sets
  • Organizational changes
  • Annual maintenance costs
  • Network infrastructure (if necessary)
  • Additional security hw/sw (if necessary)
  • Funding a project and tools to implement SOA Governance
I am sure I missed several others. The key here is that to successfully implement SOA, your company must make a long term financial commitment to architecture that never ends. Investing in SOA goes far beyond buying the Stack.

The Stack
Depending on your project's objectives, you may need to purchase a variety of products that make up the Stack. In my case, we already had an enterprise portal. We purchased an ESB, a BPMS solution, and a data services tool. With each tool you need hardware, racks, floorspace, etc.

Testing Tools
Unless you already have a robust testing tool for testing enterprise architectures including web services or JMS messages, you probably need additional tools. We have many modules in the Mercury suite, but nothing for performing testing in a service oriented architecture.

Do not underestimate this one. Not only do you need to train administrators for every piece of the stack and for every additional tool you purchase, you need to train a large number of IT staffers about SOA, Governance, and developing and deploying with the new products. There are five different courses offered just for the BPMS tool we bought. One is for administration, two are for programming, and two are for modeling. Training is also a continuous process and not an event that occurs by sending a few people off site for three days.

Professional Services (Stack vendor)
Take my advice on this one. Use the vendor's professional services to install the products. Do not, I repeat, do not try this on your own or with consultants. The beauty of SOA is how it easily integrates across different technologies. My lessons learned is that this is true once you suffer through the upfront configuration nightmares required to create the initial environments. If anyone other then the vendor sets up the environment, you may not get the support you need from the vendor to fix it. Use the vendor to implement the products and have them come back when you have built something and have them certify the environment with your code running on it. Tweak the system now before you go live!

Professional Services (Partners)
Unless you are fortunate enough to have the necessary skill sets within your current staff, I highly recommend finding a partner with years of experience implementing SOA. Choose your partner wisely and embed your staff with them for knowledge transfer.

Learning opportunities
Don't underestimate continuous learning opportunities. I still attend conferences, webinars, lunch and learns, and various other opportunities to talk to people and learn from their experiences. Get out of the office and see what the rest of the world is doing. Learn from their mistakes and their success stories. Don't forget to budget for travel.

New skill sets
Our SOA/BPM initiative introduced a number of new skill sets. You may need to hire incremental headcount or replace existing roles with new roles. SOA talent is in high demand and is not cheap. Don't forget recruiting costs, relocation expenses, and the overhead of onboarding.

Organizational changes
You may find that your current organizational structure is not optimal in the new world of SOA. Reorganizations sometimes have costs associated with relocations, promotions, merit raises, administrative costs, new reward and incentive programs, etc.

Annual Maintenance
Expect to pay between 18-21% in maintenance costs for everything you buy.

Network infrastructure
Your current network infrastructure may not support the requirements of your SOA initiative. More sophisticated load balancers, additional monitoring tools and agents, and hardware accelerators are just a few things you may need to consider.

If you are exposing business services externally to customers and partners, your security requirements are more critical then ever before. There may be additional purchases required for authentication, auditing, logging, encryption, ID management, etc.

SOA Governance
This might be the most underestimated piece of the entire SOA financial model. Implementing SOA Governance is a project within itself. It requires dedicated staff, training, and tools for enforcement. Don't cut expenses here. Invest in governance because the success of your SOA implementation for years to come is heavily dependent on your ability to enforce policies and best practices. Buy a repository. Don't try to manage this manually or you will drown.

To sum it up, SOA is not a tool you buy. SOA is a new way to develop software and touches every aspect of your enterprise. Invest in SOA or the money you spent on your stack will never reap the benefits that SOA can offer.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to: Post Comments (Atom)

My favorite sayings

"If you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there"

"Before you build a better mouse trap, make sure you have some mice"