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Does your organisation have the skills to use SOA?

Mike Kavis | Sept. 1, 2008
One issue that is often overlooked early on is an assessment of the company's existing skill sets and the application development culture.

Another thing to evaluate is the readiness of the business to participate in SOA. SOA done right allows organizations to break down departmental boundaries and look at business processes across the company, not just in a departmental silo. You can only achieve this if the different business silos are ready to work together for the greater good of the company as opposed to "protecting their turf." That is why SOA requires strong executive sponsorship from within the business. Somebody in the business must drive the change required to get the line of business managers to think about the business at a higher level.

Then there is the IT and business relationship. Does the business trust that IT can deliver or do they feel that IT is ramming the next hot technology down their throat? All of these questions should be considered before any investment is made in an enterprise SOA initiative.

What are the next steps?

You should identify the gaps and the high risk areas and create plans to mitigate the risks after you do a skill set and culture analysis. If you take these steps early enough, the funds required to address these issues can be included in the initial project funding. This is an important point because many SOA implementations are expensive. Going back to the well for more money before anything is implemented is not a recipe for pleasing upper management. Resist the urge to dive in too quickly into solution mode and spend some time up front acknowledging the skills and cultural issues. As the old saying goes, "You can pay now or pay big later."


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