More Responses to SOA and the Reality of Reuse
Monday, October 09, 2006
Since writing a short summary
of the responses to my August Opinari, I've run across one more important comment
on it. Written by Eric Newcomer, CTO of Iona, it's unlike the other responses I've seen in a significant way: Eric largely disagrees with my perspective.
I've known Eric for a long time, and I have great respect for his views. (In fact, he's written or co-written two excellent books
in the series I edit for Addison-Wesley.) He points out that he's heard plenty of reuse success stories from Iona's customers, and I'm sure he's right. My perspective, however, isn't that reuse of business services is impossible. Rather, achieving this kind of reuse--and the benefits that go with it--appears to require more effort and more discipline than the average organization can muster.
I have no doubt that some firms will succeed in reusing business services. A reasonable number already have. But I'm still full of doubt about whether the average firm, or even a majority of organizations, will reach this goal. Anybody who's selling an SOA effort on the strength of potential business service reuse would do well to begin with a clear-eyed view of how likely the target organization is to actually achieve that reuse.
A greater focus on services makes sense even for firms that don't have much chance of reusing those services. But whether it's an internal or vendor-driven effort, it's usually better to promote a new approach based on the benefits it's most likely to have.