David Chappell


Get the Feed! Subscribe

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.

1 comments :: Post a Comment



There is a quite common reuse of services probably unavoidable with the companies selling something to the general public (insurances, mobile providers, banks…). It has to do with multiple sales channels, some of which are partner channels. The companies offer their products through call centers, own internet portals, own points of sale/mobile agents or via partners/dealers. While the short time-to-market is essential, the products must be offered consistently over the channels. One way of doing it would be to use the same portal for each channel. It is sometimes even the best solution. However, some business requirements cannot be fulfilled that way and enterprises choose to use services to uncouple the channels from the back-end processing and data. So, a service to enter an insurance claim is being used by the point-of-sale application, different portals and call center(s).
In this case, the consistency across channels can be strengthened by moving the business logic into the back-end applications as much as possible. However, these changes are extremely difficult to make as they have to do with the business responsibility. I believe that you and the person from Gartner are referring to those kinds of reuse difficulties.
What probably does not work at all is to approach the reuse as a goal on itself. I believe it is very hard to identify common business logic without having a business problem first. Once the business ask for a particular reuse solution, it’s easy. Before they ask, it appears practically impossible to do.

Post a Comment

<< Home