SOA and Web services

Industry experts say service-oriented architecture (SOA) will soon be the dominant enterprise IT architecture. Why? SOA has the power to transform IT from a bottleneck and cost center into a key source of business flexibility and competitive advantage. But when implemented incorrectly, SOA can disrupt the business. Instead of becoming more agile, your business could become more fragile.

What is SOA?

Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) is an IT architectural style that supports the transformation of your business into a set of linked services, or repeatable business tasks, that can be accessed when needed over a network. This may be a local network, it may be the Internet, or it may be geographically and technologically diverse, combining services in New York, London, and Hong Kong as though they were all installed on your local desktop. These services can coalesce to accomplish a specific business task, enabling your business to quickly adapt to changing conditions and requirements

When SOA implementation is guided by strategic business goals, you ensure the positive transformation of your business and can realize the chief benefits on an SOA, as follows:

  • Alignment of IT with the business

  • Maximal reuse of IT assets

Together, these help assure that investment in expensive IT projects result in lasting value to the business.

So, how do you tap into SOA, and how does it affect your business? IBM has identified five entry points for ensuring that every SOA-based solution undertaken delivers real business value. Each entry point is coupled with a scenario, or defined approach, that implements the technologies and thus the business values defined in each entry point.

IBM has an extensive article on the subject on its DeveloperWorks web site.

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