Have Enterprises Achieved Enterprise Level Integration of Services?

2012-11-29

Last year’s Forrester report said that 71% of the enterprises which took part in the survey have already implemented SOA within their organizations. Although SOA has been implemented, enterprise wide integration of services is one thing that most of the organizations are struggling to cope with.

The problem of SOA silos

Consider an enterprise, which is internally divided into various departments, each of which representing different services offered by the enterprise. Each department will be managed independently and the architectural requirements between these departments will never be the same. Let us discuss one of the possible reasons which results in SOA silos.

Let us take 2 departments within an organization and name them as “A” and “B”.

Department “A” says that their services will have to handle millions of requests every hour and hence performance and reliability are their primary concerns. So they decide to use a highly reputed SOA stack from the technology leaders like IBM, Oracle, SOA Software etc. which are known for high performance and reliability.

Department “B” says that their services are not performing critical tasks and they are also low on budget. Hence cost effectiveness is their primary concern. So they decide to use an open source SOA stack, which provides reasonable performance with low cost.

Though these two departments have adopted SOA internally, they have become two completely different Islands of SOA, by using different vendor’s SOA stack. The services that are available in Department “A” will not be visible to Department “B” and vice versa. This scenario denies the most basic principle of SOA, the service re-usability.

The Federated Solution

Mere adoption of SOA doesn’t guarantee a single stop solution to the enterprise level integration of services. If not well structured and planned, SOA, which is the key to break down silos of business processes within an enterprise, will create silos of its own. In order to overcome the problem of SOA silos within an enterprise, many organizations have moved towards federated SOA

As an enterprise grows, the need to integrate services that live in different geographies and disparate domains, increase. This can be achieved with the help of a federated ESB that enables disparate domains to communicate and share services among one another, resulting in a unified control of services across the enterprise.

The enterprises should create a specialized Centre of Excellence team, whose members should keep researching about the current and future trends of SOA, and the challenges that will come along their way. This will enable the enterprises to gain maximum benefit out of SOA.