Where do these SOA Transformation projects come from?

If you have been working on one of those SOA transformation projects as an technical architect, some of you might as well have wondered on the very fact as to what is the origin of such projects? Why companies invest on these initiatives? From where do they know that they would require to transform their application landscape into services based on SOA and much more.

The answer to the above question lies with enterprise architecture initiatives and various enterprise architects who would have worked on it.

Why EA initiatives in the first place?

Lets look at some of the following pain-points which may lead to EA initiatives:

  • A large enterprise with various different functions and independent IT departments paying huge license costs
  • Large number of applications been maintained at different versions due to different IT departments using them
  • Lack of clarity of application landscape
  • Lack of clarity of business investments on IT applications vis-a-vis ROI

One or all of the above may trigger the EA initiatives. One of the key objectives of executive management of an enterprise is to ensure that there is a clear visibility on Business-IT alignment in a sustained manner to maximize ROI. In order to achieve these objectives, they must need to know how various different business processes relate/map to one or more applications. That would help determine some of the following attributes of applications from the perspective of business investments:

  • Total cost of ownership
  • Value contribution
  • Enterprise wide usage

Based on analysis based on above attributes, they would want to take decision of IT road map in relation to building/maintaining/upgrading the software or retiring some of them. This activity makes sure that the IT organization would have up-to-date applications and governance around them. However, this would still not enforce the business-IT alignment.

To achieve a greater degree of business-IT alignment, the applications landscape need to be modeled vis-a-vis business processes that they relate to. The relation between business processes vs applications can be better achieved by defining one or more services that are used to accomplish the tasks of those business processes and, are built on top of these applications.

This is where the SOA transformation projects pitch in. As part of this initiatives, following activities are undertaken:

  • Hybrid (top-down, and bottoms-up) approach determining which business processes relate to which applications
  • Application portfolio analysis to understand all of the applications that exists
  • SOA readiness assessment
  • SOA maturity model
  • Gaps analysis
  • SOA roadmap
  • SOA implementation projects
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