The ever changing world of business today poses some difficult challenges on IT departments. As a result of shifting strategies and process automation, organizations are forced to integrate different heterogenous technologies with seamless efficiency. Traditionally the approach has emphasized point to point integration, that is, the practice of two systems communicating directly to each other using a proprietary interface. Yet this method has some serious shortcomings, such as a lack of standardization and excessive complexity, and high modification costs.
Service Oriented Architecture stands as an alternative and more robust solution, by providing managed integration and a better infrastructure, resulting in increased reliability, reduced change impact and lower integration cost. We develop this idea highlighting its advantages and present some of the core technologies that aid organizations in implementing this approach. Furthermore, we postulate that an evolution between point to point and SOA integration strategies is a natural maturing process that organizations undergo as they become more complex and are forced to adopt more sophisticated solutions, and we attempt to describe this evolution.
Yet it is not enough that IT departments understand and acquire a new technology or a new paradigm; they must come up with a plan to set their improvements in motion. We analyze the recommended strategy to do this, which includes diagnosing the current organization’s situation, establishing guidelines and standards, identifying the appropriate tools needed, and making the adjustments in internal processes. We also mention the key benefits of moving to this new platform, especially in terms of ROI/TCO.
Finally, we address some of the major challenges that beset an IT department when moving to SOA, and we attempt to isolate the main variables for each of them.