ESB-CON VI: Lessons Learned on SOA Adoption

In the opening panel, the John Fitzgerald Director of Product Marketing from Software AG mentioned a client’s SOA Lessons Learned. The three points are:

  1. Strong Business Sponsorship
  2. Start Slow with a Low-Risk Project
  3. Integration Competency Center

I agree with all three of these points and I’ll provide my thoughts below.

Strong Business Sponsorship

You aren’t going to be able to get off the ground unless you can prove to the business that there is value in the SOA approach. This usually involves finding someone in the business who understands what this value is, and is willing to champion it to everyone else.

Start Slow With a Low Risk Project

When you are introducing a new architectural style into a company, you will have a few challenges to overcome. The first being that your current developers and architects need to skill-up on creating services. They need to skill up on the tools and patterns that will be used in the future. Another major challenge is that you will have to win over the pessimists in the organization. There will be some subset of employees that do not believe change is necessary and they will need to see immediate results.

In order to complete these two points, picking a small low risk project is the best. The SOA should grow as your organizations capabilities and understandings grow. A key to this project is that it needs to be low risk while still providing business impact, in order to continue to receive that precious business sponsorship.

Integration Competency Center

You need some kind of oversight committee that keeps an eye on the entire developing ecosystem and ensures that the services being developed meet the needs of the business. You don’t them to degenerate into tightly coupled throwaways. The competency center spans the entire organization, providing its expertise in the SOA space as required.

I’ve seen the Integration Competency Center implemented as a multi-person multi-region team and I’ve also see it (smaller companies) as a single knowledgeable and passionate person. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a “Center” but it has to be able to guide service development.


I feel these are three of the higher priority lessons that anyone who wants to implement an SOA should follow. You need strong business buy-in, low risk initial projects and passionate respected people in your Competency Center to succeed building an SOA.

Author: dan

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