Last week was a busy week on the SOA front, with IBM’s SOA mega-conference, IMPACT, being held in Las Vegas, almost simultaneously with the more low-key but in-depth SOA Summit held by Software AG in Scottsdale, Arizona. I managed to hop between the two events, which included moderating a wrap-up panel with the key speakers at SOA Summit.

Russell Irwin, IT executive with Standard Life in the UK, was a keynote speaker at IMPACT, describing the competitive advantages his company was reaping after its 10-year SOA journey.

The company has focused on developing services that can be reused across its various customer channels—via agents, the Web, phone, and customer call centers. Benefits have included greater business agility, predictable business behavior, and more than 50% reuse of the company’s 570 services of services across different customer channels. The company has saved about $40 million as a result of its SOA focus, he says.

Here are some more takeaways from the IBM and Software AG events:

•    Contrary to reports of its demise, SOA is alive and well and thriving. By all indications, there is no pullback on SOA efforts—companies recognize that there simply is no alternative if they seek more efficient processes and technology implementations.

•    More SOA discussions also invoke cloud computing as the next generation of services. IBM announced an appliance that supports “private cloud” rollouts.

•    “Phase two” of SOA is all about the business. SOA is not like other technology initiatives in the past because it requires active ownership by the business. IT plays the role of educator, enabler and maintainer, but business needs to take the lead with SOA projects.
To gain business adoption of SOA, Irwin urged getting executive support, a strong emphasis on risk control, and measurement. “Measure, measure, measure,” he said. “Measure your services, measure reuse, and measure performance.”

Joe McKendrick is an author, consultant, blogger and frequent INN contributor specializing in information technology. He can be reached at

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