When launched, space-bound rockets need to reach a certain velocity before they can clear the earth’s atmosphere and reach their destination. Such is also the case with service-oriented architecture projects. When things are just starting out, it requires a push from the business to move toward the next goal. IT can’t do it alone.

This analogy was a key point in SOA Adoption for Dummies, a new book on the topic written by Miko Matsumura, Jignesh Shah, and Bjoern Brauel, all part of Software AG. (Not to be confused with SOA for Dummies, the work published by Judith Hurwitz.)  

A couple of months back, I had the opportunity to speak with Miko and Jignesh about the book, and developments they are seeing in the SOA space. An analogy that kept cropping up is the idea that getting SOA off the ground is akin to the challenges of space flight. For example, Miko pointed out that the technology to support SOA has been around for a while, but successful SOA requires visionary leadership to get things moving—just as President John Kennedy and the competition with the Soviet Union for the conquest of space got the space program moving.

And just as with a rocket launch, a lot of energy needs to be expended at the front end of the process to get things moving. But once the destination is reached, weightlessness kicks in. A spacecraft could keep accelerating for some time to come in space.

In SOA as well, most of the resources, such as development funding, will be required in the early stages of the process, but once things are underway, less expenditure of energy is required. As Miko put it: “There's a point in the flight of the rocket called escape velocity, when you haven't gotten into orbit, but you've gotten to the point where its evitable. Once you get to the point where your velocity is sufficient, if you just did nothing at that point, you would already be heading into orbit, or your interstellar destination.”

That’s the challenge for SOA projects, which typically require a lot of resources and support to get going, but once things are underway, the value begins to automatically accrue. A project delivers reusable services into the enterprise directory that can then be picked up and adopted by applications from elsewhere in the enterprise.

Ultimately, as SOA permeates throughout the enterprise, the “weightlessness” sets in. This is eventually what successful SOA should look like—so baked into the organizational memory and culture that it’s simply a part of everything that end-users and developers do. As Jignesh put it: “over time, it simply becomes second nature, where that is the way systems are built. That would be the point in which SOA is weightless because you have the skills you need. Everyone understands how to build things in a way that are reusable, and thinking in a more granular level, or less granular level.”

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

The opinions of bloggers on www.insurancenetworking.com do not necessarily reflect those of Insurance Networking News.

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