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Service Oriented Architecture Field Guide for Executives by Bibhas Bhattacharya, Kyle Gabhart

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1.1. FROM AD-HOC SOLUTIONS TO SERVICE ORIENTED CAPABILITIES

At first glance, service oriented architecture (SOA) sounds like a techie thing with little relevance to business and delivering customer value. But service orientation is more than just a technical architecture; it is a movement within government organizations and private industry that is transforming business value chains, organizational alignment, and technical delivery capabilities.

To better understand this transition, we will first examine the evolution within the electric utility industry from ad-hoc creation of electricity toward a true service oriented model. Then we will explore the parallels currently occurring within the realms of business and technology with respect to SOA.

Edison Had a Neat Idea

Generating electricity to illuminate a bulb is a pretty cool concept. The means of getting the electricity to the bulb has evolved over time. Creating that electricity via generators was a fine initial implementation, but that method was not as economical or reliable as desired. Generators required individuals and businesses to stockpile fuel in order to produce electricity. They also had limited ability to regulate the electricity flow, resulting in reliability problems as well as safety concerns. Later, the electricity needs of towns and cities were supported by power plants. Generation of power within homes and businesses gave way to transmission of power from centralized plants via electrical lines. Eventually, ...

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