Ronald Schmelzer, of industry think tank ZapThink, describes four key benefits to SOA: (1) reducing integration expenses (both development costs and maintenance costs), (2) increasing asset reuse (no need to reinvent the wheel each time), (3) increasing business agility (the pace of business has changed, but few enterprises have), and (4) reducing business risk (both operational and compliance risk). In the following sections, we will explore and illustrate each of these value propositions.
Reducing Integration Expenses
If I had a dollar for every time that upper management asked me to cut costs ... —A CTO who is fond of irony
Cost cutting is a common demand that is levied on technology organizations. Consequently, each new paradigm within the industry (e.g., client-server, Web/n-tier, SOA, etc.) is pitched by some as a cost-cutting strategy. The trouble is that many enterprises attempt some grand enterprise-wide deployment rather than incrementally growing their SOA over time and incorporating lessons learned along the way. The fact is that, if properly implemented, SOA actually can reduce both development and maintenance costs. Use of loosely coupled, standards-based interfaces keeps integration costs low. By leveraging standard protocols, data formats, and interfaces, a great deal of traditional integration costs can be mitigated or even entirely avoided. Additionally, SOA's push toward loosely coupled system integration allows for a reduction in time ...