SOA has had a torrid time of it in the press. At the start of this decade, it was cutting edge. By 2005, the love affair was waning; people were growing wearied reading endless blogs, articles and press releases about the wonder of SOA.
It seemed that SOA had gone from wired to tired in just 10 years, but actually, there are several reasons why SOA should still be at the front of the minds of CIOs and consultants alike. In fact, the factors that have made SOA so important – intensified global communications, ever more demanding consumer needs, increased business collaboration – are unlikely to reverse themselves. So, SOA should now be considered less a hot topic that is wearing thin, and more a central ethos that has only just begun gaining ground in what will be a very long period of influence.
Most importantly, SOA is essential to real-time event processing. Businesses need to be able to respond to consumer needs and demands almost at the moment they arise, thanks to the hyper-competition brought about by easy global trade. Having data and applications accessible and logically ordered across a business gives a business the advantage it needs to survive in this kind of supply-demand climate.
On the subject of information itself, SOA is equally as important. Put simply, in systems designed according to SOA, information is seen by all eyes across an organisation, and updated and ‘cleansed’ accordingly. It’s simple, yet effective; good information makes for better, quicker decision-making.
Finally, it’s the biggie: cloud computing. Like it or not, cloud computing is on its way in and pretty soon, no business will be able to operate whilst avoiding it entirely, either within the organisation, or where it is being used by clients. Increasingly, businesses are using cloud applications to cut costs and save storage. SOA is the only way to successfully integrate and manage services coming from IT departments or outside providers.