What will we remember about SOA?

We'll remember how SOA was challenging and difficult, but the need to reduce costs and increase efficiency drove the systemic change that was needed

Just thinking over the weekend about the many IT trends that I've been involved with over the years, all important to where we are today but all having different degrees of value. Indeed, while some were a silly divergence, others provided and continue to provide a great deal of value.

I remember the client/server IT trend as something that finally made the PC a legitimate enterprise platform. Component-based programming allowed us to reuse objects at a binary level using common standard interfaces. And distributed objects, which form the foundation of distributed computing, we still leverage today within SOA. Going back further, you have the object-oriented design and programming emergence, and even further back was the use of structured programming and relational databases (now that's going back). Don't forget about Enterprise Application Integration and the IT trend to allow our core enterprise systems to communicate one to another.

I'm sure I'm leaving some things off the list, but you get the idea. Eventually, we abandon the buzzword and understand the IT trend for its real value, and get busy with the approach and the technology to drive value to the business.

So, what about SOA? I think SOA will eventually become, or continue to become, part of the core enterprise architecture. Perhaps we'll practice a much better concept of SOA, but not mention "SOA" as much. I think in 10 years we'll remember how our enterprises where suffering from complexity and inflexibility, and how SOA provided architectural approaches to get us on the road to agility, which hopefully you've achieved.

We'll remember SOA for allowing us to define and leverage thousands of services under management, both within the enterprise and delivered over the Internet. We'll remember how SOA was challenging and difficult, but the need to reduce costs and increase efficiency was the core business driver that funded the many projects to drive the systemic change that was needed.

In essence, SOA will be largely not discussed or written about, as it is today, but it will be delivering much more value than it does today. If we get there, that's a good thing, buzzwords be dammed.

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