Is SOA making mergers easier?

Forced mergers present a good case for the value of SOA, or creating an architecture that's built to change

ZDNet SOA blogger Joe McKendrick made an interesting observation around the use of SOA as a mechanism to ease the integration of IT in these days of quick and forced mergers in the world of finance.

"It's possible that SOA efforts that have been underway at these organizations in recent years may have also saved their skin. That's because most of these government-backed (or government-prodded) mergers have been 'shotgun weddings,' as described by CapGemini's Sean Drewitt in a recent report in Bank Systems & Technology. There's a lot of technology within the merged parties that need to be somehow brought together."

In essence, the use of SOA approaches and technology has created well-defined interfaces into major information systems that have made integration of these systems much less of a hassle. Indeed, one of the by-products of SOA is integration, and the creation of standard and well-defined interfaces. Thus, when moving toward a more loosely coupled architecture, such as SOA, the value is the ability to change the architecture, or in this case integrate architectures. Thus, it "saved their skin."

While nobody wants to be pushed into a forced marriage and forced to alter things within negative business events, this really is a good use case for the value of SOA, or creating an architecture that's built to change. I suspect that some of the forced mergers going on right now won't work at the IT level, because they have not made the same preparations. Figure you won't hear about those, at least in the press.