"At that time, all the WS-* standards were young, so we decided to abstract security, management, and orchestration to the three platforms [Reactivity, Actional, and Biztalk] and let the vendors keep up with the latest standards. Now if someone says, 'I want to use a new security standard,' or 'I want to use surname instead of last name as a descriptor in this field,' we can just make a configuration change instead of doing a lot of recoding," Crowhurst says.
The next step will be further consolidation. "We can view the business as one, but there are still multiple systems behind us," Crowhurst says. "We need to collapse all those systems, migrate all those legacy dependences into new services, and end-of-life the old registration systems. We've done that successfully with one, and we have three more to go."
For shops that are just getting started with SOA, however, Crowhurst stresses the importance of acquiring, training, and developing the right people to get the job done.
"Get a core group of architects and senior developers to understand, embrace, and buy into the strategy," he says. "And train. SOA requires a complete change in process and thinking."