SOA ROI does not seem to be a priority

Without ROI, you don’t know when you’re starting or ending or if you did any good

A new Gartner survey of SOA architects finds 40 percent do not measure how long it takes to achieve a ROI for their SOA -- or if the darn thing had any business benefit, for that matter. Shame on you guys! According to the survey:

Gartner, which carried out the survey among enterprises from around the world, also highlighted the fact that 50 per cent of those who had not yet adopted SOA technologies did so because they could not articulate and demonstrate the business value of it.

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The fact is that people love doing SOA, or SOA-like things, but hate doing the business cases or, more importantly, the analysis that needs to be done on the back end. There are no reasonable expectations set going into the project, nor any measurement of success on the back end. Thus, who knows if the SOA provided any business value? Also, there are no clear objectives.

Massimo Pezzini, research vice president and fellow at Gartner, said that many companies were approaching SOA projects with excessive expectations and little awareness of the effort, resources and time needed to achieve any benefits.

Some SOA projects are perceived to have failed when in fact there are simply no well established metrics to evaluate success," he said.

Folks, you can't figure out if SOA is going to have any business value without doing a business case up front. This means understanding your core needs and how SOA will create an architecture that solves actual problems, and not just looking to push out an SOA because it seems like the right thing to do.

The metrics/analysis are pretty simple:

  1. What are the current inefficiencies within the enterprise architecture, and how much do you think that's costing the business?
  2. What is the value of reuse, and how much reuse can you expect?
  3. What is the value of agility?
  4. What is the estimated cost of the project?
  5. What are the estimated benefits from the dollars spent?

More importantly, how we define success -- or when we've achieved the objectives of the project?

There's no excuse for leaving the ROI analysis out of this process. You've been hearing that from me for years, so go run some numbers.