I’ve been asked a lot of questions of late about why I think the time is right for a consultancy specialising in service-oriented architecture, so what follows is a collection of those questions and my answers.
Great name ‘SOA Growers’. Where did the idea come from?
We wanted a name for our company that allows you to instantly identify with what to what we do. SOA Growers seemed appropriate because it encapsulates our whole commercial offering in a nutshell. We help our clients to reap the benefits that strong service-oriented architectures can deliver, often starting from quite humble beginnings. Of course being based in the ‘Cyber-Orchard’, amongst the beautiful countryside of the West Country also helped with the inspiration.
What inspired you to start SOA Growers?
Service-orientation as a design paradigm has come of age. It’s managed to break its long mistaken association with web-services technologies thanks to leading industry figures like Thomas Erl who have revolutionised the way we think about service-orientation and refined the methodology to a point whereby it can be applied to award winning effect predictably and repeatedly.
Why should I use service-orientation in my solutions?
Since 2007 I’ve been applying the design rules and disciplines of service-orientation to distributed computing architectures and I’ve discovered that it’s a methodology that really works.
Service-orientation has clearly defined strategic goals that make sense for most organisations and it brings to an end the cycle of tactical system silo’s that has so dominated the IT landscape for the past 20 years. It replaces these out of date techniques with a move to more strategic service-oriented solutions that deliver greater business agility and better longevity.
When correctly applied service-orientation creates a new kind of IT environment where great business and technology alignment and long term business benefit are both expected and delivered. The design patterns, technologies and techniques of service-orientation are also very important for cloud computing, so if you want to do cloud it’s helpful to be able to understand and apply the concepts of service-orientation to your solutions.
Shouldn’t I just ask to my incumbent IT vendor to build me some web-services?
No! That’s probably the worst thing you could do. New tools and new web-services do not equal good SOA. The SOA-manifesto supports this point of view by stating that: ‘products and standards alone will neither give you SOA nor apply the service orientation paradigm for you‘. In other words, service-orientation is not something you can buy off the shelf or generate with a right-click, it must be properly crafted so that you get the full long-term benefit for your business.
So what should I do to ‘get started’ with service-orientation?
Personally I’d urge all directors and managers with a responsibility for IT projects to completely ignore the nitty-gritty technical choices of SOA in the first instance an instead concentrate on obtaining some good independent advice about service-orientation as a business strategy. That way you can get an understanding of the business benefits of service-orientation before spending lots of money on expensive technical change programmes which might not achieve the required result.
SOA Growers is uniquely placed to offer this kind of independent advise and expertise. We are intentionally independent and we can help with all aspects of SOA from policy setting through to service design, development and deployment. We understand service-orientation, but most importantly we specialise in it and have done it before with great success!