Organization readiness – An enterprise first needs to adopt the principle of service-orientation. However, successful SOA depends on the readiness of the enterprise to become service-oriented. To get started with SOA, the guide recommends conducting a maturity assessment. Such an assessment is available from The Open Group and enables a practitioner to assess an organization’s SOA maturity level and define a roadmap for incremental adoption to maximize business benefits at each stage along the way.
Scope – The size and complexity of an enterprise affects the way it’s architecture develops. Where there are many different organizational and business models, it is not practical to integrate them within a single architecture. It is therefore generally not appropriate to develop a single, integrated SOA for a large and complex enterprise.
TOGAF defines enterprise as any collection of organizations that has a common set of goals. For example, an enterprise could be a government agency, a whole corporation, a division of a corporation, a single department, or a chain of geographically distant organizations linked together by common ownership.
The guide highlights an approach for enterprise architects to identify the business areas where SOA will be of greatest benefit and make a significant impact so that they can be prioritized. This approach will help organizations avoid using SOA with the wrong situations to maximize their investment and overall business impact.
Communication, communication, communication – Aspects of TOGAF v9 were extended and enhanced to cover specific service-oriented concepts and terminology such as service contracts. Service contracts formalize the functional and non-functional characteristics of a business service and how it interacts with other business services. This enables a business vocabulary to be derived that allows IT to converse with the business in terms of business process and business services and abstracting away the complexity of the underlying technical services.
Governance – The identification of service and service portfolios is a key task for SOA. The questions of what service and service portfolios the enterprise will have, and how they will be managed must be taken with an enterprise level view.
Just because you have identified a number of services does not automatically mean they will add value to the enterprise and that they should be realized (at least not initially). Governance plays a key role here and the guide recommends the establishment of a SOA governance and creating a linkage to both IT and EA governance in the enterprise.
The Open Group has a wealth of information available in this area, specifically a SOA governance framework that provides context and definitions that enable organizations to understand, customize, and deploy SOA governance.
The relationship between EA and SOA is a powerful and synergistic one. They are key enablers for one another, making EA actionable while making the wider business benefits of SOA obtainable.
SOA is certainly not the only architectural approach that your enterprise will require. But it can smooth the alignment and adoption of other architecture styles (e.g., business process management, event-driven architecture) into an EA framework. So rather than reinvent the wheel, organizations should consider using a well-established framework such as TOGAF to elevate and extend the value of SOA.
The Open Group’s new guide is a must-read for any enterprise architect currently using TOGAF, but remember that it needs to be customized and extended to your enterprises unique situation. Now, if only The Open Group had a guide on using TOGAF to define and govern cloud computing!
Stephen Bennett is a senior enterprise architect at Oracle and a 25-year technologist focused on providing thought leadership, best practices, and architecture guidance around SOA and cloud computing. Stephen is a published author on topics such as SOA governance and cloud computing. He has co-chaired a number of working groups within the Open Group organization around SOA Governance and TOGAF/SOA.