How to get there is unclear. Beauchamp cites Wikipedia as an example of collective metadata, but admits that its governance model allows bad actors and inconsistencies to work there way in.
Microsoft sees a similar approach of federating applications as services, with a central core of mission-critical, back-office applications acting as the core platform. The data architecture and the master data management (MDM) must be separate from any single application, said Tim O’Brien, director of the Platform Strategy Group at Microsoft. Instead, “you would federate metadata through some back end” with applications interacting as a mesh in an SOA approach.
Still, the question remains as to whose architecture, the enterprise’s or the vendor’s, forms basis of the SOA platform. Gartner’s Desisto said that vendors ultimately hold the key to managing integration among SaaS applications and suites.
“The burden of integration is in the platform. In the enterprise world, you have a lot more control over your architecture. But in the cloud (of SaaS applications) no one is responsible for the integration across platforms.”
What IT can do is insist on integration requirements and service levels in their contracts to push vendors towards better integration with competitors and other domains. Otherwise, vendors will act out of their self-interest.