A CIO Needs to Know How to Find SOA or Find the Door

There's more to best practices than architecture. Perhaps the best practice in SOA is for the CIO to get involved and be a leader in making the business case for adoption of SOA?

By Rich Levin
Fri, September 05, 2008

CIO — We interrupt this podcast series for a special announcement. This week I planned to feature a podcast interview with Eugene Ciurana, director of Systems Infrastructure at Leapfrog Enterprises in Emeryville, Calif. I wanted to cover his unique approach to an open-source SOA.

Problem: The audio quality is lacking. My fault. I left a switch on the Zoom H2 in the wrong position, and the audio is over-modulated (read: clipped and muffled). It's going to take me a little time to fix it, and get it to a state where it's not unpleasant to listen to. I'm hoping Audacity or Audition have a filter that can do this for me automagically. But if I can't repair it, I'll have it transcribed and will present it here as a text-based Q&A.

Meanwhile, all is not lost. I have several other interesting people and SOA projects in the podcast pipeline. But rather than jump right to the next personality in the queue, I wanted to take a moment to address something that popped up in the SOAsphere over the past few weeks.

Back in July, Software AG released the results of a study on the state of SOA governance. Dubbed "Best Practices for SOA Governance," the report calls out three principal take-aways from the survey (Software AG's wording, below):

  • SOA has "crossed the chasm."

  • Governance plays a key role in creating sustainable, enterprise-wide implementations.

  • Users recognize that better governance is needed to institutionalize and automate needed SOA processes and best practices.

Good stuff. But buried in the study, on page 15 of 20, is a remarkable observation; one which I would suggest should be a top-line take-away. From the report:

Another striking fact was the lack of direct CIO involvement within these SOA steering committees.

This is noteworthy on several accounts. First, it may suggest that SOA isn't viewed as strategically within IT as many have been led to believe. Secondly, it suggests that achieving SOA's goal of improving IT's alignment with the business may be difficult as the individual most responsible for this activity, the CIO, is not actively involved with their enterprise's SOA initiative(s). Finally, this lack of engagement by IT's "chief salesperson" to the business may explain the challenges that some users experience in making the business case for SOA.

So respondents claim SOA is strategically important to IT, and yet, we see no direct involvement—indeed, no direct leadership—from the CIO. Wouldn't having the CIO directly involved in a strategically important architecture seem to be a best practice?

Continue Reading

Our Commenting Policies