Any of us who have been around the IT industry for more than a few years will be aware that we have more than a little in common with the fashion industry – this year’s ‘got to have’ can quickly become next year’s ‘what was I thinking?’.
What about 2007’s big thing, Service Oriented Architecture (SOA)? Will it be confined to the back of the IT wardrobe as quickly as it appeared? Current events are similar to previous technology cycles: fresh, innovative software companies create a new space and existing vendors frantically reposition themselves, spinning the features of existing products to conform to a new paradigm.
The move to SOA changes the nature of revenue generation opportunities for the channel as an out-of-the-box solution to many integration problems that have previously required a lot of custom coding and proprietary technology. In particular, SOA-enabling technologies, such as Enterprise Service Buses (ESB), means an SOA ‘beachhead’ can be quickly established within customer organisations and from there a full SOA strategy can be built.
This is particularly true for those resellers focused on outsourcing, especially if they are already handling projects for clients. Here SOA brings two major advantages.
First, the ability to move existing infrastructures to SOA – replacing complex, costly conventional architectures quickly, increasing the margin they are able to make on existing business, while maintaining existing service levels agreements.
Second, implementing an SOA will allow them to deepen the relationship with customers through new levels of flexibility and system innovations.
As in all paradigm changes, ‘new’ technologies launched onto the market are simply re-engineered versions of existing technologies.
However, the advantages and opportunities that come from these technologies can only truly be delivered if the tools used are built with SOA in mind. In other words, around open standards and web services.
Only then will the channel have the freedom to evolve architectures with confidence, delivering and developing new value and new revenues from SOA projects. C
Rick Smith is UK alliances director at Cape Clear Software
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