One of my clients came to me a few weeks ago with an interesting challenge: They want enterprise SOA, but have no money. This client is an extremely federated organization with multiple IT groups all receiving their own funding.

There's definitely a need for enterprise SOA (governance, infrastructure, practices) but no authority to back anything official.

So in light of these restrictions, we're thinking of a two-pronged approach to assisting SOA efforts:

  1. Try to convince IT authorities of need for formal SOA
  2. Collaboratively create SOA practice and standard recommendations that development groups can follow.


Step 1 involves building business cases, roadmap documents and other goodies that help convince those in power that it is worth spending money on SOA.

Step 2 involves documentation developed by the various IT groups building SOA around the organization. These documents include a service development lifecycle recommendation, service definition process recommendation, governance recommendtion and interoperability best practices recommendation. These documents are to be developed in a collaborative fashion (think wiki) and will be the self-selecting SOA community's guide for how to develop and use services.

Step 2 certainly has challenges (who will make people follow the recommendations- answer no one), but should move the organization closer to full SOA while cutting down on the chaos. I like step 2 because it gives an answer to the "no funds paralysis" that makes some architects think that SOA is hopeless.

I'll post updates as to how these approaches end up working.