What? SOA? What is this? - Well, we are not sure, but it’s something in IT and it has not a good reputation. How do you know about this? – Some developers said it from their past experience… I recall one consulting engagement where I spent about 80% of my (paid) time on finding the ‘right person’ to ask a question; though even this did not help sometimes.
Our subject is Business Architecture. So, let’s start with looking at what an enterprise does. First, why an enterprise does anything? –Because it is after the money, which it receives from the consumers. If it is a not-for-profit or Government organisation, it helps the people to save, keep or obtain more money, but still have to finance themselves via either direct consumer payments or via indirect ones, i.e. consumer taxes. These saved money consumers spend on… the commercial offers. This is how not-for-profit works for those who are for profit. This observation leads us to a conclusion that both types of business organisations have no other way than to serve the consumers to make a revenue. In some cases, e.g. in financial trading, the consumers are the same business organisations that hire traders.
Before going further along the line of these thoughts, I have to explain the first thing about SOA. Yes, this brilliant concept, articulated almost 20 years ago, was obfuscated and then altered by marketing and IT developers. It is not easy to explain such long history and events in a paragraph; so, I ask for forgiveness for some cut corners.
A SOA is an abbreviation of Service-Oriented Architecture. If you do not know yet, an architecture is a certain abstraction that has very loos ties with technology or any other means of architecture implementations. The same architecture can be realised via several different implementations. It is impossible to be 100% sure about what architecture has been realised when looking at its implementation only. SOA was and is about orientation on services – all types and kinds of services from all types and kinds of providers to all types and kinds of consumers. As any architecture, it concerns about what artefacts needed, how they should relate to each other and what principles they have to share.