Wednesday, January 14, 2009

XX is dead, long live XX

When statements such as "SOA is dead" or "Web 2.0 is dead" are expressed by individuals who are seen as authorities on these subjects - like Anne Thomas Manes at Burton Group on SOA and Richard MacManus at the ReadWriteWeb on Web 2.0 - it is a sign that they have gotten bored talking and writing about the technology or concept in question. As they are clearly some sort of early adopters, this is likely to happen some time before the technology or concept becomes adopted by the masses. 

Somewhere in this book Clay says that the transformative potential of a technology on society is realized when that technology becomes boring. Old enough people remember the days when office workers watched fascinated how the first faxes where being transmitted, and later on when the first emails where actually being used in the office, or the first time access was granted to the World Wide Web in the office.
To me, this is when technologies and concepts such as SOA and Web 2.0 become really interesting. We can all start seing how they affect society, business and individuals. I think this is where the discussion should continue. 


  1. Great point. Eventually no one will care whether the technology or concept in question was called enterprise architecture or SOA or something entirely different. It will simply be functional - and taken for granted, like the telephone and the wheel.

  2. It's not that I'm bored with SOA. I am tired of hitting my head against the wall trying to explain that SOA is in fact about architecture, not just about integration. But more than that, I'm trying to make a point that the funding review board is likely to cut any project entitled "SOA" this year. IT Groups should instead focus on better defined projects that deliver real value.

  3. Thank you for the clarification Anne.

    I personally believe we hit our heads against the wall when trying to explain SOA because we too often focus on explaining what it is instead of explaining and demonstrating the benefits. If you want to sell a house to someone, you would probably not do so by describing the architecture or construction. The customer does not need to (and does not want to) know too much about those things. A much more successful sales approach would be to help the customer to envision how it will be to live in the house, the help the customer see and experience all the benefits that the new house will bring to the life of the customer.

    It this sense, it might be time to drop or at least tone down the term SOA and instead talk about tangible benefits and what is required to achieve those benefits. Talking about services is then more tangible than talking about architecture.

  4. "...It it might be time to ... talk about tangible benefits and what is required to achieve those benefits."
    Absolutely right. You have to remember your audience in order to communicate effectively. Management and boards are interested in the benefit a technology provides, not the acronym or concept or even the provider. All too often, IT professionals need a course on "How to present IT to non-IT specialists".