The Open Group Releases SOA Ontology Standard To Increase SOA Adoption and Success Rates

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Ontology Fosters Common Understanding of SOA Concepts to Improve Alignment Between Business and IT

SAN FRANCISCO, December 8, 2010 The Open Group today announced the availability of the Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) Ontology Technical Standard to develop and foster a common understanding between business and information technology (IT) communities regarding SOA concepts and terminology.  Produced by the members of the Open Group’s SOA Work Group, the ontology defines the concepts, terms and semantics of SOA in a common language that will allow for more precise and straightforward communications and facilitate SOA adoption without ambiguity. 

A lack of mutually agreed-upon SOA terms, definitions and concepts can create interoperability issues that inhibit end-to-end business activities within an organization - as well as between vendor, customer, and partner organizations - and can reduce the success rate for SOA deployments. By providing common terminology and concept mapping that business and technical people may employ to discuss problems and opportunities, the ontology bridges different architecture, engineering, business and marketing domains. It also creates a foundation for further work in domain-specific areas by supplying a consistent framework that can be reused and revised as SOA projects evolve. 

“The release of the SOA Ontology will significantly benefit the industry considering the increased use of SOA within organizations, especially due to the rise of cloud adoption,” said Dr. Chris Harding, the Open Group’s SOA Work Group forum director. “It’s critical for business and technical executives across disciplines and organizations to have a lingua franca for SOA to ensure the success of their deployments.  As with all of the concepts and models developed through the SOA Work Group, we anticipate the ontology to be a living document that will be updated as the industry evolves and SOA concepts are further refined.”

“Our customers have the need to create a shared understanding of SOA within their organization and among partners. The SOA Ontology provides a foundation for this, consistent with other standards such as SOA/ML and BPMN,” said Angel Diaz, vice president of Software Standards, IBM. “IBM contributed to this standard based on our extensive SOA experience with enterprise customers. We are leveraging it in other standards, including the SOA repository specification, S-RAMP, as well as supporting it across our portfolio.”

“As a member of the SOA Work Group, it’s rewarding to have our work provide organizations with a level of consistency around both the definitions and taxonomy of SOA,” said Ed Harrington, principal consultant at Architecting the Enterprise. “It is important because it will tremendously facilitate communications amongst and between enterprise architects, designers and developers as well as the businesses they support.”

The SOA Ontology is designed for use by:

  • Business people, to give them a deeper understanding of SOA concepts and how they are used in the enterprise and its environment
  • Architects, as metadata for architectural artifacts
  • Architecture methodologists, as a component of SOA meta-models
  • System and software designers, for guidance in terminology and structure

The SOA Ontology is also intended for use in conjunction with other industry standards and can also be used by computing systems to create modeling tools, automate standard terms and relationships, clarify working assumptions, and enable interoperability.

The SOA Ontology Technical Standard is available free of charge and may be downloaded from the Open Group website:

About the SOA Work Group
The SOA Work Group is an Open Group Work Group.  Its mission is to develop and foster common understanding of SOA in order to facilitate alignment between the business and information technology communities. The Work Group carries out its mission by conducting a work program to produce definitions, analyses, recommendations, reference models, and standards to assist business and information technology professionals within and outside of the Open Group to understand and adopt SOA. In addition, it produces the SOA Source Book, which is a collection of source material for use by enterprise architects working with Service-Oriented Architecture, derived from the work of the project teams.  Further information about The SOA Work Group can be found at

About The Open Group
The Open Group is a vendor-neutral and technology-neutral consortium, which drives the creation of Boundaryless Information Flow™ that will enable access to integrated information within and between enterprises based on open standards and global interoperability. The Open Group works with customers, suppliers, consortia and other standard bodies. Its role is to capture, understand and address current and emerging requirements, establish policies and share best practices; to facilitate interoperability, develop consensus, and evolve and integrate specifications and open source technologies; to offer a comprehensive set of services to enhance the operational efficiency of consortia; and to operate the industry’s premier certification service. Further information on Open Group can be found at .

Media contact:
Carolina Grimm
Bateman Group for The Open Group

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