As the business environment becomes more sophisticated, the challenges facing organizations are shifting away from questions of efficiency and automation towards questions of complexity management and business agility.
Complex webs of existing applications and interfaces create highly complex landscapes where change becomes more and more difficult and the impacts of change become harder to predict and understand.
The concept of SOA provides an architectural style that is specifically intended to simplify the business and the interoperation of different parts of that business. By structuring capability as meaningful, granular services as opposed to opaque, silo’ed business units, it becomes possible to quickly identify functional capabilities of an organization, avoid duplicating similar capabilities across the organization, and quickly assemble new capabilities.
By standardizing the behavior and interoperation of services, it is possible to limit the impacts of change and also to understand in advance the likely chain of impacts.
From a software development perspective, SOA focuses on structuring applications in a way that facilitates system flexibility and agility – a necessity in today’s complex and fast-moving business environment. SOA aims to break down traditional application silos into portfolios of granular services that operate in open and interoperable ways, while extracting commodity capability into a virtualized infrastructure platform of shared re-usable utility services.
The Open Group SOA Work Group was formed in October 2005 to develop and foster a common understanding of SOA. This was (and remains) fully aligned with The Open Group strategic objective to develop “Boundaryless Information Flow” through the production of definitions, analyses, recommendations, reference models, guides, and standards. This activity is specifically directed at ensuring that the information technology utilized by the enterprise is specifically in place to support the requirements of the business. For more information, see the SOA Source Book.
The SOA Work Group is open to all Platinum, Gold, and Silver members of The Open Group and since its start-up has had participation from over 400 individuals from over 60 member companies. Information concerning the work of the SOA Work Group can be obtained at www.opengroup.org/projects/soa.
The SOA Work Group has undertaken numerous projects that provide valuable input to those who may be interested in utilizing TOGAF in developing their SOAs. At a summary level, these include:
The following sections will discuss each of these, emphasizing their relevance to developing SOAs using TOGAF.