Service-Oriented Architecture: Why and How?

It seems like every few years there’s some new computing approach that promises to solve all the ills facing IT in the enterprise. Hopeful IT executives invest time and money in the new approach, only to find that fundamental problems like complexity, inflexibility, and brittleness remain. Today, there is yet another promising new approach known as Service-oriented architecture. Is this new approach just another technology fad, or does it actually offer solutions to IT’s perennial problems?

As a matter of fact, today’s Service-oriented architectures based on Web services leverage the lessons learned from previous computing approaches and break new ground. Based on open standards, these new architectures expose IT functionality in a fundamentally more flexible and responsive manner. The strategic value that such architectures offer is thus in the form of IT environments and approaches flexible enough to enable companies to leverage changing business environments for competitive advantage at a reduced cost. In other words, Service-oriented architectures allow companies to do more with less.

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