Most small companies are not interested in SOA. The main reason for this is that upper management is frightened of what they think will be the huge expenses connected with the development of SOA. But, as ever, technology has been changing. Now, in fact, SOA can be very beneficial for even small business since SOA development and integration now can be implemented at a much lower cost than before.
But to gain SOA benefits, several procedures must be followed. Before starting an SOA project, which business process will be implemented should first be defined. For the first project, the process chosen should be something simple and not business critical. In that way, positive results will quickly be apparent, and in case of failure, none of the business critical processes will be affected.
Before each SOA project is started, a good road map with defined milestones needs to be created. The milestones should be relatively close together so development progress can be actively controlled. Because a good road map cannot be drawn without at least a basic design of the new SOA system, it is recommended that expert SOA consultants are included at this stage. This will be very beneficial in the latter stages of the project because those milestones will already be well-defined, and the SOA development team will be able to deliver on time.
Of course, in SOA projects for small companies, system architecture is also crucial for the successful implementation of SOA. However, costs can be much lower than for huge SOA projects. A small company’s business organization is much simpler, so such implementation can start with integration of only a small part of business processes, a lot of work can be done by an internal IT team, if available, and progress can proceed in small steps. But still, the main roles (i.e. business analyst and SOA architect) should be filled by specialists from SOA development companies. For those key tasks, experience is very important, and many SOA consulting and development companies can offer that.
The next step is the development of the SOA services needed for integrating business processes. To lower costs, many free tools can be used: servers, IDEs, ESBs, and BPEL processing tools. Development with these free tools can be as rapid and successful as with other, payable solutions. But the key element is a well-integrated team. The best results can be achieved with a team associated with the inside developer working with an outside SOA developer expert from an SOA consulting company.
Developing SOA projects and integrating a company’s business systems in that way will produce very rapid and beneficial results for whole company; however, the costs will remain quite low and will be returned in a very short time.