During a discussion the other day, I found myself repeatedly asking the question of how many organizations could make the leap from an organization dabbling in services (SOA believers) to an organization living SOA and benefiting from services (SOA achievers). I kept referring to the SOA chasm, this nearly insurmountable gap that needs to be crossed to move from an SOA believer to an SOA achiever. The image below is my visualization of this gap.
Why is it so hard to make it from one side to the other? It’s because this leap requires an organization to rethink everything; fundamentally changing the way they fund, govern, build, and host their applications. If you’re wondering what an SOA achiever looks like, check out this article on the Amazon.com architecture. Note the stat near the top of the page – between 100 and 150 services are accessed to build a page. These guys have made the leap.
I’ve heard a lot of contentions that the move to an SOA represents an evolution, not a revolution. I think this is true for only so long. An organization can incrementally improve their capabilities as an SOA believer but once they reach the end of the SOA believer cliff, it’s an all-or-nothing proposition. When an organization has completed the construction of their utility services and the time comes to tackle the core business entities, functions, and processes, it’s the SOA moment of truth. That quote from the Matrix before Neo tries to jump the chasm between two buildings rings in my head, “You have to let it all go, Neo; fear, doubt, disbelief. Free your mind!”