Consider Top-Down Planning and Bottom-Up Implementation
Regardless of the project, I have always been an advocate of starting small, managing problems at a smaller scale, documenting lessons learned, and then expanding to other projects. The same is true for a SOA implementation: While keeping a roadmap at hand and keeping an eye on the long-term focus of the organization, take a practical (and strategic) project, implement it using SOA approach.
After implementation, spend sometime identifying, documenting, and mitigating problems and risks encountered during this project, and then scale the approach to two or more projects.
Consider Creating a Strategy Prior to Buying the Tools
In many instances, we have seen many projects start by buying the tool prior to having the requirements documented. SOA is not an exception. However, this approach will be counter productive to an organization's long-term plans.
It is important for an organization to create a three-to-five year strategy for transforming itself into a SOA-based organization including executive support, business team alignment, identification of the initial project, practical steps, governance procedures, scalability schedule, maintenance procedures, etc.—prior to identification and purchase of the tools. Identification, evaluation, and purchasing of the tools should be one of the steps in the roadmap and not the first.
In conclusion, I like to emphasize that considering such factors while creating a strategy for transforming your organization to a SOA-based organization will save a lot of money and heart-ache for all involved. It will also allow teams to identify potential pitfalls and create best practices that could be used throughout the organization through this important journey.
Majid Abai is president and CEO of Seena Technologies, an enterprise information management and architecture consulting firm. Majid co-authored Data Strategy (Addison-Wesley, 2005) and teaches classes in Business Intelligence and Enterprise Data Architecture at UCLA.