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SOA registry technology makes ROI easier, according to report

SOA maturity and ROI need registry technology providing visibility, monitoring and metering, according to a new report for CFOs and CIOs released by Nucleus Research.

As service-oriented architecture moves from adolescent pilot projects to mature enterprise-wide implementations, registry technology is key to ROI, writes David O'Connell, senior analyst for Nucleus Research Inc., in a report released today titled "Registries: SOA for Adults."

"The analogy is that an SOA without a registry is kind of like when you graduate from college and one guy keeps hanging out at the frat and doesn't seem to grow up," O'Connell explained. "He's not making as much money as everyone else and he's a little bit out of control."

Who knows what genetic trait transforms college graduates into business professionals roles while a few classmates fall into perpetual immaturity. But O'Connell asserted that for mature SOA, the key is a registry.

"It can keep your SOA from becoming a wild man," he said.

It also provides ROI, a key metric for the chief financial officers (CFOs) and CIOs who are the clients for the studies and reports done by Nucleus Research, which is based in Wellesley, Mass. O'Connell said his report is aimed at those C-level executives who are asking, "Why am I spending money on this thing called SOA?" That is where the SOA registry comes in, the analyst added.

When CFOs and CIOs are evaluating registry technology, the analyst tells them to look at monitoring and metering. "I would look for visibility tools such as monitoring of who uses which Web services," he said. "Then metering usage because you want to distribute the costs in an equitable way."

Because money matters to CFOs and CIOs, O'Connell focused not only on ROI but also on how the financials of an SOA implementation can be equitably passed on to various departments within an enterprise.

It can keep your SOA from becoming a wild man.

David O'Connell, senior analyst, Nucleus Research Inc.

"With SOA, the costs are incurred in one department, but the benefits can be enjoyed in many other departments," he explained. "For example, the IT department has an integration project that creates a couple of cool services. People know that when that happens someone in another department may use those services. They didn't incur any of the costs and they got all the benefits. People see that coming and therefore there can be some political infighting and resistance to SOA adoption because people don't know who's going to pay for what."

This is one of the areas where the analyst finds the SOA registry vital to success if it has capabilities to track who is using which services and meter the amount of usage per department for charge backs. So while the IT department may have originally paid to develop a service that eliminates duplicate records in database calls, the accounting and sales departments can be billed.

When he talks about cost savings, O'Connell does have one caveat for CFOs and CIOs: No matter what marketers might say, services reuse is not magic. He cautioned that to be reused from one departmental application to another, most services require some "modification at the edge," which includes tasks such as setting up connectivity related to how an application calls a database. Still, the modifications are inexpensive compared with developing code from the ground up, which is where the ROI comes from, he said.

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