The Talking Cure for Dysfunctional SOA

One of the SOA challenges mentioned in the recent OTN ArchBeat Podcast Old Habits Die Hard in the New SOA World is the persistent lack of communication among SOA stakeholders at some organizations.

How bad is it? Last week, during an interview for an upcoming podcast, Oracle ACE Director Simon Haslam, a consultant specializing in Oracle Fusion Middleware, told me that he has been in meetings on customer sites, "where we've sat in a room with some of the DBAs and middleware admins and network people, and they've hardly spoken to each other before. It's like 'Didn't I see you at last year's Christmas party?'"

Yeah, it can be that bad. So what can be done when SOA stakeholders behave like members of the US Congress?

In his contribution to Capgemini's TechnoVision 2014 series of blog posts, social media expert Rick Mans discusses enterprise social networks as a means of connecting all manner of information workers. Mans says:

"Since work has changed over the years, don’t make the mistake to transition work and processes one on one over to the enterprise social network. Take a step back, focus on what the outcome should be and then redesign your process with social in the center and the enterprise social network as an enabler. Otherwise you end up with a sub-optimal solution: the situation of 19th centuries processes run in a 21st century environment, that is just waiting for things to break down."

So can enterprise social networks help dysfunctional organizations do a better job at SOA? Maybe. They will at least open channels between stakeholders, a necessary first step in getting everyone pointed in the right direction so that SOA can progress. But as Mans' post suggests, social networks won't make a huge difference if  SOA stakeholder behavior doesn't change.


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