SOA failing to deliver says Accenture CTO

Service oriented architecture has failed to deliver on its promise according to the chief technology officer of Accenture.

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Service oriented architecture has failed to deliver on its promise according to the chief technology officer of Accenture.

Speaking at the opening of the Accenture Innovation Centre for BEA, Accenture CTO Donald Rippert said SOA has been stuck in the second phase of what he described as a four-phase progression.

Implementers have been able to create Web services from legacy applications but not implement a process model, he said. "There a great deal of promise in SOA," Rippert said, noting that SOA has had many definitions. But thus far this promise has not been realized, he said.

He described the four phases of SOA implementation, which begins at using XML as an interface, then implementing legacy systems as Web services, and then using an ESB to connect Web services and use composite processes. The fourth phase involves using BPEL (Business Process Execution Language for Web Services) in which a business application is revised by making changes to the process model rather than the code.

But SOA, for the most part, is not enabling this yet, said Rippert. "Maybe someday, but not today; I don't see it today," Rippert said.

Additionally, Rippert said CIOs tell him they need to work better with the business. A wide gulf exists in which neither the line of business focussed managers nor CIOs can create enough processes to create an adequate library of reusable components for an SOA.

"That's what Accenture and BEA need to do is bridge that gulf," said Rippert. This, Rippert said, must be done in the next 18 months, or SOA risks becoming like the Hula Hoop, a faddish toy from the 1950s.

The joint Accenture-BEA facility is at BEA headquarters and will be focused on developing solutions including SOA. BEA's David Gai, executive vice president of world services, said BEA was working with Accenture to help proliferate BEA-based solutions in the marketplace so the company could vie with rivals like IBM Global Services.

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