SOA and the Government: A Slow Process: Page 2

Posted September 26, 2006
By

James Maguire

James Maguire


(Page 2 of 3)

Turf Wars

Asked if their agency would benefit from implementing SOA, 37% said “I do not know,” while 56% said “Yes.”

More positively, of those who have experienced SOA, 73% said they would recommend other agencies move to a SOA environment.

Among respondents who had completed a SOA project, some of the most significant challenges were: lack of established standards (38%) and lack of SOA knowledge within the agency (50%).

Also causing drag on SOA projects was an “organizational reluctance to change from the status quo” (47%). This might be classic governmental foot-dragging, or it may point to something larger. Holahan notes that the attitude toward SOA may depend on a staffer’s level in the hierarchy,

“If you’re selling to the executives in the agency who are really looking at the budget,” then the automated nature of SOA – which might result in layoffs – would be more favorably viewed, he says.

“But if you’re trying to sell to an agency that’s really got manually-intensive processes, and they’re thinking ‘Oh, my gosh, we’re going to have to lay off a bunch of people,’ you could get a different answer.” SOA’s automated nature is actually a threat to some.

The biggest obstacle to government-wide adoption of SOA is “ownership/turf battles between agencies,” according to 28% of respondents, while 20% pointed to lack of SOA knowledge in the government IT community.

Whatever the problems indicated by the study, it provided valuable insight, Holahan says. “By placing the federal government on a continuum, it gives us [vendors] instructions for the kind of help we can bring.”

For instance, “On the commercial side, maybe we wouldn’t invest in training and methodological stuff, because some of that ground had already been covered in some of the early adoptions. Whereas in the government, one of the key takeaways for us is that [training] may very well be a place where we should be investing time.”

Next page: Cost Benefit?


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