Phil Wainewright writes:
Most of us have a mind’s eye image of businesses as walled citadels, but I recall a discussion with John Seely Brown a while back in which the question was raised, where is the edge of the enterprise? Organizations aren’t like buildings, with walls and roofs. They’re collections of people, many of whom interact with outsiders: legal interacts with attorneys, HR interacts with employment agencies and payroll providers, finance interacts with the bank. Think about that and you realize that the move to SOA is really a matter of computing catching up with where business already is. What SOA does is to make these edge interactions even easier to set up and conduct at all points within the enterprise, dissolving the boundaries in creative new ways.
The other important trend that interlocks with this is the growth in what others call software-as-a-service (and which I prefer to call software-powered services). Consuming other people’s computing becomes much easier and less risky within the context of SOA. But why stop at computing. Why not consume other people’s software-powered business services? As James Governor says, “The more i think about what service oriented architecture means the more i realize loosely coupled has to go beyond lip service. Organizations as much as as architectures must be decoupled, so they can be remixed.” [Thanks to Koranteng for the link and also for so much else to think about].
So the move to SOA is dissolving and reshaping boundaries not only between islands of computing and application functionality, but also between businesses and islands of business activity.