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Java SOA Cookbook by Eben Hewitt

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Understanding SOA ROI

Problem

Determining ROI for a traditional software project is different from determining ROI within a SOA. You need to understand these differences.

Solution

The guidelines below may help you to find operational money from the general principles of SOA. Or, you may determine that there is not significant ROI in SOA, and that it is rather a cost of doing business.

Discussion

As SOAs wind their way into more and more enterprises, the question of ROI becomes unavoidable. Many industry analysts and stack vendors (who, surprise! have a bunch of SOA software they’re happy to equip you with) imply that the ROI in SOA is significant, but also suggest that the value is deferred until the benefits of reuse can be assessed. This recipe explores the reasons for this.

At the end of this recipe, we’ll examine the contrarian view that suggests that you can’t determine the ROI associated directly with SOA because the question itself is inappropriate.

ROI in traditional software projects

The return on investment for a traditional software project is simpler to calculate than that for SOA projects. Traditional projects tend to focus on the following factors:

  • Structure or design that will reduce maintenance and overhead costs. These factors include developer time as well as environmental factors such as how much electricity or cooling is required.

  • Features that will win new customers and streamline business processes.

  • Features that will reduce time to market.

  • Cost reduction. This could occur ...

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