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6/29/2007
11:32 AM
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The Enterprise Content Management - SOA Divide

In the content management world, I sense something of a backlash brewing against SOA (Service Oriented Architecture), but I wonder how real it is. With most Fortune 2000 firms already way down the SOA path, there seems to be no turning back. At the enterprise architecture level, there is no Plan B. So the issue for me is not whether SOA is the way forward for ECM, but rather how seriously some of the ECM vendors are embracing it.

In the content management world, I sense something of a backlash brewing against SOA (Service Oriented Architecture), but I wonder how real or or even practical this is. With most Fortune 2000 firms already way down the SOA path, there seems to be no turning back. At the enterprise architecture level, there is no Plan B. So the issue for me is not whether SOA is the way forward for ECM, but rather how seriously some of the ECM vendors are embracing it.Almost every vendor has an SOA story, but for most it is less about exposing and consuming services within a heterogeneous architecture and more about simply sharing services within their own products. Also, most vendors have conflated Web Services with SOA at a time when many thoughtful commentators (c.f., Tim Bray, ZapThink) are questioning the whole Web Services approach. Popping a WSDL on top of a Java API may facilitate integration with .Net applications, but it also makes your system more complex, slower, and no more (de)composable than before.

When you promise an SOA approach and charge six and seven figures, delivering something short of true SOA will not make you many friends. SOA represents an opportunity and a challenge to ECM vendors: an opportunity to truly play at the enterprise level but a challenge in recognizing that ECM represents only a handful of components in a much, much broader mix.In the content management world, I sense something of a backlash brewing against SOA (Service Oriented Architecture), but I wonder how real it is. With most Fortune 2000 firms already way down the SOA path, there seems to be no turning back. At the enterprise architecture level, there is no Plan B. So the issue for me is not whether SOA is the way forward for ECM, but rather how seriously some of the ECM vendors are embracing it.

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