In this chapter we sought to demonstrate that IT strategy and planning is a critical requirement for success in business today, and that the implementation of an enterprise architecture using SOA principles and Web services can be used as a competitive differentiator. To achieve this goal, we introduced enterprise architectures and examined the business realities and challenges that have made them so difficult to maintain. We introduced the SOA and examined how Web services can be used to enable implementation of an enterprise architecture using SOA principles. From a business perspective, we postulated that the resulting enterprise architecture could be used to enable competitive advantage and create business value for organizations. The business benefits of creating an enterprise architecture using SOA principles are many, but primarily fall into the categories of:
Reduced IT complexity
Lower IT costs
Increased business flexibility and agility, and
Finally, we examined implementation considerations for a Web serviceenabled SOA, looking at the two primary camps for their implementation: Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) and Microsoft .Net, reviewing their relative market positions from a business perspective.
In today’s economy no business leader can dispute that organizational flexibility and agility are not just a desirable option, but are critical requirements for business survival. It is our hope that we have demonstrated the importance of enterprise architectures, SOAs, and Web services in creating a flexible and agile IT foundation for the future, upon which business value and competitive advantage can be built.