Thursday, September 20, 2007

Budgeting for SOA

Well, it's that time again - I.T. teams around the nation are hunkered down working on their 2008 budgets. All of them are asking the same questions: How much do I need? What will it be spent on? Where can I cut? Unfortunately, I can't answer all of these questions in a blog post, but I can provide some investment categories to consider:

1. SOA Foundation - A good SOA Foundation program is typically a 3-6 month process utilizing internal and external resources. The initiative rolls together a number of common deliverables: SOA Strategy & Roadmap, SOA Methodology Updates, SOA Reference Architecture, Standards Development and SOA Governance Planning. This will typically cost about $200-400k from external resources, and will eat up significant time of 2-4 internal resources.

2. SOA Infrastructure Realization - Over the last several years, software vendors have been perfecting their SOA solutions. Most large organizations evaluate and acquire their software in 4 different stages, often a year apart.
Stage 1 software is typically a combination of Registry, Repository, Mediation and Web Service Management. For an enterprise license this is typically $750k - 1.25, depending on the size of the organization.

Stage 2 is typically a combination of security and integration. This often includes SOA firewalls and other edge devices. For integration, most organizations are looking at ESB's, orchestration engines and service engines / adapters. Plan on $400-800k for Stage 2.

Stage 3 is typically a combination of EA and Advanced Integration. Organizations that don't have EA modeling tools are quickly bringing them in house and are laying the foundation for their process, service and information modeling needs. Advanced Integration is usually a combination of Data as a Service tools (EII, MDM) as well as legacy host integration. Stage 3 can be quite expensive depending on what all you need. If you're starting from scratch, plan on $1 to 2.5 million for all of it.

Stage 4 is primarily focused on using the services. This includes client side platforms (AJAX, Web 2.0, Next-Gen Portal, Composite Application Tools, etc.) as well as the quality tools to verify the services. From a quality perspective, organizations are buying SOA testing platforms as well as asset governance tools. Comparatively, this area is a bit cheaper, plan on $250 to 800k.

3. SOA Governance Team - After the SOA strategy and roadmap have been defined, the next step is to create an organization that moves SOA forward. Activities include: Program Management, Service Portfolio Management, SOA Infrastructure Architect, SOA Infrastructure Administrator, Service Product Management and typically a couple SOA consultants to engage in active projects and review deliverables. Again, this is typically a combination of internal resources and external SOA consultants. Total combined costs are typically in the $.5 to 1 million range. Also, expect this team to provide significant guidance in the selection of the SOA Infrastructure and to mature the documents defined in the SOA Foundation Program.

4. EA Domain Analysis - All of the expenses on SOA planning, infrastructure and governance is wasted if you don't actually DO SERVICES. It surprises me how many organizations forget this point. Domain analysis is typically performed by enterprise architects who have a strong background in process modeling and service design. They pick a domain area (Sales, Supply Chain, etc.) and perform Process Reengineering, Process Modeling, Service Identification, Service Analysis and Composite Application Requirements Gathering. It is common for these activities to be driven by a Global Process Reeningering effort, or by Application Rationalization / Consolidation efforts. These efforts vary significantly in size, but rarely can you analyze an enterprise domain for under $300k. It is typical for an organization to be analyzing multiple domains in parallel. Most EA teams I've met with are already fully utilized, have minimal budget and don't have time to perform this work. Plan on either adding permanent members to the team or bringing in on-demand external resources.

5. SOA Training and Change Management - Unfortunately, we're not born with SOA skills, we must be trained. Managers, analysts, architects, developers, QA professionals and operational support personnel must all be trained in their piece of the solution. Even after training, you'll find that some people didn't make the change (Silo Oriented Architects), and you will need to provide some degree of change management to either get them on the right page or get them out of the way. Most organizations that we're dealing with are sending 100-300 people to training and are sending IT leaders to conferences. I'd plan on $150k to 400k for getting the teams up to speed.

5. SOA Build and Integration Teams - As organizations continue business as usual, they are constantly bringing in new packaged applications as well as building new systems for their business customers. Going forward, these systems will be sent through the SOA Governance Center. In some cases, the Governance team will determine that they shouldn't be services and will pass them through. In other cases, the systems will be required to adhere to the Governance standards. Packaged applications will often require 'service enablement' and 'service oriented integrations'. New systems will require 'SO-analysis, design, construction and testing'. If you think that your offshore teams will be building your first services, well, you're probably wrong. Service design and construction, like anything new, will most likely be done by in-house teams or on-shore development centers. After the art of SOA Build and Integration is turned into more of a repeatable discipline, you should strongly consider moving this to your favorite commodity development center. For planning purposes, I recommend that you first get a non-service orieneted cost using your internal estimating scheme. Then add on an extra 20-35% to turn the the software into hardened, reusable shared services.

I've said it before and I'll say it again... SOA Transformations cost big bucks, take years to complete but in the end are worth the investment. I hope that this off-the-cuff analysis is valuable to you. Again, it is impossible for me to provide anyone with accurate advice without knowing their situation. I'm currently running around the country helping large organizations put together their precise 2008 SOA budgets. If you need an extra hand looking at your situation - feel free to reach out to me: e-mail me

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