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Turning Failure Into Success

Over the last two-plus decades, most organizations have come to rely on information technology (IT) systems to run their business. Now, with a variety of mission-critical applications and tools in place, many organizations see the value in integrating these systems in order to operate more effi- ciently, provide better customer service, and develop new revenue-generating activities. According to Gartner, integration increases the value of application portfolios and positions IT to use their portfolios to deliver improved business value.1

In the computer industry, integration is a general term for any software that serves to join together or mediate between two separate and usually already existing programs, applications, or systems. From a business perspective, integration is about creating automated business processes – known as workflows – to codify routines that were once performed manually.

A new integration standard has evolved in recent years known as service-oriented architecture (SOA). SOA enables different programs, applications, and tools to interact via self-contained services that do not depend on the context or state of the other service. Working within a distributed systems architecture, SOA has gained momentum because it creates reusable integrated business processes.

While tracking mediocre results, and even failure2, in the implementation of service-oriented architectures, many common threads, or “worst practices,” can be found. The top-four worst practices for SOA integration include:

  • Overemphasizing low-level code

  • Centralizing design and development

  • Ripping and replacing legacy software

  • Buying software without support

These worst practices set companies on the inauspicious path of SOA failure. They have been repeated by some of the best run and smartest companies in the world. Typically, these worst practices are the result of wanting to ride the latest technology wave without balancing the hype with practical knowledge and experience. For an SOA integration initiative to be successful, organizations must think about the long-term health of their architecture, even while deploying short-term solutions.

Designed to help organizations learn from the mistakes of others, this paper provides insight into the top-four worst practices for SOA integration. It also provides guidance on how to avoid and/or overcome these worst practices in order to realize the true value of an open, reusable integration architecture. By reading this paper, you will have a solid understanding of how to avoid SOA integration failure and achieve success with your initiatives.


Thompson, Jess. “Questions About Application Integration Underscore Its Pervasive Use.” Gartner. ID Number: G00145418. June 20, 2007.


Failure is defined as a considerable expense with little or no return on investment.


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