Original Post Date: Monday, October 6, 2008

 According to Gartner, Service Oriented Architectures (SOAs) will be used in more than eighty percent of mission critical operational applications and business processes by the year 2010.  Perusal of the literature on SOAs leads to visions of ease of implementation and cost savings of epic proportions.  And it is likely that not only will service oriented implementations results in cost savings, but that without them many currently envisioned capabilities in the corporate world and the Department of Defense (DoD) will be impossible to deploy, maintain, and evolve as technology explodes and requirements and priorities shift.

As with all technology shifts, the cost savings are neither automatic nor are they immediate.  Up front investment is necessary before the cost savings start to roll in.  Businesses are anxious to begin deploying SOA capabilities but are wary as to what the transition may cost them. 

This is an area that we at PRICE are very interested in, not only because we want to help our clients overcome this software cost estimation challenge, but also because we are investigating ways that SOA concepts will help us better serve clients of the TruePlanning Software Cost Estimation capabilities. 

For purposes of understanding cost implications, a SOA deployment can be segmented into three general areas.  The implementation of the infrastructure necessary to host service based capabilities is a significant investment for a company.  This generally requires a search for the right set of commercial off the shelf middleware components to meet the business’s requirements for security, performance, etc.  The deployment of the infrastructure is a one-time investment with costs being driven by the specific requirements of the organization and the level of technical maturity with respect to SOA.

Once an infrastructure is in place, services need to be developed and existing capabilities need to be migrated from traditional applications to services.  As services are really just software implementations,  drivers in this category are similar to typical drivers for software development costs.

Finally there is an integration and test effort associated with getting services working within the context of the infrastructure to deliver value to end users.  In many ways this effort will be similar to other software integration and test efforts but additional factors will come into play. It's important to understand how the rigor put into developing the infrastructure will impact the cost and effort of actually using that infrastructure to deliver capability. Read more about on-going research into the costs and benefits of Service Oriented Architecture.