Can we have SOA in Silos? What will happen if the enterprise has taken all the SOA related initiatives or the organisational level, But misses a few important points on the department level.

DCompany is an enterprise spanning across the globe. They have a centralised IT. DCompany also has got a clear business vision which includes how to squeeze out all the benefits of SOA. DCompany also has got the right architectural approach. DCompany has got the best methodology in the world to ensure that the business processes are identified, service contracts are created, etc. But then the company lives in the real world.
In real world we have real money and it is the responsibility of each executive (starting from the project manager to all the way up) to save each penny (or paise or yen or what ever).
So our DCompany starts a new project. The DSolutionArchitect comes up with a list of items to be done along with the project. The department manager analyses them and then finds that most of them are not going to have any immediate benefit for the project.
In most of the cases the axe falls on those items which were as per the Business vision, the architectural approach and the methodology to make the organisation an SOA Enabled, agile, flexible, Integrated, Efficient Organisation.

So did the department manager do something wrong? No, all he did was right. The kid wanted food amd he ordered a really nice and juicy burger. Going out and buying fresh vegetables, milk, egg and then making fresh sandwich and some scrambled eggs is going to be expensive and also time consuming. So let’s buy a burger or order a pizza, job done. The child is happy, I am happy and my wallet is happy, so where is the problem.

We could never blame the department manager. He did what was right for his department (Silo).
But if the enterprise wants to reap benefits, then there should be an enterprise team with a manager on the CxO level which makes sure that all the projects and enhancements ensure that the guidelines are met. But we already have CIO, CTO, isn’t that enough? CIO and CTO already have got enough tasks at hand to manage. What is needed is a team handle only the SOA roadmap. This team has to be making sure if the business process, the services, etc being created are complete with all the required information. Will it be consistent, searchable, reusable, etc. It should also make sure if there is any service that could be reused instead of creating the new service.

Next the most important factor, money. Department managers look at SOA related activities as additional burden, more like a tax. He will be happy if he is going to pay tax in his home town. He will get good road, water, etc. But what if he is going to another country (which is already in a bad state) and he has to pay part of his annual income just for staying there for a week? Now the country can be either strict on this rule (dictatorship) with no options but to pay or be a bit flexible (democratic) with a few options like no tax for staying less than 1 month.
If it is a strict rule he will never go to the country and if it is a flexible rule he will Stay there for half an year and then claim he has stayed for 1 month (6 times). Either way he is going to try real hard for not paying that money.
Paying tax in the home town is like a new project. He knows there are benefits (or at least he does not have any other option). Paying tax in another country is like an enhancement project.

Now the real problem is what if he starts considering all the new projects as enhancements so that he can enjoy the tax haven?

The enterprise should ensure that the cost involved in modernising the legacy applications to ensure that they are SOA complaint should be taken care by the central organisation and not each department. It is well known if the legacy systems are not made SOA complaint then its going to be a tough time in implementing SOA in the enterprise. But if the enterprise is going to wish that each department is going to do it of their own, They will have more that a dozen reasons to say they have more priority tasks. It will also not be a nice idea to have an external team who will only work on mordenising legacy applications because most of the knowledge of these system lies with the department. The best stratergy will be to partner with the departments and provide them with the required budget and resources.

Even after investing heavily on the enterprise level if the department level initiatives are not properly taken care of it is very difficult to implement SOA in an organisation. It should also be ensured that each new solution is designed based on SOA roadmap and also to ensure that the existing systems are slowly brought inside the SOA umberlla with the enterprise partnering with the departments. Other wise SOA will be implemented in the enterprise but the departments will remain silos.