"Microsoft is bringing SOA to the masses," said Steven Martin, senior director of product management in Microsoft's Developer Division, at the vendor's latest SOA and Business Process confab. (Covered here by eWeek's Darryl Taft.)
That's been the secret sauce all along. In recent years, there have been plenty of questions raised about Microsoft's SOA strategy (or lack thereof), and why the vendor seemed to be stuck in 2003 in terms of advancing in this space. But I've contended all along that MS is timing its efforts to mass market disruption — it wasn't aiming for those high-margin, consultant-intensive implementations we've been hearing about at the Global 1,000 companies. Microsoft doesn't want the SOA accounts of large manufacturers, government agencies, or big banks — at least not yet. Instead, it's gunning for small to medium businesses or smaller departments of larger enterprises.
MS understands the long-term success that is gained by playing the role of the disruptor that goes in and caters to the underserved or unserved mass market. That's been the secret to its success all along — commoditize pricing to the point where individuals and small businesses can buy the technology, and make it relatively simple so that a software engineering degree isn't required to run it. That's the strategy we see behind the vendor's Oslo modeling offering for SOA work — make things simple enough so that non-developers can get involved. (Of course, MS doesn't always accomplish this so handily.)
The question is, can Microsoft get SOA to the masses before the open source or cloud providers — JBoss/Red Hat, Apache Project, MuleSource, OS2, Iona, Amazon Web Services, Google etc. — captivate the masses with low-entry priced solutions? Either way, the costs related to the technology that underpins service-oriented architecture efforts will drop significantly. And that's a good thing.
However, the organizational and operational costs around SOA — that's another thing. We'll keep exploring that in this blogsite.