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In Dave Linthicum's recent update on SOA as a corporate responsibility, he called my response to his original posting "grumpy". Now that I've taken my happy pill, let me provide some more concrete advice about how you can drive SOA adoption in your organization.
There's one class of person who, day in and day out, changes the direction of organizations. They drive organizations to do their bidding without any corporate budget or political backing. Astoundingly, they aren't even employees! Who are they? They are vendor's sales executives. OK, stop laughing for a minute because I'm serious here.
As an enterprise architect, you probably have a budget for taking courses, right? Before you spend any of that budget on one more architecture training course, technology show, or analyst workshop, do this instead:
Spend your budget on a course (or better yet, more than one) on enterprise selling. I don't care which one - Strategic Selling, Major Account Selling, whatever, just make sure it's focused on enterprise selling rather than, for example, consumer selling. This will teach you invaluable lessons on how to get your organization to do what you know is the right thing.
Moving an organization to SOA takes far more than an executive buying off enough to give you a budget for it. Enterprise selling helps you understand the dynamics of an organization, such as what will lead to success and what won't; what to focus on and what to ignore; what motivations work and what don't; etc.
If you apply the techniques you learn in these courses to your job as an enterprise architect, you will get so much further towards your goals than if you focus purely on the mechanics of a SOA infrastructure initiative. In reality, the best enterprise architects I've met are the ones that know how to sell -- whether they've gotten formal training in it or it just comes naturally to them. If you haven't, do youreself a favor and seriously consider this as valuable career development.
And, even if it doesn't help you further your SOA initiative, it will give you a much better idea of how to handle the vendor sales executives that come in and try to sell to you - which will help keep you in control of the buying process.
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