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This chapter is from the book

1.7 Lifelong Learning

Enterprise software has always suffered from the mismatch between technical and business-related concepts and the different languages spoken by the people on both sides of the fence. As a result, we have not only faced inefficiencies, but we also have often lost important knowledge and consequently had to reinvent many solutions.

Many attempts have been made in the past to find a common denominator between business and technical concepts. For example, SQL was invented in the 1970s with the vision that it would give non-technical business analysts a tool to access, analyze, and manipulate business data directly. Today, SQL is largely seen as a tool for technical experts, and it has turned out that most of the entities found in relational databases are too fine-grained and closely intertwined with technical concepts to have a meaning on the business level.

It is a key goal of an SOA to provide services that have a concrete meaning on the business level. Because of this one-to-one mapping between business and technology entities, SOA provides a unique chance for the first time in IT history to create artifacts that have an enduring value for both the business as well as the technology side. SOA provides a chance to make things that have been learned the hard way usable for the organization in the long run.

Similarly to human beings, organizations will never be able to stop learning if they want to be successful for long. SOA provides an excellent platform for this lifelong learning on the organizational level because an SOA enables us to constantly compare the nominal and the actual and to react accordingly to fill the gaps or adapt the architecture to reflect changes in business strategy.

Consequently, the third part of this book provides a number of real-world case studies, which can provide a good starting point for learning the lessons resulting from other organizations' adoption of SOAs and the impact they had.

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