As we look to succeed with SOA, we need to realize that there is more to such an effort than just looking at services, service-orientation or architecture.
Before digging deeper, here's a couple of quotes that I'm fond of and are applicable to the discussion:
"If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there." Lewis Carroll
"If you don't know where you're going, you might not get there." Yogi Berra
Both quotes highlight to me, the importance of understanding what it is that you are trying to accomplish. Without this understanding, you will most likely not find what you are seeking.
As we look at SOA, WOA, ROA, and all the other acronyms and shiny technology - we need to understand the objectives and goals of what we are trying to accomplish. Where are we going? We need to look at the business – what is it that the business is trying to accomplish? What is most important to the company? And conversely, what’s not important? How could we better compete? How can we better serve our customers? How can we operate more efficiently? How can we become more agile and better react to our environment?
The answers to such questions become our guiding points. They help us in figuring out our objectives and goals – and we then determine what is the best approach to solving these problems. We have a target, we know what is important, and where we are headed. Once we have this in place, we can start to look at how the available solutions can help us in solving our problems. How could we succeed otherwise?