It seems that service-oriented architecture (SOA) is on everyone's minds these days. SOA is not a new concept, but it seems as if SOA technology has burst onto the IT scene like a rocket. The question is: Will it flare out quickly, or will it power companies to greater profits and other long-term positive results? The answer may depend on how well those companies that choose to convert their current technical architectures to an SOA have gotten their data management and governance house in order before they build an SOA.

Let's take the time for a little primer on just what an SOA is and what it can do for a company that implements one correctly. An SOA is a component-based, standards-driven architecture that utilizes the Web as a vehicle for delivering services to users. Services are really not that complex. Basically, a service is work that's done on request by software or hardware and that achieves a particular result while being reusable by the same, or other, service requestors.

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