In the first installment of this series, I provided the following definition for service-oriented architectures (SOAs): SOA refers to the use of loosely coupled services that are built to provide re-usable business processes that enable the communication between systems and the creation of entire applications within an organization. These services will typically pass data back and forth as they perform some predefined common process. The process could be as simple as basic data movement or much more intricate data transformations, data cleansing or the use of many services to create a multistep, complex process.

Defining an organization's common re-usable business processes isn't as easy as some may think or as vendors may portray. Indeed, the vast majority of SOA vendors simply assume that this process has been completed and that they can just walk in and start building an SOA architecture.

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