The Modeling and Design of an SOA should follow a method like SOMA (Service-oriented Modeling and Architecture). The Realization of your SOA will typically involve a hybrid approach that will include your legacy systems, possibly some packaged applications you own or intend to add to your portfolio and some custom applications you will seek to construct as you move your IT services forward to greater support of flexible business needs.
One of the challenges in this road to realization of an SOA is to know how to conduct Service Realization. Realization has to do with making Realization decisions about how you will be implementing the services, using which components, packages or legacy. It consists of:
1. Mapping Components to a SOA reference architecture2. Allocating services to components, packages or legacy required to realize them3. Conducting Technical Feasibilty explorations which defines a set of architecturally significant proof-of-concepts4. Making Realization Decisions
The following are some tips for making Realization Decisions:
1. Recognize that the realization WILL be a hybrid
2. Make realization decisions about which services (and their operations) will map to 2.1 a given existing asset (legacy), 2.2 which part will need to be custom built 2.3 which part will map to a packaged application (ISV package)
3. Do a gap-analysis for each of these choices. Most often, the mapping will not be complete: your new requirements will need "just a bit more" functionality or the mapping "will not quite cover the required functionality", or the legacy system was not built to handle the non-functional requirements imposed on the system.
4. Now that you have done a gap-analysis and decide there is a gap, you need to make some additional realization decisions on HOW you intend to bridge that gap; both from a technology view and a business-functional view. Will you use a special middleware product or build it yourself (inside your organization)?
5. The next major decision can be quite daunting: if there is a gap there are at least two ways to bridge that gap: change the business to suit the software or package or, customize and add to the package or existing software to meet the business needs. The old way of doing this is how packaged application vendors such as SAP, Oracle (Siebel), JD Edwards, etc. (in whatever state of acquisition they are right now)have approached the problem for years: change your business to fit the package from a process perspective. Customize the package from a data perspective to meet the organization's actual information needs (which should be pretty close to the templates given by the package vendors, by the way)
The SOA proposition is to put the business in the driver's seat; and not have the package vendors force changes to the business. A package-driven business vs a business driven IT. This is where methods such as SOMA can help with making these decisions in a judicious way. But there are no hard and fast answers here: only IT strategy coordinated with business strategy through SOA Governance is the key.