British Airways is taking its first tentative steps towards SOA, but believes that it is unlikely to use such concepts internally on a widespread basis for at least another five years.
The UK’s flagship carrier is reportedly already employing SOA tools and techniques in connection with some of the work being undertaken around its Employee Self Service staff portal. The company also sees possibilities in other areas, particularly as a means of defining business processes and linking them up more easily.
But Bill Coby, BA’s chief information officer, said that the airline was taking a cautious approach to SOA until the market matured, more industry-wide standards emerged and best-practice guidelines started to appear.
However, if in three to five years’ time, the SOA market was at a stage where it enabled organisations to articulate process design in relation to their systems and to change them in a flexible way, BA would be prepared to jump in. But Coby does not believe that the sector is anywhere near that at the moment, which means that the organisation needs to be circumspect.