An Instrument for Measuring SOA Maturity

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Joachim, Nils; Beimborn, Daniel; Weitzel, Tim
article description
Existing empirical research on the business value of Service-Oriented Architectures (SOA) has only measured the extent of SOA adoption – but not maturity – to determine whether typical goals, like increased business agility or IT cost reduction, could be achieved. However, a widely implemented SOA might be less mature than an SOA adopted only in particular areas of the organization, which in turn can lead to mismeasurement and misinterpretation. On the other side, the few existing SOA maturity frameworks that have been specified by previous researchers lack valid operationalizations to make them applicable to empirical research. Ready to use items and scales for evaluating the particular maturity level of an organization are missing. We propose to measure the degree of SOA maturity as a new variable for future empirical research especially in the context of SOA business value. Our analytical approach uses 21 items to classify the maturity of an organization’s SOA in seven maturity levels along seven maturity dimensions derived from The Open Group Service Integration Maturity Model (OSIMM). The applicability of this new instrument is shown using data from 121 organizations. The results show that the majority of the organizations has only reached SOA maturity levels two to four. Also, higher levels of SOA maturity highly and significantly increase the realized business value from SOA in terms of business agility, straight through processing (STP), and reduced IT costs. However, the marginal benefits are decreasing for higher levels of SOA maturity in cases of STP and business agility.