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On Location: MedicAlert's SOA Initiative Gets Healthy Prognosis

What's an IT professional's dream scenario for a new project? You'd work with innovative technology that could make a clear, positive impact on your company's success, perhaps even transform the way you do business. The project would be big enough to get noticed but not so big that you couldn't afford to make any mistakes. You'd have a nimble, capable team that could make decisions quickly and not get bogged down in bureaucracy. You'd be led by a visionary with a passion for innovation. The infrastructure on which you'd deploy your new system would be modern enough to get the job done, and where it wasn't, you could enhance, upgrade or rip and replace. You'll have a reasonable budget, spread out over several years. And you'd have complete support from all levels of management, top to bottom, strategic to tactical, and the CEO would understand, share in, and be genuinely interested and involved in the vision of how IT could transform your business.

This, in essence, is the scenario at MedicAlert, an international nonprofit that's been in the business of storing and maintaining personal medical information for more than 50 years. MedicAlert is in the midst of a hugely successful and forward-thinking implementation of an SOA (service-oriented architecture), and much of the credit goes to its development team for putting together a system that works while raising themselves up by their own bootstraps in skills and expertise.


But before you throw yourself whole hog into an SOA project, take a good look at the lessons learned by the development team along the way. Listening to the voice of experience can save many painful, and expensive, wrong turns.

Know Where You're Going

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