"Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) is a business-centric IT architectural approach that supports integrating your business as linked, repeatable business tasks, or services. With the Smart SOA approach, you can find value at every stage of the SOA continuum, from departmental projects to enterprise-wide initiatives."
IBM's Smart SOA approach can be read in detail at http://www.ibm.com/software/solutions/soa/
Sometimes it can be difficult to identify the best way to get started with an SOA approach. As you look deeper, you'll find the SOA Entry Points and one of the most important is service connectivity. See http://www.ibm.com/software/solutions/soa/entrypoints/connectivity.html
"Service connectivity is an IT-centric entry point to service oriented architecture (SOA) designed to help simplify your IT environment with a more secure, reliable and scaleable way to connect within and beyond your business. Link people, processes and information in your business with a seamless flow of messages and information from virtually anywhere at anytime using anything - that's true connectivity. SOA brings new levels of flexibility to such linkages. Delivering real business value on its own, connectivity is also a core building block for future SOA initiatives."
Service connectivity is one part of an Enterprise Service Bus, the central element of IBM's SOA foundation reference model.
IBM's SOA foundation reference model
You may recognize the importance of messaging for service connectivity. Enterprise messaging is a well known requirement and a lot of companies have been building the infrastructure for several years now to ensure a secure, reliable and scalable data transfer between applications and services built on top of these. But what about the edge of an enterprise, remote locations or small business entities? Often limited hardware and software resources are available, but there is still a need for reliable service connectivity as well. Same for user centric applications on desktops and small devices. Data captured by these are business critical and the transfer needs to be guaranteed. Offline capability of such applications is quite often an additional requirement.
IBM's answer in this area is the micro broker, a Java based lightweight messaging engine. It fits into all these areas where large enterprise messaging systems may be too heavy for the client desktop of distributed system. For example, there may be no need for high availability or scalability features at desktops and devices. The combination between such enterprise messaging systems and the micro broker will give enterprises the capability to connect every business entity that needs to be part of service oriented model.