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What Are SOAPs? De-Mystifying Service Orchestration and Automation Platforms

Written By Brinda Sreedhar
Jun 4, 2024

Service Orchestration and Automation Platforms (SOAPs) represent a significant advancement in enterprise orchestration, integrating various applications and infrastructures.  

SOAPs enable Infrastructure and Operations (I&O) leaders to design and implement business services by combining workflow orchestration, workload automation, and resource provisioning across an organization’s hybrid digital infrastructure. 

According to Gartner®, by the end of 2025, 80% of organizations currently engaged in workload automation are expected to use SOAPs to manage workloads across both IT and business domains. 

So, what exactly is a SOAP, and more importantly, why should I&O leaders be prioritizing them going forward? Let’s take a deeper dive into this below. 

Elements of a SOAP 

According to Gartner’s 2023 Market Guide for Service Orchestration and Automation Platforms, SOAPs feature six key capabilities, as follows: 

  1. Application Workflow Orchestration: Creating and managing workflows across multiple applications, whether on-premises or in the cloud.
  2. Event-Driven Automation: Simplifying IT processes that involve manual steps or scripting through automation.
  3. Scheduling, Monitoring, Visibility, and Alerting: Enabling real-time capabilities to improve Service Level Agreements (SLAs). 
  4. Self-Service Automation: Empowering business users, developers, and other stakeholders to orchestrate their own tasks and workflows. 
  5. Resource Provisioning: Managing both on-premises and cloud-based compute, network, and storage resources. 
  6. Managing Data Pipelines: Automating file transfers and orchestrating the ingestion and processing of multiple data streams.

Whether deployed in the cloud or on-premises, SOAPs typically include a central administrative console, a scheduling engine, a workflow designer, agents for executing automation tasks, and a self-service mobile app for users. Additional features may include support for machine learning algorithms and REST APIs for programmatic orchestration. 

The Role of SOAPs 

It’s important to note that SOAPs are not meant to replace or replicate the automation functions of other domains such as infrastructure automation, SaaS management, DevOps toolchains, or Robotic Process Automation (RPA). Rather, they are designed to serve as a single orchestration point for developing, executing, routing, and delegating automation tasks as needed, both to and from other domain-specific automation platforms. 

SOAPs complement and elevate other automation tools like digital platform conductors, which orchestrate workload placement across hybrid delivery topologies, or RPA platforms, which facilitate interaction and API enablement of legacy systems. Similarly, the interaction of SOAPs with other automation tools, such as RPA, BPA is also complementary, enhancing the value of SOAPs in increasingly complex automation scenarios. 

Factors Fueling the Demand for SOAPs 

Organizations are constantly striving to enhance cost-efficiency and scalability. SOAPs offer predictability and reliability to help achieve these improvements. 

While traditional job scheduling and workload automation tools have addressed immediate needs by reducing manual effort, errors, and costs, SOAPs take automation several steps further by orchestrating complex event-driven workflows that extend beyond IT, supporting more sophisticated and integrated processes across the enterprise. 

What to Look for in a SOAP 

SOAPs represent a transformative market, evolving from traditional workload automation tools to address modern requirements for infrastructure, applications, data, and business processes. 

As organizations modernize their I&O practices, leaders should consider the following when evaluating SOAP vendors: 

  • Support for Cloud-Native Applications and Infrastructure: Prioritize vendors that can orchestrate cloud-native applications and infrastructure to facilitate cloud migration and integration with IaaS or SaaS workloads. 
  • Depth and Breadth of Native Integrations: Assess the range and quality of native integrations offered by the platform. 
  • Customer Support and Provider Viability: Evaluate the quality of customer support and the long-term viability of the provider. 

In conclusion, Gartner anticipates that SOAPs will serve as the central point for orchestrating and executing automation tasks across and throughout the enterprise. They recommend that I&O leaders invest in SOAPs to foster digital innovation and enhance business agility. 

Resolve Systems’ core components align perfectly with Gartner’s definition of a service orchestration and automation platform. With Resolve, you can start and scale where and how it makes sense for your business. Begin by automating simple processes to fill tech gaps, or dive right in with transformational projects and tackle departmental automation. 

Get started today by scheduling a customized product demo.

About the author, Brinda Sreedhar:

About the author, Brinda Sreedhar:

Director, Product Marketing at Resolve Systems

Brinda Sreedhar, Director of Product Marketing at Resolve, has years of experience crafting powerful and compelling stories on cloud-based products. She enjoys being a part of companies that lead the space with innovative, category-creating products.