The Internet has made heterogeneity an unavoidable fact of life. You can't control the network. It's everywhere and no matter how hard you try, the things you build will have to work with a broad mix of services and components.
Your app dev shop is going to have to take the external world into consideration. Of course, your internal world will be filled with far flung development and management tools as well.
Service-oriented architecture is, as much as anything else, an admission of complexity. You already have a massive amount of technology to deal with and it's only going to increase. If you can't make all that technology work in some harmonious fashion, it stands an excellent chance of overwhelming you.
Last week we ran a Q&A in which Gartner analyst Paolo Malinverno argued that too many SOA installations are still undisciplined. He said governance initiatives aren't being enforced and it's going to render companies unable to deal with the heterogeneous IT universe.
The odd thing is, you don't have to get stuck on a single track. With a little bit of discipline there's a world of cross-platform initiatives you can leverage. In the identity management arena there's the Concordia Project.
Today there's breaking news around heterogeneous SOA orchestration using the BPEL standard. On Wednesday we're going to look into how well management has kept up with heterogeneous SOA development and on Thursday we'll be taking a deeper look into the SOA functionality of the Eclipse Testing and Performance Tools Platform.
That's just a thumbnail of what's out there. You can plan for and build to an architecture that's able to function in this increasingly complex era of infinite connectivity.