Service-Oriented Architecture. Traditionally, software systems in organisations were built to meet a specific need. However, this led to a situation where a number of elements of data and business processes would overlap each other in software. The service-oriented architecture is a system architecture mechanism that essentially provides the guidelines for creating and managing business processes within the organisation. The business processes are delivered as services that are supported by the IT infrastructure. Functionality is broken down into small distinct elements or services which can be distributed over the network, can be mixed and matched together, and reused to create fresh business applications. Finally, these services are able to talk to each other by passing data from one service to another.