Hallelujah! Somebody else finally said it. Andrew McAfee, of Enterprise 2.0 fame, has a great post about the two senses of the phrase: "It's not about the technology." INATT v1 is shorthand for "It's not about the technology alone", which is a reasonably benign observation.
INATT v2 is shorthand for "The details of this technology can be ignored for the purposes of this discussion." Andrew rightly points out that this is a dangerous assumption: "If true, this is great news for every generalist, because it means that they don't need to take time to familiarize themselves with any aspect of the technology in question. They can just treat it as a black box that will convert specified inputs into specified outputs if installed correctly."
Like Andrew, I cringe when I hear this argument -- most especially in SOA discussions and most especially in SOA discussions in the Service-Orientated-Architecture Yahoo Group (British spelling). In such discussions, technology alternatives for implementing SOA are dismissed as irrelevant and the discussion floats away on its own hot air.
I call such architectural discussions "aspirational" -- the entire focus is on architectural goals without the slightest consideration of whether such goals are realistically achievable given current technology trends. However, if you try to shift the conversation from aspirations to how to achieve them, then you will inevitably hear the mantra "SOA is not about technology". I did a search of the SOA group messages and turned up 53 matches for "not about technology"!
So thanks Andrew for reminding all of us that even lofty concepts like SOA are to some degree about the technology!