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Anatomy of Agile Enterprise

Janne J. Korhonen

Map to Service-Oriented Business and IT

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I am just back from the 16th Americas Conference on Information Systems (AMCIS 2010) in Lima, Peru, where I gave a presentation on an academic paper I had co-authored with my colleagues Kari Hiekkanen and Mikko Heiskala of Aalto University. Our paper "Map to Service-Oriented Business and IT: A Stratified Approach", featured in Service Science, Management and Engineering (SSME) track, aimed at integrating the externally manifesting Service-Dominant logic (S-D Logic) of marketing research with the internal perspective of Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA).

Our artifact, the Map to Service-Oriented Business and IT, is intended to help in positioning and comparing various approaches to service systems as well as aligning service-oriented business and IT concepts. The map, illustrated in Figure 1, is divided to four viewpoints along two dimensions: business/IT and internal/external. The concentric layers reflect the work levels as specified in Jaques' Requisite Organization.

the_map.jpg Figure 1. Map to Service-Oriented Business and IT (Korhonen, Hiekkanen and Heiskala 2010).

Service Fulfillment

Strata I-III are related to service fulfillment. The managerial focus at these strata is on efficiency of service operation, not on the development of new service concepts.

Stratum I artifacts are related to 'real-time' interaction with the service consumer (client). Client interactions and corresponding internal transactions and events are at the core of service provisioning. On IT dimension, this is characterized by a service instance, a client specific computational entity with context that is triggered by the client's service invocation and executed in the service provider's environment.

At Stratum II, the external business artifact is service that is internally an activity (e.g., a workflow of transactions). On IT dimension, a service in SOA is defined as a bound pair of a service interface and a service implementation.

At Stratum III, the defined external business artifact is the service offering, a collection of lower level services that provide the service client with access to business processes and capabilities. These services are described by the service definition and realized by the service design process.

Service Negotiation

Strata IV-V denote a transition beyond the boundaries of one service provider (organization) to a network of interconnected or competing service providers. These layers are about negotiating the value proposition of the organization.

The service portfolio at Stratum IV is a collection of service offerings provided by one entity. At Stratum V, this portfolio is viewed as the value proposition by a customer. This value proposition competes with value propositions offered by competing service providers. External value proposition is internally codified as the organization's business model at Stratum V. This model is implemented through a mix of products and services at Stratum IV.

From external IT viewpoint, the relevant artifact at Stratum IV is the service contract, a business-level agreement between service consumer and provider that consists of functional, non-functional (e.g., service level, quality, economic terms) and policy facets of the service. At Stratum V, these contracts are externally perceived as the service strategy which describes what services are provided and with what terms.

From internal IT viewpoint, service analysis is a process of identifying and describing the processes and services in a business problem domain. Business goals and objectives of an enterprise are analyzed in order to determine a set of economically feasible and realizable business level services based on extant competencies, products, services and systems. Service architecture at Stratum V refers to a holistic view of all the elements: systems, processes, principles and management and governance structures related to the service provisioning.

Service Ecosystem

Stratum VI widens the perspective from an individual system, such as organization, to the larger ecosystem. The view to the organization is from the outside.

From external business viewpoint, our map identifies the service ecosystem, by which we mean a collection of comparable service providers with competing and complementary service portfolios. From internal business viewpoint, the business portfolio is managed accordingly to determine which business models the enterprise pursues. At Stratum VII, the overarching vision guides the construction and acquisition of strategic businesses in this business portfolio in alignment with the overall shape of the service economy.

These higher strata pertain to the conceptual-abstract order of complexity and encompass strategic information that cannot be readily expressed in explicit symbolic-verbal terms, utilized in information technology. Thereby, the scope of mappings in IT domain is restricted to the lowest five strata.

Our map aims at providing a holistic, integrated view on service, taking into account both external and internal sides of service-orientation, from both business and IT point of view. It is intended to help identifying and building requisite business and IT capabilities that meet the inherent complexity requirements of today's service business.

References

Korhonen, Janne J.; Hiekkanen, Kari; and Heiskala, Mikko, "Map to Service-Oriented Business and IT: A Stratified Approach" (2010). AMCIS 2010 Proceedings. Paper 157.

Janne J. Korhonen provides insights into how information technology can be applied strategically to catalyze organizational change and responsiveness. Drawing from both theory and practice, he discusses agile enterprise and its governance.

Janne J. Korhonen

Janne J. Korhonen is an independent business and IT consultant,specializing in enterprise architecture, business process management,service-oriented architecture and pertinent governance models. He has over ten years of experience as an architect and consultant in a variety of extensive and mission-critical IT projects. With strong theoretical underpinnings, his consulting encompasses systemic co-development of business, organization and information technology.

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