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Anatomy of Agile Enterprise

Janne J. Korhonen

What is your service strategy?

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With the frantic pace of business today, value propositions and respective business models are in constant flux. The organizations need to reconfigure their resources dynamically and integrate them with complementary resources of their ecosystem. The strategic focus is back on internal competencies of an enterprise, while heeding the relative position vis-à-vis competitive and collaborative forces.

In this setting, services are the means for providing value to customers and fundamental to economic exchange. What separates a strategic service provider from a commodity supplier is the focus on successful customer outcomes. The key is to sense what differentiates the offered value from the alternatives perceived by the customer and act on the opportunities by reconfiguring the enterprise's assets accordingly.

IT has traditionally focused on developing information systems to support business goals. The emphasis has been on reliability: producing predictable outcomes on a consistent basis. This has worked adequately well in a relatively stable environment, but in the face of increasing engagement, collaboration and value co-creation with the customers, IT needs to achieve more validity: producing relevant outcomes at the cost of consistency. Accordingly, the focus of IT needs to shift from planning and deploying idiosyncratic information systems to developing discretionary measures and systemic competencies that effectively address the changing requirements.

Optimally, Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) is about re-architecting the entire organization, its engineering and governance, including the IT aspect-system, around business services. More often than not, however, SOA undertakings are lacking a systemic view, strategic perspective and necessary governance considerations. They start sporadically across various projects and often only add to the existing complexity, rather than help disentangling it.

Who are your customers? What are their most important and enduring needs? What would be of lasting business value for them? What services should you provide to them? What differentiates you from the competition? How would you exceed your customers' expectations? Do you have requisite existing and potential service resources and capabilities? What assets are owned and what activities conducted in-house? What is bought or rented from the open market?

In short: What is your service strategy?

These are the questions that should drive SOA.

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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