Business-Powered SOA

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Editor's Note: Anyone interested in where SOA is at today and where it's going in the future must attend ebizQ's upcoming SOA in Action Virtual Conference coming this November 19th. Sign up here.

Service oriented architecture (SOA) technologies and approaches are typically thought of as IT-focused solutions. Essentially, SOA is an elegant (hopefully) technical solution to IT problems, not business problems.

However, at the same time that SOA is really a technical issue, many organizations are implementing, or considering implementing, SOA solutions in response to specific business needs -- such as the requirement for more flexible and agile IT solutions, more dynamic business processes, and faster time-to-market for applications. As a result, SOA implementations are, in the end, driven by a combination of business and technical drivers.

Since SOA is generally considered a technical issue, some IT organizations and leaders try to keep SOA concepts and ideas within the IT realm. In fact, some SOA advocates suggest that it's better not to bother the business community with SOA-instead, just let the IT community focus on it.

However, there's another approach, one that a number of organizations are having good success with. And that's the opposite approach. Instead of hiding SOA concepts from the business community, some IT organizations are stepping up and involving the business community in their SOA rollout -- not just be keeping them in the loop or revealing all the nitty-gritty details of how SOA services work, but by helping the rest of the organization understand the value of services and how the SOA process works.

In other words, articulating the value of SOA to business executives, from a business perspective, in language they understand. The more a business community reuses a service, the more they'll realize the benefits of the architecture. So it's important that both IT and business leaders can speak the same (high-level) language. Let the business leaders understand how much the company can save by not doing the same redundant development, or how much more value (or speed) can be obtained by standardizing business intelligence capabilities or services.

In effect, educating the business executives is a key component of a good SOA program, because it gets buy-in support and helps the business leaders understand how the IT group's SOA initiative helps achieve their specific business objectives. When this approach is done right, in many cases you'll find that the business personnel will actually start to help IT identify areas and opportunities where services can be reused.

About the Author

David Kelly - With twenty years at the cutting edge of enterprise infrastructure, David A. Kelly is ebizQ's Community Manager for Optimizing Business/IT Management. This category includes IT governance, SOA governance,and compliance, risk management, ITIL, business service management,registries and more.

As Community Manager, David will blog and podcast to keep the ebizQ community fully informed on all the important news and breakthroughs relevant to enterprise governance. David will also be responsible for publishing press releases, taking briefings, and overseeing vendor submitted feature articles to run on ebizQ. In addition, each week, David will compile the week's most important news and views in a newsletter emailed out to ebizQ's ever-growing Governance community. David Kelly is ideally suited to be ebizQ's Governing the Infrastructure Community Manager as he has been involved with application development, project management, and product development for over twenty years. As a technology and business analyst, David has been researching, writing and speaking on governance-related topics for over a decade.

David is an expert in Web services, application development, and enterprise infrastructures. As the former Senior VP of Analyst Services at Hurwitz Group, he has extensive experience in translating the implications of new application development, deployment, and management technologies into practical recommendations for enterprise customers. He's written articles for Computerworld, Software Magazine, the New York Times, and other publications, and spoken at conferences such as Comdex, Software Development, and Internet World. With expertise ranging from application development to enterprise management to integration/B2B services to IP networking and VPNs, Kelly can help companies profit from the diversity of a changing technology landscape.

More by David A. Kelly

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