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Editor's note: Hear Dave Linthicum speak on the convergence of cloud and SOA at our SOA in Action Virtual Conference. Learn more here.



It's Thursday morning, you're the CEO of a large, publically traded company, and you just called your executives into the conference room for the exciting news. The board of directors has approved the acquisition of a key competitor, and you're looking for a call-to-action to get everyone planning for the next steps.

You talk to the sales executives about the integration of both sales forces in 3 months time, and they are excited about the new prospects. You talk to the HR director who is ready to address the change they need to make in 2 months. You speak to the buildings and maintenance director who can have everyone moved that needs to be moved in 3 months. Your heart is filled with pride.

However, when you ask the CIO about changing the core business processes to drive the combined companies, the response is much less enthusiastic. "Not sure we can change our IT architecture to accommodate the changes in less than 18 months, and I'm not even sure if that's possible," says the CIO. "We simply don't have the ability to integrate these systems, nor the capacity. We'll need new systems, a bigger data center…" You get the idea.

As the CEO you can't believe it. While the other departments are able to accommodate the business opportunity in less than 5 months, IT needs almost two years?

In essence, IT has become the single most visible point of latency when a business needs to change. Thus, the ability to change is limited by IT. In this case, the merger is not economically feasible and the executive team is left scratching their heads. Indeed, they thought IT was about new ways to automate the business, and had no idea how slow they are to react to change.

However, it does not have to be this way. The survival of many businesses will depend upon the fundamental change in the way we think about and create our IT infrastructure going forward. That is, if you're willing to admit where you are, and be willing to change.

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