Welcome to the SOA Consortium Insights blog. The intent of this blog, written by SOA Consortium members and leaders, is to promote our core messages around the value and attainment of business-driven SOA. In addition, we'll use this blog to highlight our working group activities and by-products, industry event participation, and SOA Consortium hosted events.
As the SOA Consortium's Program Director, I'll be your moderator, sharing insights from the working groups and SOA-C activities, and engaging the broader community in conversations around business-driven SOA.
Expect to see frequent contributions from Richard Soley, the Executive Director of the SOA Consortium. He is moments away from posting on the SOA-C member panel at last week's Gartner ADI conference.
Most importantly, our members will make guest contributions here, and the bloggers amongst them will continue the conversation on their own blogs. See the right side bar for our member blogroll.
To best express what we mean by 'business-driven SOA', I'll end with an excerpt from our SOA Executive Summit whitepaper we published in April:
SOA Means Business
All of the CIO and CTO participants were extremely business-focused, and in complete agreement with the SOA Consortium’s underlying premises, that:
Service Oriented Architecture adoption is a key enabler for the 21st century enterprise
Service Oriented Architecture is perceived by business executives as an IT integration and productivity story, but is really a business agility story.
Achieving the benefits of Service Oriented Architecture requires significant changes for both IT and business executives
21st Century Enterprise, Business Agility and SOA
For the CIO and CTO participants, the 21st century business environment of globalization, constant connectivity, dynamic value chains, continuous innovation, and incessant change translates to a requirement for increasing both business and IT agility. To meet the agility challenge, these executives are employing SOA principles, practices, and related technologies.
SOA has a Business Story
Although the Summit attendees find the relationship between business agility and SOA to be self-evident, they expressed concern regarding the current industry focus on wire protocols and products, rather than business value generation and the necessary business and IT changes for sustainable SOA success. The industry – vendors, press and practitioners – must “elevate out of the technical weeds” in order to engage the business on SOA.
During an exchange of techniques on “selling SOA”, one CTO recounted early, failed attempts to interest her business executives in “a next generation architecture that provided IT flexibility and code re-use”. Her executives were not interested. Convinced that a service-oriented strategy was right for her business, the CTO changed her approach. She began speaking to business pain points, specifically in terms of business processes, activities, cost, quality and schedules. Gaining executive attention, she then explained how a service-oriented approach resolved these pressing business problems. That time, she received sponsorship and funding.
SOA Success Requires Business and IT Collaboration
For SOA success, securing funding and sponsorship is only the start of business involvement. There must be true collaboration between business and IT from strategy through business solution delivery...
Business-Smart IT Organization
To collaborate effectively, business and IT professionals must speak a common language. Historically, business professionals have been encouraged to increase their IT literacy. This has proven successful at the project execution level. However, collaboration on strategy and architecture is a business conversation first.
“Our entry is always the process and that’s what we actually talk about – how to optimize the process, how to drive the process…When I hear business people talk about systems and they mention System A, System B, System C, I know we’re in trouble. Because basically that means to me is that we are locked into the constraints of the environment.” – CTO during SOA Executive Summit
The CIO and CTO participants encourage business-smarts in their IT organizations. IT professionals, particularly senior leaders and enterprise architects, must understand the business, and be able to relate IT capability to business value generation.