Saturday, June 02, 2007

SOA is not Business Agility but offers Business Agility

Is it the task of the CIO or any other IT-guy to convince the business people the "service orient" their processes? I don't think so. I think it is the task of IT-folks to organise and architect IT in such a way that it can quickly follow changes in the business context, or even better: to be agnostic for changes in the business context. It is the responsibility of business people to optimize their processes and organisation structures with the freedom for whatever reason not to do so.

I think, from an IT point of view, that SOA should offer agility to the business. Business must be able to change without headaches about IT. I think a well designed SOA even supports a badly structured organisation and clumsy business processes. That is the power of SOA, IMHO.


Rudi said...

In principle, I agree with what you're saying. On the contrary, nothing should stop an IT person from putting forward an idea if he/she notices inefficiencies in a business process, provided he/she use the appropriate channels and makes sure that "the business" feel like they own the idea. Waiting on "the business" to improve business may take too long and result in lost opportunities.

Jack said...

Thanks Rudi. I think you are right with regard to explaining the business the opportunities of technology for the business. After all, business is generated by technological progress. First there was a train, after that Dutch Railway was founded to make business out of it; not the way around.

And of course you always may put forward sugestions for improvement.
But we (IT) must acknowledge that process improvement (efficiency) is not our responsibility, but the responsibility of the business. And they may have good arguments not to improve... without telling us. IT has to be able to support event the most lousy business processes that may frequently be changed from bad to worse. That is quite another ambition. And SOA can help.

James Taylor said...

Nice post. I agree that the challenge in delivering agility should be thought about in terms of what the business can do, not what the technology is. I do think SOA is an enabler for agility but it is not enough. Individual services need to be agile too so that they can be changed readily. These services are often decision services. I also think rapid awarness of problems (performance management) and an ability to assemble and orchestrate services as processes evolve (business process management) is needed. Gartner has some nice work on agility about which I blogged.