Friday, August 17, 2007

SOA-selling battle goes on in blogosphere

Mike Kavis commented on my post "Business doesn't ask for SOA". He says it pains him to see my article. Mike refers to an article of himself. I enjoyed reading his article; IF I were to sell SOA to the business I would have very much faith in his approach.

Of course SOA will help business a lot forward. Enabling BPM is a good example. The point however is: should it matter to us - from an IT point of view - that the business understands SOA? WHY should they understand? From a business perspective you might say: it is important to know how to "service orient" the organization. And then again: should IT folks tell the business folks they are currently not modeling and organizing their processes correctly? That they should service orient their business? I think business people - in general - now very well how to organize their business; and they must be free not to service orient... while at the same time IT does. It's two worlds.

If IT-funding is the reason to convince the business of SOA: that is not the right direction. I think it should be an IT-investment to put IT-things in place and it must not be a business investment. IT must not be depended from the business in innovating their own shop and putting application infrastructure in place. If you think differently, I guess you don't understand service orientation, because - funny enough - such an independent IT-shop is a perfect example of what is meant with service orientation, from an business point of view! If this all gets a bit confusing to you, you might read my posting about the two worlds of SOA.


Mike Kavis said...

Hey Jack,

I didn't mean your article pained me. I meant it was a pain to see this discussion continue. A few of us have been battling back and forth on this topic for several days now and this article takes me right back to where we started.

In this article
I talk about the many debates we bloggers are having about top-down or bottom up SOA, how to sell SOA, BPM driven SOA or SOA driven BPM, and on and on. My response to all of these arguments are that they are all right and they are all wrong. It really depends on the constraints of the project, the culture, and the budget.

In my world (medium sized company), I will never get the funds to tackle SOA from the top down as many bloggers say that this is the only way to do it. I must align SOA with business driven projects which means bottom up. Would I love to start top down, sure.

The same goes for selling SOA. Since I can't get the funds for SOA purely as an IT project, I must piggy back on the BPM initiative. Since I need the business to fund it, I must sell them on the value of SOA. The key is that I don't get technical with them. I speak of SOA in business terms and they get it. I sell SOA as the BPM enabler, the tool that allows us to leverage our years worth of legacy systems while building robust new systems. They get that and they want it.

The morale of the story is, your point is probably valid for your organization. My point is valid for my organization. It just pains me when us architects tell everybody that there is only one way to solve these types of problems.

Thanks for listening

Jack van Hoof said...

Hi Mike,

Reading your comment I think we are in complete agreement. What you are saying is exactly what I meant in my posting There is no one-size-fits-all approach to SOA.

Thanks for your reaction.