Shared services crucial to SOA success

Organisations should beware of rushing into applying SOA concepts without first reorganising their IT departments to cope.

Organisations should beware of rushing into applying SOA concepts 
without first reorganising their IT departments to cope.

According to a white paper by Diamond Management and Technology
Consultants, companies need to take a two-phased approach to the
transition if they are to ensure success.

Chris Curran, Diamond’s chief technology officer, explained, “A company
can totally disrupt its operations if it races towards SOA without
getting its IT organisation into shape first. Technology SOA is the
essential foundation of the business-driven SOA, which has many business
leaders excited. But shared services to help IT move data, respond to
system errors, log activities and generate reports must be built before
beginning business SOA.”

The first step involves working out how much it costs to deliver existing
services and coming up with solid service level agreements to support this.
It is also necessary to ensure that project managers are in place to define
new requirements, handle any problems and risks and measure the business
value of any initiative.

But it is also crucial to write a technology architecture plan to identify
appropriate areas in which to create services and to hire information architects
with experience in developing reusable software components. This process can
take between two and three years, Curran warned.

He added, “It is also critically important that any company planning a business
SOA initiative has clear mechanisms for funding shared IT assets. The best
strategy can get stalled when various business units can’t resolve who will
pay. A strong CEO who makes SOA a corporate priority and funds it accordingly
can eliminate a lot of the in-fighting that goes on in setting shared budgets.”

The second step towards SOA success involves ensuring that the right structures
are in place to enable CIOs to communicate effectively with other C-level
executives and their teams. The aim is to ensure that everyone understands
the company’s IT priorities and that there is a regular forum for both business
and IT leaders to resolve any issues.

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