A company certainly will choose its own pace when it comes to implementing components of a service-oriented architecture, but it's important to start with manageable projects. A good selection of vendors to help move a business toward a dynamic, service-oriented infrastructure also is necessary.
The goal should be the ability to understand how the company conducts business at a process level and to be able to optimize those processes. The goal of optimization should be to minimize costs and unnecessary investments, while maximizing value to customers, partners, and the organization itself. If a company can look at a problem from the business level all the way down to the technical implementation, it can become more agile and better able to serve customer requirements, while always leveraging its investments in people, processes, and technology.
There's a clear need to find ways to leverage existing technology and minimize unnecessary spending. The definition and adoption of an enterprise reference architecture--particularly a services-oriented reference architecture--can provide a framework for a business' environments and best practices.
Developing an enterprise reference architecture as that guiding framework lets a company ensure that the technology decisions it makes are consistent and that its tech acquisitions help it toward a common set of objectives, which can include reduced management costs and better use of skills.
Keep in mind, however, that technology is only one component of a lasting architecture. Executive-level sponsorship, as well as support from business users and business units, is critical to ensure success.
Gautam Desai and Linda Andrews are analysts with Doculabs, a technology consulting firm. Contact them at [email protected] or www.doculabs.com.
Illustration by Jeffrey Pelo
Service-Oriented: Approach Solves Business ProblemsDecisions