Friday, March 02, 2007

Service Domain Analysis

Today, most organizations have someone who owns an application. The ownership is often split between two areas. One group will own the budget and control of features while the other group owns engineering and staffing decisions. In the service oriented world this will likely stay the same. One potential difference is the scope of ownership. With the popularity of mashups and composite applications new customer facing systems are being designed around the needs of the user rather than around a specific domain. Many of these systems are 'process oriented' and cross several business domains. This makes it hard to determine who owns it.

In a service oriented enterprise, you have a 'owners' of services and 'owners' of composite applications. The service owners are domain focused (manufacturing, sales, etc.) while the composite application owners will be process (or problem) focused. Service owners focus on creating consistent logic and having 'a single version of the truth'. Composite app/mashup owners work with the end users to understand their day-to-day computing needs. Their job is to deliver the right information at the right time to their users. They leverage the service teams to provide the right information.

Today, many organizations have not split their groups into 'service teams' and 'client teams'. This typically requires a re-org and as I've mentioned before is a SLOW process. In the meantime, I'm suggesting the following process:

In this scenario we have a project analyst who is working with a business user to determine their needs. They will employ a variety of techniques to uncover the requirements. The analyst will often be trained in rapid prototyping (Web 2.0 style) or work with others with that skill set. They will also use Service Oriented Analysis techniques to identify potential services and scope them out. The analyst will document their findings in a form different than legacy silo systems. They will use a combination of Service Cases and Operation Cases. These cases are used to fully describe that portion of the system which would be shared and controlled as a service. The portfolio analyst works with the project analyst to verify that the candidates are valid (reusable, distinct, etc.) and create a placeholder for the service, know as a Slot or a Service Slot.

There are a variety of techniques for performing Service Oriented Analysis. At MomentumSI, we utilize a set of practices known as Harmony™. In the coming months, we'll be discussing these practices in detail.

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