Thursday, September 13, 2007

Using SOA to Align I.T. with Itself

After much consideration, I've come to the conclusion that SOA is best suited to facilitate "I.T. and I.T. Alignment" (not Business and I.T. Alignment). That is to say, SOA (from an enterprise architecture perspective) is better suited to align internal I.T. efforts with other internal I.T. efforts. This might sound like common sense (and hopefully it is), but SOA is fundamentally about sharing common logic and data while facilitating accurate and complete client side consumptions.

I had a conversation with a gentleman the other day. I'll paraphrase his comments... he asked me to imagine an enterprise without computers or software systems. Instead, it had one Filing Room that people went to when they needed to store or retrieve data.

At the front of the Filing Room were people working the Service Counter to fulfill your requests. In the back of the room were Filing Clerks who kept the filing system organized.

In this model it was assumed that the people in the Filing Room did a good job of organizing their files, as to ensure that when a customer asked for "all customers", they didn't have to go to 5 different Filing Cabinets. It was the responsibility of the Filing Clerk to facilitate Master File Management. The Chief Filing Officer was responsible for making sure that the Filing Cabinets stayed organized and on occasion were reorganized.

The "Service" in SOA is the new filing cabinet. Our SOA Governance Teams will work the front counter taking requests and also verify that they filing clerks do their job correctly. They must ensure that the portfolio of filing cabinets stay organized and avoid duplicate filing systems. And ultimately, the CIO must be held responsible for the state of the Filing Room.

SOA is not a holistic EA framework, but it will provide the taxonomy and organizational structure to become the foundation for a single enterprise system of services.

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