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Faster, broader SOA deployment is particularly constrained by a major bottleneck in IT in general, including in business/IT alignment.

 
That bottleneck is the gap between:
 
---- separate knowledge and interests ---- and ---- agreed upon activities, processes and plans.
 
In other words, getting stakeholders and developers to agree on what to do.
 
I call the activity of bridging this gap "collaborative process development".
 
----- THE PAIN POINT-----
 
The main symptom/solution of this bottleneck is the long cycles of meeting and communications in which information and consensus are gradually and often incompletely and painfully assembled.
 
While these meetings and communications are critical to IT throughput, their net effect is a significant contribution of the 100's of billions of dollars of waste in IT that occurs every year in terms of cost, risk, error and delay, along with the matching frustration, conflict and stress, stalled innovation and progress, and lost opportunity.
 
These long cycles of meetings and communications directly impede SOA sales, adoption, development, implementation and deployment.
 
----- LACK OF EFFECTIVE SOLUTIONS ----
 
There are no highly effective, widely used solutions on the market today for addressing this bottleneck. To test this assertion, ask "What is the name of such a solution?".
 
While the capabilities of skilled individuals and high performance teams are valuable, they are not highly transportable, flexible or scalable. As such their overall impact on the problem is limited.
 
At the same time, this problem is bracketed by partial solutions, in categories that include collaboration, decision support, process modeling and project planning.
 
While these partial solutions have value in their particular areas, the net impact of these solutions on the bottleneck is to diffuse market attention and distract decision-makers from the center of the issue.
 
------ IMPACT ON SOA ------
 
SOA is particularly constrained by this bottleneck because SOA is aimed a connecting functions and data across organizational boundaries. Collaborative process development is a critical activity in understanding what connections are valuable, how they should be made, who they should be deployed to, and how they should be leveraged.
 
Of course, it's possible to wait for customers to figure those things out, or to sell them consulting services to do that for them. However, those approaches by themselves are obstacles to broader, faster SOA deployment.
 
The opportunity is to incorporate better solutions for collaborative process development -INTO- the SOA toolsets.
 
---- ACTION POINTS ----
 
In my weblog at http://blog.actionmap.com, I make the case that collaborative process development should be a new solutions category. This is necessary to refocus and re-energize market attention to the need for better solutions in this area.
 
I also describe starting points for building better solutions in this area.
 
One of these is a scorecard for evaluating an organization's (or and individual's) readiness to develop capability in collaborative process development. It's found at http://www.actionmap.com/050_ScoreSumm.html.
 
 
 

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Your last sentence promotes only the "top-down" approach to service creation, which works fine if you are starting anew, but when you are dealing with the assets (data or processing) that are currently present in an IT shop, you also need to consider a "meet-in-the-middle" approach to ensure that the most is being made of what already exists. Also, the "meet-in-the-middle" approach would tend to create a partnership between the business side and the IT side, leading to better business/IT alignment.

 
Also, I do not agree with the statement that "The focus of business applications needs to be on creating business value". In some cases, business applications are "cost centers", meaning they are a necessity to run part of the business (think about an application/system that has to be put in place to meet Sarbanes-Oxley compliance).

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