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Archive for March, 2009

Hariharan VG, SOA Architect, writes…

I strongly believe that this is the right time to discuss the future of IT. Almost all IT players are feeling the heat of IT slowdown. The world economy is melting down; most of the business sectors have crashed. And everyone is wondering why this is happening when they have the best IT teams?

IT has demonstrated major enlargement for the past 20 years in terms of new technologies, tools, methodologies and standards. Most of modern tools and technologies have been adopted, developed and implemented by major business players, but still IT is not completely able to help organizations predict the market, financial standing and strategies. Is IT inefficient to forecast the future market and financial strategy? Certainly not; so far IT just played a supporting role for enterprises. It is clearly proves that even though IT as sector has superior, but still it is not considered as backbone of enterprise business.

Business strategy drives IT strategy

Most of the enterprise case studies show that IT strategies and policies are defined and derived based on enterprise business strategies. This means that in most of the cases business strategies drive IT strategy and policy without IT actually playing any major role in driving business strategies. But business and IT should work together for defining enterprise strategies for predicting slowdown. Ideally, if it is a singular enterprise strategy, this would give more room for IT to play major role in predicting potential of enterprises. Service Oriented Architecture is the best architecture approach that can help implement enterprise strategies and predict future requirements and actions to handle the world market.

SOA – Key player

Service Oriented Architecture is an architectural approach, which involves business and IT strategies defining enterprise businesses. When I say architecture, I’m not talking about an application or system architecture, but rather about an enterprise business architecture. Implementing SOA requires 70% of tools / technologies and 30% of management methodologies. SOA implementation technologies include Web Services, Security and Messaging standards, ESB (Enterprise Service Bus), Master Data Management, Data Mashup, Data Integration, BPM (Business Process Management), BPEL (Business Process Execution Language), Work Flow, Web Portal and Data Warehousing. SOA management methodologies include Governance, SLA, Policies and Implementation strategy, Business Activity Monitoring and Management and Project Management. I am not saying all the above are required for each enterprise, but still it can be adopted based on enterprise business plan and needs.

Since SOA approach dismantles the enterprises business as services and processes, it is easy to monitor and manage the performance and efficiencies of business processes. In earlier application approaches, entire enterprise systems used to built as single units. So management did not have control to identify the weakness of business. But SOA’s business activity monitoring and management helps identify the weakness of business process to rectify that immediately.

Since the enterprise business is built as pieces of services, it is effortless to remove or plugin new/existing modules and processes. Any economic and market change can be adopted immediately with the existing enterprise process which could drastically reduce the slowdown risk.

Governance, SLAs and policies help implement the SOA approach in the enterprise without creating an impact at the resource and management level. Service level agreements are ensuring prediction of weak service areas and identification of reasons behind the weaknesses. Policies and standards also help the enterprise implement standards and procedures, which will give them better control for management to make right decisions at right time.

Tools selection

The critical part of SOA implementation is selecting the right software tool for appropriate need. I would suggest referring Eric Roch’s blog entry on SOA tools.

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