SOA for Business Technology – Introduction
With the industry landscape rapidly changing, due to globalization, technology advancements, consumerism, etc., there is more pressure for organizations to be nimble, make adjustments to business strategies, and effect rapid business transformations.
Service-orientation has long been accepted as the most suitable approach to tackle these challenges, due to the inherent agility and reuse attributes of this architecture style, but the majority of Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) implementations across the industry so far have been predominantly IT-focused. They have contributed to IT agility and reuse in a big way, but have not been very successful in meeting the promise of business agility – helping organizations rapidly realign to deliver new business capabilities or contribute effectively or significantly to business transformations.
This White Paper addresses the current gaps and challenges hindering the business adoption of the service-oriented approach, and provides a framework and a clear path to align business capabilities and processes to business services that help achieve business goals through the promise of SOA, in a cost-effective and faster way. Effectively, this White Paper should contribute to the linking of business agility directly to IT agility.
Cloud-based solutions and technologies, which are showing much promise in the business agility space today, are not a quantum leap but are basically an evolution from SOA. Embracing SOA and implementing it correctly, through a structured business service architecture approach, positions organizations to reap the benefits from internal, external, and/or cloud-based services, whichever may be optimal.
The output of the SOA4BT project, as an addition to the Guide to Using TOGAF® to Define and Govern Service-Oriented Architectures, contributes to The Open Group vision of Boundaryless Information Flow by leveraging and fostering common understanding of business use of solutions delivered through various technology architecture styles including SOA. Its main goal is to leverage the collective experience of the TOGAF standard and SOA practitioners to provide clarity and share best practices and lessons learned to improve the successful implementation of business solutions. The content is therefore pragmatic based on real experiences and projects.
In particular it will act as the bridge between business stakeholders and the realization of SOA. Its role is to bi-directionally associate Business Architecture and vision with SOA technology decisions.
This document is intended for enterprise architects, business architects, IT architects, data architects, systems architects, solutions architects, and anyone responsible for the architecture function within an organization.
Some of the common challenges facing the business adoption of SOA are as follows.
- There is lack of prescriptive guidance on how to decompose business processes to business services and map them to IT services. This is an issue that most implementations of SOA encounter.
- User organizations fall into two categories: those that have not adopted a service approach yet (greenfield); and those that have implemented some services (brownfield). Greenfield organizations can follow a business-architecture-to-SOA roadmap through the TOGAF Architecture Development Method (ADM) and the SOA Reference Architecture. Brownfield organizations have mostly adopted the bottom-up approach but do not have a defined path to take it to the next level to transform from the top downwards. Currently there is a partial solution for IT and for Business Architecture, but the two are not cohesive and in concert with each other.
- How do we make both business and IT look at technology as a business enabler? How can business take advantage of the SOA approach experience from IT to help drive the desired changes from business back to IT?
- How do we identify metrics that can be used to show clearly the measurable benefits of business adoption of SOA for different organizations with different levels of maturity?
- How do we identify a business model that captures business value created by business processes and capabilities that are served by business services, their decomposition, and their ability to be reused and/or orchestrated to deliver other capabilities?
Companies in all industries and of all sizes have expressed a growing need to create agile flexible business and IT transformations using a service-oriented approach and style. The rationale is based on:
- Financial considerations (align business and services strategy, leverage investments in SOA)
- Execution of business transformation projects leveraging SOA4BT and avoiding current pitfalls on “rogue services” proliferation and legacy modernization
- Business capabilities and their mapping to a services Business Architecture enabling SOA adoption for business agility and reuse
- Application/services portfolio management
- Governance models using business-driven Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and metrics; e.g., Return on Investment (ROI), Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), Time to Market (TTM), re-use, etc.
- Employee skill‚ training, and education (rather than replacing SMEs with software developers)
- Stability (retaining operational software benefits)
- Enterprises to implement Boundaryless Information Flow (using SOA for business agility)
The experience of the members of the SOA4BT project team has identified pragmatic governance, organization, and process issues that need to be addressed. This is performed by the detailing of the following critical success factors:
- Enterprise Architecture Structure: Structural elements like Architecture Vision, Reference Architecture, Governance, etc. need to be detailed.
- Detailed Metrics to be agreed: The creation of a metrics system or scorecard to capture tangible metrics that will help demonstrate value.