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Friday, February 11, 2005

SOA & Extracting Business Value

Just finished reading a brief note by

Dave Chappel of Sonic software where writes about Extracting Business Value from SOA

Most architects intuitively understand the value of building a SOA ,but they are struggling with how to associate the business value of building a SOA, and explaining that to the business managers who control the budgets and provide funding for such initiatives. While there doesn’t seem to be one good answer that fits everyone, the various discussions seem to reduce it down to these main points:
-Enterprises need the business agility to react to ever-changing business requirements, and continually implement new programs to attract and retain customers.
-In support of this, business processes need to be automated, streamlined, refined, and measured.
-The underlying IT infrastructure which supports those business processes need to be flexible and capable of adapting to change. Continued measurement of success means that the change needs to happen in real time and results need to be measured in real time.
-IT systems contain lots of existing functionality in the form of in-house business logic that represents domain expertise that is germane to the particular business you are in. Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) applications contain business logic that automates common business functions. Most installations of these systems represent heavy investments in licensing, installation, consulting, and custom tailoring to meets the individual needs of an organization.
-The key to realizing the business benefits of building a SOA is to recognize the ability for a SOA to be able to leverage existing application assets, and expose them using service level abstractions that are loosely coupled, and standards based. New automated business processes can be built more rapidly by stitching together composite applications that invoke these services and combine them with new business logic that is also exposed through service level interfaces. This is what forms the basis of a SOA. Its not so much about how to extract business value from SOA, its more about how to extract value from the assets that you have in place. A SOA can be the architectural approach to help make that happen.

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