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Don't Race Towards SOA Without Getting I.T. Organization Into Shape First, Cautions Diamond

New Whitepaper Outlines Steps Required to Deliver on SOA's Promise of Greater Agility

CHICAGO, Oct. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Diamond Management & Technology Consultants , a leading business and technology consulting firm that is helping Fortune 500 corporations apply Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) design principles to become more responsive to new marketplace opportunities, has released a white paper that says a two-phase approach to SOA transition is necessary to achieve the business agility that SOA promises.

"A company can totally disrupt its operations if it races towards SOA without getting its IT organization into shape first," said Chris Curran, Diamond's Chief Technology Officer. "Technology SOA is the essential foundation of the business-driven SOA which has many business leaders excited. However, shared services to help IT move data, respond to system errors, log activities, and generate reports must be built before beginning Business SOA.

"Only when that work has been successful," Curran added, "should the IT department feel confident about engaging C-level executives in a discussion about using SOA as a means of rapid business reconfiguration, faster time to market, and greater collaboration with trading partners and customers."

In the white paper, "The Right Way to SOA," Diamond draws upon recent client experience to provide a roadmap of the migration from Technology SOA to Business SOA. The white paper also provides corporations with an implementation checklist -- the SOA Maturity Gauge -- to guide companies in the right direction. To obtain a copy of the whitepaper, send an e-mail to [email protected] .

"The hype surrounding SOA that is being generated by technology vendors can drive corporations to put the cart before the horse," said Curran. "The shared nature of SOA demands that the IT organization have at least basic capabilities in project delivery and governance in place before expanding into the creation of services. Veering off the path can lead to services that are unjustifiable and not reusable, which defeats the purpose. Enterprise architecture planning will help the SOA team identify opportunities for the creation of Technology and/or Business SOA."

The whitepaper provides recent case studies of evolution from Technology SOA to Business SOA. In the first example, a major health insurance firm launched a multi-year, $500 million rewrite of their core policy and claims processing systems. The impetus was to speed the delivery of new services into the market and to rapidly integrate several smaller acquisitions. To achieve their goals, team members designed common infrastructure services. This initial focus on Technology SOA allowed the team to publish and pilot integration standards and templates while Business SOA was on the drawing board.

In a different example, a multi-line property and casualty insurance carrier established ambitious growth targets for 2010 and beyond. The carrier identified a set of technology services, such as a Web portal interface and a service to pass data from application to application. These technology-based services formed their approach to SOA and laid the foundation for Business SOA in the future.

How can management ensure that the IT department is prepared for successful SOA initiatives? Diamond's whitepaper includes an "SOA Maturity Gauge" that outlines key capabilities and characteristics associated with each level of SOA maturity.

At the first level of maturity, for example, ongoing service delivery will be characterized by solid service level agreements, high end-user satisfaction, and a clear understanding of the costs to deliver various services.

At the next maturity level, new project delivery and governance and alignment will be buttoned down. Among other characteristics, the IT team will be expert in defining business requirements for new projects, effective in managing project issues and risks, and have accurate ways of measuring the business value generated by a project.

"It is also critically important that any company planning a Business SOA initiative have clear mechanisms for funding shared IT assets," Curran said. "The best strategy can get stalled when various business units can't resolve who will pay. A strong CEO who makes SOA a corporate priority and funds it accordingly can eliminate a lot of the infighting that goes on in setting shared budgets."

A solid Technology SOA capability is in place when a company can point to such characteristics as experienced information architects with deep experience in developing shared software components and a technology architecture plan that identifies appropriate areas in which to create services.

Moving to the next level of SOA maturity requires productive working relationships between CIO and other C-level executives, and their respective teams. There is a collective understanding about IT solution priorities and a regular, effective forum for business and IT leaders to resolve issues.

"A company that has passed those milestones is on its way to reaching the benefits of Business SOA," said Curran. "It may take two or three years to achieve Technology SOA maturity, but the effort will significantly improve the performance of the IT department -- better in handling the complexities of multiple services and faster in handling the distributed nature of service construction.

"Furthermore, that success will build momentum and confidence that enables the IT department to engage the business in identifying the appropriate business services and actually deliver on the promise of Business SOA."

About Diamond

Diamond is a premier global management consulting firm that helps leading organizations develop and implement growth strategies, improve operations, and capitalize on technology. Mobilizing multidisciplinary teams from our highly skilled strategy, technology, and operations professionals worldwide, Diamond works collaboratively with clients, unleashing the power within their own organizations to achieve sustainable business advantage. Diamond is headquartered in Chicago, with offices in Washington, D.C., New York, Hartford, London and Mumbai. To learn more, visit http://www.diamondconsultants.com/ .

Contacts: David Moon Media Relations +1.312.255.4560 [email protected] Margaret Boyce Investor Relations +1.312.255.5784 [email protected]

Diamond Management & Technology Consultants

Contact: David Moon, Media Relations, +1-312-255-4560, or
[email protected] , or Margaret Boyce, Investor Relations,
+1-312-255-5784, or [email protected] , both of Diamond
Management & Technology Consultants

Web site: http://www.diamondconsultants.com/

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