The SOA wave -- which promises to embed business processes in code -- will drivetighter alignment between business and IT, according to a recent piece in Optimize Magazine. Citing Forrester Research analyst Randy Heffner, the article makes the case that IT development roles and responsibilities are shifting.
"Services define business units of work," explains Heffner. "To design a good service, you have to understand the business processes in which it's involved. That compels IT to understand the business. IT hasn't done well at that. If you pursue Web services, it forces a deeper business connection, which forces a deeper combination of business and technical skills into the IT organization...That's the biggest change in service-oriented IT organizations; they have to be more cognizant of the business and gain expertise in its processes. IT becomes driven by the creation of two deliverables: services and ways to access those services, whether through call-center applications, Web services, or business-to-business connections."
SOA creates new opportunities for business-IT collaboration that were not possiblein the past."The difference is subtle," adds Heffner. "It's a mind-set, a nuance point that people have to think about. It relates in one way to how IT has been measuring itself. Is it delivering code on time, on spec, and on budget? Frankly, you can do that well and not deliver a business improvement. You can do services in order-taker mode, the way you've always done it. But if you go toward measuring what IT does by the business impact, using specific process metrics and designing within that context, it forces IT to know business processes as well as the businesspeople do. There's much more of a collaborative dimension with smart IT folks focused on service design and bringing business and technical knowledge together."