SOA governance, siloed thinking 'top of mind' at latest Gartner confab

SOA, cloud, BPM, MDM -- where is the business in all this?
Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributing Writer

Short but sweet: SOA Software just issued a quicky release assessing the tone of the recent Gartner Application Architecture, Development and Integration Summit, observing that SOA and cloud governance was the most pervasive topic explored at the event. "More than half of the 120 presentations focused on the importance of governance in helping to ensure the success of enterprise IT initiatives."

This is an area that has bedeviled SOA projects for the past half-decade, when companies started immersing themselves in service orientation. Why?  Because too often, SOA was relegated to the backwaters of organizations as a technology implementation project -- not the business transformation catalyst that it was meant to be. Now the challenge continues with cloud. Where is the business in all this?

In a recent post, Gartner's Mike Blechar, who presented at the confab, discussed his most popular session -- in which he talked about the growing interdependencies between initiatives, involving not only SOA and cloud, but also business process management and master data management. There is movement and awareness afoot to think more holistically about how these all need to tie together to move the business forward.

As he relates, siloed thinking still abounds:

"Many enterprise architects thought the lack of collaboration resulted in an ability for them to design a good technology architecture which met both the current and future needs. Data architects and analysts were concerned about data quality and inconsistency problems with which they dealt on a daily basis yet the business seemed to be ignoring. Developers seemed mostly concerned about how to get the business to specify correct requirements so that they build applications more quickly, while application architects were mostly concerned about how to fulfill their role in removing redundancies caused by the business units funding the building and maintenance of siloed applications (instead of focusing in shared and reusable software services)."

The business needs to better understand the various interdependencies between various business technology initiatives as well, Blechar says.  "Once the business sees how this collaboration can expedite the delivery of solutions, improve agility of change, help decrease costs or allow them to be more efficient or competitive, they finally begin to see the relationship... and the need for collaboration."

Blechar also advocates redesigning business processes and workflows using service-oriented methods as part of BPM initiatives. "IT needs to enable BPM initiatives since these result in greater collaboration across business units and, in turn, results in projects which specify requirements to break down the silos which exist in IT systems between applications and their data."

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