It was about SOA all along!
I was recently introduced to Andy Mulholland by a mutual friend. After reading some recent articles on his blog I quickly realized I had to read his latest book about Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) titled: “Mashup Corporations. The End of Business as Usual”. I ordered it on the famous mashup-rich website Amazon and started reading it yesterday. After only reading up to the end of the Introduction chapter, it suddenly stroke me: All my thoughts and ideas that initiated the articles on this blog since its creation in 2005 were calling for, relating to or assuming SOA! And the most amazing is that I never even mentioned SOA.
My understanding of SOA was that it was a modern method to organize the IT infrastructure for a more flexible applications delivery. So, I had the technologist view (sorry but I’m an IT guy after all) and was missing completely the point. SOA is not just about delivering services and the IT infrastructure, it is first about the adoption of new business models and a conducive corporate culture. Business models! Corporate culture! To those of you who have been in touch with my blog for a while, aren’t these recurring topics in my writings? Oh boy, how this realization got me excited!
So, I decided that I will keep posting about my reading of Andy’s book, and how it will surely make my understanding of the leveraging of organizational knowledge evolve to another level.
I will stick here to this enlightening Introduction.
It gives “five kinds of relationships upon which SOA will make the most impact” and the associated questions it will attempt to answer are:
<< How can you harness the ideas and energy of [innovators] eager to help [from inside or outside the company]?
How can you bring your customers closer to your core business processes?
How can you create a win-win relationship with your suppliers instead of an adversarial one?
How can [IT enable] innovation to break new ground while protecting critical data?
How can you best structure your IT resources to reflect the needs and new capabilities of SOA?
The virtuous process of Human Capital Formation is concerned with the first question. My article on this process was focusing on the employees, but it could be adapted to cater for the contribution of people outside the company (I might do this when I have time).
The second question relates to one of the most important concept I have written about on my blog: Organize the whole company around the customer-facing functions in order to be closer to the customers and therefore satisfy them better. See “knowledge-driven not simply customer-driven”, and “becoming a knowledge-driven organization in response to more knowledgeable customers in the luxury market” and also a more specific case “knowledge-sharing for a Retail Manager”.
The third question is about the collaborative playing field of the Knowledge Economy where companies must collaborate with in fact not only their suppliers and customers, but even increasingly with their competitors.
I will leave the last two questions more concerned with the company’s IT function/department for now. Of course, with my experience there is a lot I could say about it, but this blog was initially avoiding this subject and no doubt I will be drawn into it in later chapters.
Let's read on...