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09 January 2008

It was about SOA all along! Chapter 6

[Continuation of my commented reading of Andy Mulholland’s book: “Mashup Corporations. The End of Business as Usual”].

Chapter 6 is about “Internal IT” or the effect the SOA transformation can/should have on the internal IT department/functions. With the help of a meeting with all the managers of the fictitious company Vorpal’s IT department, it explains that a SOA does not only support the informal edges of the organisation but also the formal transactional hub. What unifies it all are “the processes that flow through the business” and link “the informal processes at the edge” with “the more formal controlled processes at the hub”. It is therefore important (in order to successfully become a service-oriented organization) to adapt the company’s functional structure. The functions must mirror the key business processes that SOA has formalized.

The authors then suggest a new structure for Vorpal’s IT department. Below are the original (standard) structure followed by a new service-oriented structure:

Old:
End-user support
Development
Infrastructure (CTO)
ERP
Engineering
New:
· Composition (about defining the common services)
· Services Creation (about development of the services)
· Disruptive Innovators (about the creation of new services)
· Consolidation (about the link with the core systems)
· Services Repository (about keeping track of all the services available)

The authors do make it clear that this is only a suggested structure and that each organization would adapt it to suit their needs.

And then reorganizing the IT department around SOA is only a start. The whole organization structure should be reviewed. For example, I can see new cross-functions between sales, marketing and public relations departments: Services to a specific customer group could benefit from having a function (an individual or a team even) pulling resources from these 3 departments to better satisfy these customers no-less specific needs.

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