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Café Innovation — SOA Success and the IT-Business Relationship

Welcome to this inaugural post on Café Innovation! Throwing caution to the winds, I am going to make a promise – in these posts we’ll be looking at things a little differently than others! This is where your out-of-the-box creativity should meet SAP robustness! This is the informal “innovation corner” on the SAP Community Network, where we’ll not only discuss what constitutes an innovative solution but also discuss the factors that impact its success. Not only will we discuss specific issues and business process, but also the larger matters that help or hinder innovation in organizations. So bring your uninhibited thoughts to dream, design, develop, and deploy solutions for business processes that are truly novel and game changing. I would, however, like to place one challenge before you — when getting into a real techie conversation, let us cast it in the context of end-to-end business processes!


It’s now about 10 days after TechEd ’07 in Las Vegas, and as always SAP practitioners are wowed by all the things that are going to impact their lives going forward! There is a lot of discussion on the cool new ways of doing things and the confirmation of SAP’s SOA direction. In all of this excitement, let us toss in a few additional considerations – factors that will be important determinants of SOA success or otherwise.  

I’d like to point out that the advent of SOA has not  in any way diminished the importance of the People-Process-Technology equation that has characterized so many discussions of technology solutions. So to begin, let us talk about how people and their interactions influence the success (or, failure) of SOA efforts.

It is my contention that IT and business in any organization need to come together in a meaningful way,  else an organization’s SOA ambitions are not going to be realized. Why is this important? In a services-oriented world it is all about processes and these are owned by the business. IT alone cannot create the perfect service oriented enterprise.  Some of you may be able to relate to the following scenarios…

  • Is there a possible disconnect between IT and the business in your organization? 
  • If you are from the business side of the house, have you felt that IT’s arrogance (at least as perceived from your point of view) has prevented you from getting a really solid business process implemented?
  • If you are from the IT side of the house, have you felt (from your point of view) that the business users make unrealistic demands?

If you have experienced any of these emotions/thoughts/dynamics, you are not alone. These are some of the symptoms that point to a dysfunctional relationship between IT and the business in many organizations.

For a more expansive read of the topic I refer you to an article in the Fall 2007 issue of the NetWeaver magazine ( titled IT and Business: A Positive Relationship Equals SOA Success that speaks to this dysfunctional relationship and points out that we need to accomplish a more harmonious balance between IT and the business for SOA efforts to succeed in an organization.

What has your experience been? What, in your opinion, are some concrete actions organizations can take? Chime in with your thoughts.

P.S. Hopefully, this post tells you that these discussions won’t necessarily or always be just about system configuration issues/settings, mappings, or technical objects!

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      Author's profile photo Marilyn Pratt
      Marilyn Pratt
      Hi Puneet,
      Welcome to our blogging community and also very welcome to take a look at the work Dick Hirsch is doing on the very topic of IT-Business Conversations in the BPX wiki space.  Looking forward to seeing you again in Bangalore and a vibrant and committed activity.
      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Good to see you start blogging ! looking forward to have some thriving online innovative discussions