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Café Innovation — SOA and global capabilities

I have recently returned from SAP Tech Ed ’07 in Bangalore. It was a uniquely festive conference – in keeping with the cultural environment of the host country! The energy inside the conference venue was something to be experienced! The responsiveness of the audience at the sessions – lecture and community, both – was quite impressive. One could not but help recognize that the SAP practitioners in India were essentially not much different than their counterparts in North America. They were very much in tune with how things are evolving in the SAP world and specially with respect to SOA. Their desire to actually make things happen was quite remarkably clear.

A few weeks ago I had posted a piece on SOA and the Offshore factor asking the question about the role offshoring might play in the new age of SOA. I believe that the world of IT is ready for us to scale the next peak, that of leveraging true global capabilities. Here it is important to note that typically, North America and Europe have tended to assign the repetitive, the predictable, and the easily governed tasks offshore with a view to taking advantage of labor cost differentials.

If we are to successfully deploy SOA based solutions leveraging overseas workforces, we would have to stop viewing them as a means of only cost reduction / saving. We must recognize that in these each of these locations, there is a workforce that is evolving in terms of skills, and abilities, where they can handle more than the routine and the mundane. As they get to flex their creative muscle in local markets, they will further hone these abilities. Organizations that recognize this and jump ahead of the curve, to not only encourage this trend but foster an environment to grow it actively, are the ones that will win in creating true global work forces in this arena – where an architect assigned to an effort in Austin, Texas,  could be from Boston, Berlin, or Bangalore. Eventually, this will not only yield a sustainable way to leverage the skills and talents on other continents, but also provide robust global ability to drive innovation. This is an essential consideration for all those organizations that seek to drive advantage in the marketplace through innovation – we have to leverage our global abilities to make this happen in a repeatable manner, for occasional serendipitous innovation can only bring occasional success. Obviously, there is considerable work to be done on numerous fronts to realize this outcome, but I believe this is part of the answer to the questions I had raised in the previous post (SOA and the Offshore factor).

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