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C-level proven SOA in the real life: Removals from the “anger list”

Discussions about SOA and their business benefits are parts of my job as a strategic architect.  Some time ago I discussed a lot about SOA with a C-level executive from a global multinational company whom I know quite well from a former project in his former company.

His point of view was very simple: The same IT-related issues for his business pop up again and again which frustrate him. If SOA could help to remove only some of these items from his list it would be very beneficial if not it is just another hype for him.

We had a very good discussion and some good wine at the conference evening event. After the meeting I thought a lot about it. Although the approach with an anger list seems a bit unusual I think that it could be used as a good check list for each BPX whether his work really has a business impact. Therefore I decided to share it with the community also in order to get more feedback.

Here are some parts of his “anger list”:

Simple questions are hard to answer. “A good example is: How many people are working for our company? It is strange but it seems difficult to answer such a simple question and people have had to investigate in different systems to find the answer.”

We are loosing business as customers have to call two times for the same request. “We got a lot of complaints as our call enter agents have to ask customers often to call another number to answer their question as they have no access to this system from another division.”

We are doing the same with different systems. “In our last management offsite we spoke about the assessments of our global top talents. Managers presented twelve different forms for the same process and we had to compare it. I bet the IT underneath is completely different! What a waste of energy.”

Figures are not consistent. “If I ask questions about some KPIs the answers I get are not in sync. If I ask different people the same KPI could vary more than 50%.”

Everything new is expensive. “Each time we need a new business process or even a smaller change  (e.g. a new supplier) I get a demand for a huge investment. It seems that we are reinventing the wheel again and again.”

All IT-related matters are difficult to explain “Each time I ask a simple question about our IT the answers are very lengthy and complicated.”  

Since these discussions I use these points as a check for the projects I am working on.

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  • Hi Bernard,

    Interesting list that you made up. I like your approach. It starts from business issues (although the ones mentioned are information related), and that helps a lot to make the connection to the business.

    Aren’t some of the issues on the anger list caused by disparate information systems? I believe SOA indeed is positioned to do something about that: a single service (not many to choose from), providing you with the (correct) data, and rapidly changing or creating systems using assemble-to-order type application development.

    I didn’t think of the list as adressing issues that can be solved using SOA, but looking at it again, I’am not so sure.

    Best regards,

    Lucas Osse

    • Hi Lucas,

      thanks for your feedback.

      You are right. Some of the issues are related to information systems. And for my understanding information systems and solving the question how to seamless integrate them are a vital part of every SOA project. Especially in emergency management projects I am deeply involved the question how to integrate the information from the different systems (e.g. fire brigade, police is a decisive one.

      Best regards,