Monday, November 17, 2008

Driving IT from the business

A short post here just to once again go over the basic principles of Business driven SOA. The goal here is that IT should be driven from the business this means
  1. Understanding what the business is about
  2. Understanding where and how IT can help the business
  3. Letting the business interact and drive IT on its terms
  4. Not thinking that the latest buzzword is the important thing
Now the goal is of course the same as before, you want to deliver an IT estate that
  1. Looks like the business
  2. Is costed based on the value it delivers to the business
  3. And evolves like the business
This therefore is about understanding where to apply new technologies and where to just cut costs and cope with what you have, or even move towards outsourcing it because it just isn't important to your business at all.

Business driven SOA is about using the right tool for the right job in the right place in the right way. Its fundamentally got to be about the delivery of technology inline with the overall business. This means it must be constrained by what can be delivered and must be inspired by what could be delivered.

As we hit the down-turn this becomes more important. Taking a technology approach is just burning company money and applying new technologies where they don't deliver the benefit is just intellectual masturbation, but worse as you are wasting the business' money doing it.

So look at the business model, look at the business services and think

"If I had half the budget what could I do and what would really have an impact"

Then look at the saving areas, look at SaaS, look at outsourcing and mainly look at how you measure and reward people to cut costs. After that think about the top line

"Now that I've saved that 50%, where can I invest 25% to drive the company upwards"

That is where you look at impact and look more at modern technologies and approaches.

To do this you have to shift your mind out of IT for a bit and look from the business side. Use your experience and knowledge to frame the approaches and answers but don't forget that the goal here is for the business to be driving.

Business SOA is hard, it requires a real breadth of skills, this isn't delivery to PowerPoint its delivery to live. The business doesn't want to drive a video game, its a real business and it needs a real solution.

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