Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The three magic questions of business SOA (and IT Strategy)

Having a chat with someone today I was reminded of a presentation I gave a few years ago. I went to the client knowing that they'd spent a lot of money in the last few years on an IT "refresh" and the word SOA had been used rather a lot. The programme wasn't seen as being a success and the business were bitching that money had been wasted.

My opening point was that the business was sort of right and so I posed three questions
  1. Do you have a clear vision of where you want your IT estate to be in 3 years
  2. Do you want the IT estate to reflect that vision
  3. Do you want the costs for IT to reflect the different values in that vision

The answers were "No, Yes, Yes" which wasn't a huge surprise but was my real point to both sides of what had turned into a political mudslinging competition.

IT had set off to try and do 2 and 3 without knowing 1 and the business had effectively said "we don't know what we want... but we know its not that". Neither of these was a good idea. So the focus therefore was on creating that vision (a business service driven vision) and doing the heatmap that meant IT could then align itself (number 2 and 3) to that vision.

Now I've said before that IT and Chairman Mao have a lot in common but there is another famous phrase that applies here
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step"
Now that might be true, but its really important to know where you are going otherwise you look like a bit of a pillock in a thousand miles.

So can you answer the three magic questions of Business SOA and IT strategy?

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