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SOA and BPM: It's the Business, Stupid

Hmmm....Not Good to Call People Stupid. Sorry. But Please Read This Anyway!

This article originally appeared in NOW Magazine, which retains all rights.

Follow the author at www.twitter.com/strukhoff or www.nowmagazineblog.blogspot.com

The harsh reality is that technology executives still tend to think of their platforms, networks, and IT infrastuctures first, even after years of being admonished to think of the business first.

So, let’s say it again, think about the business first. In doing so “it’s important to think about information rather than systems,” according to a senior architect interviewed for this story. “Think about what situational information you need to have, and when you need to have it, versus what sort of systems availability do you desire.”

Here’s a typical scenario: on Day One of a project you will often hear technical people ask where an estimate came from. Posing the question that way represents a misunderstanding.

A project or initiatve should not start with an estimate—something that just sets itself up to be picked to death—but rather, with a business statement that says it is worth spending this much time and that much money to achieve particular business benefits.

The business statement does not need to be a sweeping, overarching view. In today’s environment particularly, it should be anything but. It should, however, be very specific as to what needs to be achieved.

But you won’t wand to spend big money for printing monthly reports that end up as doorstops, for example. You will want to do so for business processes that directly hit the bottom line.

Also ask yourself what the consequence will be if a single execution of a specific process fails. Is it truly enterprise-critical or mission-critical? Does it warrant some IT spend even if not? Does it carry tangible ROI, or perhaps some intangible branding or similar value?

But also be cognizant of differentiation. Slight changes in packaging products or bundling services can suddenly ring a bell in a marketplace that seeks what it perceives as a better deal. This approach sounds like marketing, and it is. But any cool new marketing idea becomes pervasive with an organization, involving changes in the sales process, provisioning, and logistics.

The technology is just the means to the end, and the worst possible mindset is to think of fresh new ways of offering your company’s products or services as something that interferes with the current IT processes and structure. Thinking technology first is an inside-out view that is at odds with understanding customers and markets first, then weaving wonderful IT structures to serve them.

More Stories By Roger Strukhoff

Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040) is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Research, with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is Conference Chair of @CloudExpo & @ThingsExpo, and Editor of SYS-CON Media's CloudComputing BigData & IoT Journals. He holds a BA from Knox College & conducted MBA studies at CSU-East Bay.

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