Service-oriented architecture


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Service-oriented architecture

  1. 1. Service-oriented architecture Rethinking enterprise architecture to reach for high performance
  2. 2. Service-oriented Few technology advances have attracted 'modified' processes, SOA also enables as much attention as SOA—but it is the underlying technology-based architecture (SOA) is important to understand exactly what services to be re-combined to enable attracting such interest role it can really play in helping a the new processes. business or government agency achieve because it offers a way high performance. The temptation is This aspect is of utmost importance because it brings to fruition the to reconceptualize always to see a new, much-hyped changing role of IT in business. As the development like SOA as a "thing" existing business and that one can just "do" to make an ingredients of new business models that form an adaptive and agile IT systems as part of organization work better. New enterprise, these processes must technology is particularly liable to this the overall enterprise sort of hype, and disappointment and respond to ever faster changes and architecture. The aim: disillusionment are always the result. reduced cycle times in the market. In this way, SOA has the potential to to create the agility that SOA is not a technology: as its name influence operating efficiencies and organizations need to implies, it is an architecture, or a way effectiveness both at the business and of thinking about how business or IT IT functional levels. SOA provides this achieve high performance is structured, and thus what kind of level of adaptability and agility. It in today's customer- capability it can deliver. It is not therefore forces enterprise architects revolutionary, something that will to understand the impact of the focused, competitive immediately change everything. business model impact first and then market place. Rather it should be seen as the latest evaluate how best to optimize the stage—but an important one—in the IT portfolio instead of making evolution of enterprisewide business architectural decisions based on and IT architecture. technical merits alone. The significance of SOA—and probably In other words, SOA requires enterprise the reason why it attracts such attention architects to focus on business from CIOs and enterprise architects—is capabilities rather than on applications. that it offers a real opportunity to take To do this, the business processes IT to a new level as a true business must be expressed in terms of the enabler. The constant drive to harness capabilities they require, and then IT innovation to create business value those capabilities need to be evaluated and competitive advantage is, as for commonalities and synergies Accenture's research shows, one of before mapping them to the enabling the defining characteristics of high systems. SOA thus has the effect of performance across all industries. requiring the IT systems to from part of the overall business or enterprise SOA provides the foundation for architecture so that business processes business agility, a vital prerequisite are mirrored by enabling services from for success in today's ultracompetitive the IT department. Implementing SOA global market. Agility is the ability to correctly thus means that IT and add, modify and optimize business business strategies are pulled into processes easily by leveraging process alignment. or service synergies to create a new breed of services by combining In other words, SOA is not a technology, elements of existing business processes and it ends once and for all any to support new customer segments, lingering misapprehension that IT is channels or markets. Just as elements something that can (or should) be of the existing business processes confined to the CIO's office alone. In are combined to create 'shared' or fact, the role of the CIO is likely to 2
  3. 3. Agility and SOA Service-oriented architecture (SOA) is service levels and that are now on consuming those services (e.g. through an architectural approach to addressing different maintenance, upgrade and composite applications, orchestrated the problems of integrating disparate budgetary cycles. Previous integration processes or virtual enterprises) can systems, enabling the creation of an approaches conflicted with these simplify the internal processes of an agile organization that can respond realities, but SOA now provides a organization as it allows one capability to the needs of a changing business way to address them better and to to be easily located and reused by environment. enable agility. different parts of the business. SOA makes it possible for organizations SOA can enable an organization to This internal simplicity gives the to respond to changing business needs break down internal silos (often caused organization the agility to create new by implementing business processes by systems that belong to individual products and services more easily and that use business services provided by departments and that cannot be easily quickly, thus differentiating itself in existing systems. It enables systems to connected), so paving the way for the market place. With competitive interoperate despite the fact that they supporting automated and integrated differentiation so important in most were most likely developed at different business processes that span the silos. sectors, SOA thus equips organizations times, with different motivations, on Exposing business capabilities as for the successful pursuit of high different platforms, with different services and then connecting and performance. expand into the business as SOA Key drivers for SOA and flexible enough to enable changing requires IT and business leaders to business processes and evolving enterprise architecture collaborate in redesigning the business rules as well as to act on overarching enterprise architecture to There are three important factors that processing efficiencies. For example, structure an organization that is better are driving business leaders, and in lessons learned from implementing equipped to achieve its current and particular enterprise architects, to cross-channel services might require future goals. It requires strong take such a positive interest in SOA: changes at both the business model commitment from the business and enabling technology level rather sponsors to re-think their operating SOA can help organizations than just the technology level. model and to have the courage to become truly agile Traditional IT thinking, which typically break the process or functional Increasingly, businesses and attempted to create an application for boundaries both within the organization governments must be able to create each new process, has never been able and in the eco-system within which and deliver new products and services to deliver agility of this order. These the organization operates. for increasingly demanding customers applications tended to be developed and citizens. More collaboration with Once such an enterprise architecture at different times, with different business partners and enhanced ability is created, the CIO will be responsible motivations, on different platforms, to interpret customer data give for creating the enabling business, for different sets of users, with organizations the means to interpret application, technology and information different service levels and ended up market shifts more accurately and architectures—and for playing the on different maintenance, upgrade quickly; what they now need is the governance role to ensure that the and budgetary cycles. With hindsight ability for market-facing business desired outcomes are achieved. it is no surprise that integrating these processes to be able to change in applications and systems turned out response. This dynamic operating model to be very cumbersome, expensive both requires a new set of IT capabilities 3
  4. 4. Case studies European Telecommunications Constellation Energy Company Constellation Energy is a leading This European telecommunications supplier of electricity to large company—one of the largest mobile commercial and industrial customers carriers and the leading Internet in the United States and the nation's provider in Italy—is also a prominent largest wholesaler of power. With four worldwide player, and provides business units using their own integrated fixed-line, mobile, and data systems, the organization wanted to telecommunications services. In order consolidate systems and data, while to be competitive on price and preserving its investment in legacy subscription rates, the company systems. needed to reduce the development Accenture helped establish a time and integration costs of creating distributed Web services-based new services. One way to do this was platform as the SOA foundation to to decrease the cost and effort required support flexible interapplication to maintain the existing multiple communications. For example, within interfaces, including reducing the corporate IT, a composite application duplication of interfaces. allows a unified Web-based view on Accenture built an SOA-based the internal portal where employees environment which allows the can efficiently and securely interact company to create complex pricing with personalized information, and subscription policies more easily, applications, processes and other and also reduces the overall users. maintenance cost. The benefits include the optimized use Benefits of the new interface of existing technologies and a integration include decreased time-to- standardized integration process market for new features, while the across existing systems. By reuse of code means that less time is consolidating services on the portal, required to maintain and upgrade the the solution empowered 9,700 users interfaces themselves. to do their jobs more efficiently, offering employees the ability to request electronic access to business applications and personalized information across business units. 4
  5. 5. to implement and support—generally, framework. Using SOA, the same customize products and services on integration accounts for 30-plus principle can be applied to an a mass scale while using the same percent of IT budgets. organization's IT and thus the business back-end infrastructure. processes that IT enables. For example, By contrast, SOA's perspective is not Enterprise architects have a vital at a major telecommunications company application-centric but capability- contribution to make here, providing in Italy, SOA allows new services to be centric. It rather sees things from the the enterprisewide perspective vital to created and integrated more quickly point of view of the architecture of aligning IT services with business needs. and cheaply, thereby enabling the the entire enterprise, including creation of complex pricing and business processes and IT. In fact, it subscription policies that focus more SOA protects legacy investments is likely to have more of an impact Over the past few decades, on specific customer segments. on business efficiencies than on organizations have spent heavily on simple IT efficiencies. The basic, underlying premise is that their IT infrastructures, and they do the information required to deliver not relish the idea of jettisoning them. SOA makes it possible to new services or products usually exists By creating a flexible layer that can "mass customize" IT within the organization's systems be reconfigured according to business already—SOA creates a way to access need, SOA effectively reuses legacy IT Mass customization is a concept it more easily and quickly (and less in new ways, for example exposing borrowed from manufacturing, where expensively) than in the past, and mainframe functionality as a service different combinations of standard serve it up to the customer-facing that can be used by several applications modules can create an individualized unit. This is effectively the ability to to achieve a range of business goals. product within the mass production SOA at a glance: Why and How SOA requires a closer alignment How between the business and IT and • Clearly define IT systems, their enables a more productive relationship boundaries and the business between them, which in turn can capabilities that they provide. answer many challenges currently • Rationalize applications and data in facing organizations. order to eliminate redundancy and streamline the systems. Why • SOA can help organizations attain the • Expose business capabilities as agility necessary to meet constantly services that are stored in a single shifting customer demands. repository, thus allowing services to be used in process orchestrations • SOA provides a cost-effective and composite applications. approach to mass customization. • Establish and empower governance • SOA can protect legacy investments. of the overall enterprise architecture to ensure the level of coherence required to reap the benefits of SOA, and provide clear guidelines for the ongoing architectural planning processes. 5
  6. 6. Again, enterprise architects are needed This is a prerequisite to exposing Promote ever closer alignment here to provide the enterprisewide business capabilities as services that between business and IT focus necessary to ensure that only can be consumed through process Getting the IT department and the the appropriate legacy systems are orchestrations and composite business units to work together worked on to bring them into the applications. In this way a repository effectively has always been a challenge, SOA. This approach also helps to keep of services is created, which can be but it is absolutely imperative in order costs down while increasing combined as required to provide for SOA to be effective. Implementing functionality—the apparent paradox "mass customization"—in other words, SOA means that the architectural that is increasingly required to meet the creation of a simplified engine foundation has to be solid enough to investor expectations. that can drive external differentiation. serve many applications and deliver composite services to different parts Establish and empower of the business. SOA must be part of Getting there: enterprise architecture the enterprise architecture strategy so How to implement governance that investments can be prioritized SOA successfully In the end, an organization runs on and aligned with business requirements. By insisting that IT is seen as part of information-the right information to Appropriate organizational structures the wider enterprise architecture, it is the right people at the right time. The such as IT governance must be created clear that SOA holds out tremendous quality of that information is therefore and empowered to monitor progress, potential to maximize the value of the first thing to get right, but many and measure the financial performance technology as an enabler of competitive organizations suffer from inconsistent of the enterprise architecture. advantage. Accenture's research shows and flawed information architectures. Performance measures need to be fed that this ability to use IT to drive This problem must be resolved, back into the whole process so that innovation through the business is a otherwise the SOA-enabled systems lessons are truly learned. key element of high performance—the will simply deliver the wrong ability of a business or government to information more effectively. In other Apply SOA thinking to the succeed irrespective of economic cycles words, SOA cannot solve the problems business itself or unexpected business challenges. caused by poor enterprise architecture. As the business becomes more closely Proper architectural planning is needed aligned with the supporting IT, it As always, the key question is how to ensure that master data are to achieve the desired benefits. needs to develop the capabilities to consistent, data ownership is clearly apply the SOA model to the way it Accenture's experience in helping understood, and business rules and clients around the globe to achieve creates business processes. This means taxonomies are harmonized. taking advantage of the synergies high performance indicates four main issues need to be addressed to As important, the new services between business models, capabilities implement SOA successfully: themselves must only be created in or processes; and reusing functions, terms of established design principles. processes or sub-processes to create Optimize the application SOA depends on services being loosely new sets of services or processes. In rather than tightly coupled in order to this way, SOA thinking is applied to portfolio ensure that modification of one both technology and business process. Reaping the benefits of SOA does service has no effect on other services. SOA is the next step in the evolution require some housekeeping to be Design decisions must therefore be of IT as the enabler of high performed upfront. Because SOA is made in terms of the original plan to performance. It does indeed have the evolutionary in nature and builds on retain the desired loose coupling of potential to transform both the way IT what already exists, it will first be services. This in turn means that an systems work, and the value of what necessary to define the existing effective governance structure for the they can do-without having to write systems landscape and what services enterprise architecture as a whole is off substantial legacy investment. But, the various elements provide. imperative. in order to reach its full potential, it Overlapping functionality, mutual dependencies and data redundancies must be seen as an important element will have to be identified and resolved. of the total enterprise architecture. 6
  7. 7. “SOA is a means to an end, not an end in itself. The end is high performance: better business process, faster product introduction, improved usability. The means is reuse through loosely coupled applications built around real standards.” Don Rippert Chief technology officer, Accenture Contact About the Author For more information on how Bernhard Holtschke is a recognized Accenture can help you achieve high expert in business-driven IT strategy performance through implementing formulation and enterprise architecture service-oriented architecture, contact: design, including all aspects of IT governance and IT transformation. Bernhard Holtschke, Accenture An industry veteran with more than +49 89 93081 68780 16 years of serving Accenture's clients bernhard.holtschke primarily in the high-tech, automotive, and engineering industries, he has led many global transformational projects from conception to completion. 7
  8. 8. About Accenture Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company. Committed to delivering innovation, Accenture collaborates with its clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. With deep industry and business process expertise, broad global resources and a proven track record, Accenture can mobilize the right people, skills, and technologies to help clients improve their performance. With approximately 140,000 people in 48 countries, the company generated net revenues of US$16.65 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2006. Its home page is Copyright © 2006 Accenture All rights reserved. Accenture, its logo, and High Performance Delivered are trademarks of Accenture.