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Unlock the Business Value Multiplier

The next step to SOA value comes when you start to link across the entry points of people, process, and information. This is when you start to realize a Multiplier Effect and your company's SOA business value accelerates. Creating entry points for SOA projects can deliver significant value on their own. People-, process-, and information-centric approaches yield results that can deliver strong ROI. However, the power can be exponential when clients apply SOA capabilities to people, process, and information aspects of a business in combination. We call this the Multiplier Effect and it changes the way you approach SOA.

The Multiplier Effect promises to deliver even greater value to clients by linking people, process, and information through SOA. The promise is that businesses will not only be integrated, but also built for change—built to adapt as market conditions demand greater attention by all parts of the business and shifts in resources. It's no great accomplishment to hard-wire a few databases to a user interface that, in turn, presents information mapped to a particular process. The real value is in creating flexible linkages of all three entry points in a dynamic environment. Clients are continually upgrading and changing processes, applications, databases, and views in the business. Through SOA, all parts of the business—its people, the key processes, and the critical information—can stay linked and supported through that continual change.

In Figure 11.3, begin your view from the center, where you can see the entry points we have been discussing. The companies that have started their journey have seen a higher ROI by combining the entry points of people, process, and information. This increase in flexibility and responsiveness comes from the focus on BPM and composite business services, which are made up of prebuilt, domain-specific modules that form highly customized applications. Composite business applications will become as predominant as the monolithic applications that exist today.

Figure 11.3

Figure 11.3 The flex-pon-sive* agenda through SOA

Those same companies, which have seen the value of moving up the stack, also see the power of the right infrastructure. Security, management, and virtualization are all different in a highly flexible SOA domain. These infrastructure services enhance resilience and security to accommodate decentralized services.

Add these items to your checklist:

  • After your first SOA project, begin to see the linkages of people, process, and information. As you incorporate an SOA approach to address an immediate business problem, progress on the path to a broader SOA enterprise adoption. These projects generally incorporate reuse and connectivity, and involve information, process, and people (see Figure 11.4).
    Figure 11.4

    Figure 11.4 SOA entry point scenarios based on more than 3,000 SOA engagements

  • BPM is more than a technology—it is a discipline.
  • Composite applications will blend with monolithic applications. Check out the SOA business catalog (at www.ibm.com/soa) to see where the future is moving.
  • Make sure you evaluate your infrastructure and management capabilities to support your SOA projects.

For a case study on the overall value of SOA and the impact of combining entry points, s.Oliver is a great example. Working with Sandra Rogers, Program Director, SOA, Web Services, and Integration at IDC, we explored this German company's approach to combining the SOA entry points and its best practices.

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