Datamatics: The Road to Enterprise Architecture
Over the last four years, technology companies and analysts have been excited about the possibilities offered by service oriented architecture and web services. Dr Hemant Adarkar, chief architect at Datamatics, explains how it can transform your company.
Following the publication of Nicholas Carr's book Does IT matter?, CIOs are starting to focus on business-IT alignment rather than simply using IT as a tool for enhancing productivity, automating processes and reducing costs. CIOs are beginning to accept the concept of an enterprise architecture – an abstraction of the IT infrastructure dealing with basic IT components and their interactions at a high level.
In 2006, 20% of Global 2000 organisations integrated holistic enterprise architecture, enterprise programme management, enterprise strategy/planning and IT portfolio management into a common set of IT management processes under the auspices of the CIO's office.
This year, 50% of Global 2000 enterprises are expected to move beyond a pure technology-architecture focus to include enterprise business architecture, enterprise information architecture and enterprise solution architecture.
POWER TO THE CIO
The enterprise architecture approach gives CIOs more control in an environment with multiple application owners. It allows them to foster reusability, accelerate the development of newer applications and easily integrate new applications using a set of guidelines that are common across the enterprise.
Enterprise architecture can be achieved through Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). Built on the concept of 1990s software components, it has introduced the concept of loosely coupled, self-contained software components that operate independently of each other, offering specific business logic. These components are now called business services, or simply services, and they interact through universally published interfaces.
CIOs with an SOA brief face numerous challenges. The IT and business teams need to collaborate to design services, and each service has to have a business owner. They also have to meet the costs of re-architecting the enterprise through serious methodologies and select technologies for the underlying infrastructure. In addition, new software tools are required to manage and orchestrate the business services.
Whenever new technology appears CIOs have to decide whether to implement it whole-scale and immediately or through gradual steps. According to a Gartner report published in August 2006, the probability of projects involving more than 50 services failing is as high as 0.8 due to lack of governance framework.
Even though the standards and tools are maturing rapidly, an enterprise must initiate its adoption of SOA through a pilot project, creating purely internal services first. After building a repository of services with a proper guiding framework, the next phase is to create services for back office functions. Finally, services for external customers should only be implemented after robust security policies have been created.
There are pitfalls at each stage, and developing metrics for successful implementation is an imperative. 'Hasten slowly' is the best advice for any CIO who wants to get on to the SOA bandwagon.