“For enterprise architecture to yield transformation, it has to start with the business. “Too many [enterprise architecture efforts] take a bottom-up or sideways-in approach. It has to be driven from the top,” says Michael Mathias, vice president and CIO of insurance provider Aetna. “It’s not a technology initiative. It’s a business commitment.”
Moving from a “traditional” ERP solution to a more Service Oriented Architecture in the enterprise represents a change in how applications, functionality, and services are provided to the user. Rather than allowing for business units to establish information silos which may only tangentially connect to other parts of the organization, SOA seeks to provide users throughout the enterprise with the resources they need to get their jobs done, and in a context that supports those processes specifically. The underlying framework provides the controlled sharing and re-use of information more efficiently while yielding more strategic results.
Consumerization and commercialization of IT service has also played an impact in the interest in SOA. Users have come to expect that their tools and software products will allow for a certain level of personalization, and developers are placing more of a focus on the user experience in order to achieve maximum levels of adoption and use.
“With the commercializing of IT, healthcare is really more of an individual retail play today. We need to understand how to work with the individual.”
Software-as-a-Service and the popularity of cloud computing have resulted in the market’s growing recognition of the benefits of rethinking previous approaches to “tooling up” the business. SOA, particularly in the the age of anytime, anywhere and web-everything, is not just an enterprise approach any longer. It’s a wise approach for every business to consider.