Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Organizational Issues with SOA/EA ...

Last time I wrote about how shortage of critical skills in the developer community are an obstacle to full realization of SOA potentials. I got some irate responses from developers that it is the short term focus from IT management that is to blame. I must say that I did not mean to single out the developer community as the primary reason for not getting the most out of SOA, EA etc. There is plenty of blame to go around, including but not limited to over-hyping vendors, under performing technologies, cost pressures from executive suite etc. As far as management part of the equation is concerned, the biggest issue is the drive to deliver short term results. We live in a world of instant gratification at the expense of long term viability. Wall Street has proven it again and again that people are willing to throw away their long term future to realize short term gains. Bonuses are not tied to something that will pay off in long term. So, while everyone recognizes the value of architecture, how many CIOs do you know that come from Enterprise Architecture background?

I find that we in EA are constantly in a defensive posture, trying to convince everyone that following EA best practice will deliver results in the long term while others who are solving day to day problems get all the accolades (and promotions to senior management positions). EA must find a way to go beyond being a niche player in an organization where they are either always looking for a “low hanging fruit” for the latest alphabet mix or something that everyone tolerates, to becoming a true player in transforming an organization. For that to happen, we need people at the CIO level that have strong bias towards Architecture and for that to happen we as Enterprise Architects have to learn to not only talk about SOA, BPM, CEP but also have to be able to talk revenue growth, profit growth, costs, and operational aspects of business that is understood by senior executives who are making the decisions about who gets to occupy that office where IT decisions are made.

Ashok Kumar
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