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InfoQ Homepage News Model-Driven Approach to Service-Oriented Enterprise (SOE)

Model-Driven Approach to Service-Oriented Enterprise (SOE)

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In the latest issue of the Service Technology Magazine, Anirban Ray, an enterprise architect for IBM Global Business Services, proposes a model-driven approach to creating a service-oriented enterprise. Unlike most approaches this approach assumes IT is an integral part of the business thus eliminating the problem of Business-IT alignment and focusing on attaining business goals through internal and external service offerings based on business requirements derived from the proposed models. 

The proposed models that a prospective SOE must create, manage and maintain are Motivation, Strategy, Process, IT, Operating and Governance Models. Anirban explains:

A close inspection of the Motivation, Strategy, Process, and IT Models will reveal that each model successively builds additional levels of elaboration over its preceding model thereby ensuring the realization of the business motivation, defined by the Motivation Model, through the IT Model. The Operating Model and the Governance Model helps to monitor and manage the attainment of this realization as a continuous process ensuring that the IT Model is always derived from the business motivation and hence not requiring a forced alignment. This ensures that IT is considered as an integral part of business, i.e., each and every IT investment is made for achieving business goal(s) as opposed to being “aligned” to meet business goal(s). However, this does not discount the need to align existing IT solutions that existed before an enterprise started practicing SOE but suggests a paradigm shift that is necessary to adopt the new world order.

InfoQ: What are some pitfalls and gaps in existing EA frameworks and standards which the MDA approach to SOE is attempting to address? The entire framework has some striking similarities with TOGAF ADM, how does it compare and contrast?

A model driven approach to SOE helps tie together business motivation, strategic intent, decision making, and business execution using contextual, collaborative, connected, and consumable models for realizing the business motivation. Enterprise Architecture is a planning function in an enterprise (akin to a city plan) and an EA method like TOGAF ADM can be used by enterprise architects to understand enterprise motivation and strategy and analyze and prioritize organizational change. EA methods help in creating the models that ties business motivation to business execution and is a subset of the various models that are required for an SOE. EA is mostly a bridging mechanism between enterprise strategy and solution delivery but is not a complete set of models that are needed by a SOE.
Moreover, model driven approach to SOE proposes that we consider IT as part of core business with the business driving organizational change from strategy to IT implementations. This requires that contextual models be created (encompassing business motivation, strategy, process, IT, operating, and governance) that are consumable by specific roles performing business functions with different accountability levels (motivation, strategy and planning, managerial control, and execution) whereas EA only creates contextual models for EA (planning) functions.

InfoQ: The entire model framework seems to suggest a top-down design paradigm. How can it be  extended to other design paradigms and can you comment on the adoption procedure especially for existing enterprises?

The model proposes an approach for creating a SOE. It proposes a fusion of Business and IT and discusses models that are essential for affecting such a fusion. It establishes a framework using which a SOE can be realized as opposed to a design paradigm. Enterprises are free to use top-down, bottom-up, or a combination of top-down and bottom-up design methods within the framework of the models discussed. E.g. one can start with identifying business goals and/or analyze existing systems and map them back to business goals. It is recommended that existing enterprises use both a top-down and a bottom-up approach.


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