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Clemens Vasters on Services and Business/IT Alignment

Microsoft's Clemens Vasters quotes a long and thoughtful email he wrote as a reply to a SOA skeptic who questioned the value of SOA for bridging the business/IT gap. He discusses the value of service-orientation for this purpose and describes what he perceives as the change introduced by SOA concepts and technologies:

First, we’re working hard to get to a point where we can build interoperable, autonomous pieces of software with well-defined interfaces where we don’t have to spend 80% of our time and money trying to make those pieces communicate with each other. [...] Second, we are starting to see growing insight on the IT side for the need of a common understanding of the idea of “services”. Any employee, department, division or vendor assumes various roles within an organization and renders a certain portfolio of services towards the organization. [...]

Clemens also lists a number of questions that arise from service-orientation in an enterprise:

How strange of an idea is it that you might produce a software package that consists of hundreds of roles and thousands of activities but none of them are connected in any way, because that’s the job of the space that’s intentionally left blank and undefined to host the customized business process? How does the buyer justify the expense? What can the vendor charge? Would you continually service and update a “dormant” software-based capability to the latest policies, laws and regulations so that it can be used whenever the need arises?

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