Aligning Business with IT: Service Oriented Architecture

A customer goes into their favorite store looking for a particular product that their friends have been recommending.  She looks at the items on hand and can’t find the item.  Eventually, a salesperson approaches her and asks to assist.  Not finding it on the shelf together, the salesperson goes to their computer and searches for the item.  He finds that they are indeed out of stack presently and a new shipment will be in on Thursday.  She asks if there is another place to get it.  He finds that the store in the next town has the item in stock and calls to arrange to have it delivered to the customer’s house the next day.  The customer leaves delighted.

Behind this interaction was a well-integrated IT solution for supporting the customer.  Using the computer, the salesperson accessed several distinct services unknown to him:  customer relations management, inventory management, procurement, shipping and receiving, and vendor relations.  The scope of these services included not only the salesperson’s store, nut corporate operations, and several other stores.  All to ensure that the customer received the product she wanted.  If the IT solution could not support the effort, the customer would have left dissatisfied.

The purpose of IT in a business is to support the business.  In this respect, the focus is of the IT solution is to ensure customer satisfaction.  To accomplish this, the solution often has to enable different services within the business to interact with each other in ways that have not been conceived before.

One popular methods to ensure that the IT solution is aligned to meet business requirements is Service Oriented Architecture (SOA).  This method focuses on linking services together to create a entire IT solution for the business’ primary activities.

If your company is looking for a method to link its business services together which rely on a IT solution, Service Oriented Architecture may the the way to go.