November 25, 2008, 7:31 AM — Service orientation is the successful combination of technology, business processes, and methodologies.
Service orientation is especially important to outsourcing firms because it allows them to adjust not only the methodologies that they adopt in producing technologies, as well as the way they run operations. Service orientation is a way for these firms to treat both their internal and external partners as customers. It is not merely about producing technology; it also takes into consideration the enterprise culture and the various business processes involved in creating, improving, and delivering services to clients.
In his book Service Oriented Enterprises, Setrag Khoshafian suggests that in building a service-oriented enterprise, it is important to look at a â€œbottom up, three-layered infrastructure,â€ namely:
â€¢ Service building blocks, where existing applications can be combined as services to form an SOA implementation
â€¢ Composition services, which is a combination of existing services to package a new service
â€¢ Business process, which involves either service building blocks or composition services
With these three layers in mind, one should easily understand the importance of streamlining processes, such that there is no need to create entirely new products and services. Instead, project teams have to recognize the needs of clients and put together service or product suites from what are already available. The practice ultimately enables delivery teams to avoid overshooting time and resources. Instead, the focus will be on introducing innovative services to both internal and external customer domains. Ultimately, integration is the key in building SOAs, automating processes, and managing technologies.
The best examples of the popularity and success in adopting SOE is found among web-based businesses, such the most popular e-commerce and social sites. AJAX and the â€œmashing upâ€ of interfaces and APIs created a trend that three years ago came to be known as Web 2.0. From simple brochure-type web sites into programmable web, SOE gained traction not only among technology producers, but more importantly, among technology consumers. However, the real gem that lies in the midst of this revolution in Web technologies is in understanding the needs of businesses (and their processes) and putting together available packets of applications.
Nowadays, cloud computing and software-as-a-service approaches are off-shoots of SOE as initially made popular in the general publicâ€™s consciousness. Large IT firms have found inspiration in Web services to integrate business processes and applications. At this point, the issues that have plagued the outside technology consuming public provide lessons in Web-inspired or Web-based enterprise computing. Always-on reliability, seamless transaction among applications, and data security are some of the measures enterprises need to establish in conducting internal and external businesses.
Overall, deployment of technology in the enterprise and to customers will be a matter of knowing what is in stock, how it applies to the business processes of both parties, and what measures should be put in place to combine and protect the integrity of these applications. Linking business rules and process execution allow for more realistic performance measures and better project monitoring and management.
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