Dilemmas about advanced architecture can be resolved by thinking in a different way
The business case for service oriented architecture (SOA) is so littered with paradoxes it is astonishing any of them are funded.
Often the IT funding model is: ‘here is the money, build it, now.’ Demand for IT projects comes from lines of business as does the supply of funding.
Chief information officers (CIOs) and chief technical officers (CTOs) can add value implementing portfolio management and enterprise architecture. At the bottom of the cycle, CIOs appear mere demand aggregators with little influence.
Business units are not happy being a service provider, relying on services provided by other business units, funding infrastructure or architecture, or accepting that designing reusable services takes time and needs more collaboration.
Yet it is unrealistic to expect business units to act any other way. A recent
Burton Group SOA contextual research project revealed that altruism is not an
strategy. A firm’s incentives need to promote service provision and reuse, and support for shared infrastructure.
Other changes are required. You need the financial flexibility to fund shared infrastructure and service development, and new control and strategies to govern cross-business system dependencies.This may mean restructuring.
SOA is not a quick fix, but a long-term strategic investment that will take decades to pay back. So you need return on investment measurements that will get that SOA project funded.
Looking for a quick fix is counterproductive but do not confuse the quick fix with projects that deliver value early.
First, if your firm has mature IT portfolio management with a central project management office that offers strategic funding, take that route. Second, suck it up. Restructure the business case to deliver value annually.
Look for projects that deliver business value: increased revenue per client and client retention; visibility into customer behaviour; and flexibility to outsource non-core capabilities.
Business unit-driven projects can be funded from a central CTO-controlled budget.
Change the question.
Ask yourself how to get funding to add business value while transforming IT in the long run.
Richard Watson is senior analyst at Burton Group
Vendor's announcements include AI-powered Microsoft Office, a move away from password verification and an alliance with Adobe and SAP
Vendor claims hackers are hijacking machines to mine for cryptocurrency
Nearly half of SMBs are planning to invest in digital workflows to reduce their paper-based processes by 2025, according to Quocirca
The charter has pulled together the biggest names in tech in an unprecedented attempt to address the tech industry's lack of diversity. Tom Wright asks how it plans to do it