Enterprise Initiatives

This blog focuses on Enterprise IT topics such as Enterprise Architecture, Portfolio Management, Change Management, Business Process Management, and recaps various technology events and news.

The hot SOA topic the past few days has been how to sell SOA to the business. I have seen many authors talk theory on this topic. I am getting a little annoyed of when "experts" who don't actually have to sell SOA to their business partners tell me what works and what doesn't work. I am here to give you a real life story.

There are three camps on how to sell SOA to the business. Some experts recommend that you sell executives on the technology aspects of SOA only. The second camp recommends that you speak only about the business aspects of SOA. The third camp, which is where I go camping, recommends that you speak to both the business and technology aspects of SOA.

My recommendation, which comes from a very successful real life example, is to start with the business benefits of SOA. In my case we were pushing both BPM and SOA. We sold the business on the benefits of BPM and then explained how SOA was the key to allow the BPMS tool to talk to our legacy systems. This approach is much simpler then drawing multiple layers of an architecture on a white board and describing what an ESB is, what MDM is, and how web services or JMS queues work. In fact, we were able to get the funding for our SOA initiative without having to describe in gory detail what the different software modules were. Once the business knew that SOA was the enabler for their BPM initiative, which happened to have an eight figure ROI over five years, they didn't need to hear anymore. They only wanted to know how much!

For bonus points, we discussed how SOA (over time) would allow us to rapidly deploy applications because of reuse, increased flexibility, leveraging existing assets, and modular development. This became a win-win conversation. The business was getting a huge return on investment from the operational efficiencies gained by process reengineering, while IT was finally getting the funding they needed to build the architecture that they could never justify in the past.

I am sure there will be many more arguments on the "right" way to sell SOA to the business. The right approach depends on many factors that are unique to each project and each culture. My recommendation is to talk to people who have successfully sold SOA to the business and learn from their experiences. I shared my success story, who wants to share theirs?


Post a Comment

Subscribe to: Post Comments (Atom)

My favorite sayings

"If you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there"

"Before you build a better mouse trap, make sure you have some mice"