Casting the liquid enterprise

In the state of simplified, fluid enterprise computing, IT becomes a partner to the business, helping to drive significant gains in compatibility, adaptability and productivity.

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By  Administrator Published  September 6, 2007

In the state of simplified, fluid enterprise computing, IT becomes a partner to the business, helping to drive significant gains in compatibility, adaptability and productivity.

Today's companies want to ‘keep their customers happy, and their competitors scrambling'. That's the view of Dr Michael Treacy, Professor at MIT's Sloan School of Management and author of The Discipline of Market Leaders. According to Treacy, companies must focus on at least one of three levers in order to be successful: operational excellence, customer intimacy, or product and service leadership.

Today’s tools can turn anyone in the enterprise into a creator; making today’s consumer tomorrow’s knowledge worker.

And that's exactly where BEA fits in. The ‘Liquid Enterprise' is BEA's vision to help organisations bridge the gap between business and IT, and create sustainable competitive advantage through innovation, agility and business optimisation. Today's traditional enterprise is characterised by rigid, costly systems that tend to be stove-piped in both design and application. A ‘liquid enterprise' is agile, flexible, and fast. It responds immediately to business needs, leverages existing infrastructure investments, and naturally adapts to future market demands and technology advances.

Marco Bucci, Regional Vice President of BEA Systems said: "Speaking from experience, we recommend that companies break down the vertical silos that traditionally characterise their operating and investment model, and instead, apply an organising principle of horizontally connecting people, processes, and information. The first step is to separate business logic from traditional monolithic applications, and to loosely couple IT assets. Our plan has three major components.

"First, we implement Service-Oriented Architecture, or SOA, which is an IT strategy that organises the discrete functions contained in enterprise applications into interoperable, standards-based services that can be combined and reused quickly to meet business needs," he added. By organising enterprise IT around services instead of around applications, SOA improves productivity, agility and speed. It allows IT to deliver services faster and align closer with business. Moreover, SOA allows the business to respond quicker and deliver optimal user experience.

Today, organisations that have adopted service-oriented environments based on BEA's enterprise software foundation are experiencing dramatic results, including increased revenues, increased customer satisfaction, lower operational costs, and higher returns on their existing technology investments.

As SOA projects move from pilot implementations to larger division and enterprise-wide IT initiatives, the need for an effective approach to SOA Organisation and Governance (O&G) also increases. SOA O&G can be the biggest determinant of SOA success, and as a result, forward looking IT leaders are increasing their direct involvement in order to address fundamental challenges facing their organisations as they move forward with SOA. These CIOs have successfully addressed the aura of mystery around SOA O&G, taking a pragmatic approach that establishes the boundaries for their organisations to operate within, and providing patterns for success others can follow.

A recent SOA survey by International Data Group revealed that more than half of all enterprises say organisation and governance is the top inhibitor they face in adopting SOA. This is understandable, as the issues to be addressed are substantial, and touch almost every aspect of the software development life cycle (SDLC). In addition, divisional IT organisations have been optimised to align with divisional initiatives, yet often SOA yields greater benefits for the enterprise.

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