But, mature, generally larger companies must often include legacy or other not-ready-for-SOA applications in their new solutions. At first, this was a limiting factor. Today, a simple screen scraper can often provide access to an early mainframe or other application. However, connecting to an array of target systems like some or all of
is more likely the case and, fortunately, facilitated by a solution called the enterprise service bus (ESB). ESB is an architectural pattern that addresses this end-end integration challenge.
It is a software infrastructure that enables SOA by acting as an intermediary layer of middleware through which a set of reusable business services are made widely available. However, nothing in SOA demands an ESB.
A comprehensive discussion of ESBs and many related topics, while beyond the scope of this article, is available in the Session 8484 of the 2007 JavaOne Conference.
Today, we have rapidly changing organizational structures that morph the business processes by which these organizations operate. At the same time, we have new software applications that adapted rapidly to the needs of these transformed processes.
In terms of business and information technology alignment, however, no technology can match the value of a good workshop with cross functional role players who dialog and brainstorm business and information technology. No information rendering is more inspiring than a session of free thinking about the business and technology issues facing a company.
Reports, scorecards and key performance indicators are useless if they are not augmented with human, face-to-face communication. Formal and informal meetings help people to put context to information and to internalize meaning from information.
The challenge ahead is to structure the IT organization so that it is headed by a CIO who no longer makes decisions unilaterally but, rather, makes them as part of a decision-making group that includes other key players from across the entire organization.
Marcia Gulesian has served as software developer, project manager, CTO, and CIO. She is author of well more than 100 feature articles on IT, its economics and its management, many of which appear on CIO Update.