Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) resonates with executives throughout today’s business computing environment because it offers opportunities to improve business performance, with limited risk, incrementally, and at relatively low cost.
SOA offers increased flexibility, improved use of assets, alignment with business objectives, and reduced integration costs, but its adoption within the enterprise is by no means simple.
“Butler Group believes SOA represents a transformation in the way the organisation operates, and executive sponsorship is therefore vital, as seen from many successful SOA implementations. Internal politics is often a major contributor to difficulties with SOA, especially as services and resources are now shared” SOA Will Transform the Way IT and the Enterprise Interact by 2012, Says Butler Group
Corporate executives know that their primary mission is to keep the machine producing revenue, all the while that new courses of innovation and change are laid in. The upgrade or overhaul of major parts of the enterprise computing environment is a weighty matter, where miscalculation could conceivably bring the machine to a halt.
Advocates for SOA adoption within the company often grasp the technical advantages and fail to make the business case for its adoption, neglecting terms such as cost reduction, productivity, competitive advantage, increased business agility, etc. However, since SOA is suited to incremental adoption, it finds its way into the enterprise quietly, in pieces, as faits accomplis:
“to get the pieces of the SOA Ecosystem in place, companies will slip different components into funded projects. For example, if messaging is not in place, a JMS could be introduced as part of a CRM project, to facilitate communications between regional sales offices and the corporate system. When new application components are needed, these could be written as web services, and perhaps an ESB could be brought in as a way to link them up at some nodes. A repository that is used to hold configuration information could be extended to start holding metadata related to the various components [...] The idea is to start showing proof-points for the SOA concept in isolated cases where some of the viral SOA implementation is starting to make new projects quicker, reduce maintenance costs etc. Also, the viral approach has now reduced the entry barrier to SOA by sneaking in a number of the licensed components and necessary skills.” Viral SOA - or getting SOA in the door
For the owner of a Clarify™ system, the path is simpler, less politically complex, and branded by name: Dovetail Software. The headache disappears with proposing adoption of Dovetail CRM applications, because they’re specifically designed either to augment the existing install as additional seats, or to replace the Clarify applications across the board. In either case, Dovetail slips into the Clarify environment seamlessly, without a ripple of disturbance. Dovetail interfaces with the database with no change in look or feel, except for the many new features suddenly available.
Dovetail products are created according to the principles of SOA, exposing almost all of the Clarify business processes in APIs and Web Services. Dovetail offers near-unlimited extensibility, and allowing integration with the rest of the computing environment, including existing back-end integrations. These are exactly the results that non-Clarify owners are seeking from vendors selling SOA-based products, and from in-house IT departments or outside consultants service-enabling existing software.
“SOA is not about building new systems, but giving end-users what they want from the systems already in place [...] Employees usually know the kind of information/knowledge they need at their fingertips in order to do their job effectively. In the contact centre market, for example, an agent may typically want five pieces of critical customer information before them each time they take a customer call, such as purchase history, financial account, previous calls, and other services used. Agents don’t want to have to navigate multiple green screens to find out this information – yet figures show that 64 per cent of agents have to navigate through three or more applications during any one customer call. This leads to lost cross-sales, high call abandonment rates, and lengthy calls – all causes of customer and agent dissatisfaction.” Out with the old IT model and in with the new
Underneath all of the technical talk, the requirements placed on modern enterprises involve relatively simple business process requests. Most of these requests center around putting more information at an employee’s fingertips, at every customer touchpoint, in order to provide a customized experience unique to each customer. Providing better service and support, in other words. We have detailed what happens when Dovetail CRM comes into a legacy Clarify environment, how the simple additions of right-click context menus and ad hoc query-building (admittedly, along with an abundance of other features) turns a department overnight into a powerhouse of improved business process.