“Have you listened to the SOA Consortium’s SOA
Center of ExcellenceCenters podcasts yet? Day two of the March member meeting was focused on SOA Centers. Specifically, we set out to explore the mission, structure, skills, funding strategies and lifecycles of successful SOA Centers. On lifecycle, we were looking to answer the question of how long a center should exist and if/how it morphs over time. “Build to last, or build to blast?”
The SOA Center morning started with individual talks by Melvin Greer of Lockheed Martin and Rich Reba of CSC discussing their SOA Centers. Following those talks, David Butler of HP and Bruce Henderson of Savant joined Melvin and Rich for a roundtable discussion on SOA Center skills.
Before I go further, I should explain my edit of ‘Center of Excellence’ to ‘SOA Center’. Often, the connotation of a ‘center of excellence’ is a small, expert team that acts as a single source service provider. This was especially true in the early days of data warehousing and enterprise integration. However, SOA is a pervasive strategy (PDF warning) spanning/bonding business and IT. As such, our presenters made it clear that the ultimate mission of the SOA Center is to develop SOA competency (excellence) throughout the organization. In the case of CSC, that competency development directive extended to CSC’s customers.
So, think of the SOA Center as an incubator, rather than a manufacturer. What then is the SOA Center incubating, or as the blog post title suggests, accelerating?
Melvin Greer states his SOA Center is responsible for altering the behavior of IT professionals in order to be successful with SOA. In his presentation, Mel builds on the metaphor of Lucy Van Pelt’s 5-cent advice stand, speaking to common SOA disorders and listing the symptoms that indicate a competency center is needed. To hear Mel’s entertaining and insightful talk, go here.
Rich Reba shared that key to his SOA Center is the generation, and then fulfillment, of SOA demand. In his presentation, Rich describes the build out of CSC’s SOA Center in the context of building CSC’s SOA Business. Rich’s step-by-step story from vision to implementation is full of lessons applicable to enterprises, government agencies and service providers. The concept of SOA Center as demand generator recurred throughout our day. To hear Rich’s information packed talk, go here.
During the roundtable, our panelists spoke of a variety of skills required to build a SOA Center (political awareness, evangelism, communication, business discipline, vision, organizational design) as well as another list of skills required to operate a SOA Center (project/portfolio management, service design, business knowledge, technical aptitude, communication, teaching, governance). While the panelists had different points of view on specific skill needs, they agreed that a given organization’s SOA Center should be comprised of the skills most likely to accelerate value delivery. And, that the SOA Center’s contribution should be measured in financial terms. To hear the roundtable conversation, go here.”
If you’d like to share insights on your SOA Centers, have comments on the podcasts, or would like to engage in a SOA Center leader peer discussion, please leave a comment/trackback here or on the SOA-C blog post, or drop an email to bmichelson at elementallinks dot com.
[Disclosure: The SOA Consortium is a client of my company, Elemental Links]