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Applied SOA: Service-Oriented Architecture and Design Strategies by Marc J. Balcer, Kevin T. Smith, Boris Lublinsky, Michael Rosen

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CHAPTER 4

Starting with the Business

The measure of success is not whether you have a tough problem to deal with, but whether it’s the same problem you had last year.

– John Foster Dulles

The ever-elusive goal of corporations, large or small, East or West, is to align the business with IT. The burden often falls on IT to demonstrate how technology and systems provide value and help move the business forward. But what is it that IT is supposed to align with? How is it determined and specified? And who is responsible for it? All too often, business strategy and goals are too high-level, vague, or not well articulated. So, how can IT demonstrate alignment?

Business architecture (BA) is the key to achieving alignment. First, it provides a way to clearly determine and specify a business strategy, goals, and objectives. Then, it provides a way to measure outcomes against those objectives, and finally, it provides a way to specify business processes that achieve those outcomes. An effective architecture also provides traceability from the processes to the outcomes to the objectives to the strategy. It is this traceability that demonstrates alignment.

There are two different, but important, sets of questions that must be answered by business architecture. One set of questions applies at the enterprise level. What are the goals and strategies of the business? How will they be measured? This is the domain of enterprise business architecture. A different set of questions applies to individual ...

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