By: Marcia Kaufman, Partner, Hurwitz & Associates
Published: 19th March 2007
Copyright Hurwitz & Associates © 2007
Improving the reusability of business process and technology assets helps businesses get to market faster, reduce costs and achieve more consistent results. This important concept has recently been receiving attention because Service Oriented Architectures (SOA) are enabling businesses to achieve much more frequent and extensive reuse of business services, software and data.
One of the main drivers for the adoption of SOA is the business need to be more flexible and responsive to change. Change is part of the business ecosystem. A long time business partner can suddenly become a fierce competitor as the result of a merger. The dynamic between partners, suppliers and customers is in constant flux. A business loses the ability to adapt if its software and supporting IT infrastructure is inflexible. And to become more flexible, a comprehensive strategy for reuse is needed.
The Nature of Reuse
Reuse is by no means a new concept in IT. It has been tried in various ways and at many levels from the use of source code libraries to the building of software components within object oriented architectures. When left to their own devices, experienced developers usually find ways to reuse the code they have previously written or even use open source code that is freely available on the Internet. But such reuse is never consistent throughout software development teams and the IT industry has never implemented reuse effectively in this way.
Within the SOA environment reuse is different because it is woven into the architecture. Components of models, software, rules, and data are made available for reuse in a way that ensures their accuracy, consistency and predictability. This amounts to the business governance of all the reusable assets. It isn't easily achieved, but it is a worthwhile goal.
The reuse of IT assets is not so different from the reuse of components in manufacturing. Automobile manufacturers do not make a different engine for each model of car they sell; they make a small range of engines and install them in a wide variety of models. Once a new engine has been tested and documented, its reuse in a wholly new model gets the new car to market much faster. The same is true of even quite small components. Nowadays cars are designed to maximize reuse at every level—and to everyone's benefit. And just as the reuse of components in a production facility needs to be managed carefully, so must the reuse of business services in a SOA environment. Reuse without governance can be more destructive to the business than no reuse at all.
Hurwitz & Associates has identified three major risks to the business associated with reuse:
The first step to reaping the rewards of reuse is to understand the risks involved. In order to ensure a successful strategy for reuse, business and IT must first collaborate to understand, evaluate and model the business process at their organization. The level of reuse that can be achieved within a SOA environment increases when a comprehensive approach to governance is applied at all levels of the organization.
When you build business services based on services oriented approach, you create modular and standardized building components that can be linked together in various ways following a predictable set of rules. These modular components can be reused in other situations and for other departments or to meet other business needs. When this all comes together a business can expect to benefit by increasing its speed to market, trust of information, and flexibility to change.
Posted: 29th March 2007 | By graham :
This a thin piece.
For one - reuse of a software component in SOA is nothing at all like reuse of a component in manufacturing. To suggest otherwise sugggests the author hasn't grasped the difference between direct (run-time) reuse and copy (compile-time) reuse, let alone the fundamental importance of the network and remote connection in SOA.
The governance issues surrounding service ownership, service sponsorship, service levels, service promotion, version control and change control deserve better coverage.
Posted: 30th March 2007 | By Todd Biske :
I thought the article hit on one of the major components of service reuse which is governance, however it missed another major component: marketing. An approach heavily weighted on governance puts the burden of reuse heavily on the "governors" rather than on the people producing the reusable assets. A marketing based approach puts some burden on the owners of the assets to get the word out, rather than allowing them to build it and hope customers find it. Inside the enterprise , a combination of both marketing and governance is needed, but the goal should be to have governance become a rubber-stamp, because people are following the right processes on their own.
Posted: 2nd April 2007 | By Rodrigo Torres Soler :
I think the author has the reason in many aspects but I supposed, the reuse of the code must comply always with some, quality reasons, that the author didn´t mentioned in his text.
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