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December 5, 2006

SOA: demanding new roles

As organizations move towards service-oriented architecture, it is likely that they will require new roles within the IT function to manage the changed working practices this architectural model requires. But what will these roles be and why are they needed?

By CBR Staff Writer

The shift towards service-oriented architecture will create new roles within the IT function.

Moving an organization to service-oriented architecture (SOA) will mean that it has to rationalize the services that are used across the organization. Firstly, this will need the role of consolidator – in order to assess what services exist, and to reduce duplication.

Secondly, repository keepers will arise, possibly similar to the database coordinator or data architect of today. This role will be to ensure that the central or federated repositories, which are used by service-oriented applications and composite applications, have all the information that is necessary for good SOA to operate well – service definition information, WSDL, and so on.

Thirdly, the rather novel concept of ‘composers’ will be required – not the musical kind, but business analysts and business process experts that understand how the organization’s processes need to work, and can (in conjunction with users, and hopefully in an iterative manner that delivers rapid value) create composite applications. Developers may still be needed to create new services that can then be used within these composite applications.

The fourth role is a particularly interesting one – the idea of ‘disruptive innovators’. This reflects some of the ideas that Capgemini’s Andy Mulholland has been touting recently – that new and innovative things are happening ‘on the edge’, and organizations must be able to bring them into the fold in a secure and controllable manner, but nevertheless bring them in.

This focus on new enterprise roles is valuable, since it may well help to move organizations forward in their understanding of what the change to SOA will entail. It may also help some organizations to realize that they are a long way from being ready for SOA.

Source: OpinionWire by Butler Group (

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