Andrew Townsley from Archistry in Ireland presented on the need for a real paradigm shift in how SOA is used. With the continued growth in the proportion of the total workforce involved as “knowledge workers” (see McKinsey Quarterly, 2005 N°4), and ever more outsourcing, companies are going to need to turn increasingly to on-the-fly interactions between companies rather than within a company. The right strategy to design and deploy information technologies is therefore of central concern: it is essential to remove interoperability barriers as you are having to do business with an increasingly volatile and versatile workforce. Technology standards therefore play a key role.
Until now however, the standards available are only facilitating (or automating) the work of so-called “transactional workers”. As highlighted in Clayton Christensen’s book “The Innovator’s Dilemma”, it is the knowledge workers who offer the greatest opportunities for innovation and yet little attention is paid to providing standards that support their needs and meet the challenge of new approaches to innovation. The emphasis on the “what” of IT needs to be complemented with the “how” – providing interactive SOA-based systems that give businesses the opportunity to leverage their knowledge workers and not just make a marginal improvement on “business as usual”.