Thursday, June 9, 2011

Excerpt from the upcoming "A World of Services"

I'm in the process of writing part 2 of the "Big Ideas" series.  Part 1, about the role stateless devices will play, is here.  Right now, I wanted to share this pre-publication excerpt from the next installment, which lays out the central points about "services," which I believe reflect current events, and promise great things:

"What qualifies the idea of services to occupy such an important spot?  Partly, it reflects what is happening in technology; “X-as-a-service” (XaaS) ranks right up there with “cloud” in the buzzword lexicon in 2011.  Cloud itself is an expression of services.  Like “web services,” one of the earlier expressions of the idea, services are powerful because they are simple and reusable.

In addition, business in general and IT in particular are cumbersome, slow-moving, and burdened by a heritage of extensive customization.  It costs too much, it takes too many layers of organization to plan, execute, and run.  In the case of the IT division, that burden has created the reputation of “IT as the people who say no.”  Services promise the chance to change all that for the better.  

This article will make the case that much of that customization can be cast aside where it is no longer helpful, and that a services-based organization will allow for a much easier--and much greater--level of customization in the right place, where it can offer genuine business value.

For both technology and business, we can think of services as:

A series of primarily horizontal processes, designed so they can be assembled to create a primarily vertical outcome

Conversely, if you can find a horizontal process that only serves one outcome, by definition, that takes it out of the range of useful services. One of the value markers for a service is the extent to which it serves many different processes."

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