Accenture bets own money on new IT model

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You may not have heard of service oriented architecture yet; and if you have have, you may think it is just a lot of hype.

But if you believe in SOA, you will have noticed that it could be the foundation of a solution to the UK Government's woes in the use of information technology.  I have written before here about the potential for a service-oriented architecture to enable government to deliver the benefits of integrated information systems while limiting the civil liberties risks of a large identity database.  And in a chapter in a new IBM book about transformation of government services, Capability, Capacity and Reform, I argue that instead of the government's vision of  data processing warehouses, the way to create more efficient and customer-oriented public services is to build smaller and more flexible shared service modules based on a common, cross-government IT architecture.

So I was interested to see that Accenture has bet $450 million of its own money over the next three years in developing new service-oriented architecture functionality.  That suggests that Accenture agrees that this is more than just hype.

Hat tip: Enterprise Web 2.0

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4 thoughts on “Accenture bets own money on new IT model”

  1. I think Accenture’s investment says three things about SOA:

    1. SOA is a real architectural model with real potential to transform business and government. It is no longer just hype.
    2. Implementing SOA requires considerable investment. Anyone can write a web service or expose functionality as a web service. The challenge is in ensuring that these are Business Services – in other words that they represent real business functionality and are not just a more exposed version of OO programming. And that involves getting business people (managers, business analysts, end users) to understand their business processes and to be able to decompose those business processes into workable, reusable services. That, rather than technology, is the real challenge.
    3. If true composite applications could be produced as an end result of an SOA investment, this has the potential to seriously impact on the business model of consulting firms like Accenture. Enterprises will be able to hang on to their legacy line-of-business applications for longer and the knowledge power base will move back within the enterprise and away from the "expert consultant".
  2. Yes indeed, the CTO Council (an "agent" of the cross-government CIO Council) are mandated to consider these things.  To quote from their home page (my emphases):

    "The first priority of the Council is to agree and publish a standard Enterprise Architecture reference model by November 2006. This model will enable:

    • The identification of areas of duplication across Government
    • Prioritisation of future common infrastucture developments
    • The agreement of interface standards to enable easier, quicker, cheaper interworking between agencies
    • Greater competition in the supply of IT services and products, including the introduction of new, innovative components for particular, standard architectural elements

    Work in this area is well advanced.

    There is a short news item about an EA workshop in late June in the latest IT Profession eBulletin (page 2).

  3. John

    Impressive.  But do we really think the CTO Council has the authority to enforce the implementation of such standards across Government?  It would involve a sea-change in the way that Departments think of their autonomy.

    Owen

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