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People and SOA
Improving productivity through people collaboration
By: Quocirca
Published: July 2007
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Main Findings

Organisations depend on processes - and processes still depend on people
The major decisions within organisations are still made by people, no matter how much automation is put in place. There remain many touchpoints between technically automated processes and people, and these can no longer be regarded as exceptions

People must have the capability to easily interact with technical systems
Applications that force people to work in a prescribed manner do not provide the flexibility that organisations require. There is a strong need to provide sets of functional services from heterogeneous applications that can be easily accessed and utilised as composite solutions by the users themselves

Existing siloed applications need to be part of the solution
Existing technology investments should not be written off, but should be included in any new solutions.

A portal approach provides the front end interface, as well as the back end integration, to provide a suitable solution
The capabilities of today's portal platforms have reached a point where a good portal can become a user's main interface to many of their daily tasks.

Employee self-service and management capabilities can provide strong business benefits while establishing a platform for further growth
By providing sets of callable functions that can be flexibly linked, many tasks such as expense claims, new starter set up, employee changes, vacation booking can be pushed out to the employee, creating an environment of greater trust and better responsiveness, while maintaining management visibility of what is happening. Workforce efficiencies can be gained and strategic opportunities enabled through better utilization of resources.

Inclusion is key - the chosen solution must be open and easily implemented and maintained
Any solution chosen will need to demonstrate that it is open enough to integrate with existing applications that it can present information in the manner the users require and that it is flexible enough to be personalised, and the underlying processes modified by the user while maintaining managerial overview of what has been done.

Conclusion People will remain a core part of businesses going forwards. Enabling people to become a main force within the business processes, while maintaining control of the business itself, has been an enduring problem throughout the application era. As we move to a Service Oriented Architecture, we can look at providing employees with the capabilities they need to take their own decisions - in a controlled, auditable manner - while adding distinct value to the organisation.

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