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Service-Orientation, SOA, Services – Enterprise Service-Oriented Architecture is definitely one of the “hype-topics” right now. Everyone is talking about it, there are many articles, studies, etc, about it – but isn’t it just another buzzword invented by software-companies and analysts? And why should Business Process Experts especially in the Public Sector care about the detailed architecture of the software they are running?  First of all because Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) is a design approach not only relevant for building software, but can as well be applied to structure business processes of Public Sector Organizations, the organization itself and the relationship to their constituents or other governments.  In the case of internal organization this could mean that the relationship between departments is based on service provision, i.e. the Human Resources department supplies services to other departments (such as hiring employees) and receives in return services from other departments (e.g. support for their PCs from the central IT department). Following this architecture you achieve transparent responsibilities, prevent redundant work and enable a high degree of reusability. At the same time this is the prerequisite to be able to adapt easily to changes that might occur, e.g. the requirements regarding certain services change, you want to outsource services your organization provided yourself to an external organization or to a shared service centre.  Regarding structuring of business processes, governments will probably find out that most of the processes consist of similar building blocks, although they take place in very different areas of concern. Every organization in Public Sector normally has numerous permit-processes of different kinds. Applying SOA, one could define the reusable bits and pieces, find the commonalities and thus be able to reduce these processes to a handful of “permit-archetypes”.  Streamlining internal processes and making them more efficient gives more space to concentrate on the main goal of governments – delivering high-quality, prompt and meticulous services to their constituents.   And now IT enters the stage…. One reason for governments not being able to follow service-oriented organization approaches in the past was certainly that the underlying IT was a scattered system landscape consisting of disconnected enterprise, legacy and custom-build systems. Instead you need an IT infrastructure that allows different applications to easily exchange data (and services), following common standards on one common platform, or to make it short you need an IT infrastructure that follows Enterprise SOA.    Parts of this text are based on  the article “A new road towards satisfied government” from Hein Keijzer the diploma thesis “Process innovation in local government using a user-centric online service” from Judith Fehse
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I thought readers might want to know there is an excellent podcast on this topic: The podcast is called "Making Systems Consolidation a Reality Through Enterprise Service-Oriented Architecture Webcast" and is from Will Greer (Principal, State and Local Government, SAP)  and Richard Varn (Senior Fellow, Center for Digital Government).

What the podcast describes is the unique characteristics of the public sector that make it an ideal candidate for SOA.


Former Member
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Morning All, building on the successful launch at SAPPHIRE Atlanta of the Public Sector pages within the community we will be hosting two informal get-togethers in the community lounges in Vienna. Under the motto “Service Orientated Government” Hein Keijzer, Corinne Reisert and myself are looking forward to meeting others from the community that are interested in how to best serve the Public Sector both across the BPX Community itself and with service orientated architectures. Come by on either Monday, 14th May at 13:00hrs, or Tuesday, 15th May at 12:00hrs – and hope to see you there.