Thursday, April 12, 2012

Companies and the services layers

I recently received a report from McKinsey [link] that covered the topic of the 'corporate software layer'. This wasn't just another publication talking about application development standards, it referred to a metaphorical layer of services that surrounds the core 'hardware' processes and functions of an organisation. This software layer is an all-encompassing wrapper that the author described as including APIs, digital customer touchpoints and even Social Media.

Coincidentally I was chatting with someone in the Digital industry only a few days ago (thanks Wyndham) about how the use of web-based services can allow a company to incrementally develop its inner and external functions to remain agile & responsive to changes. I explained that via a Service Orientated Approach (SOA), a company could continually evolve its client-facing functionality (internal and external clients), wrap legacy functions and get the most from its digital agencies... by getting them to utilise any existing services.
We also questioned why digital agencies never seemed to develop work for clients using their own suite of web services to quickly deliver more intelligent work for their clients, but that's another topic for this blog sometime).

Anyhow.... Having thought about this some more, I do think there's the opportunity to not only merge the two topics mentioned above, but to then represent this in a similar (but perhaps more complex) way than McKinsey have done.

Here's what I mean:

1. McKinsey (perhaps in an effort to de-techie their report) haven't mentioned SOA and it's obvious benefit.

2. The 'software layer' is a little too catch-all for me.

3. Their diagram doesn't explain the big difference between the more technical machine-to-machine interfaces and the softer services that involve human interaction.

I guess what I'm saying here is that there might not be just one layer around the business, but possibly several service layers..... And the diagram needs to reflect this.
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