SOA experts: Learn to speak business

The next major hurdle for enterprise architecture is convincing agency managers that it solves business problems

For service-oriented architecture to succeed, information technology professionals must understand the business needs of their agencies’ organizations and learn to talk about the benefits of SOA in business terms, say federal managers with recent experience.

Speaking March 27 at a breakfast hosted by the Bethesda, Md., chapter of AFCEA International, a panel of federal officials emphasized the importance of this type of communication.

Avi Bender, director of enterprise architecture at the Treasury Department, said any discussion about SOA should take place in the context of a business unit’s needs.

“It has to be in the background,” he said.

Potential beneficiaries of SOA won’t ask about the technological innovations or the fundamental structure of the system, said Carolyn Sanders, chief enterprise architect and chief technology officer at the Citizenship and Immigration Services Agency.

The question potential users always have is, “How does it help me do my job better?” she said.

“We don’t emphasize enough the business,” said Daud Santosa, CTO at the Interior Department’s National Business Center. “There’s too much jargon.”

Speaking to an audience comprised primarily of contractors, panelists emphasized that vendors have the same factors in play. They, too, sell to customers who are impressed more by solved problems than by flashy technology.

“It’s up to the vendors to not just sell us an order of widgets,” Bender said. 

About the Author

Technology journalist Michael Hardy is a former FCW editor.

FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.


  • Anne Rung -- Commerce Department Photo

    Exit interview with Anne Rung

    The government's departing top acquisition official said she leaves behind a solid foundation on which to build more effective and efficient federal IT.

  • Charles Phalen

    Administration appoints first head of NBIB

    The National Background Investigations Bureau announced the appointment of its first director as the agency prepares to take over processing government background checks.

  • Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.)

    Senator: Rigid hiring process pushes millennials from federal work

    Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said agencies are missing out on younger workers because of the government's rigidity, particularly its protracted hiring process.

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1987, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

  • Shutterstock image.

    A 'minibus' appropriations package could be in the cards

    A short-term funding bill is expected by Sept. 30 to keep the federal government operating through early December, but after that the options get more complicated.

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco

    DOD launches new tech hub in Austin

    The DOD is opening a new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental office in Austin, Texas, while Congress debates legislation that could defund DIUx.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group