New Job Functions Emerge With SOAs

Business architect. Process analyst. SOA enterprise architect. These are the job titles various organizations are applying to an emerging role being filled by those well versed in business and technology to oversee service-oriented architecture projects.

The holder of the new job will be charged with identifying services that can be reused across an enterprise, finding services in a repository, simulating scenarios for the processes to run and determining metrics to measure the effectiveness of an organization's processes.

The position will be part of either central IT or a line of business, depending on the company, executives said.

Some IT managers interviewed last week said they are training internal business analysts to take on the new role. However, several also noted that the job requires more technical expertise than most business analysts have.

The chief architect of enterprise architecture at a large U.S.-based financial institution, who asked not to be named, said the new role, called business architect in that organization, is starting to spread through the institution's lines of business as they transform legacy applications to services running within an SOA.

The units are using business architects to perform in-depth reviews of processes, the architect said. "They are modernizing their current business processes and restructuring or re-architecting the business first," the architect said.

The organization first turned to outsourcing firms to take on the role, but now the "business lines are cultivating talent that historically have been business analysts."

Dennis Byron, an analyst at IDC, said he expects more IT organizations to add such a position, which IDC calls a process analyst, to oversee the creation of composite applications from services rather than by coding.

"We expect to see a trend where people within sales, human resources and manufacturing departments will become almost like the developers," he said. "They will understand the business process. They will drag and drop flowchart stuff around and automatically change the [process] flows under the covers."

Bhaskar Chakrabarti, principal IT architect at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in New York, said he expects that the emerging IT role, which his company calls an SOA enterprise architect, will team with business architects and process analysts to champion SOA initiatives and guide the organization toward an SOA.

"For [an SOA] to shape up, an SOA champion is definitely needed [to] shepherd the entire forum of SOA and try to sell the benefits to business, and bring together business and IT," he said.

Although JPMorgan has for the past several years built point-to-point Web services to integrate applications, the company won't begin to build new business processes out of Web services until next year, Chakrabarti said. At that time, he added, the company will be creating the SOA enterprise architect job title.

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