This article - Stepping into the future of SOA - raised a couple of interesting points about the value of SOA in "aligning business and IT". Now while I agree that it might be a while before we reach what the article calls "a self-optimizing IT nirvana in which applications and network infrastructures monitor and reconfigure themselves based on easily adjusted business rules" I do think that the combination of business rules and SOA goes a long way to improving the alignment of business and IT. How can business rules help an SOA approach do this?
Well firstly as noted elsewhere in the blog, business rules are designed to build decisioning services and so fit really easily into an SOA. What does a business rules-built decision service offer:
- Rapid development - declarative business rules are ideal for describing the behavior of a decision service so development is accelerated
- Dramatically reduced maintenance costs - declarative rules are much more stable in the face of change than code and so maintenance is easier and cheaper
- True business ownership - business rules management systems allow business users to maintain the business rules in a decision service using web-based, template-driven rule maintenance applications.
- Demonstrated compliance by enabling the precise logging and auditing of the changes made to the rules and the rules executed for each specific transaction.
The article goes on to say "Early SOA efforts are already establishing new lines of communication between IT and business", so are business rules.