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Integrating Six Sigma With Service Oriented Architecture (SOA)

Mar 2, 2008
Businesses need to realize the fact that SOA works well only when it is integrated with time-tested quality improvement initiatives such as Six Sigma.

For proof, they just need to look at the work records of businesses that are reaping the benefits of SOA after integrating it with Six Sigma concepts and methodologies.

The Integration Process

SOA basically deals with the planning, conceptualizing and designing of new customer oriented services from scratch in line with organizational goals and objectives. This is why the success of SOA depends a lot on the decisions made by management during the initial stages of SOA implementations. Since SOA does not provide for the necessary checks and balances, it has to depend on highly effective Six Sigma methodologies such as Design For Six Sigma (DFSS).

DFSS may not have been originally designed for use with SOA, but still it helps because it ensures that all decisions related to the design and development of new services are made on the basis of sound logic and verifiable scientific and statistical theories. Explained below are the five phases involved in the Six Sigma and SOA integration process.

Define: In this phase, DFSS helps in defining the goals and objectives of the SOA implementations. When SOA goals and objectives are set using DFSS, the chances of failures get automatically reduced, something that is quite necessary, considering the fact that the set goals and objectives will ultimately have a direct bearing on customer satisfaction levels.

Conceptualize: The conceptualization phase, which involves plenty of innovation on part of the developers, is made easy with DFSS, as it helps the developers to design the best possible services with the available human and financial resources. If DFSS is not applied in this phase, it could easily lead to project delays due to indecisiveness on part of the developers.

Design: In this phase, DFSS helps in charting out the design details of the newly conceptualized customer oriented service. Elaborating on the details helps the SOA implementation team to understand the rationale behind the new service design and how it can be used for satisfying customer needs and expectations.

Validate: If DFSS is used right from the first phase, it is highly unlikely that the SOA initiative will fail to deliver the desired results, but since the probability of errors can never be denied, it makes sense to conduct the validation process. If the SOA initiative passes the validation test as specified by DFSS, then it can be given the green signal for organization-wide implementations.

Control: In this phase, DFSS plays the role of a manager and a controller so as to ensure that the desired results are achieved through the SOA implementations. DFSS is based on the concept of continuous improvements, something that it passes onto SOA so as to make it just as effective and efficient.

SOA certainly holds great potential, especially for businesses that rely heavily on the use of technological infrastructure. By integrating SOA with Six Sigma, businesses can easily unlock the inherent potential of SOA and transform themselves into highly efficient organizations.
About the Author
Tony Jacowski is a quality analyst for The MBA Journal. Aveta Solution's Six Sigma Online offers online six sigma training and certification classes for lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.
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