Architects will be the glue that binds IT to business strategy, and service-oriented architecture (SOA) is one example of the "new wave" of IT delivering business value by cutting operational costs.According to David Butler, vice president of Systinet for services firm Mercury, architects alone are becoming the default SOA competency center in enforcing internal data standards and interoperability, Butler said."Architects are good at documenting overall systems and the overall data architecture, but have traditionally had a terrible time enforcing the project in a large organization, the problem in the industry at the moment," Butler said."E-business was the first stepping stone towards the e-global environment, and in order to take the business global you need standardized interoperable systems, and that is the plateau we are on now."But it all translates to risk and chaos if not managed without controlled services, and the biggest challenge to an SOA approach is getting control over a new service through standards and governance and testing of new services. Because of these new architecture-based relationships, performance is unknown, and there is a high risk of putting something in place that just won\u2019t perform right."In SOA, service-level agreements are actually as important as writing code and the critical thing people want to manage, produce and measure\u2014the last thing is the domino effect of a change in environment\u2014this is what gives IT headaches."Butler said architects deserve a coming-out party because of the reliance business needs to have with IT to make SOA deliver business value. It also standardizes how services are governed and managed across the whole company.Andy Cross, managing director of technology recruitment company Ambition, said cementing the ties between business and information technology is a continued focus for CIOs in the new year. Cross said he has seen this trend emerging in the industry over the past 18 months. Hiring an architect to drive that synergy is part and parcel of the shift. "CIOs see architecture as further cementing business and IT," Cross said."There is not a huge spike of increase in demand for lead architects generally, but the banking and finance industry is showing a huge push for architects at the senior level."-Michael Crawford, Computerworld AustraliaRelated Links:\n\nUsers Offer Up SOA Advice: Start Small\n\nWhat You Need to Know About Service-Oriented ArchitectureCheck out our CIO News Alerts and Tech Informer pages for more updated news coverage.