Sandy Carter: Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) -- Off the Record
Hey! I am sure you guys read about my world tour of Asia! The most asked question was "Is there a Tutorial available on Smart SOA?". And the answer is of course yes! I'd love for you guys to go through this one and tell me your thoughts. In addition to this tutorial, there is a white paper, and coming "pink papers" that will be arriving as well! Here you go! Have fun! Click here to learn more about SMART SOA.[Read More]
Great news--- I found a way I can connect with all of you in the virtual world via the web! Get ready for the upcoming SOA Virtual Jam.
Join us online for IBM's upcoming SOA Community exchange. Now you can join the SOA Jam at IMPACT and let us know your thoughts on best practices as well as your questions & concerns.
During next week's Impact conference, you can join the 72-hour SOA Jam, hosted on IBM ThinkPlace technology, and participate in a global and local discussion about all things SOA. We'll have PC's available at the conference so you can log-on and network, or you can log on from the convenience of your laptop.
Simply register at: http://services.alphaworks.ibm.com/SOAJAM
I look forward to participating in the discussions with all of you!
Learn more about the SOA Jam on the IMPACT website. Click here!
The jam is open to everyone: customers, IBM Business Partners, University professors and students, analysts, the press, industry + IBM experts. Through the Jam's different discussion forums, you'll have to opportunity to interact with expert moderators as well as thousands of people around the world who are interested in accelerating the conversation around SOA.[Read More]
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As I travel the world talking to our thousands of customers about how Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) can help bring them new levels of agility to face today’s unprecedented rate of change, one of the top questions I’m asked is what is IBM doing with SOA within its own business. Even right now as I am in Lisbon Portugal (a BEAUTIFUL country -- pictures coming!!!!) ....this is the top question I am getting!!!
It’s a little bit like looking under the hood of your auto mechanic’s car or into the portfolio of your financial advisor. I’m proud to say that IBM does indeed have heavy involvement in SOA and that we use these deployments to help make it easier for our customers to take advantage of the many benefits of SOA.
The backgroundLike lots of other companies that have been around for as long as IBM and have grown through globalization and acquisition, IBM’s IT systems were complex, monolithic, and silo-based. IBM had 128 CIO’s, both geography and business unit based, 155 different data centers and over 80 hosting centers that managed over 16,000 applications. Business processes were not clearly defined and were redundant across different business units. This arrangement was costly, prone to error and was a serious drag to success. Something needed to change.
Early stepsIBM really began the SOA journey in 2002 when we initially viewed SOA primarily as a way to cut costs. With all the redundancy and overlap in IBM’s environment at the time, taking this approach proved to be fertile ground for gaining experience with SOA and proving some of its merits internally.
The first project that IBM chose was to focus on a 25 year old legacy system called COATS which stands for Customer Order Analysis and Tracking System. It accepts hardware orders from business partners, customers and sales people and it routes those orders to over 20 different manufacturing plants. The system worked very well but to meet inevitable changes in the way IBM did business, COATS needed frequent updates. As Howie Miller, CIO for IBM explained, “Each new release took about six-months and more that 8,000 development hours to prepare. So, when IBM went looking for a good place to test the promise of SOA, COATS rose to the top of the list.
Through service-enablement of much of COATS’ functionality, IBM was able to treat the system as a set of services that flowed together as directed by business rules. We were able to do so without rewriting or altering the stable, trusted legacy system itself. As a result of this project, IBM now saves 25% in development costs whenever changes are required of the system and COATS transactions have dropped from 10 minutes to four seconds.
Building on successesEarly wins like this motivated IBM to consider SOA more strategically and to look beyond cost cutting and more toward the agility that SOA brings to the company. Let’s look again at IBM’s manufacturing business for an example. IBM focuses on its core strength in many areas and partners with other industry leaders to bring valuable products and services to market. As part of this strategy, IBM is continuously on-boarding and off-boarding manufacturing partners as our needs shift. As a result, all kinds of back-end systems needed to be integrated with IBM’s supply chain. Unfortunately this usually took three weeks. In addition to the time, factory on-boarding typically took systems down and the plant would suffer from outages.
To make these changes in a more agile manner, IBM used the principles of SOA to create a set of services called “Factory In A Box” that allow for an open interface into the back end systems and streamline bringing new factories on line and severing the relationship if the need arises. As a result, this previously three week process now takes only two hours.
While IBM’s line of business owners yawned at SOA’s technical benefits like greater programmer productivity, projects like this that deliver the ability to run the business in a more agile way really got noticed.
Governance structure and cultural changeAs we recommend to our customers, IBM has not pursued SOA in a “big bang” fashion but instead has laid out a roadmap of initiatives for itself and implemented it in steps and phases. IBM demands that each project show value on its own merits but also that it contribute to the overall strategic objectives. Over the years, IBM has undertaken at least 15 separate SOA initiatives each of which encompass multiple individual projects. Along the way, we have established a governance structure to provide oversight and control of these initiatives as well as facilitate the cultural change elements that come with philosophical shifts like this.
IBM recognized that a tremendous benefit of SOA is the continuous alignment of IT efforts to business requirements. To ensure this, IBM created a governance body that brought IT leaders together with business leaders who owned end-to-end business processes. The group guides such areas as ensuring that decisions are made for the broader good of the organization, making architectural, investment, and cost-sharing decisions, and working through cross-functional issues.
This governance body has also worked to update IBM’s culture to fully realize SOA’s potential. With more patents than any other company, IBM has a longstanding heritage of invention. Developers are rewarded for patents. But to foster greater reuse, they are now also rewarded on the basis of how often their creations are reused by others. It is shifts in mindsets like this that really accelerate SOA’s value.
IBM’s involvement with SOA has been a great showcase for us. We intend to continue further investment throughout the company to make ourselves even more agile in the years to come.[Read More]
SOASOA 060000JRQN Tags:  info_as_a_svc soa_entry_points collaboration business_process_mgmt 1,337 Views
Yesterday we announced a series of 5's for SOA.
5 SOA entry points based on a study of 500 customers from Mercer. The 5 are: People, Process, information, Reuse, and Connectivity!
We highlighted 5 Real customers using these SOA entry points for Value (Pep Boys, Harley Davidson, Delaware Electric, Magna Steyr, and Wuestenrot and Wuerttembergische AG (W and W AG).
On the business side, we have 3 entry points for customers looking to start their SOA journey! People centric collaboration, Business Process Management, Information as a service. Now we know that you could do BPM or Collaboration without SOA, but with SOA the value grows.
For instance around BPM, for many years companies have wanted the magic potion to fix, improve, modify process activity. But IT has been the biggest inhibitor. SOA changes the game in this space by allowing processes to be represented as services and components. As such, the service-based process now becomes re-usable, flexible, and can be modified and re-deployed more quickly. SOA turns processes into parts (called "services") so the specific part of the process can be improved, optimized, and then reassembled with other parts of the process.
Or for collaboration, SOA will enable this user experience and ensure consistent levels of service are met each step of the way. SOA allows customers to create, deploy, and update composite applications faster with SOA portlets. As application portlets are created or converted to "service-based" portlets, you can aggregate and integrate these portlets faster and more economically to get the collaborative user interface and view into your business that you need.
Or for Information, SOA drives further success Information delivered as a service provides extensive options to a company to allow for packaging, transformation, and distribution of the information to the right people at the right time. Information as a service, as a part of an SOA ensures consistency in sources and data rules, aligns information with business processes, provides business context to information, uncovers insightful relationships hidden within information, provides a basis for trust in information, and enables tighter control over information.
For the IT entry points, the 2 are Reuse, where a strong view of being able to reuse both IT assets and business logic. To build an SOA, you look at what you already have (people, applications, business processes, etc.), and use existing resources to streamline business processes, cut development time, ensure consistency through the organization, and save money. Based on open standards, IBM's offerings were created to allow a company to extend the value from their existing software by service-enabling it and then reuse the business value that comes from that service again and again. Firms can:
-Enhance flexibility by reduce duplication of function by creating services to be shared across the enterprise -Leverage proven core applications and function through services enablement, through wrappering or other methods
In fact, a study by Software Productivity Research found that it is five times less expensive to reuse existing services and applications than to re-write them.
And finally Connectivity. SOA connectivity allows users to take an existing business process and deliver it through a different business channel with minimal rework. So for example, if you have a business process like opening a new account that you deliver through a call center, you can deliver the same process through a web site or a kiosk by leveraging this kind of connectivity. Doing so will ensure a secure, consistent user experience and save a great deal of cost. By the same token, SOA Connectivity lets you reach out to your trading partners with secure, services-based connectivity beyond your firewall. The Enterprise Integration Challenge report from Software Strategies found that use of an Enterprise Service Buses was two to four times less expensive than custom-built integration or FTP.
So tell me what you think? Do these entry points seem like ones you could use?
We have an SOA business value tool that will allow you to sit down and determine your ROI from these Entry points as well. Let me hear from you![Read More]
SOASOA 060000JRQN Tags:  smartcar ibm_impact t&m_conference soa websphere_education wtle 1,290 Views
The Smart SOA(TM) approach is our theme for IMPACT 2008!!
A Smart SOA(TM) approach is leveraging our over 5700 customers' experiences. Smart SOA allows customers to meet the requirements of tomorrow’s advanced deployments without un-doing their current projects. Smart SOA demands that we apply the principles of simplicity and robustness at every stage of sophistication. Through the flexibility that optimizing their service oriented architecture (SOA) can deliver— a smart approach to SOA—companies are changing their businesses and seizing new opportunities for growth.Read More]
I am in Atlanta due to snow in NY!!! I love Atlanta -- sun, great people, and even Sweet Ice tea!!
So in honor of Atlanta, today I will highlight AFLAC! Quack Quack! A great company using a great Approach!
AFLAC is dedicated to delivering quality products and services at affordable prices and to utilizing new technology to better serve policyholders. Georgia-based AFLAC is people-focused, providing unmatched service to its employees, policyholders and associates. The company's business philosophy is stated simply by Daniel Amos, chairman and chief executive officer of AFLAC: "If our employees do it right, our business flourishes."
The Web has created new ways to connect home-office employees, sales associates and policyholders. AFLAC’s users are demanding easier access to services such as account access and online claims processing. Taking advantage of these recent trends could help optimize AFLAC’s overall business operations, cut long-term costs and keep customers satisfied - ultimately making the company more competitive. AFLAC’s IT infrastructure, however, was ill-equipped to accommodate the changes. They needed to establish a flexible infrastructure that would allow it to Web-enable existing systems cost-effectively and continue to adapt them according to changing business needs.
AFLAC implemented an open-standards-based, services-oriented architecture that enables it to bring services online faster - keeping employees, sales associates and customers connected and informed - with less extensive development efforts. The solution allows AFLAC to reengineer existing application functionality into modular, portable Web components that can be reused, thus simplifying the development and integration of new online services. With the strategic adoption of the flexible middleware platform, AFLAC is prepared to meet the demands of a customer base that increasingly uses the Internet to do business. New process efficiencies gained through cost-effective channels mean that AFLAC can handle a greater volume of business - more policies, more quickly. The AFLAC solution represents innovation through evolution rather than revolution.
Leveraging the best attributes of previous systems with the latest, open-standards-based technology, the new solution lowers both the cost and the risk of change. The new architecture also opens existing core business systems to emerging technologies like service-oriented architecture and business process management. By extending legacy data to the Web, AFLAC dramatically shortened the time it takes to issue new insurance policies. Instead of taking days to issue new policies, it takes just hours. As a result, the revenue flow from policy premiums begins much sooner, optimizing business returns.[Read More]
Judith Hurwitz as my Guest for Q&A! SOA for Dummies Second Edition back by popular demand! Get the ebooks at IMPACT 2009
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I still remember when the first edition of SOA for Dummies came out two years ago! These books were snapped up and the feedback was tremendous. With cost optimization and business agility being more critical than ever to companies in these economic times, the timing for a second edition could not be better. So I interviewed Judith Hurwitz a leader in the industry!
Sandy Why do you think that SOA is hot today?Judith: SOA has moved from a technology initiative to a business initiative. Many companies are looking to SOA to codify their business practices in repeatable manner. Many of the CIOs we have been speaking to are looking at the advantage of being able to create reusable services that they can use to gain flexibility. Companies are also looking at SOA to replace some of the inflexible packaged applications that are costing companies too much money to maintain and change. SOA is proving to companies that it can also allow them to innovate in ways that have direct impact on the bottom line.
Sandy: What was your motivation to work on the second edition for SOA for Dummies?Judith: When we wrote the first edition of SOA for Dummies more than two years ago most companies were still in the pilot stage. Many executives we spoke with had a sense that this was something important but didn't really understand it. Things changed dramatically in the past two years and we really wanted to provide more insight not just into the technology but into the ways that real companies across a wide spectrum of markets were being successful with SOA. We were so pleased that 24 customers were willing to not only talk to us but be named in the book.
Sandy: I understand you have spoken to 24 companies across 9 different verticals. Can you give us a sneak peek to some of their experiences?
Judith Hurwitz: There are so many significant stories that the CIOs told us. What has stayed with me is that these companies were starting with business strategy rather than starting with writing code. These companies were setting up centers of excellence to help guide the progress towards SOA. They were also spending considerable time on the organizational issues and business process issues. Several of the CIOs we talked to were able to use SOA to positively change the relationship they had with customers.
Sandy: Judith, I do believe this is your third consecutive year at IMPACT! Anything you could share with the readers about your IMPACT experience?
JudithImpact is really a unique conference. At the first Impact we noticed that attendees were so pleased to find like minded people that were trying to achieve the same goals for their companies. Before that first Impact these executives didn't realize there was a real movement happening. The next year there was a clear change. Executives and mangers now had real experience under their belts and were eagerly sharing best practices with each other. I have found Impact to be a very customer centric event offering real value. I am also struck by the fact that Impact takes a holistic view of both software and business aspects of SOA.
Great insights, Judith. Thank you!
I know we will be giving away the mini book versions at IMPACT and you will be there in person. At IMPACT, we will give away a copy of a Mini Book of SOA For Dummees V2!
Looking forward to seeing you in Vegas next month.
Good day to all! Well, this southern girl broke her ankle about 2 weeks ago! Since there can be no "weight bearing on that leg now" for a while, I started thinking about where we put our weight in our first SOA implementations! From our recent survey, most companies are viewing BPM capablilities are the highest rating SOA capability. BPM being Business Process management. BPM is how you design, automate, and manage operational business processes at the pace required by changing market conditions and business priorities, aligned with strategic and operational goals. The value comes in around your ability to adapt quickly and cost effectively. By deploying the right BPM tooling, infrastructure, and methods, you will be able to respond at the speed of business while maintaining business controls and, where necessary, regulatory compliance. BPM improves your bottom line and enables innovation, helping you to compete effectively and win. Gartner recently gave a Market Opportunity number of $806M in 2006. Business Process Management Suites will be the Next Big Thing, February 2005, Jim Sinur
I am curious how many of our SOA folks are leveraging this capability of BPM and what processes are top of your list?
Til next time!
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Well, I am very excited as we just went live with Project Zero, an incubation initiative focused on helping to simplify the development of next generation web applications. This project is unique in that it is being developed openly on the public website -- utilizing feedback from the internet community -- under the technical leadership of Jerry Cuomo and Jason McGee. (Great techies if you haven't met them -- they have blogs too!!)
The website will offer a radically simplified scripting runtime with application programming interfaces. The site also features forums to encourage developers to give feedback and join a community interested in taking advantage of this new technology.
Since this is a view of how SOA and Web 2.0 work together, I'd love you guys to check it out! Let me know what you think!
It’s free – visit Project Zero
A new Wintergreen Report is out "Services Oriented Architecture (SOA) Market Opportunities, Market Forecasts, and Market Strategies, 2006-2012' July 2006.
IBM increased its market share to 46% in 2005, up from 2004. IBM has SOA business process management (BPM) initiatives that benefit companies by implementing streamlined processes, improved customer service, more effective compliance and risk management, and improved responsiveness to changing business conditions helped drive the results.
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We are running out natural resources. I am passionate about making sure that the planet is set for the next generation..my 2 precious girls!!!!
So today we are highlighting DTE Energy -- a 150-year-old company with $9B in revenues that manages $23B in assets.
DTE Energy operates non-regulated businesses in 38 states. With the utility business becoming more competitive by the day, Midwestern energy giant DTE Energy needed to position itself for the future. Disparate systems and process fragmentation across nearly 200 different business units prevented the company from realizing all of the underlying synergies from acquisitions. DTE Energy undertook a massive consolidation of its business systems, which made possible the complete redesign and standardization of its business processes across all business units. DTE Energy can now drive optimization efforts as an enterprise—not a collection of business units.
Unlocking the potential efficiencies embedded in utility business models requires a level of operational orchestration across the entire business, whether it’s common processes, common resources or supply-chain integration. In the wake of industry consolidation, many utilities have assembled a business portfolio that looks synergistic on paper, but still faces tremendous challenges in aligning with their acquired or merged businesses. Like most utilities that have grown through acquisition, DTE Energy’s efforts to consolidate the business were constrained by a proliferation of IT systems, which—by keeping information confined to pockets within business units—made it difficult to gain insight required to make critical business decisions. Disparate systems across the organization provided difficulties with a number of activities, from financial reporting to spare parts inventories.
DTE Energy used SOA to improve the management of all business units and functions, link them together and make them best-in-class. The project eliminated more than 400 legacy systems and interfaces. The broad theme of the DTE Energy story is how flexibility and integration enable even the most complex companies to think, act and optimize as a single company. It’s seen in the way process standardization and flexible, SOA-based integration enables DTE Energy’s business units to share and adopt best practices for the benefit of all, and how these same attributes enable DTE Energy to rapidly and fully integrate future acquisitions
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IBM is the SOA Market Leader and Vendor of choice for SOA Deployments! (Based on results from Springboard Research conducted in Asia Pacific)
A recently published report from Springboard Research. IBM and other SOA vendors were interviewed. Assessments were made on 261 CIOs and IT decision-makers' level of awareness, familiarity and a range of issues related to SOA deployment. Countries involved in the study were Australia, China, India and Singapore. Springboard has been kept up to date re our SOA solutions and strategy through various briefing sessions and through the recently concluded Analyst Insights event in New Delhi, India.
IBM is a clear leader in the Asia Pacific SOA market; among the 113 SOA users interviewed in the region, 47% said they have deployed a solution from IBM while 41% of these said they consider IBM as the market leader. IBM is a favourite with respondents planning to deploy SOA also as 49% of the 128 respondents interviewed by Springboard Research considered it best suited to help them migrate to SOA..."
* Vendors Best Suited for SOA Deployment IBM ranked highest at 49% * Leading SOA Vendors in Asia Pacific - IBM leads with 47% * Perceived SOA Leaders in Asia Pacific - IBM leads with 41%[Read More]
I am sitting here at the US Open at what ESPN calls the best day of tennis at the US Open yet! We are hosting a set of customers here at the IBM suite (yes,this is the way to see tennis!) I got to see 2 unseeded men's double teams, Martina Navratilova with her double partner Petrova and tonight is Federer and Blake. It was a great day, great sun, and perfect games. Funny, I went shopping for my mother in law and saw Lauren and Lacoste and other name brands selling cool US Open logoed wear. Interesting how things have changed!
Now why I am here besides the tennis and weather? Well, of course, SOA is behind the US Open!! How?
Well, IBM has been the US Tennis Association’s official IT partner since 1990 because it can do things like support the 27 million visits that came from all around the world to the US Open’s web site for live scores in 2005.
Thumbnail sketch of how score updates happen: Umpires officiating each of the US Open matches hold a device in their hands that they use to keep score. All these devices feed into a database which holds all the scores from all the matches. From there, the constantly changing score information is fed to servers that can be accessed by people like you and me through the US Open web site.When score updates are sent to the Web servers, they begin their journey in a format that is incompatible for use by the Web servers. IBM uses WebSphere software to transform messages in-flight between one protocol and another so that when the message arrives, it’s usable.
All this takes place without ever altering or touching the source information. This WebSphere software has the ability to transform the messages into dozens of different formats simultaneously so that the same information can be used by many different kinds of consumers at the same time. Score information is less than 7 seconds old by the time it reaches computer screens and it reaches tens of thousands of users simultaneously.
US Open achieves outstanding flexibility by accomplishing the repeatable business tasks that make up its scoreboard processes with modular, interchangeable software services. This is a hallmark of SOA.When a match begins or ends, when a game is won, or when a point is scored, these are examples of “events”. SOA from IBM gives US Open the ability to sense and detect events such as these and trigger an appropriate reaction or response with is based on business rules.
Without the flexibility that comes from SOA, US Open would have had to custom-code the system and then suffer the cost, risk, and expense of re-coding it every time they wanted to make a change. The US Open Web site’s volume of traffic spikes to 50 times its annual average during the tournament and then falls back to a trickle during the off season. The infrastructure to support this massive jolt relies on a concept called “virtualization” which allows US Open to handle huge loads without having to over-invest in a bloated infrastructure that sits idle in the middle of winter.
Check it out!! US Open Site!!
This stuff is so very cool!!!!
I just attended the Gartner BPM conference in San Diego. There were over 1000 attendees -- growing considerably from last year's conference. It was a very interesting conference -- starting with Simon Hayward's Keynote walking through critical success factors for BPM. This was the talk of town -- there was a lot of discussion on the keys to success for BPM enabled by SOA.
I had lots of discussion on "What BPM is?" -- a discipline that involves thoughtful focus on process -- selecting the right process to focus on, looking at the organization, the culture, and the way you manage process improvement and innovation. Also I had lots of great discussions on the required Software Capbilitty and the value of SOA (Which to me is when you see the real value of BPM -- with SOA flexibility !)
IBM is investing heavily in BPM, and have seen numerous clients from small to enterprise across every industry see its value in growing their competitive advantage. We introduced 5 starting points -- flexible starting points -- to assist customers to deploy BPM with SOA at the rate and pace they need for real business results. The 5 starting points are Modeling and Simulation, Monitoring, Rules and Frameworks, Content centric processing, and process choregraphy. We have also expanded our BPM with SOA capability and expertise showing off the WebSphere Business Services Fabric, the BPM methodology, the SOA business catalog, the Filenet BPM capabilities, and new process models based on opens standards like PCF.
I also saw some great customers talking about their lessons learned. Speaking with me on stage was ANZ -- Barry McGibb - and he did a great job outlining his vision and approach for BPM with SOA. Another favorite of mine was the customer speaker - Tom -- from Sloan!
The biggest debates that I heard at the conference were:1) How to align business and IT and get them as excited about BPM as IT is. In fact, about 40% of the attendees at this conference were from the business side.
2) The second was the relationship of BPM and SOA -- in fact Darryl Plummer did a great talk on how BPM and SOA are joined at the hip. Here are my thoughts on the subject that we recently had published!!
The role of Business Process Management in a Service Oriented Architecture StrategySandy Carter, Vice President, SOA and WebSphere Strategy, Channels and Marketing, IBM
In today's competitive environment where companies are merging, consolidating and striving to uncover new growth opportunities, savvy business leaders are recognizing the value that comes from working more closely with information technology (IT) professionals.
Driven in large part by the growing adoption rates of a service oriented architecture (SOA) strategy, more and more organizations are realizing that the alignment of IT and business delivers tangible results and significant returns in terms of productivity, competitive advantage and cost savings.
However, to seize these new opportunities and realize the benefits that can be derived from an SOA, companies need to streamline their business processes and eliminate the recreation of the wheel that too often happens when an organization and its technology resources are locked into silos.
For example, these business processes can include such functions as ordering supplies, reimbursing expenses or booking business travel. When each department or team within a larger organization has its own ‘system’ to handle these types of business processes, it may prove effective for a smaller subset of the company but is largely ineffective for the entire business. Consider the advantages that can be reaped in terms of productivity and cost savings when there is an agreed upon approach to filing an expense report or automating travel requests.
Addressing these issues and uncovering ways to automate and improve business processes without requiring additional resources is top of mind for today’s organizations as they aim to more effectively and efficiently compete in an ever changing marketplace. This growing need has led to the rise of the business process management (BPM) market.
The Growing Demand for BPMBPM is a discipline combining software capabilities and business expertise to accelerate process improvement and facilitate business innovation. One could argue that BPM is based on the principles of SOA with both aiming to empower the organization to more quickly respond to changing market conditions that result from planned events such as mergers and acquisitions or external influences such as competitor moves.
There are several factors driving the increased focus on BPM. These include the need to:
Ensure consistency throughout the company, especially with regard to compliance;Optimize processes for maximum efficiency;Automate manual processes to reduce time consuming administrative tasks;Integrate complex, redundant processes to avoid the constant recreation of the wheel;Mitigate risks through a single, unified view of the organization.
A successful BPM solution will take existing processes, streamline them to meet business goals and ultimately impact the bottom and top lines in a positive way. The value of BPM is further evidenced by the results that can be realized from business and IT working more closely together. One of the most significant benefits is the fact that BPM helps to put business process control in the hands of business managers. By providing decision makers with up-to-date business information, BPM allows them to make better decisions immediately without relying on IT support.
The Role of Business Process Management in an SOABPM is growing in popularity and is complementary to SOA due to its ability to help make business processes more efficient and effective while enabling an organization to more easily adapt to changing business requirements.
BPM based on SOA is technology’s response to the growing demand for a flexible business environment that is not hindered by application silos.
When business processes are automated and streamlined and supported by a strong SOA governance framework, BPM can deliver on its promise of transforming IT processes to dynamically adapt to business needs. For these reasons, BPM is being widely embraced. In fact, analysts at IDC state that the BPM tools market will reach $3 billion by 2009.
The powerful combination of BPM to streamline business processes within an SOA strategy will help position companies to become industry leaders while ensuring they are poised for continued success.
For this to happen, however, business processes must become independent of specific information resources and specific task automation applications. Specifically, the integration technology must loosely couple the applications and resources that make up the process, otherwise the logic of a process will get hard-coded into a particular technology platform, which may be expensive to change and therefore defeat the entire purpose of BPM.
Business Process Modeling: The ‘Other’ BPMThe need to model business processes before they are deployed in an SOA is becoming increasingly more important, especially as the demand for BPM continues to rise. First, however, let’s understand that BPM is both a management discipline and a technology platform and that modeling is a complementary and critical aspect within a larger BPM strategy.
As a management discipline, BPM replaces traditional views of business based on discrete functional organizations, systems, and metrics with those based on cross-functional core processes aligned with high-level business objectives. As a technology platform, BPM provides the set of software tools needed to optimize performance, make abstract performance goals concrete, connect them to process data, automate and monitor process activities, and provide a platform for agile performance improvement.