Business Process: At the Heart of SOA

November 28, 2005

Business Process: At the Heart of SOA

Business Process: At the Heart of SOA

by Judith Hurwitz, CEO

It is becoming obvious that a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) cannot be useful without a clear focus on business process – which means having business process management infrastructure.  Since a true SOA plan requires that business services be created that are independent of each other, it is imperative that there be a mechanism in place to enable these components to be linked together.  Many of the products that we have seen over the years have taken either a very tactical top-down or bottom-up approach to creating processes.  However, over the past year this has begun to change.  More vendors are starting to focus on making the tools to instantiate business process more strategic and also more usable.  For example, Microsoft has added some business process management capabilities into the new release of  Visual Studio;  IBM has delivered a suite of business process tools under its WebSphere brand.  Oracle has focused on business process through its new fusion middleware platform.  SAP has put a renewed focus on business process through its strong partnership with IDS Sheer.

Given the increasing amount of focus on business process from the major players, it is important to understand the major components of business process in SOA.  SOA as an architectural construct is based on the notion of being able to initiate dynamic collaboration across constituent components.  SOA, therefore requires that the component parts of how a business operates be delivered as services.  These services are just that ? services in isolation without business context.  For example, a business service might be a claims processing model.  This service will include the best practices for how a claim is handled for a company.  However, it casino spiele does not include the rules that govern its use in a specific instance – say, how a claim is handled when two insurance companies share the risk.  The business service does not include the details of how all the constituents involved come together to present a seamless business interaction to the customer.

To implement business process management, you must begin with a combination of an overall business view supported by casino online uk the notion of a business flow. A key distinction between the past focus on process and slot machines online where we are headed with business process is the difference between customized workflows and business slots online process flows.  Customized workflows are offerings that programmatically produce a flow between software components or full applications based on the need to solve a specific problem. They are “hard-coded ” in a way. Business process flow software, in contrast, is designed to enable companies to create flows between business service casino spiele components that can be modified and changed dynamically based on changing business conditions.  It separates out rules of engagement (based on certain circumstances these are the steps to follow) from business policy rules (based on corporate governance and policies for doing business overall, this is what we will always do).

Top Ten Requirements

What are the keys to successful business process management?  Here is a list of the top ten requirements for platforms.

  1. Business process management must enable business analysts and managers to be able to visually design the flow between business process components.
  2. There needs to be a two-way connection between visual design and programmatic interfaces.
  3. There must be a mechanism to test to see if rules across a process flow can generate unintended conflicts so that the process can be audited and monitored on a continuous basis.
  4. Business process flow must be able to discover and monitor the various services stored in a registry in order to be able to handle a complex as well as simple application.
  5. Business process management systems should be implemented from a life cycle perspective, rather than based on a single implementation or aspect of an implementation.  
  6. Performance is a key to successful process management.
  7. Business process management must be able to work with whatever infrastructure and applications are supported within the corporate environment.
  8. Business process management must be flexible to change based on roles and responsibilities and business context.
  9. Business process management must enable a combination of top-down and bottom-up development.
  10. Business process management solutions must adhere to emerging standards.


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About Judith Hurwitz

Judith Hurwitz is an author, speaker and business technology consultant with decades of experience.

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