18   I N F OWO R L D . C O M 	   03.13.06
Successful service-oriented architectures beginwith process modeling and real collaborationbetween IT architects and busin...
From Processes to Services                                                 SOA is a better way to do application integrati...
How to Model Processes in an SOA World                                    Consultants, IT managers, and vendors offer a ra...
“it’s an eye-opening experience when the business sees a process-centric view of their work.”                             ...
DoD Puts SOA Into Action                                               when it comes to modeling complex business processe...
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SOA Planning Sizing Up Your Business Processes


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SOA Planning Sizing Up Your Business Processes

  1. 1. 18 I N F OWO R L D . C O M 03.13.06
  2. 2. Successful service-oriented architectures beginwith process modeling and real collaborationbetween IT architects and business stakeholdersA s SOA goes mainstream in the enterprise, its success may hingeon a crucial meeting of the minds — really works and what it needs, often in isolation and with limited ability to act on their process insights.a mashup of talent that can uncap a Before enterprises deploy SOA on afont of creative potential. large scale, experts say, getting these On one side of the mashup are archi- teams together in a disciplined plan-tects and developers, who up to now ning exercise can unlock the businesshave perhaps been designing point value that process modelers knew wasWeb-services deployments or legacy there all along.systems wrappers. On the other side “I think the business process model-are business process modelers, who’ve ers were waiting for SOA to show up,”been mapping out how your business says Sean Rhody, a chief architect atBY Dav iD M a rg u l i us | ph oto g r a ph Y BY M a r k j o h a n n I N F OWO R L D . C O M 03.13.06 19
  3. 3. From Processes to Services SOA is a better way to do application integration, but a small SOA vision centered on integration misses the point of designing for greater business flex- the CSC Consulting Group. “Without ibility. The word “service” in SOA refers to business services, which capture business being able to define services, they capabilities in digital form, making them available for reconfiguration and reconnec- were always talking at a level that tion to meet a constantly changing landscape of business needs. didn’t connect to the actual imple- To align services with business capabilities, IT must design SOA-based business ser- mentation at all.” vices within the context of the business processes they serve. The real power of SOA Before SOA, says Sandy Carter, IBM’s comes in putting analysis of technology as well as business in a tight feedback loop vice president of SOA and WebSphere that aims to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and flexibility of business process strategy, “you could do all this won- operations. derful mapping of processes, but the IT shops must demonstrate that they have the business savvy to participate in underlying technology didn’t exist business-level discussions. Beyond “talking business language” IT must “think business to support any major changes in the thoughts” in order to gain the credibility and respect needed to partner with the busi- process. Now IT has the technology ness, and design digital business services that best capture the capabilities needed for to offer services on a business activity the future of the business. basis, whereas before it was on a tech- — Randy Heffner, Forrester Research nical subtask. Process is becoming that common vocabulary that exists between the business and IT.” And the payoff, says Forrester Physical World Processes Research Vice President Randy Heff- ner, comes when the two groups work Product Reserve Schedule Sample process together to find business processes that inquiry inventory production share common services and prioritize the development of those services. Create “It’s capturing business capability as customer order reusable digital services, in a way that can be connected to any business pro- Create Schedule supplier cess,” Heffner explains. shipment order Across a range of enterprises, IT is laying the groundwork for SOA de- ployments that will have a transfor- mative effect on IT, rolling out services that various applications can share and establishing governance rule for Digital Services service design and interconnect. Yet woe to those who ignore business pro- cess planning and proceed directly to Service delivery network architectural design. Product Reserve Schedule Create Schedule Create “If you don’t factor in your business inquiry inventory production supplier production customer process, you really don’t have an SOA,” order order says Tim Vibbert, senior systems engi- neer at Lockheed Martin. Services can initiate Lessons From the Front Digital processes digital processes What does it take to model processes successfully in an SOA context? Info- NaNcy suess World interviewed consultants, ana- lysts, and enterprise architects and got20 I N F OWO R L D . C O M 03.13.06
  4. 4. How to Model Processes in an SOA World Consultants, IT managers, and vendors offer a range of advice for creating the process underpinnings of a successful SOA an earful from those on a Choose the right process for initial SOA deployment based on the potential to Another key is to add business value the front lines, among completely ignore them Wachovia vice aIgnore organizational constraints when evaluating processes organizational con- president Rohn Griggs. a on modeling current processes as-is before redesigning them to get a Insist straints when mapping “We’re just now valid baseline a business process, scratching the sur- a a long-term commitment to process modeling and an organizational Make says Griggs. “We look face around SOA,” says structure for IT/business dialogue at how do we make it Griggs, who oversees a with a workshop and get the right stakeholders in a room to jump-start Start end-to- end the most workflow, imaging, and the discussion efficient, stream- integration technology lined possible even in the company’s busi- a top down and bottom up, simultaneously mapping out business process Work if it crosses business goals and potential service capabilities ness process modeling boundaries.” “center of excellence,” a be too rigid with methodology; it’s the business/IT dialogue that Don’t Griggs recommends a group that provides matters most working with outside enterprise-wide ground a Remember that processes extend outside your organization to vendors, consultants who can rules and guidance. customers, and partners help benchmark you Griggs explains that a intractable disagreements and put them in the parking lot; solve the easy Take against other organi- although the company problems first zations, but not giving started from the bot- them too much control. tom up, exposing legacy “Don’t try to do it alone,” apps as Web services, it’s now trying to interview subject-matter experts on he says. “You still need to run it as an in- orchestrate those services around busi- their perspective,” Griggs says. Then ternal project. Just use the consultant’s ness processes such as loan origination. his team gets down to work, developing expertise as staff augmentation.” “My team is trying to stand up process maps that can be played back some shared infrastructure with SOA to the business in a two-day validation The Great Methodology Debate capability,” Griggs says. “We’re good at session — including re-engineering Although process modeling has been business process modeling, and we’re proposals, for example, to eliminate around for years, the combo of process good at exposing legacy applications costs or reduce cycle time. modeling and SOA is still new enough as Web services. Now its time to say, Be prepared for resistance from the that analysts and consultants have ‘Let’s bring the two together.’” line of business when you try to map strong and often differing opinions To do so, Griggs is leveraging his business processes as they actually are, about best practices. center of excellence, which sits within Griggs warns. “You wouldn’t believe IBM, which worked with Wachovia corporate IT and now also oversees the amount of pushback we get. They’ll on its pre-SOA deployment process integration. The group includes prod- say, ‘We don’t need you to model, just mapping, emphasizes a rigorous meth- uct specialists (developers familiar do it like we tell you. I know how I do odology called component business with modeling), process engineers things today; I know my process is bro- modeling for synching up processes (who interview business users for pro- ken.’” Griggs advises IT to refuse this with services, starting with proactively cess-centric modeling), and a consulting type of engagement. selecting the processes that will help organization that markets the technol- “That’s a big lesson learned for us. differentiate businesses. ogy to the bank’s lines of business. The Validation of the as-is is imperative,” “Today, people are selecting the proj- bank also has a roundtable steering Griggs says. “It’s an eye-opening experi- ect they dive into based on their his- committee for SOA and process mod- ence when the business sees a process- tory,” IBM’s Carter says. “If I’m an ERP eling, made up of architects from each centric view of their work. They’ll say, shop, I’ll start from an ERP perspective line-of-business organization. ‘Geez, I never thought of our process and move out. If I’m a datacentric shop, “The way we typically start a proj- that way. Why do we staple that in the I’ll start from my data view and move ect is with a daylong kickoff meeting, upper left hand corner? That’s the way out. Only 20 percent are re-architect- including breakout sessions where we we’ve always done it.’” ing from SOA; the other 80 percent22 I N F OWO R L D . C O M 03.13.06
  5. 5. “it’s an eye-opening experience when the business sees a process-centric view of their work.” — Rohn Griggs, Wachovia are starting with their heritage.” What a business transformation. You need points … success is characterized by enterprises should be doing, Carter alignment of business and IT, and a the dynamics of the process.” argues, is looking at their processes set decision-making process. And you across the board, and identifying the need rules for compliance — everyone Meeting in the Middle highest impact opportunities — such will use this particular service.” Execution is key to a successful process/ as improving customer satisfac- Just don’t expect any magic formu- services mashup, according to analysts tion, enabling better collabora- las that can be applied across the — from methods for resolving conflicts, tion, or more quickly getting board, Forrester’s Heffner says. to grounding your assumptions in spe- new products to market. “It’s less important to figure cifics, to leaving room for the business- “If you try to start with out which process mod- use cases and SOA to evolve over time. ESB [enterprise ser- eling method you’re One frequent challenge that pro- vice bus], we’ll using, and more cess-design teams face is getting past a push you to important to small number of intractable disagree- look at your ensure that ments, often while trying to consoli- process,” you’re getting date redundant legacy systems that Carter says. a rich dialogue enable similar processes, CSC’s Rho- “The process you between the busi- dy says. “A lot of the conflicts are turf select to start with ness and IT,” he says. battles, people with competing agen- SOA on is crucial.” “Success now is char- das,” he notes, citing billing and cus- As an example of how acterized by personality,” tomer information as two frequent small process shortcomings Heffner argues — the involve- battlegrounds. “There may be anoth- can have huge business impacts, ment of self-starters who com- er organization in the same company she cites a Columbian coffee com- bine business and IT savvy, create that wants to do the same thing, with pany that had 17 different ways to opportunities by making connections, their own technology.” label a single coffee bean. “Because build relationships around a process The answer is what Rhody calls “the they had different ways to qualify it area, and just make things happen. parking lot”: Put the 20 percent con- around the world, they couldn’t tell if “Forget about best practices,” Heffner flict on hold while you get agreement they were in or out of stock — it was says. “Take bits from here and there ... just on the rest. there, but just designated a different enough process modeling, just enough “When people see we’ve got 80 per- way. It seemed like a simple little thing, technology. This is not the kind of thing cent agreement and are making signif- but it was costing the company a lot we’ve had in the industry long enough for icant progress, they now have to start of money.” it to be programmatized in a way that leads to resolve things,” Rhody explains. In IBM’s component business mod- to good outcomes.” “Getting that forward momentum eling framework, consultants typically Focus too rigidly on either pure gives the sponsors the collateral they pull together diverse business stake- process modeling or services archi- need to push forward.” holders for a rigorous, full-blown map- tecture, Heffner warns, and you could Rhody also suggests making sure to ping exercise. A session with a retail end up in a methodology boneyard. ground your planning phase in reality industry client, for example, might “Three years ago, somebody drew and specifics, including a shared tax- include representatives from IT, busi- some maps, and they’re not really onomy. “Most issues are about tech- ness administration (HR, corporate part of any solution delivery process nology, interoperability, and business strategy, financial planning, and com- [today]. At this point, you should be choice,” he explains. In a recent pliance), distribution and warehous- establishing opportunities, design- engagement where a client was try- ing ( for logistics expertise), product ing your business as you’re design- ing to work out the process for getting merchandising, and marketing. ing your services, understanding a single view of a customer’s financial “This is all about governance,” Carter how your business will function in holdings, for example, “it was pretty says. “At the very highest level of busi- the digital world,” he says. “You don’t clear to everybody what the process ness, most companies are doing it as want to freeze either of these design was for querying the systems. What I N F OWO R L D . C O M 03.13.06 23
  6. 6. DoD Puts SOA Into Action when it comes to modeling complex business processes, the folks at the U.S. Transportation Command (U.S. Transcom) have a lot of experience. As the central defense agency responsible for worldwide air, land, and sea transportation for was less clear was whose definition of the U.S. armed services, U.S. Transcom has been developing internal process architec- holdings should be used, and how do tures for more than a decade. you get the consensus on that.” That experience came in handy recently when, as part of a government-wide push Services must be grounded in the toward SOA, it stepped up its efforts to develop services that can be leveraged across real world, Rhody adds. “If every time multiple processes, both internally and by its many military partners and commercial your process is going to do a lookup vendors. by account number, and your services “We had a jumpstart on understanding the value of doing architecture work,” says don’t have an account number, they a U.S. Transcom representative who asked not to be identified. “We have a full blown use a social security number, you’ve architecture here — all the processes, including information exchange requirements got to know that. Starting from the between systems. We looked at what was being driven down from the highest levels business process downward to ser- on SOA by the DISA [Defense Information Systems Agency] and NII [Networks and vices doesn’t work — you need to Information Integration] guys — and asked how can we start to instantiate those come bottom up and top down and kinds of services against our operational processes to make them more effective.” meet in the middle.” Having spent a year evaluating actual processes, such as manifesting (for thou- Lockheed Martin’s Vibbert, who sands of ships, aircraft, and railcars) or distributing ammunition, the command has developed a services-oriented mod- now started building standardized services and transaction sets that will enable a eling methodology for his company, more efficient flow of information and matériel throughout its far-flung network, includes tolerance for uncertainty as according to the representative. a best practice. Vibbert’s methodol- “We worked the business issues with the functional guys as we built the architec- ogy centers on breaking down goals, ture,” the representative says. “We … essentially said to the community, We really business cases, and use cases, while need to understand these business processes better.” Some of the key issues involved simultaneously starting to define the many relationships the command has with external agencies, such as how to potential services, their SLAs, and a manage handoffs of both information and cargo, explains Dennis Nadler, CTO of data model. The next step is defining Merlin Technical Solutions, a consulting firm that supported the project. core or common services that can be “One of the main thrusts is around sharing of information,” Nadler says. “In the re-used across use cases. past, when people wanted to interface with US Transcom’s GTN [Global Transporta- “The tricky part is when you start tion Network], they had to go through a giant develop- defining the use cases, you can only ment effort. Whereas now they can go to a registry and identify x number of them,” Vib- discover the Web service, for example, that provides bert notes. “But there’s always that passenger manifests for an airplane.” n-plus-1 that you might not think Key insights from the work done so far, accord- of. The nature of an SOA is ad hoc. ing to the US Transcom representative, include Someone can re-orchestrate the ser- the importance of doing up-front business vices in an unpredicted way and get process mapping down to a detailed level, via value as well.” the architectural workshops with subject Because much of the execution- matter experts. related learning on business process “We’re one of the few government mapping and SOA is cumulative, agencies that is using this type of experts recommend a continuous architecture to drive the SOA envi- commitment to careful, collaborative ronment,” the representative adds. planning efforts. “Organizations are And as with many SOA initiatives, building this in as part of an ongoing the ultimate payoff will be a whole strategy to understand their business new level of agility. “We need to and data architecture,” says Jan Pop- be able to say, ‘I need to be able kin, chief strategist for architecture to readjust the planning of a software firm Telelogic. “As projects shipment; I need it to go here come along, they plug into that.” i and not there.’” — D.M.24 I N F OWO R L D . C O M 03.13.06
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