ServiceTechMag.com > Archive > Issue LXXX, January 2014
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SOA and Business Processes: You are the Process!

Jürgen Kress, Berthold Maier, Hajo Normann, Danilo Schmiedel, Guido Schmutz, Bernd Trops, Clemens Utschig-Utschig, Torsten Winterberg

Jürgen Kress Berthold Maier Hajo Normann
Danilo Schmiedel Guido Schmutz Bernd Trops Clemens Utschig-Utschig Torsten Winterberg

Business Process Management is a management discipline that thrives to improve process performance. If done right, BPM leads to appealing, user-friendly processes that provide information about productivity, that measure performance and that illustrate the potential for improvement while indicating the exact location in the overall process that potentially benefits from one of various process optimization strategies. To deal with the complexity of modeling a company's business processes, business analysts proceed hierarchically and begin by describing a value chain (process level 0) through several levels of processes, until they reach a level on which they depict a detailed description of the activities of process participants. Figure 1 gives an overview of BPM with a figure for each modeling technology and the interaction with SOA services. We see that Business Process Management and SOA go hand in hand: SOA enables BPM. At the highest level of the process hierarchy, the functional process blocks for end-to-end processes that potentially span departments in the overall organization are described in a high level, very abstract and coarse grained language, like IDS Scheer value chains. There is no branching, but they do include the most important business goals, ideally expressed as KPIs and other organizational aspects, such as assigning steps to departments. At the next levels, the process steps are described hierarchically, with the level of detail increasing downward. This is done today in the lingua franca for business process models, Business Process Management and Notation (BPMN). Here the process participants or players in a process are represented as "swim lanes," which contain the process steps that are assigned to this participant. At a middle hierarchical level (levels 1-3), the process participants are still included relatively roughly through the organizational units, such as the "Purchasing" department. If you drill down deeper into the process details, you reach the fine-grained level (level 4), at which...


Business Activity Monitoring:
Capabilities & Applicability - Part I

Partha Sarathi Sengupta

Partha Sarathi Sengupta

Nowadays BAM (Business activity monitoring) is catching up like a mandate for the administration and management for an enterprise. Specially in case of enterprise wide integration where multiple real time and mission critical systems are involved such as in telecommunication, financial and airlines etc. BAM becomes the lifeline monitoring instrument. There are few topics that discussed in this article explaining the capability and applicability of a BAM system. The references to the telecom IT sector has been used due to my current involvement in telecom industry. Like other industry verticals the telecom sector depends on the execution of complex business processes. Usually business processes include interactions among multiple heterogeneous IT systems and human resources. The efficiency and success of these business processes in an operational environment can be monitored based on multiple Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) of the business such as customer satisfaction, overall business performance and adaptability to changes. As a reason it is becoming important to monitor the performance of the business processes and optimize them based on the results. Presently businesses come to know about a problem when something fails in the business processes. Monitoring is one of the best ways to sense an impending problem and avoid it with corrective measures in advance so that, the impact on business and the users can be minimized. The term business activity monitoring was introduced by Gartner, Inc. in 2001 as their notion of aggregation, analysis, and real-time presentation functionality of business relevant information. The main objective of business activity monitoring is to predict or sense the upcoming problem based on the operational transactions and report the same for a preventive measure. It is becoming increasing important in today's enterprises to consider informed decisions in timely manner by consolidating information present in various silo data sources. These decisions eventually have major impact...


Architecture Guidance for Microsoft's Integration & Service Technology Portfolio

Gijs in 't Veld

Gijs in 't Veld

Integration is key in a best-of-breed application landscape, B2B (business-to-business) scenarios or service oriented architecture (SOA). Applications, functions and services need to exchange data in order to participate in business processes. In the early days, integra- tion was done by creating peer-to-peer connections between applications using direct database interaction, exchanging proprietary import/export files or executing API (application programming interface) calls. Over time, this resulted in unmanageable and non-performing applications due to the well-known "spaghetti integration" dilemma. With the arrival of the Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) server, integration got a more sophisticated approach, but very often it still resulted in peer-to-peer connection spaghetti, but now with a broker (hub) in the middle. Especially with the accep- tance of SOA, the ESB integration pattern was born: loosely coupled integration through an Enterprise Service Bus, preferably based on the principles of service design (by Thomas Erl), thereby creating a manageable and flexible abstraction layer. But… the risk of creating unmanageable and non-performing integration architectures is still there; it is said that the greatest competitor of integration middleware is the developer! Traditionally, integration middleware (the common name for the group of products facilitating ESB, EAI, B2B) is hosted and operated by the company that also hosts the back-end applications that are used to support the company business processes. For some scenarios, mainly B2B, external providers are sometimes used to integrate the 3rd parties outside the company firewalls. This is where you currently see traditional VAN (Value Added Network) providers morph into cloud based B2B integration service providers. Depending on the integration scenarios, patterns have evolved over the years to become standard integration patterns. A great resource that still applies is Enterprise Integration Patterns, containing all possible...


Envisioning Insights – Driven Connected Vehicles

Pethuru Cheliah

Pethuru Cheliah

With an iota of doubt, sophisticated technologies bring in a slew of both tactic as well as strategic transitions in our professional as well as personal lives. In this paper, I have detailed how the latest technologies significantly impact and instigate all kinds of vehicles to be smarter in their function so that driving becomes simpler and safer. And at the same time, travel is spectacularly productive for occupants. Connectivity and Service Paradigms - There are a cornucopia of pioneering technologies emanating and evolving fast in the hot IT field capturing and captivating the imagination of professionals as well as common people alike. Connectivity is the principal one that has permeated deeper decisively to set a stimulating and sustaining foundation for uninhibitedly breeding and building a bevy of delectable business innovations. The Internet is being prescribed as the open, public, ubiquitous and affordable communication infrastructure. The implications are many and varied. That is, not only personal computers and smartphones but also all kinds of devices (information appliances, consumer electronics, everyday tools, sensors and actuators, real-world robots, manufacturing and controlling machines, medical instruments, kitchen utensils and wares, etc.) in our walking and working environments are increasingly getting interconnected with one another in the vicinity as well as with remote devices over different networks. The second paradigm shift is primarily through the fully matured service engineering. Not only software applications but also every common entity in homes and establishments is being strengthened to be service-enabled. That is, everything exposes its unique capabilities through public interfaces so that others can find, match, and use others' to be distinct in their operations, offerings and outputs. Further on, the web world is being continuously stuffed with publicly discoverable, accessible and usable contents, data and services (personal, social, and professional). Other noteworthy transformations are being...


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