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SOA and BPM with IDC

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Second session at IDC Directions today and I am listening to Maureen Fleming and Sandy Rogers talking about SOA and BPM. IDC takes the position that this is about a need for agile systems and that BPM and SOA are part of how organizations can address this need. Of course, having just come from a session on GRC, I would say that agile yet compliant systems are required.

Sandy went first, talking about SOA. She pointed out that this is now a business and technical discussion as to how to support a highly distributed and federated business model. Not just about technology. She went on to say that driving change in this way has an organizational impact, a technology impact and an IT industry impact.

  • Accountability and trust are key organizational issues
    And I would add that EDM allows for more trust and accountability by making decisions explicit and managed and by ensuring that the business and IT can collaborate.
  • Shared metadata and semantics are key for technology
    Another way in which EDM can really help by handling business logic as metadata.
  • Packaging and bundling of functionality are key for the IT industry

Sandy pointed out that Line of Business (LOB) interest is way up and that adopters are now more pragmatic – moving beyond visionaries. These pragmatic adopters tend to have very specific things they want to do. They also have a big concern around managing a process across distributed and federated component services. Increasingly find they need a common vocabulary across IT/business and to focus on creating an environment for ongoing incremental improvement and optimization (not once and done). All of this screams EDM to me…

Maureen talked about BPM and about it being a business discipline – one in which you must identify, measure and improve business processes. All three are required, just as EDM requires that you identify, automate, measure and improve decisions. Much of the energy is on customer-facing processes (again decision automation is mostly focused on customer treatment decisions) with general initiatives and case management 2nd and 3rd. Business IT collaboration is based on lean manufacturing techniques, agile and rapid development approaches and must include a post-implementation focus on the performance of the process (not just the system).

Maureen had some great points on measurement. Measuring and improving outcomes means two kinds of measuring – is a change needed and are there exceptions to handle. The first, to my mind, requires that decisions are automated so they can be easily changed, the second that automation is done thoughtfully so that the right transactions become the right cases and get routed and handled correctly. This focus on operational measurement to align system, process and business measurements was something Maureen saw as key and I really liked. She also made the great point that profitability improvements come from better outcomes to which I would add that better outcomes require better decisions!

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