Steve Mills kicked off day 2 to talk about the kind of IT architecture that supports business agility. Your IT architecture, he says, must enable business processes run reliably and securely across application silos. Business must own their processes and their data, not have them be subsumed into siloed packaged applications. IT must enable these business processes and help drive them to your objectives. SOA let IT departments free up the assets in the organization and so integrate and reuse them. IT Architecture has evolved, with each level building on the last. Today SOA, cloud, virtualization, federated data and more have delivered increasing modularity and so allowing reuse and flexibility in the context of business process management.
Most businesses are spending 70-80% of their budget running their existing systems – typical business is running 2,000-3,000 programs and huge numbers of systems and servers. What they want is for their business processes to execute flawlessly across this complex, heterogeneous environment for frictionless, straight through processing. More and more of what you need to support these kinds of complex environments is built into the WebSphere platform. And IBM expects to keep investing in this platform so that it supports cloud, appliances, mobile applications etc. The Smarter Planet theme is the core of IBM’s current direction – smarter software, hardware and business. All with the idea of enabling more intelligent systems like NY State Tax, one of my favorites (included in this white paper for instance)
Phil Gilbert came up next to introduce Business Process Manager 7.5 and how it can transform processes and decisions. In a world where 50B connected devices might be in use by 2010, processes are only going to get more complex. Phil used a great Alfred P Sloan quote:
Good management rests on … decentralization with coordinated control
Lovely. Visibility and governance on a platform of power and simplicity is needed to drive a new platform for business that brings more people into creating solutions and new business models, breaking down barriers between IT and business. A platform that allows reuse of processes, makes assets available through SOA, that scales and drives innovation. This requires software and a methodology. The software is Business Process Manager 7.5.
The new software is also supported by a new methodology for process optimization. This is based on studies about agility that found that these projects were outcomes-driven, business-led and innovation focused. This requires management of rules, processes, analytics, monitoring, events, content, collaboration and information. The methodology has three phases:
- Engage and Assess
Business agility assessment, goal capability model and a roadmap
- Design and Optimize
Process and capability, variations, decision map, business entity lifecycle models and prototypes
- Leverage and Assemble
Solution architecture and actual components
Phil went on to talk about different entry points – process discovery, process automation and integration, business monitoring, decision management, advanced case management – and the portfolio of solutions that IBM offers for process, rule and content management.
A panel of customers came next, talking about the importance of business and IT working together. Of course I would add that you need the analytics team as business, IT and analytics are the three legged stool of real decision-centric innovation. But clearly getting business and IT to work together is really important.