Introducing IBM BPM and ESB : IBM's SOA Foundation lifecycle & IBM's BPM enabled by SOA method

6/11/2012 11:43:06 AM

IBM's SOA Foundation lifecycle

The IBM SOA Foundation is an integrated open standards-based set of IBM software, best practices, and patterns. The key elements of the IBM SOA Foundation are the SOA life cycle (model, assemble, deploy, manage), reference architecture, and SOA scenarios. IBM's SOA Foundation lifecycle consists of the following iterative phases and some of the key activities performed:

  • Model

    • Gather key business requirements, objectives, and success criteria

    • Model business processes based on requirements and objectives

    • Identify KPIs and instance metrics

    • Perform business process model simulations

    • Service discovery and identification

  • Assemble

    • Service Components Assembly based on business design

    • Service specification, realization, and implementation

    • Business process assembly and implementation leveraging new and existing services and components

    • End application connectivity including routing, message transformation, protocol transformation, and so on

    • Creating the monitoring model based on KPIs

  • Deploy

    • Preparation of the hosting/operational environment

    • Integration testing of solution

    • Software configuration management activities

  • Manage

    • Administer deployed applications, processes, services, and components

    • Monitor KPIs and instance metrics

    • Feed real-time monitor metrics to fine-tune the business process model

    • Plan for growth based on operational performance and metrics

    • User security

  • Govern (that spans all phases)

    • Process and service lifecycle governance

    • Ensure process controls and compliance

When developing SOA-based solutions, you can adopt the SOA lifecycle by mapping what activities are performed in which phase and also identify which tools and products can be used to fulfill activities in that phase. The lifecycle, as shown in the following figure, outlines the key IBM products that could be used to fulfill some of the key activities in each phase to deliver the solution. Products marked in bold are the ones we will be covering in this book.

IBM's BPM enabled by SOA method

As mentioned earlier, SOA is not a technology but glue that cements the holistic relationship between IT and business. BPM again is a practice of focusing on the improvement of operations efficiencies within an organization by modeling, automating, and monitoring their core business processes. Both BPM and SOA are an art into themselves. Some of the key concerns, questions, and topics that arise when venturing into the adoption of BPM and SOA may include:

  • How to identify process metrics and KPIs which are not only aligned with my core business performance objectives, but also help me constantly improve?

  • How can I set up and implement a process governance and management framework?

  • How to identify an implementation of a continuous and iterative BPM process optimization cycle that improves business and process agility?

  • How to realize the value of applying BPM to deliver business processes?

  • What are the set of phases, associated activities, and deliverables that I should adopt for the BPM solution development and management?

So when I'm building solutions with a BPM enabled by SOA approach, what are the lifecycle phases and what do I typically do in each of the lifecycle phases? Also, how and where do WPS, WESB, and potentially other products from IBM apply to each of the lifecycle phases? Let's look at IBM's BPM enabled by SOA methodology.

IBM's BPM enabled by SOA methodology provides a structured set of activities that you can manipulate and use in the build out of SOA and BPM based solutions. By using the method correctly, you can be assured that the solution including the business processes and Business Services will be aligned with business goals and that it creates a framework for continuous improvement. As shown in the following figure, the BPM enabled by the SOA method has five primary phases, which are as follows:

  • Envision

    • Define strategy maps

    • Identify process capabilities and processes

  • Assess

    • Collect understanding of current processes, process performance, and process enablers

  • Define

    • Model future business processes, future process performance, and supporting process enablers

    • Validation of models and design

  • Execute

    • Build, test, and deploy business processes, process performance monitoring and reporting, and supporting process enablers (technology, organization, and knowledge)

  • Optimize

    • Operating, monitoring, and managing operational processes and their supporting process enablers (technology, organization, and knowledge)

  • Governance spans all phases

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