Welcome!

SOA & WOA Authors: Craig Ferril, Peter Silva, Carmen Gonzalez, Liz McMillan, Trevor Parsons

Related Topics: SOA & WOA

SOA & WOA: Article

"The Backdoor" – BPM Solutions Pay

"I tend to like to go with technology because it makes sense"

People who know me would generally agree I'm a straightforward guy - I pretty much just like to move in the direction I've said I was going, rather than try to move from side to side and finesse something. So when it comes to technology, I tend to like to go with technology because it makes sense, and I usually assume that most IT organizations work that way as well.

But when you look at a technology like Business Process Management (BPM), you can see that the straightforward approach may not be the best, fastest, or even most successful route towards deployment.

BPM is a tougher sell on a straight technology basis, because it relies either on an SOA or an EAI environment that enables a service approach, and because the capabilities it provides have to date been implemented, albeit poorly, in actual code.

BPM as a technology extracts the business rules of an organization using advanced modeling techniques and software to define the business rules, the "what happens when" outside of lower level code. Besides allowing for rapid change in response to changing business conditions, BPM also allows the business community to take a much greater role in the definition of behavior within their software environments.

Clearly, this type of capability can be an asset to an organization that is confronted with frequent changes, dynamic market conditions, or even the consequences of a merger between organizations with disparate computing systems. Yet, because of the nature of the way IT projects are usually funded, this capability is frequently a difficult sell.

Most IT organizations have to fund their projects as discrete systems, therefore you can fund a CRM system, or an Order Management system, or a General Accounting system, even a User Portal. Each of these systems provides an "end user" benefit, one that can be easily quantified and budgeted for. BPM, by contrast, potentially cuts across all of these systems, while providing little visible or tangible benefit.

That's at least partially because funding a development effort and cost usually neglects the operational and maintenance cost of a system. These costs can often be multiples of the original implementation cost over the lifetime of a system. As an example, think of some of the COBOL programs that many large organizations have been nursing along for decades. Compared to the cost of creation, the maintenance costs are many times higher.

This is where the BPM solutions pay - they help reduce operational and maintenance cost. Anything that is programmed has to be tested to death, deployed, and managed. The model-driven architecture (MDA) approach seldom actually works all the way down to the code level and back again, so even if there is some modeling or design, it's typically only documentation when the coding gets done, allowing errors and omissions to creep into the process and creating troubleshooting nightmares.

In contrast, BPM presents the rules in a modeling environment that is completely round trip, and can be tested and debugged more effectively, especially in the difficult cases where a business transaction requires crossing system boundaries. We've all experienced the "he said, she said" finger pointing that goes on when a process that spans two or more systems experiences difficulty. BPM reduces cost by taking the management, the modeling, and the implementation out of multiple silo-based systems and centralizing the capabilities needed to effectively implement business processes rapidly.

It should not be surprising that the calculations necessary to quantify this benefit are convoluted and involved. They require analysis of maintenance and operations, as well as a good understanding of the actual software development life cycle in use in a particular organization - something that is seldom present. Thus while the technology clearly provides benefits, quantifying its value and justifying its cost remain elusive. In the end, the straightforward approach to the problem, which is simply stating the need for the capability, must give way to a more devious approach that builds the capability into the price of one or more system upgrades or packaged implementations.

More Stories By Sean Rhody

Sean Rhody is the founding-editor (1999) and editor-in-chief of SOA World Magazine. He is a respected industry expert on SOA and Web Services and a consultant with a leading consulting services company. Most recently, Sean served as the tech chair of SOA World Conference & Expo 2007 East.

Comments (2) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
Derek Miers 02/15/06 08:27:44 AM EST

Naive, ill-informed, confused ... just three of the adjectives that spring to mind while reading this piece.

There probably isn't a Fortune 2000 company that is not gaining significant benefits from the deployment of BPM technology. Mostly these projects are still in the mode of strategic experiment, but the evidence is plain for all to see.

Some of Sean's assertions are just plain wrong (like the bit about BPM code being poorly implemented), while others show a lack of understanding of the real issues and benefits.

Suggest you do a little more research next time before wading in to an area that you obviously have little contact with.

IMNSHO, SOA and BPM initiatives are fairly much joined at the hip. SOA is a "way of thinking" based around the notions of service orientation ... it allows an organisation to support the high level business capabilities that keep the firm in business, marrying that up to the low level technology and procedural elements.

OTOH, BPM is a business discipline that puts continuous performance improvement center stage in the way the firm is run. It involves a highly iterative approach to supporting the way systems are rolled out. From the perspective of this discussion however, BPM Suites provide the ability to orchestrate services in line with corporate objectives.

The ROI and business benefits are clear, making business justification relatively straight forward ... it just requires understanding of how those benefits transform into enhanced productivity, customer service, traceability and transparency.

Check out the papers on my site if you want an alternative view (or much of the material available on sites such as BP Trends, BPM.com)

SYS-CON Italy News Desk 02/14/06 07:19:24 PM EST

People who know me would generally agree I'm a straightforward guy - I pretty much just like to move in the direction I've said I was going, rather than try to move from side to side and finesse something. So when it comes to technology, I tend to like to go with technology because it makes sense, and I usually assume that most IT organizations work that way as well.

@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Windstream, a leading provider of advanced network and cloud communications, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN), a FORTUNE 500 and S&P 500 company, is a leading provider of advanced network communications, including cloud computing and managed services, to businesses nationwide. The company also offers broadband, phone and digital TV services to consumers primarily in rural areas.
"There is a natural synchronization between the business models, the IoT is there to support ,” explained Brendan O'Brien, Co-founder and Chief Architect of Aria Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 15th International Cloud Expo®, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com), moderated by Ashar Baig, Research Director, Cloud, at Gigaom Research, Nate Gordon, Director of T...
The definition of IoT is not new, in fact it’s been around for over a decade. What has changed is the public's awareness that the technology we use on a daily basis has caught up on the vision of an always on, always connected world. If you look into the details of what comprises the IoT, you’ll see that it includes everything from cloud computing, Big Data analytics, “Things,” Web communication, applications, network, storage, etc. It is essentially including everything connected online from hardware to software, or as we like to say, it’s an Internet of many different things. The difference ...

ARMONK, N.Y., Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --  IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it is bringing a greater level of control, security and flexibility to cloud-based application development and delivery with a single-tenant version of Bluemix, IBM's platform-as-a-service. The new platform enables developers to build ap...

Cloud Expo 2014 TV commercials will feature @ThingsExpo, which was launched in June, 2014 at New York City's Javits Center as the largest 'Internet of Things' event in the world.
An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and assessments, including a decade of leading incident response and digital forensics. He is co-author of t...
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems at Red Hat, described how to revolutioniz...
Technology is enabling a new approach to collecting and using data. This approach, commonly referred to as the "Internet of Things" (IoT), enables businesses to use real-time data from all sorts of things including machines, devices and sensors to make better decisions, improve customer service, and lower the risk in the creation of new revenue opportunities. In his General Session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Dave Wagstaff, Vice President and Chief Architect at BSQUARE Corporation, discuss the real benefits to focus on, how to understand the requirements of a successful solution, the flow of ...
The security devil is always in the details of the attack: the ones you've endured, the ones you prepare yourself to fend off, and the ones that, you fear, will catch you completely unaware and defenseless. The Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing if not an endless proliferation of details. It's the vision of a world in which continuous Internet connectivity and addressability is embedded into a growing range of human artifacts, into the natural world, and even into our smartphones, appliances, and physical persons. In the IoT vision, every new "thing" - sensor, actuator, data source, data con...
"BSQUARE is in the business of selling software solutions for smart connected devices. It's obvious that IoT has moved from being a technology to being a fundamental part of business, and in the last 18 months people have said let's figure out how to do it and let's put some focus on it, " explained Dave Wagstaff, VP & Chief Architect, at BSQUARE Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Focused on this fast-growing market’s needs, Vitesse Semiconductor Corporation (Nasdaq: VTSS), a leading provider of IC solutions to advance "Ethernet Everywhere" in Carrier, Enterprise and Internet of Things (IoT) networks, introduced its IStaX™ software (VSC6815SDK), a robust protocol stack to simplify deployment and management of Industrial-IoT network applications such as Industrial Ethernet switching, surveillance, video distribution, LCD signage, intelligent sensors, and metering equipment. Leveraging technologies proven in the Carrier and Enterprise markets, IStaX is designed to work ac...
C-Labs LLC, a leading provider of remote and mobile access for the Internet of Things (IoT), announced the appointment of John Traynor to the position of chief operating officer. Previously a strategic advisor to the firm, Mr. Traynor will now oversee sales, marketing, finance, and operations. Mr. Traynor is based out of the C-Labs office in Redmond, Washington. He reports to Chris Muench, Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Traynor brings valuable business leadership and technology industry expertise to C-Labs. With over 30 years' experience in the high-tech sector, John Traynor has held numerous...
Bit6 today issued a challenge to the technology community implementing Web Real Time Communication (WebRTC). To leap beyond WebRTC’s significant limitations and fully leverage its underlying value to accelerate innovation, application developers need to consider the entire communications ecosystem.
The 3rd International @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades.
The Internet of Things is not new. Historically, smart businesses have used its basic concept of leveraging data to drive better decision making and have capitalized on those insights to realize additional revenue opportunities. So, what has changed to make the Internet of Things one of the hottest topics in tech? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Gray, Director, Embedded and Internet of Things, discussed the underlying factors that are driving the economics of intelligent systems. Discover how hardware commoditization, the ubiquitous nature of connectivity, and the emergence of Big Data a...
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity.
SYS-CON Events announced today that IDenticard will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. IDenticard™ is the security division of Brady Corp (NYSE: BRC), a $1.5 billion manufacturer of identification products. We have small-company values with the strength and stability of a major corporation. IDenticard offers local sales, support and service to our customers across the United States and Canada. Our partner network encompasses some 300 of the world's leading systems integrators and security s...
IoT is still a vague buzzword for many people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, discussed the business value of IoT that goes far beyond the general public's perception that IoT is all about wearables and home consumer services. He also discussed how IoT is perceived by investors and how venture capitalist access this space. Other topics discussed were barriers to success, what is new, what is old, and what the future may hold. Mike Kavis is Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Pa...
Cloud Expo 2014 TV commercials will feature @ThingsExpo, which was launched in June, 2014 at New York City's Javits Center as the largest 'Internet of Things' event in the world. The next @ThingsExpo will take place November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, in Santa Clara, California. Since its launch in 2008, Cloud Expo TV commercials have been aired and CNBC, Fox News Network, and Bloomberg TV. Please enjoy our 2014 commercial.