Click here to close now.

Welcome!

Microservices Journal Authors: Lori MacVittie, Carmen Gonzalez, Roger Strukhoff, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: Microservices Journal

Microservices Journal: 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.

@MicroservicesExpo Stories
Security is one the more prominent of the application service categories, likely due to its high profile impact. After all, if security fails, we all hear about it. The entire Internet. Forever. So when one conducts a survey on the state of application delivery (which is implemented using application services) you kinda have to include security. Which of course, we did.
In 2015, 4.9 billion connected "things" will be in use. By 2020, Gartner forecasts this amount to be 25 billion, a 410 percent increase in just five years. How will businesses handle this rapid growth of data? Hadoop will continue to improve its technology to meet business demands, by enabling businesses to access/analyze data in real time, when and where they need it. Cloudera's Chief Technologist, Eli Collins, will discuss how Big Data is keeping up with today's data demands and how in t...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MangoApps 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., and the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MangoApps provides private all-in-one social intranets allowing workers to securely collaborate from anywhere in the world and from any device. Social, mobile, and eas...
Choosing between BIG-IP and LineRate isn't as difficult as it seems.... Our recent announcement of the availability of LineRate Point raised the same question over and over: isn't this just a software-version of BIG-IP? How do I know when to choose LineRate Point instead of BIG-IP VE (Virtual Edition)? Aren't they the same?? No, no they aren't. LineRate Point (and really Line Rate Precision, too) is more akin to an app proxy while BIG-IP VE remains, of course, an ADC (Application Delivery ...
SYS-CON Media announced today that @ThingsExpo Blog launched with 7,788 original stories. @ThingsExpo Blog offers top articles, news stories, and blog posts from the world's well-known experts and guarantees better exposure for its authors than any other publication. @ThingsExpo Blog can be bookmarked. 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.
No, not the head-banging, gritty, heavy metal Metallica song (though that's certainly awesome too.. excuse me for a moment while I turn it up to 11) but the Puppet as in automation kind of master. The importance placed on APIs - which are key to automation - in our State of Application Delivery 2015 survey was high, with 40% of respondents saying it was important to them that their infrastructure be API-enabled. Automation using those APIs is generally being accomplished through a variety of m...
Containers and microservices have become topics of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities. Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 16th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York June 9-11 will find fresh new content in a new track called PaaS | Containers & Microservices Containers are not being considered for the first time by the cloud community, but a current era of re-consideration has pushed them to the top of the cloud agenda. With the launch ...
The world's leading Cloud event, Cloud Expo has launched Microservices Journal on the SYS-CON.com portal, featuring over 19,000 original articles, news stories, features, and blog entries. DevOps Journal is focused on this critical enterprise IT topic in the world of cloud computing. Microservices Journal offers top articles, news stories, and blog posts from the world's well-known experts and guarantees better exposure for its authors than any other publication. Follow new article posts on T...
So I guess we’ve officially entered a new era of lean and mean. I say this with the announcement of Ubuntu Snappy Core, “designed for lightweight cloud container hosts running Docker and for smart devices,” according to Canonical. “Snappy Ubuntu Core is the smallest Ubuntu available, designed for security and efficiency in devices or on the cloud.” This first version of Snappy Ubuntu Core features secure app containment and Docker 1.6 (1.5 in main release), is available on public clouds, ...
How do you securely enable access to your applications in AWS without exposing any attack surfaces? The answer is usually very complicated because application environments morph over time in response to growing requirements from your employee base, your partners and your customers. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Haseeb Budhani, CEO and Co-founder of Soha, will share five common approaches that DevOps teams follow to secure access to applications deployed in AWS, Azure, etc., and the frict...
While DevOps most critically and famously fosters collaboration, communication, and integration through cultural change, culture is more of an output than an input. In order to actively drive cultural evolution, organizations must make substantial organizational and process changes, and adopt new technologies, to encourage a DevOps culture. Moderated by Andi Mann, panelists will discuss how to balance these three pillars of DevOps, where to focus attention (and resources), where organizations m...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CodeFutures, a leading supplier of database performance tools, has been named a “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. CodeFutures is an independent software vendor focused on providing tools that deliver database performance tools that increase productivity during database development and increase database performance and scalability during production.
A few weeks ago, SmartBear hosted API Craft Boston with the folks from Akana, Ian Goldsmith and Laura Heritage, to talk about microservices. It was an extremely informative presentation of where microservices came from, what it solves, and considerations around how it might fit into an organizational API strategy. It’s one thing to read everyone else’s opinions on blogs, twitter, etc. It’s great to go to workshops and conferences, but this was so intelligently presented (and for a meetup too)...
Buzzword alert: Microservices and IoT at a DevOps conference? What could possibly go wrong? Join this panel of experts as they peel away the buzz and discuss the important architectural principles behind implementing IoT solutions for the enterprise. As remote IoT devices and sensors become increasingly intelligent, they become part of our distributed cloud environment, and we must architect and code accordingly. At the very least, you’ll have no problem filling in your buzzword bingo cards.
SYS-CON Events announced today the IoT Bootcamp – Jumpstart Your IoT Strategy, being held June 9–10, 2015, in conjunction with 16th Cloud Expo and Internet of @ThingsExpo at the Javits Center in New York City. This is your chance to jumpstart your IoT strategy. Combined with real-world scenarios and use cases, the IoT Bootcamp is not just based on presentations but includes hands-on demos and walkthroughs. We will introduce you to a variety of Do-It-Yourself IoT platforms including Arduino, Ras...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Column Technologies, a global technology solutions company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's DevOps Summit 2015 New York, which will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Established in 1998, Column Technologies is a leader in application performance and infrastructure management for commercial and federal markets. The company is headquartered in the United States, with a diverse and talented team of more than 350 employees around th...
The only place to be June 9-11 is Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo 2015 East at the Javits Center in New York City. Join us there as delegates from all over the world come to listen to and engage with speakers & sponsors from the leading Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data companies. Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo are the leading events covering the booming market of Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data for the enterprise. Speakers from all over the world will be hand-picked for their ability to explore the economic...

As a company making software for Continuous Delivery and Devops at scale, at XebiaLabs we’re pretty much always in discussions with users about the benefits and challenges of new development styles, application architectures, and runtime platforms. Unsurprisingly, many of these discussions right now focus on microservices on the application side and containers and related frameworks […]

The post Apr. 28, 2015 10:00 AM EDT  Reads: 1,207

SOA Software has changed its name to Akana. With roots in Web Services and SOA Governance, Akana has established itself as a leader in API Management and is expanding into cloud integration as an alternative to the traditional heavyweight enterprise service bus (ESB). The company recently announced that it achieved more than 90% year-over-year growth. As Akana, the company now addresses the evolution and diversification of SOA, unifying security, management, and DevOps across SOA, APIs, microser...
An explosive combination of technology trends will be where ‘microservices’ and the IoT Internet of Things intersect, a concept we can describe by comparing it with a previous theme, the ‘X Internet.' The idea of using small self-contained application components has been popular since XML Web services began and a distributed computing future of smart fridges and kettles was imagined long back in the early Internet years.