Sunday, December 2, 2007


The topic of the meeting of the Israeli SOA Forum of November 29th was: BPM & SOA.
This is the 17th meeting of the SOA Forum of the Israeli Association of Information Processing.
I am moderating the forum since its imitation on March 2005. The forum meetings take place once in a month. The forum is opened for anyone involved or interested in SOA activities. Most of the meetings included presentations and discussions. The 16th meeting was exceptional: experts' panel on SOA Governance.

The presenter was Gilad Rothschild (ARIS product manager of Seker the local distributor of IDS Scheer's products).His perspective is Business Process Centric and mainly ARIS centric (and therefore focused on the modeling part of the Process Life Cycle). The view point of someone who is not a SOA expert, but rather an expert in business processes, as they are perceived by Business people instead of the usual IT people talking to IT people.

The following bullets highlight the key elements included in his presentation and/or the discussion:

  • SOA and BPM which were two separated initiatives are converging
    The demonstration reveals an IDS Scheer SOA tool called ARIS SOA Architect, aiming at connecting the modeled Business Processes with the technical SOA implementation. The connection is by automatically generating BPEL diagrams, serving as a skeleton which is supplemented by additional BPEL code for execution under the leading Application Servers. According to a recent Aberdeen Group study 4% of the Best In Class (BIC) plan "to deploy BPM suites that don't provide SOA interfaces"

  • Processes have Life Cycle from Modeling (including Business Process Analysis (BPA)) Implementation or Deployment, Monitoring (BAM), Improvement

  • ARIS gateway between Modeling and Implementation is by pressing a button, which is the trigger for generating the BPEL. The gateway is bidirectional i.e. it is possible to generate the process model from BPEL code.

  • The BPM tool Repository and its relationship with the Enterprise Service Repository and the Enterprise Service Registry

ARIS is a leading BPA tool according to Gartner's Magic Quadrant, but also by its selection as the preferred partner by the applications giants (SAP and Oracle and now also Microsoft).

Open issues discussed during the meeting:

1. Are there any BPM tools providing integrated solution for the whole Process Life Cycle? One of the participants argued that Lombardi and Agile Point tools cover the whole Life Cycle.

2. Dynamic Gateway between Process Modeling and Process Implementation vs. Manual or Half Automatic Gateway (as implemented by ARIS)
The notion of dynamic gateway refers to automatic update of the model due to changes in implemented process as well as update of the BPEL model in case of changes in the Business Model.
The discussion focused on two issues: is Fully Dynamic Gateway a realistic approach? And if it is realistic is it a better or worse than the Half Automatic approach?

3. The need to supplement the generated BPEL as a possible source for incompatibilities between the Business Process Model and The Business Process Implementation.

My take:

  • SOA is not technology it is architecture of Business and IT alignment, so the view of BPM as a Business model and SOA as a Technical model is incorrect. Both SOA and BPM include Business view and Technical view. SOA Business view is the Business Architecture. Properly defined Services are defined as Business Services.

  • The SOA Services may serve as building blocks of Processes. This approach may reduce the amount of supplemented code (Open issue 3) and narrow the gap between the Process Model and Process Implementation.

  • The Bidirectional Gateway between model and code is analogous to the Bidirectional Gateway in CASE tools for Object Oriented: The generated code from UML design is just a skeleton, which should be supplemented by Object Oriented code same as the generated process code should be supplemented by additional code. The implication is that it should be easier to update a model from coed than to update code from a model. The implication may be valid for both Processes (BPA and BPM) and Program Functionality (CASE tools).

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