The future of SOA and BPM and emerging trends

The future of SOA and BPM and emerging trends

During a Microsoft software-oriented architecture (SOA) user conference analyst firm Gartner advised businesses to increase their focus on penetrating the SOA market in order to remain competitive in the market.

Gartner analyst Mark Raskino, said that traditionally business process management (BPM) strategies were deployed to enable more IT productivity, but now they are needed to enable business flexibility.

Priorities for business leaders should include making acquisitions and tracking growth in emerging markets, Raskino said. And for executives to take advantage of market opportunities business functions and processes need to be adapted quickly, he added.

For a business to increase its flexibility the majority of a company needs SOA architecture with BPM functions on top, said Raskino. Matt Dunstan, Microsoft application platform group manager, agreed, saying that it is about undergoing a “shift from an IT driven strategy to a business driven strategy.”

Through introducing BPM and SOA, firms can have increase visibility of their processes and thus can adapt more quickly, Raskino added. “What is happening at the moment is without this form of movement, the company cannot adapt quickly enough to the challenge of globalisation,” he added.

The BPM flowcharts also help increase the compliance of business processes because they prevent the procedures from being buried too deep in the software, said Raskino. They also push the business and IT department to be more integrated, he added.

Raskino believes the industry to be half the way through enterprise platform migration, and said “this is not just a value added benefit of what people would like to see; this is a drive for competitiveness.”

Factors that are holding companies back from evolving SOA infrastructures are the platforms' perceived complexity and the requirement for standards and governance processes, Dunstan explained.

“This quandary is further complicated by the pressure on IT departments to justify the business case for SOA and raise its profile sufficiently to document ROI, inline with business strategy,” he added. “Those that have been successful have tended to pilot SOA on a small scale in the first instance or integrate it into a much larger IT project".

Microsoft also launched a Real World SOA programme at the conference. This will take place at the Microsoft technology centre and will give customers more understanding of SOA and how to accelerate its deployment on the Microsoft platform, said Gavin King, Biztalk product group senior product manager at the firm.

The Microsoft Oslo project, announced in October, provides organisations with models to build repositories and architecture to quickly deploy SOA architecture and applications.

Dunstan said that for businesses to shift from an IT driven strategy to a business one, they need good governance, change management processes and a method for modelling an application, but he explained that “the tools and IT process that they go through in an SOA context are just different.”

“Some new challenges might be: ensuring the security and quality of web services, a means to manage a web service across its lifestyle and even defining web services – not so much what it means but rather the degree and granularity of its definition,” he added..