Oracle OpenWorld: SOA-Enabled BPM Adoption, Reference Architecture and Methodology Aspects

Full disclosure: I’m attending Oracle OpenWorld courtesy of Oracle.

The speakers for this session were Manas Deb, Sr. Director, SOA/BPM/Governance Product Management from Oracle and Mark Wilkins, Enterprise Architect, EAP, from Oracle.

They framed up the session as a discussion based on best practices from their EA practice, focused on companies who have a goal to adopt to BPM, built on a foundation of services. They began with a quick recap on what they feel SOA and BPM are, with SOA being focused on encapsulation and loose coupling, and BPM being focused on improved efficiency. I’m not going to debate those definitions here, just repeated them to understand the context of the presentation.

They, like many others, extended the three tier model to insert processes between the presentation tier and the service tier. The one thing that they did do was to not claim the process layer was a new tier, rather, they presented it as an extension of the services tier. Obviously, the one risk with this is it immediately puts BPM into a technology context, rather than a business context. This isn’t a problem, but it shouldn’t be the sole focus of your BPM and SOA conversations. It may be the cornerstone for conversations with IT developers, engineers, and solution architects, but certainly not for analysts, business architects, and other non-IT staff.

The first slide on methodology is emphasizing what they are calling scopes. The examples shown include enterprise (cross-project) scope, project scope, and operations scope. At the enterprise scope, the interest is assessment, strategy, and planning. It performs value-benefits analysis, forms CoEs, establishes roadmaps and maturity models, plans the portfolio, establishes governance, etc. The project scope is execution and delivery focused, the operations scope is focused on measurements, scorecards, and keeping things running. It’s important to keep these scopes, or viewpoints, in mind and ensure that they all work together.

Mark went on to blow through a whole bunch of slides way too quickly. This should have been a 60 minute presentation. It appeared that there was some good content in there, including Oracle’s approach to the use of BPM and SOA conceptual reference architectures and how they eventually drive down to the physical view of the underlying infrastructure. He went on to show examples of the conceptual architectures for BPM and SOA, some information on a maturity model, a governance framework, and a few slides that tried to fit it all together. Once I’m able to download the slides, I’ll try to remember to come back and edit this post with the details. It’s unfortunate that a presentation that appeared to have very good content with appeal to architects got crammed into half the time frame of the other sessions.

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