In today’s IT world, service-oriented architecture is not a new term for enterprises. It has been adopted widely and quickly by many. However, most SOA adoptions focus only on the pilot phase and production implementation to meet immediate business needs. Requirements by business teams, traditional software development methodologies, inadequate time invested on post implementation strategies etc are few reasons for SOA not being adopted for enterprise standardization.

Some of the common questions with respect to SOA implementation are: How can SOA help to monitor the business function & processes? How can it provide opportunities to build mature business processes? and so on. To understand the importance of optimizing the enterprise services & business processes, we will look into below concepts:

Purpose of Service and Business Process Optimization: SOA helps in accomplishing integrations & business-process enabling for enterprises. The availability of SOA tools, technologies and products helps in building the enterprise services and business processes quickly. Business processes should be defined based on the enterprise’s business strategy and goals. The service orientation and business processes not only help to meet the process and integration needs quickly, but also help generate reports, measurements and findings that can improve opportunities.

Measure to Identify the Services and Processes Needing Improvements: Enterprise services and business processes should
be monitored at runtime. Business Activity Monitoring (BAM) is a monitoring methodology with dashboard capabilities that helps to monitor all services and business processes. It can also help to capture the messages exchanged by interfaces in integration and in business processes. Monitoring and measuring the performance of the activities that happen in the SOA and business process infrastructure will certainly help to optimize the service assets.

Service and Business Process Optimization: Enterprise service and service-oriented business process optimizations are mostly related to each other in that they require improvements on both sides to gain higher results. If there are any performance, scope, granularity, or stability issues in the services, this could influence the performance of the business process that consumes those services to meet business objectives. Each of the services in an SOA layer should undergo quality tests in the area of service usability, service performance, service scope, and stability to collect performance metrics to identify improvement opportunities.

SOA Governance Lifecycle for Optimization: The SOA governance lifecycle include phases like planning, defining, enabling, and
measuring. Though the planning, defining & enabling phases are similar to software lifecycle development phases, the measuring phase of lifecycle is purely about monitoring the performance of the business and integration services, the business processes, the SLA, and the data that flows through the services and processes, such as exceptions and reasons for those exceptions etc. Measuring the performance of the service infrastructure is important to improve the service assets.

Key Roles in Service and Business Process Optimization: Measuring the service and business process performance in the enterprise infrastructure and optimizing them requires some level of concentration from both the business and IT teams. The key stakeholders in making the whole optimization process a success are – Business leaders, Process/operation owners, SOA Architect, Business Process Architect & Development managers.

Benefits of Service and Process Optimization: The objective of service and business process optimization is to improve the enterprise operational capabilities to meet the business goals. It also helps improve the performance of enterprise level services to meet higher SLA targets, provides a clear vision of the organizational activities and bottlenecks to business leaders, help to build enterprise level standardization, data flow and data availability, achieve higher ROI etc.

Service-oriented architecture and business process adoption requires effort in monitoring services and measuring performance. This helps increase the efficiency of how the business and processes are executed in the enterprise. The goal should be to adopt SOA and business processes with higher maturity.

The detailed version of this article written by Hariharan V. Ganesarethinam, Senior Architect, Aspire Systems is published in the Feb, 2012 issue of Service Technology Magazine. The full article can be accessed here.

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