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service-oriented process

veryard projects > process > service orientation
process characteristics
(old economy)
process characteristics
(new economy)
Linear Designed as a series of steps
Chronological Steps executed in time-sequence
Cumulative Adding value at each step
Synchronous Each step is dependent and waiting upon the previous steps.
Integrated Tight coupling between steps
. Parallel
. Diachronic
. Collaborative
. Asynchronous
. Loosely coupled
Service Oriented Economy

Process Notions

SOA Modelling Workshop


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Business Processes in the Old Economy

veryard projects > process > service oriented > old

In the old economy, a standard enterprise transforms raw materials and components into finished product. In its simplest form, the business process can be represented as the kind of production line designed by Henry Ford. Our standard conceptions both of the business process and of the software process have been dominated by the production line. Although neither the business process nor the software process is ever quite as simple as this – the typical process includes parallel streams, iteration, queues, workload buffers and other complications – this is the starting point.

In theory, manufacturing could go all the way from raw materials to finished goods in a single production line. However, in most manufacturing contexts, this production line is subdivided, with some production lines designed to produce components, which are then input to other production lines. This is usually true even in so-called vertically integrated companies, where all the production lines belong to the same company and are fairly tightly coordinated.

Until recently, most software development was organized in a single production line – with a complete application produced, as it were, from nothing. Within the CBD world, however, we have long been aware of the advantages of so-called twin-track development, where the software process is divided into at least two production lines – one to produce software components, and another to assemble software components into applications.

Even service industries, such as finance, are often based on business processes constructed on the same principles and assumptions: linear, chronological, cumulative and synchronous. This is the normal basis for defining workflow and controlling work, so that an increasing proportion of the workforce may be working within some kind of virtual or abstract production line – converting blank application forms into mortgages, say.

But the business process is not just the workflow. A bank doesn’t make money by converting blank forms into mortgages; it makes money by providing a range of savings and loan services to its customers.

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Business Processes in the Service-Oriented Economy

veryard projects > process > service oriented > new

In the service-based economy, the core business model is no longer based on the conversion of raw materials into finished goods. The enterprise buys in services and sells services, and the core value proposition is the conversion of input services into output services. This calls for a very different kind of business process model, which allows us to see how services combine and interact to make other services.

The same considerations apply to IT systems and their requirements. An IT application provides a set of services – either to human users or to other IT systems – and uses a series of other services in order to achieve this. Although for many purposes it is good enough to have a model that simply shows the IT services used by the application, a complete model of the services used by an IT application should also show the use of such human services as system administration.

Showing how an IT application is dependent upon human as well as IT services is particularly important for requirements like security, where the functionality of the authorization and authentication subsystems may be critically dependent upon human administrators to issue passwords and so on. It is also relevant for the design of On-Demand systems, where the system’s ability to respond to changes in demand may call for some defined level of human intervention.

In the traditional economy, the enterprise is dependent upon the supply of raw materials and components. Companies pay considerable attention to the supply chain, not merely to drive down costs but also to deal with various risks such as interruption or contamination to supply that would threaten business efficiency and continuity. In the service-based economy, we need to pay similar attention to the service supply chain – making sure that dependencies on service providers are properly managed.
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This page last updated on December 5th, 2003
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