Bridging the gap between Business and IT

In many organizations a “communicative gap” exists between Business and IT. The two teams use different languages and conceptual models. This brings to latency times due to the need to translate Business concepts and requirements in the IT language and vice versa. Moreover, often the translations are poor and bring to misunderstandings and loss of information.

Sometime Business people learn the IT language and express their requirements in terms of applications and file transfers. Perhaps this is the worst scenario in which the real business needs are totally hidden and IT looses opportunities to enhance its solutions.

The communication latency prevents an immediate information exchange between Business and IT and slows down the overall reactivity of the organization in its operations in the market.

In a figurative language we can think to Business as a car driver and to IT as its vehicle that respond some second late to turn, accelerate or brake commands.

the gap between Business and IT

the gap between Business and IT

Moreover business processes “disappear” (get implicit) when passed to IT. Often, important business rules have their IT counterpart in a bunch of Java code lines hidden in millions of other code lines that manage web pages or DB accesses. The changes of business rules require time and money because they require to modify the software analysis documents, to search the IT counterparts, modify the code and test the whole application.

SOA represents a way to bridge this communicative gap. If services have a real meaning for Business you can create a one-to-one mapping between business processes and their “electronic images” that can be explicitly executed in IT systems by BPM or workflow engines. No semantic intermediations between the two models are needed




SOA+BPM bridge the gap

SOA+BPM bridge the gap

The new processes are modelled by Business people composing functional capabilities (Business Services). From the IT side the development of the new processes will be obtained by composing the correspondent technological capabilities ((Web Services, IT Services).

Business processes must be able to execute the activities offered by IT regardless the applications that actually have in charge those activities. The Business Services must have a clear meaning for the business experts that design the process and hide to them all the technical details that could blur a sharp representation of business processes.

Business process representations should make use of very few components:

  • Business services – actions executed by IT systems that have a clear business meaning (i.e. “check the client’s credit”, “create a new order”)
  • Human interactions – solicited or unsolicited man-machine conversations (i.e. “ask the manager for the authorization”, “enter the order data”)
  • Flow controls, like conditional routing or termination.

Somebody talks of a Process-View-Service (PVS) pattern that will progressively substitute the popular Model-View-Control (MVC) in the development of new applications, actually the proposed representation follows that pattern. BPMN models, as well as BPEL models enriched with human workflow, can be candidate formalisms.

A hidden component in this view are the data that flows inside the process being used as input and output data for the invoked services.

I believe that the vision described above represents the real nature of a Service Oriented Architecture and unify the disciplines of service orientation and Business Process Management (BPM). The technical aspects of SOA, like ESB or WS-* standards should be covered by another discipline, i.e. Web Services technologies.


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