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May 20 07 AMR Research Report

The value of service-oriented architecture (SOA),


SOA and BPM for hardly a foregone conclusion, will be found in
business process management, which promises to
Enterprise Applications: create unique and differentiating business processes
A Dose of Reality on top of the same software that competitors use.
Given this differentiation, companies can and should
pilot these tools now to gain experience.
by Bill Swanton and Ian Finley
© Copyright 2007 by AMR Research, Inc.

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SOA and BPM for Enterprise Applications:
A Dose of Reality
by Bill Swanton and Ian Finley

Although SOA/BPM tools are maturing rapidly, companies focused on adding


The
unique business processes to their enterprise applications will find major
differences in complexity and development effort between the vendors and
Bottom
must plan accordingly.
Line

The major platform and applications vendors have been hyping the
Executive benefits of service-oriented architecture (SOA) for several years, but
Vendors featured
in this Report:
Summary most of our manufacturing and retail clients say, “SOA what?” Unlike
BEA Systems
most of the SOA pioneers cited as references by vendors, these com-
IBM
panies, interested in exploiting that investment and not developing custom software, have
Oracle
built an IT landscape around a major ERP suite, such as Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS)
SAP
or SAP. For these companies, the value of SOA will be found in business process man-
TIBCO
agement (BPM), which promises to allow companies to create unique and differentiating
webMethods
business processes on top of the same software many of their competitors use.

To meet this promise, these tools must allow business analysts and developers to
collaborate closely on developing and iteratively improving the new business process.
In order to effectively assess SOA/BPM toolsets, AMR Research presented the major
vendors with a supply chain business process and asked them to show us how their
tools would be used to implement it. Here’s what we found:
• Many roles, skills, and tools are needed throughout the SOA/BPM development lifecycle.
• Three distinct models for linking SOA and BPM will affect collaboration and
continuous improvement.
• Ease of development varies as vendors continue to integrate and rationalize their suites.
• The depth and breadth of tools needed depends on your company’s SOA strategy.
• Catalogs of standard services, now in their infancy, will be critical for widespread adoption.
• ERP vs. non-ERP: choosing an SOA framework depends on maturity as well as your
strategy for applications and development outside ERP.

Companies can and should pilot SOA/BPM tools now to gain experience. Depending on
your chosen vendor, you might want to wait until the tools and services catalogs mature
over the next 18 to 24 months before committing to intensive development on mission-
critical processes. You may find it takes more effort than expected, and you may need to
rework the application to work with the next version of the platform. In any case, we rec-
ommend companies begin their effort with small pilot projects in order to better under-
stand the potential of the technology and its process and organizational impacts.

AMR Research Report | May 2007 © AMR Research, Inc. 


AMR Research SOA/BPM scenario

Unlike companies in other industries that focus on managing the cost and flexibility
of custom software and legacy applications, the goal for most manufacturers and
retailers is to enhance the value of their packaged applications. Table 1 shows the
scenario we specified for the vendors who took part in our study. It is a familiar one in
the manufacturing and retailing world: deciding whether to accept a rush order from
a customer based on capacity, transportation availability, and the value or strategic
importance of the customer.

Table 1: AMR Research SOA/BPM scenario

Step Role Activity Systems


1 Order Entry Gets customer request for rush order. If it’s from a CRM, ERP
“good customer,” request special order from factory.

2 Factory Information automatically fed to planning system, ERP, plant


Scheduler which tries to find a feasible schedule. If not, scheduling
scheduler intervenes to propose alternate date.

3 Transport Automatically tries to schedule transport in line with TMS,


Manager new schedule. If not, scheduler interacts with logis- 3PL Web
tics provider’s system to try alternatives or propose Service
alternate date.
4 Order Entry Confirms new order to customer. CRM

5 Operations Dashboard of order volume, percentage special BAM, BI


Manager orders, and histogram of cycle times to confirm
orders (activity monitoring).

Source: AMR Research, 2007

Though some software vendors can accomplish this within their applications, most
companies use manual processes and multiple, heterogeneous applications to handle
rush orders. So, we created a scenario that required:
• The integration of software packages from several vendors
• Access to data about the customer in a data warehouse
• Access to an external web service
• The combination of human workflow and automated processing and integration

While few large-scale deployments combining BPM, SOA, and ERP exist today, we
anticipate manufacturing and retail companies will often apply SOA and BPM technology
in this type of scenario in the future.

 © 2007 AMR Research, Inc. AMR Research Report | May 2007


Many roles, skills, and tools are needed throughout
the SOA/BPM development lifecycle
Few who have studied SOA and BPM to any degree believe that business analysts
will be able to sit down and imagine a new business process, sketch it out, and push a
button to put it into production. A whole range of skills is needed for different parts
of the problem, as shown in Table 2. These different skills need different tools and
representations of the process and underlying services. A key issue is minimizing the
number of people and length of time needed to develop and change applications to
implement a business process. Achieving this helps realize the core promise of SOA and
BPM: greater business process agility.

Table 2: BPM roles and lifecycle


Notation/
Role Lifecycle Stage Description Standards
Business Owner Business High-level description of ARIS
Modeling business goals and strategy.

Business Analyst Business Process Describe specific business BPMN, XPDL, ARIS
Modeling process, roles, and information
at a user level.

Process/Service Technical Process Convert conceptual process BPEL, XPDL


Architect Modeling diagram into a more specific
executable construct; separate
human and machine tasks and
determine how to implement.
Service Modeling Describe/select services BPEL, various
needed to implement
business process on top of
existing systems.
Service Service Create necessary services from Various
Developer Development existing services, interfaces,
data sources, and link to busi-
ness process model.
Operations Service Deploy services for use. Various
Deployment

Operation Execute the business process Various


and ensure service
performance.

All Business Activity Monitor performance of


Monitoring business process and
systems.

Note: This is a composite of the various vendors’ models. Source: AMR Research, 2007

AMR Research Report | May 2007 © AMR Research, Inc. 


SOA by definition needs services. Most BPM schemes try to approach the elusive
goal of codeless development by moving complexity from within the application
into the services infrastructure—the SOA part of the solution. If the services are
available, stitching them together to form a new or changed business process was a
relatively quick and straightforward affair in all the tools we evaluated. However,
the right services are often not available. The biggest variables in development time
and complexity were in making new services available that implemented the business
analyst’s intent.

There are several related issues to be evaluated:


• Is the service you need available from your applications vendor? SAP and Oracle
are starting to build out catalogs of standard services as part of their ERP suites, but
it will be several years before this cuts across all functionality. SAP and Oracle are
also making it easy to access their catalogs from within their SOA/BPM toolsets, but
it is not clear how easy these catalogs will be to access from the toolsets of other ven-
dors. (Note: we are using the word catalog here so it is not confused with the services
repository that holds both vendor-defined and user-developed services.)
• If a service is not available, a process/service architect must interpret the
business analyst’s intent and specify the service. To create a new service, a services
developer must then write code, use service composition tools to combine existing
services, wrap existing application programming interfaces (APIs), and/or use data
access routines. Each vendor provided a range of tools here, including programming
aids, visual composition tools, and specialized tools for service-enabling data sources
and messaging middleware.
• Regardless of the source of the services, it is better to find them rather than
rewrite them. In a large enterprise with many projects and applications, a strong
services repository will be important because it enables services reuse in a controlled
manner. An SOA repository holds the development, deployment, and management
specifications for all the services available, enabling services to be created, used,
reused, modified, and retired in a governed way. A key part of its job is to keep track
of what processes and applications are using a service, control access to the service,
and describe which applications will be affected by proposed changes to the service.

A good toolset provides the right level of interfaces for business analysts, service archi-
tects, service developers, and systems managers, among others, while allowing them to
collaborate closely to iteratively create and improve the automated business process.

One note on architecture: there are several levels of architecture at play here. The
process/service architect differs from an overall enterprise architect, who worries about
the overall plan for systems, applications, and SOA. We expect to see organizational
design change as SOA takes hold and the process/service architect may be an
individual contributor within the larger enterprise architecture group.

 © 2007 AMR Research, Inc. AMR Research Report | May 2007


Three distinct models for linking SOA and BPM will
affect collaboration and continuous improvement
Given that BPM will be the center of the SOA effort for the use cases we expect to
be deployed, the collaboration of the business analyst and process/service architect is
critical. The business analyst’s scope is often larger than the technical implementation
of the process. It may include documenting the business strategy and linking high-level
business processes to it. The business process may include manual steps not covered
by the IT-based systems. Tools, most notably IDS Scheer’s ARIS suite, are commonly
used here to define and document the process, but not to execute it.

The vendors we reviewed used three major approaches to taking a high-level process
definition and getting into an SOA development environment (see Figure 1):
• Waterfall model—This approach exports the business process model from the
business analyst’s tools and imports it into the development environment. This one-
way process resembles the traditional waterfall software development model. The
downside of this approach is that further changes or improvements to the model
need to be managed manually on both sides to avoid divergence over time.
• Synchronized models—Both sets of tools share a common portion of the model,
while each side’s model can carry additional information not needed by the other.
Enough context is maintained so that a change made on either side synchronizes
with the other, albeit flagged to be evaluated. This approach allows very rich
tools on each side to provide more scope up into the business and down into the
programming world, all while allowing for continuous improvement.
• Single model—In terms of simplicity, this is the most attractive approach. There is
a single model, but different specialized tools can be used by each role to work on it,
which provides both the business analyst and process/service architect a different level
of detail on the same process. The only downside to this approach is that the business
modeling environment is not as rich as that found in a tool like ARIS, though most
of the single-model BPM products could import from ARIS, Visio, BPMN, or other
models as a starting point for developing the technical business process.

Since relatively few companies do rich modeling of their business processes, high-level
modeling tools may not be an important consideration for you. For extensive business
modeling to ensure that business processes implemented in SOA/BPM match the
model, understand what will be necessary to accomplish this with the vendor under
evaluation.

AMR Research Report | May 2007 © AMR Research, Inc. 


Figure 1: Models for linking BPM and SOA

Lifecycle Waterfall Synchronized Single


Stage Model Models Model

Business Process BPM Tool BPM Tool


Modeling
Business User
BPM Model Process Interface
XPDL, View View
Synchronize Common
Technical Process BPEL
BPEL Model Model Technical
Modeling Service
View Process
Developer Developer View
Service Modeling Tool 1 Tool 1
(and simple
development)
Repository Repository Repository

Service Developer Developer Developer


Development Tool 2 Tool 2 Tool 2

Source: AMR Research, 2007

 © 2007 AMR Research, Inc. AMR Research Report | May 2007


Ease of development varies as vendors continue to
integrate and rationalize their suites
SOA and BPM vendors did not start out delivering full-fledged suites. These products
evolved from earlier integration tools and grew by acquisition or new development
of suite components, especially BPM. At the same time, the vendors feverishly keep
their products up to date with existing and proposed web services and business process
standards, all tallying the number of standards committees they participate in and
chair. Finally, they are integrating all of the various tools into a common development
framework, usually based on the open Eclipse standard, to more easily keep various
parts of a project consistent and reduce development effort.

The development necessary to implement AMR Research’s SOA/BPM scenario showed


a marked difference between the vendors. The more integrated tools took two people
a day or two to build the demo. Vendors with the less integrated toolsets had to invest
significantly more time and use more individuals with distinct skillsets.

Table 3 shows the multitude of products each vendor uses to cover various aspects of
their SOA framework (for more, see “A Framework Approach to SOA”). While the
vendors integrate the products technically, the marketing message often moves ahead
of reality. Components may be rebranded under a common name, such as NetWeaver
or AquaLogic, but they remain separate products from disparate organizations that
are working toward a common architecture. Several parts of a composite application
may need to be built separately and assembled outside the core tools and development
environment.

If we look at this from the point of view of the tool used to develop business process
models, Table 3 shows in bold those components tightly integrated into a BPM
framework. The other products work with these models, but may be distinct tools
or frameworks. These disconnects will disappear over the next few years. In the
meantime, evaluate whether the complexity these disconnects add can be managed in
your development organization.

AMR Research Report | May 2007 © AMR Research, Inc. 


Table 3: Summary of vendor SOA framework components
web-
Capability BEA Systems IBM Oracle SAP TIBCO Methods

BPM Multiple (waterfall for


Development BPEL, single for guided
Lifecycle Model Single Waterfall Synchronized procedures) Single Single

User Interface

General AquaLogic WebSphere • Portal • Enterprise Portal • General BPM—


Interaction Integration • WebCenter Suite • Visual Composer Interface Composite
Developer • webDynpro • PortalBuilder Application
• NetWeaver Framework
Developer Studio
• SAP Interactive Forms
(Adobe)

Workflow AquaLogic BPM WebSphere BPEL Process Enterprise Portal iProcess Client BPM
Suite Integration Manager—Human Guided Procedures
Developer Workflow Services
& Workflow Editor

Business Process

Business WebSphere Business Process Long-term partnership


Modeling Business Analysis (BPA) with IDS Scheer, bidi-
Modeler Suite rectional integration,
(OEM IDS Scheer) shared BP repository

BPM for AquaLogic BPM WebSphere BPA Suite • IDS Scheer ARIS Business Studio BPM
Business Suite Business • Enterprise Portal
Analyst Modeler Guided Procedures

Simulation AquaLogic BPM WebSphere BPA Suite IDS Scheer ARIS Business Studio
Suite Business
Modeler

BPM for AquaLogic BPM WebSphere BPEL Process • EP Guided Business Studio BPM
Architect/ Suite Integration Manager Procedures
Developer Developer (sync with BPA • NetWeaver PI Process
Suite) Modeler (XI)

Rules Engine AquaLogic BPM WebSphere Business Rules Some rules capability • iProcess BPM
Suite Integration (also connects to built into Enterprise Decisions (OEM (OEM Fair
Developer iLog and Fair Isaac Portal and XI Corticon) Isaac)
through Decision • Business
Server) Studio

Business AquaLogic BPM WebSphere Business Activity KPIs are available as Business Events BPM
Activity Suite Business Monitor Monitoring part of SAP’s BI content
Monitoring
(BAM)

Note 1: Bold denotes components well integrated into the same development framework as the Source: AMR Research, 2007
BPM tools (more than common branding of component names).
Note 2 : Vendors use various terms, such as repository, registry, and composite application framework quite differently. Terms in lead
column are defined in Table 3a for the purposes of this Report. The data under each vendor name is its component name that contains the
equivalent functionality.

 © 2007 AMR Research, Inc. AMR Research Report | May 2007


Table 3: Summary of vendor SOA framework components (continued)
web-
Capability BEA Systems IBM Oracle SAP TIBCO Methods

BPM Multiple (waterfall for


Development BPEL, single for guided
Lifecycle Model Single Waterfall Synchronized procedures) Single Single

Service Development

Service AquaLogic WebSphere • Enterprise Service • NetWeaver PI (XI & • Business Works BPM
Aggregation/ Integrator Integration Bus ccBPM) • Business Studio &
Composition Developer • BPEL Process • Composite ActiveMatrix
Manager Applications Framework
• JDeveloper & ADF Core

Data Services AquaLogic Data • WebSphere Integration


Services Platform Integration Server
Developer
• Information Server

Service AquaLogic WebSphere Service Metadata Services • Enterprise Services XML Canon can be Infravio
Repository Enterprise Registry and Library on Web for SAP used to implement X-Registry
Repository Repository published services some of this func-
• Locally defined tionality
services man-
aged in NetWeaver
Development
Infrastructure and XI

Execution

Enterprise AquaLogic Service • WebSphere Process Enterprise Service Enterprise Services Business Works Integration
Services Bus Bus Server Bus Infrastructure Server
(ESB) • Enterprise Service
Bus
• Message Broker
• Datapower
(appliance)

Service AquaLogic Service WebSphere Service Service Registry Policy enforcement ActiveMatrix Infravio
Registry Registry Registry and (OEM Systinet) through AmberPoint Registry X-Registry
(OEM Systinet) Repository partnership (OEM Systinet)

Monitoring AquaLogic SOA Tivoli IT Composite Enterprise Manager Development partner- HAWK and Optimize for
Management Application Monitor ship with AmberPoint Administrator Infrastructure
(OEM AmberPoint) for SOA

Development Eclipse (not all tools Eclipse JDeveloper Eclipse Eclipse (not all Eclipse
Framework ported yet) (Eclipse support for tools ported yet)
some tools)

Server WebLogic Server, WebSphere Process Oracle Application • NetWeaver ABAP AS Does not require Does not
Environment (WebSphere, Server Server (JBOSS, • NetWeaver Java AS application server require
Tomcat, JBOSS, and WebLogic, application
others as well) WebSphere also) server

Release AquaLogic BPM 6.0.2 10g Release3 NetWeaver 7.0 (2004S) • iProcess Suite Fabric 7
Evaluated Suite 5.7 MP2 10.5
• Business Studio
2.0
Note 1: Bold denotes components well integrated into the same development framework as the Source: AMR Research, 2007
BPM tools (more than common branding of component names).
Note 2 : Vendors use various terms, such as repository, registry, and composite application framework quite differently. Terms in lead
column are defined in Table 3a for the purposes of this Report. The data under each vendor name is its component name that contains the
equivalent functionality.
AMR Research Report | May 2007 © AMR Research, Inc. 
Table 3a: Summary of vendor SOA framework components—notes

Topic Capability Notes


BPM See Figure 1, which describes how new business process and changes to
Development existing ones are communicated between business analysts, architects, and
Lifecycle Model developers.
User Interface General General tool for creating user interfaces that can interact with the business
processes. Some vendors offer a tool closely integrated with their BPM tool,
while for some it is a separate capability linked through the SOA.
Workflow Workflow tool for creating sequential processes that are passed to people to
work on. Usually includes a simple form builder, workflow rules, and a stan-
dardized user interface for the worker’s inbox and interacting with the work-
flow items. This may be customizable for corporate branding, performance
measures, etc.
Business Process Business Modelling High-level description of business goals and strategy.
BPM for Business Describe specific business process, roles, and information at a user level.
Analyst

Simulation Simulate execution of the proposed business process to determine if there


are sufficient resources (people, etc.) and responsiveness to work in the real
world.
BPM for Architect/ Determine how to realize the business process, deciding which parts are
Developer handled outside the BPM/SOA/IT and what tools will be used to implement
the rest. Select and/or model (for later development) the services needed by
the business process.
Rules Engine Allows common business decisions to be specified outside of the low-level
code and changed, especially parametrically, without changing the code.
Gives flexibility to automated decision making by making it easy to change
as business needs change.
Business Activity Analyze event-based information to determine business process perfor-
Monitoring (BAM) mance. This can be tied to the process developed by the BPM tool or work
off general events to analyze the existing system before defining the new
process.
Service Service Aggregation/ Developing services modeled by architect. Often combining more granular
Development Composition services or APIs into a higher level service that maps more cleanly to the BPM
level tasks. This level often involves enterprise application integration (EAI)
tools, Java development, and other more technical tasks.
Data Services Specialized tool for creating services to access data. May be used to hide
complexities of multiple sources of data from the higher level business pro-
cess. Useful when trying to build a single business process that may need to
access data from multiple back-end systems depending on conditions.
Service Repository Development repository of all artifacts (services, user interfaces, business
processes, data structures, etc.) used in the development framework and
SOA environment. More advanced tools provide governance capabilities to
manage approval of new services, changes, dependencies, and access to ser-
vices by specific projects.
Source: AMR Research, 2007

10 © 2007 AMR Research, Inc. AMR Research Report | May 2007


Table 3a: Summary of vendor SOA framework components—notes (continued)

Topic Capability Notes


Execution Enterprise Services Provides integration mechanism for invoking services and integrating appli-
Bus (ESB) cations. Abstracts connections so individual applications and processes can
be developed without hard-coding connections.
Service Registry Provides security and policy enforcement at runtime.

Monitoring Tools to monitor processes and service levels as they execute, as well as
intervene to resolve problems, such as hung or timed-out processes
Development Framework for integrating development tools and navigating different com-
Framework ponents of a project

Server Environment Environments supported

Release Evaluated Release level of major BPM and SOA components used. Most vendors are on
a 6-9 month development cycle, so capabilities and scoring could change
rapidly over the next two years.
Source: AMR Research, 2007

A tightly integrated development environment reduces the effort to


build, test, and promote a composite application to production

Table 4 contains the criteria we used to rank the vendors. Most of them boil down to
how well integrated the tools are or how expansive of an applications landscape they
can contain. Some examples:
• webMethods has a single tool for BPM that covers process, user interface, and
business activity monitoring (BAM), while SAP has many separate tools, each of
which tackles a particular human or system process type.
• IBM’s BAM tool ties key performance indicator (KPI) definitions back to its
business modeling tool, while Oracle’s uses a separate capability that came from its
PeopleSoft acquisition.

Again, we expect some of these differences to disappear over time, so use the
information to set expectations and boundaries for your short-term SOA and BPM
activities.

AMR Research Report | May 2007 © AMR Research, Inc. 11


Table 4: SOA/BPM scenario evaluation criteria

Level of Capability
Why It
Factor 1 2 3 4 5 Matters
Business Incomplete Some end-to- Well coordinated Synchronized Single integrated Value of SOA
Process set of tools for end tools for set of tools for business pro- toolset working is in BPM and
Management designing busi- developing one system-to-sys- cess definition on a model for simple-to-use,
ness process form of business tem, human between busi- creating com- comprehensive
including human process (e.g., workflow, and ness modeling bined system- tools that reduce
workflow and human work- user interface. and technical to-system and the cost and
system-to-sys- flow). Business Business model- process model- human workflow effort of imple-
tem integration. modeling, BPM, ling is separate ing. with multiple menting pro-
No business ana- and SOA activi- and unidirec- views for differ- cesses, speeding
lyst UI develop- ties requiring tional in a water- ent roles. process improve-
ment tools. importing of fall development ment.
information from approach.
one tool to the
next.

Integration of Separate tools Separate groups Many tools inte- Common All BPM and SOA Reduces com-
Development used for differ- of tools for busi- grated into com- development tools in single plexity of devel-
ent functions ness modeling, mon framework, framework, but development opment process
with minimal BPM, and SOA but still porting limited registry framework and while reducing
support for activities requir- all needed tools and repository using common chances of
managing whole ing importing of into environ- capabilities. repository. incompatible
composite appli- information from ment. processes.
cation. No inte- one tool to the
gration between next.
business analyst
and developer
tools other than
reports.

Registry and No registry capa- Unintegrated Service registry Services reposi- Enterprise-wide Allows auto-
Repository bility. registry for ser- integrated to tory for storing registry and mated control
vice discovery both business additional meta- repository cover- of service usage
and policy defi- analyst and data about ser- ing development and deploy-
nition. developer proj- vices including and runtime ment in large
ect development business analyst with extensive organizations
framework. and developer SOA governance and reduces
models. Both capabilities to chances of
repository and manage access changes by one
registry capabili- and dependen- group affecting
ties controlling cies. Includes another.
development actionable and
and runtime with enforceable
some SOA gover- performance
nance capability. characteristics
and acceptable
values, linked to
BAM.
Source: AMR Research, 2007

12 © 2007 AMR Research, Inc. AMR Research Report | May 2007


Table 4: SOA/BPM scenario evaluation criteria (continued)

Level of Capability
Why It
Factor 1 2 3 4 5 Matters
Services Manual entry of Basic capabilities Visual service Visual tools Visual service Simplifies com-
Development services into reg- to create service design tools for creation of design tools for plexity of busi-
istry. Requires models in regis- enable service new services creation of new ness process
WSDL and pro- try from WSDL definition. from common services, includ- at top level by
gramming for files. Requires Integrated APIs and small ing definition of allowing creation
service creation. WSDL and pro- with developer grain services, new application of more granular
gramming for design environ- including trans- logic. services.
new service cre- ment. Requires formations
ation. programming for from APIs and
new services. composing large
grain services
from smaller
services and
APIs. Requires
programming
for new applica-
tion logic.

Enterprise Basic capabilities Ability to intro- Standard Services for ERP Services avail- Companies with
Applications to access APIs, spect service services for and other appli- able from extensive pack-
Services databases, and and API defini- accessing mes- cations available industry vertical aged applica-
Catalog web services. tions from par- sage oriented as standard and horizontally tions want to
ticular enterprise middleware components focused commu- use the vendor’s
applications ven- (MOM) messages (supported and nities. services rather
dor libraries (e.g., provided. upgraded by the than creating
SAP or Oracle) vendor). their own.

User Interface User interface Human work- Integrated Business analyst Auto-generated Improves user
Development development flow as part of standard can use auto- UIs available for experience
separate from portal tools. components generation tools most functions. accelerating
BPM develop- Programming for workflow construct UIs All UI tools inte- adoption of new
ment. may be required management, associated with grated into BPM processes.
to build a gen- UI templates, human work- development
eral UI. and field pre- flow. framework as
population. May types of steps/
require some tasks.
programming to
finish UI.

Business Limited. Basic process Event capture Complex event Decision-making Critical to mea-
Activity metrics like cycle and analytic analysis to framework to suring and diag-
Monitoring time for opera- tools for calcula- detect correla- take automated nosing problems
tions monitoring. tion and creating tions and inter- action or make in existing
dashboards. actions between recommenda- processes and
events and infer tions based on measuring ser-
conclusions. inferences. vice levels and
compliance in
new processes.

Source: AMR Research, 2007

AMR Research Report | May 2007 © AMR Research, Inc. 13


The depth and breadth of tools needed depends on
your company’s SOA strategy
You may not need a toolset with high scores in all categories. In fact, the highest
scoring vendors may introduce more complexity than you need, especially in categories
like services development and registry and repository. Critical in highly complex, very
heterogeneous, high-volume, or extensive custom software environments, like banks,
insurance, or very large complex companies, many of these capabilities may not be
necessary for the use cases of a manufacturing or retail company. Look at the balance
of scores that best fits your environment and needs.

If you will be focused on a few rifle shot processes and do not intend to deploy the
framework broadly, a lighter weight toolset may be more appropriate. In fact, two
of the vendors, webMethods and TIBCO, stated that they could have accomplished
our scenario with only their BPM tools, foregoing the complexity of the services
composition and repository capabilities.

Catalogs of standard services, now in their infancy,


will be critical for widespread adoption
While most of the evaluation criteria focused on the functionality of the frameworks,
content will be equally important in the long run. We don’t expect SOA and BPM
to be widely deployed if each company is forced to develop its own business services
from scratch. In fact, based on the work we see happening at Oracle, SAP, and IBM,
designing these services correctly is no easy task, requiring many people to work
together to design a single service that will work with many different use cases.

The three companies furthest along take a very different approach to building their
services:
• SAP works with partners and customers as part of its Enterprise Services Community
to define its services. It facilitates groups, especially industry-specific ones, to write
specifications for new services. SAP’s architectural committee reviews the specifica-
tions and then schedules the development and delivery as part of its semiannual
enhancement packages. This approach ensures that demand exists for the specific
services, which will likely be used when available (for specifics, see “SAPPHIRE ‘06:
It Takes a Community To Raise Web Services”).

14 © 2007 AMR Research, Inc. AMR Research Report | May 2007


• Oracle defines standard services as part of its Application Integration Architecture
effort, which it intends to meet the demand for integration among all its packaged
applications. For example, since Oracle acquired Siebel, E-Business Suite custom-
ers that own both have been demanding a standard integration. Oracle started with
Open Application Group (OAG) object definitions, and it is now building out a
standard set of services common to all applications. To make these more useful,
standard business processes are becoming product specific for its BPEL Manager,
which accesses the services for a common scenario, such as an order-to-cash pro-
cess spanning CRM and ERP (for more, see “Oracle Application Integration
Architecture: We Love It When a Plan Comes Together”).
• IBM has a large catalog of services for a variety of industries. From a catalog on its
website, customers can find service definitions developed by IBM or its partners.
Some can be downloaded for free, while others are licensed. This saves users from
having to define the service, but they may still need to compose some of the back-
end integrations to the specific applications they own.

ERP vs. non-ERP: choosing an SOA framework


depends on maturity as well as your strategy for
applications and development outside ERP
Whether or not it is their primary choice, Oracle and SAP customers will need to use
some of their ERP vendor’s SOA framework for customization and integration of their
applications. The question will be whether they introduce one of the other vendor’s
frameworks into their environment as the primary foundation of their SOA and BPM
strategy.

The most likely candidates to use something besides their ERP vendor’s framework are
companies that already have a significant deployment of another vendor’s technology.
For example, SAP customers that have been using webMethods for integration
and B2B e-business may not select SAP as the primary platform. Moving up to
webMethods’ BPM tools would have a lower learning curve and is currently a more
integrated development environment. Companies that use ERP purely for back-office
functions and have other vendors or custom applications for customer-facing functions
also may not choose that ERP vendor’s platform. If IBM, TIBCO, or BEA Systems is
already widely deployed for website development, integration, or software development,
it may be easier to extend that investment for BPM.

AMR Research Report | May 2007 © AMR Research, Inc. 15


Take the following into account when deciding on where to make your SOA investment:
• The maturity of your ERP vendor’s product in the time frame you intend to
start development—Has the platform stabilized, or are major new capabilities and
integration of the tools promised in the next release or two?
• Where the BPM effort will be—Will it be within the ERP environment or a more
complex set of enterprise and legacy applications and custom software?
• Your strategy for staffing BPM projects, including the difficulty of recruiting or
retraining staff—What is the potential of your current staff to learn the new tech-
nologies or the market availability of people with these skillsets?

Companies may see SOA and BPM in their future, but the ramp-up time to apply
these technologies is long. Laggards will find that one morning their competitors who
use the exact same ERP software are suddenly zooming ahead, shortening lead times,
introducing new products faster, and reacting faster to changing market conditions. IT
groups that hope to respond to the business faster need to start making decisions, set-
ting a strategy, and building the skills to apply SOA and BPM as a competitive weapon.

See Appendix A for the scores for each criterion by vendor and a short summary of the
vendor’s strengths and maturity of their tools.

16 © 2007 AMR Research, Inc. AMR Research Report | May 2007


Appendices
Appendix A: SOA/BPM vendor summary
To be selected for this study, vendors were required to be one of two things:
• A major ERP suite vendor with an SOA framework
• An SOA framework vendor

In all cases, we picked vendors that sell to very large, global companies. BEA Systems,
IBM, Oracle, SAP, TIBCO, and webMethods participated and demonstrated their
tools in a half-day session. A summary of our evaluation of each is below. Progress and
Microsoft were invited, but declined to participate.

BEA Systems

BEA’s BPM capabilities are Table 5a: BEA Systems—capability level


built around its acquisition
of Fuego. The company Factor Score

has a good single-model Business Process Management 5


approach for collaborating on Integration of Development 3
process improvement. It has
Registry and Repository 5
enormous depth in its services
Services Development 5
development capabilities,
including a specific product Enterprise Application Services Catalog 3

for creating data services. User Interface Development 4


Like many of its competitors, Business Activity Monitoring 4
it is still integrating these Source: AMR Research, 2007
capabilities into a common
framework, namely its
Workspace 360 vision. BEA’s capabilities for managing complex, heterogeneous SOA
developments is impressive, especially its repository product, which included graphical
tools for navigating and understanding dependencies between services and applications.
Its AquaLogic SOA Management package (OEM AmberPoint) for monitoring is
also useful for discovery of potential services and redundant services in the existing
environment.

AMR Research Report | May 2007 © AMR Research, Inc. 17


IBM

Despite scoring lower in Table 5b: IBM—capability level


BPM because of its waterfall
approach, IBM’s individual Factor Score

tools are excellent. IBM was Business Process Management 3


the only vendor with its own Integration of Development 5
business modeling tool that Registry and Repository 5
competes with the ever-present
Services Development 5
IDS Scheer ARIS product.
Its WebSphere Integration Enterprise Application Services Catalog 5

Developer combined all User Interface Development 5


BPM, workflow, and other Business Activity Monitoring 3
user interface alternatives in Source: AMR Research, 2007
a single tool with enormous
depth of development capability. Like BEA Systems, it showed a solid capability
to operate in the most complex SOA environments. Though not necessary for our
scenario, the suite can also move seamlessly into the entire Rational development suite
for companies with extensive software development requirements.

Oracle

Oracle has a solid SOA Table 5c: Oracle—capability level


and BPM capability that is
becoming even stronger as Factor Score

it has to use its own tools to Business Process Management 4


provide integration between Integration of Development 4
the E-Business Suite and
Registry and Repository 4
the wide range of enterprise
Services Development 5
applications it has bought,
including Siebel, PeopleSoft, Enterprise Application Services Catalog 4

Retek, Demantra, and User Interface Development 3


G-Log. Its Application Business Activity Monitoring 3
Integration Architecture Source: AMR Research, 2007
strategy solves this problem
and also provides some
extended business process templates for common-use cases.

The synchronization with the business process modeling tools (OEMed from
IDS Scheer) is the only round-tripping capability we saw from any vendor. This
gives business analysts a way to collaborate with their architect and development
colleagues without dropping into the very programmer centric world of JDeveloper.
Customers whose system landscape is dominated by E-Business Suite and other Oracle
applications have little reason to evaluate other tools.

18 © 2007 AMR Research, Inc. AMR Research Report | May 2007


SAP

Though SAP has been


Table 5d: SAP—capability level
promoting SOA and its
NetWeaver framework Factor Score
extensively for several years, Business Process Management 2
it is still bringing together its Integration of Development 2
wide range of individual tools
Registry and Repository 2
that comprise NetWeaver. The
Services Development 4
differing technologies required
for implementing the scenario, Enterprise Application Services Catalog 5
especially the large differences User Interface Development 2
between tools and operating Business Activity Monitoring 2
environments based on the Source: AMR Research, 2007
ABAP and Java technologies,
added greatly to the complexity of development and operation.

SAP companies should pay close attention to the NetWeaver 7.1 release, which is
expected to start ramp-up in fall 2007 and be generally available sometime in 2008. It
promises to deliver a more unified Composition Environment to build applications, a
broader registry and repository capability, and SAP’s first BAM capability.

As shown by the scores, SAP’s Enterprise Services Community strategy and the customer
and partner involvement in its creation is an important strength. If SAP can deliver the
tools to simplify use of this catalog, it will close the gap with other vendors significantly.

TIBCO

TIBCO has a long history of


enabling high-performance,
Table 5e: TIBCO—capability level
extended business processes in a
variety of industries. Its excellent Factor Score
BPM tools will become even Business Process Management 5
better as it finishes its TIBCO Integration of Development 3
One project to integrate the rest
Registry and Repository 3
of its components, such as Portal
Services Development 5
and Business Events into the
Business Studio environment. Enterprise Application Services Catalog 3
Business Events extends BAM User Interface Development 4
beyond detecting events and Business Activity Monitoring 5
responding based on rules with Source: AMR Research, 2007
a more sophisticated, inference-
based approach and a capability
to evaluate the consequences of an event and take automated action. The company is also
targeting very heterogeneous environments, including native support of.NET and Java-
developed services using its service virtualization framework.

AMR Research Report | May 2007 © AMR Research, Inc. 19


webMethods

webMethods has one of the Table 5f: webMethods—capability level


most elegant offerings in this
space for companies with a Factor Score

primarily packaged application Business Process Management 5


footprint. Its heritage as an Integration of Development 5
EAI vendor proved a perfect
Registry and Repository 5
springboard for its SOA and
Services Development 5
BPM offerings. The Fabric
7 suite was well integrated Enterprise Application Services Catalog 3

and approachable by business User Interface Development 5


analysts and architects, with Business Activity Monitoring 4
minimal need for detailed Source: AMR Research, 2007
software development
capability. Even with this
simplicity, its Infravio registry and repository will make the toolset scale into a complex
enterprise SOA environment. Of additional interest to SAP customers is its Optimize
for SAP, an SAP process monitoring package based on its BAM tools. We expect
webMethods’ pending merger with Software AG to make it a stronger player in
the market.

20 © 2007 AMR Research, Inc. AMR Research Report | May 2007


Appendix B: Related research
• “Oracle Application Integration Architecture: We Love It When a Plan Comes
Together”
• “Software AG Acquires webMethods: Bulking Up for the SOA Fight”
• “Business Process Management: Vitamins Versus Aspirin”
• “SOA What? SOA Seeks a Purpose in an ERP World”
• “SOA for Manufacturing and Retail: BPM and Converged Process Management”
• “ERP Suites and SOA: The Emperor's Old Clothes”
• “A Framework Approach to SOA”
• “SAPPHIRE ‘06: It Takes a Community To Raise Web Services”

AMR Research Report | May 2007 © AMR Research, Inc. 21


Acronyms and Initialisms
3PL Third-party logistics

API Application programming interface

B2B Business to business


Research and Advice That Matter
Founded in 1986, AMR Research provides BAM Business activity monitoring
subscription advisory services and peer net-
working opportunities to operations and IT BI Business intelligence
executives in the consumer products,
life sciences, manufacturing, and retail BPM Business process management
sectors. We are the No. 1 research firm
CRM Customer relationship management
focused on the intersection of business
processes with value chain and enterprise
EAI Enterprise application integration
technologies.

ERP Enterprise resource planning


AMR Research has published more than
15,000 pieces of research. Grounded in ESB Enterprise Services Bus
industry and business process expertise,
our analysts deliver independent, leading- KPI Key performance indicator
edge research on established and emerging
technologies. This analysis is supported MOM Message-oriented middleware
by the best research data in the industry,
expert-led Peer Forums, and daily interaction
OEM Original equipment manufacturer
with our members, the most comprehensive
SOA Service-oriented architecture
community of practitioners in the industry.

TMS Transportation management system


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