SOA Methodology Blog Series, Part I: How to disenchant the haunted SOA library
Updated methodology available to help with your SOA transformation
There is a lot of information available regarding the value that SOA can provide, especially in terms of building service-based solutions on top of a business process platform and its enterprise services. But after finding out about the benefits that SOA can bring it is time to do the next steps. With all the different aspects, assets and messages around SOA it is easy to lose the context and direction. Imagine all the SOA related knowledge and information as being the content of a huge library. But this library is lacking some features that normally provide usability and guidance. So you don’t have an insight on the classification and order in which all the books are stored. The aisles between the shelves do not contain labels and there is even no librarian you could ask for help.
Typically the practical experience with SOA is fragmented across many experts (librarians) that often work independently from each other. So there is a high risk getting lost in information, running into dead-ends or experiencing the various implementation traps by yourself if there is no clear roadmap and guidance in place.
Unfortunately the path to a successful SOA implementation is not as “simple” as the introduction of a new software solution. This is because we are talking more about a complex transformation of the whole IT with several aspects on several levels, rather than a sequential approach. In order to master this complexity successfully, it is essential to have the right guidance in form of a roadmap, best practices and lessons learned available.
In a How to approach the transformation to enterprise SOA way back in May I was introducing the “methodology for accelerated transformation to SOA”. In the meanwhile, the next version of the methodology was just released. The issues described above should be considered in the Methodology for Accelerated Transformation to SOA.
With the enhanced version of the methodology SAP provides you with the floor plan for the “SOA library”, an insight into how the various parts related to each other and details on using them in practice. More than 20 experts in the different SOA domains have been working on the new content over the course of the last couple of month. As a result we are now able to provide you a harmonized methodology covering several topics on enterprise level (e.g. strategy and governance) as well as on project level (e.g. building service-based solutions).
Before getting started with the methodology it makes sense to make oneself familiar with its concepts and structure. Therefore the following illustration will provide you an overview of the main building blocks of the methodology:
If you are familiar with the previous version of the methodology to some extent, you might notice easily that its structure has changed. The single building blocks have now a tighter integration, while still logically separated from each other and independently executable. In order to achieve this, the building blocks were completely reworked. Furthermore the content of the ‘Plan’ phase is completely new and ensures high-quality business process design and a joint procedure for business process experts and architects.
Here a short description of the key building blocks:
- Strategy and Governance: definition of high level enterprise wide reference and target architecture. Furthermore definition and setup of a respective governance framework.
- Plan: improvement of customer business processes based on industry specific reference content and mapping to the corresponding implementation options (e.g. SOA based solutions) in context of an initial architecture guidance. The added value is generated due to a joint procedure regarding business process and architecture topics.
- Build: utilization of a business process platform and creation of service-based solutions on top of it. Furthermore it’s about the extension of a business process platform by adding new or changing existing enterprise services.
- Run: enablement to define the scope to be implemented, prepare a detailed plan, set up the operations and run your Solution. Moreover, it helps you to find the right strategy and tools to implement your End-to-End Solution Operations.
- Landscape Development and Operations: introduction to the SAP Business Process Platform and its most important components as the basis for an SOA-based system landscape. Furthermore it describes how to deal with enhancement packages and the relevant key services for operating an SOA-based system landscape at enterprise level.
I hope this blog somehow raised your curiosity and you will have a closer look at the Methodology for Accelerated Transformation to SOA. Within the next parts of this blog series I will focus on the methodology’s key building blocks: Business and Solution Transformation, provisioning of enterprise services and their consumption with composite applications.
If you have feedback we would be happy to hear from you, either as a comment on this blog or via email to the SAP Field Services SOA Program.