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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:

 

Methodology Big Picture

 

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.

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5 Comments

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  1. Marilyn Pratt
    Having just returned from BPM2008 SAP Insider conference in Marseille and having heard Ann Rosenberg , https://weblogs.sdn.sap.com/pub/u/251754001 [original link is broken] [original link is broken] [original link is broken] and Marc Dietrich discuss the methodologies, governance, modeling around BPM, it would be good to see an alignment between those driving SOA adoption from the IT side and the Business Drivers.  At this event in Europe, attended by 100’s of SAP customers, the general theme was Business Drives IT.  Interested to hear your thoughts.
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    1. Bjoern Treutel Post author
      Hi Marilyn,

      luckily I can say that you are facing a true alignment here ļ
      It was key for us to contribute to the alignment of SAP¡¦s methodologies and therefore we tried to consider already available assets wherever possible.

      When it comes to BPM I¡¦d like to mention explicitly that in our context we are talking about BPM Methodology (Business Process Management Methodology) and not the upcoming SAP Product: BPM.
      Due to reuse of assets the methodologies, governance, modeling around BPM Methodology are fully aligned and integrated into our ¡§methodology for accelerated transformation to SOA¡¨. It is represented in the ¡§Plan¡¨ phase.

      Business drives IT? Yes.
      To name one example, one of the typical business requirements is flexibility. SOA is just one of the IT¡¦s answers to it. Without business needs there is no investment in IT anymore and therefore business drives IT.
      Anyway, the alignment between those driving SOA adoption from the IT side and the Business Drivers should be achieved by the tight integration of our Plan and Build phase. For details please have a look at Plan -> Solution Transformation in the methodology itself.

      Regards,
      Bjoern

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  2. Geoff Sadler
    I have been keeping a close eye on your progression on the methodology.  The progress in the last month or so has been impressive, with the picture starting to make sense and come together well. 

    I do wonder as to how this interrelates with ASAP and other ‘older’ ways of doing things with SAP systems.  Maybe some context is needed for where this fits into the overall SAP methodology roadmap or big picture.  For instance I want to install the latest version of SAP ERP, do I use ASAP or this methodology?  Do I blueprint using the sol manager older blueprints or the ones in this methodology. 

    Keep up the good work.

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    1. Bjoern Treutel Post author
      Hi Geoff,

      first of all, thanks for the positive feedback!

      As already mentioned in my comment below, the alignment of already existing assets was key for us. In case of ASAP, the full integration was just not feasible in our timeframe because of its complexity. Nevertheless, of course those methodologies can be put into context and used in combination.

      Since there might be lot of scenarios for possible combinations, let me at least provide two examples.
      1. If you are going for an SAP ERP implementation, of course the methodology of choice is ASAP. It’s proven since about 20 years and perfectly designed for this purpose. Nevertheless you might consider to use this methodology’s Plan phase to deal with Process Innovation and Business Process Management.

      2. If you are going for the implementation of a service-based solution (e.g. Composite Application) on top of SAP’s Business Process Platform you should go for this methodology. In this case some technical requirements should be given. For example a certain release of SAP ERP might be required and therefore you have to plan a corresponding upgrade. For this purpose again ASAP should be used.

      As you might guess, there are lots of possible scenarios for combination of those methodologies.

      On further alignment and integration we will keep on working.

      Best regards,
      Bjoern

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      1. Geoff Sadler
        Thanks Bjoern,
        I tend to agree that the use of this methodologies plan phase will become part of implementing an ERP or a new industry solution on top of it.  This also is in line with Marilyn’s comments about BPM as BPM is the key to the Plan phase. 

        I am currently developing a SOA methodology/ governance that includes many platforms and must fit under a broader methodology that the business runs.   Your Plan phase appears to be the same as we have independently arrived at and  I am looking at it as a template phase that all concepts would go through before they go into their own build phase which tends to be vendor specific.

        Again well done.

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