Thu 19 Mar 2009
Today, the 1st International Symposium on Service-Oriented Locally adapted Enterprise Architecture, SOLEA 2009, took place in Dipoli conference center in Espoo, Finland. Having been planning and organizing the event for the last three months, it was great to see more than 60 people from 7 countries to attend the event.
The opening speech was given by prof. Matti Hämäläinen from Helsinki University of Technology. He provided some context to the symposium by covering the background of SOLEA research project and introducing its core research themes. He also unveiled some plans related to the teaching curriculum that is being revised for the upcoming Aalto university.
The first keynote was given by Andrew Watson, the VP and Technology Director of Object Management Group (OMG). Watson presented some rather obvious and common notions like maintenance and evolution of software being expensive and the need for more flexible and modular software structures, but made it in a vivid and interesting manner. He reminded that there is more to SOA than Web services: unless the business processes have been captured accurately enough, SOA cannot be used to support and automate them. This is where SOA and BPM come together. “BPM is SOA’s killer application, SOA is BPM’s enabling infrastructure” as Ismael Ghalimi of Intalio puts it. According to Watson, putting the “Architecture” into SOA means that:
- Processes are captured in a form understandable by business
- Meta-data describing SOA services & interfaces is made accessible
- Workflow orchestration code is generated from these both
I was not able to attend the second keynote presentation by Ken Rubin, Chief Healthcare Architect for the [US] Federal Healthcare Portfolio at EDS, “an HP Company”, but his presentation was about challenges and impacts of SOA on healthcare enterprise architecture.
After Rubin’s keynote, the symposium split into two tracks. Track A was about “SOA Analysis and Design / SOA for Personal Wellbeing” and chaired by Dr. Juha Mykkänen from University of Kuopio. I was chairing Track B on “Business Process Management and EA Governance”.
The first track presentation in Track B was given by Kari Hiekkanen, Senior Researcher, HUT. He presented our idea about “Service-Oriented Enterprise Architecture Metamodel”, whose layers are based on organizational decision-making levels and whose viewpoints are drawn from the key aspects of S-O paradigm. Whereas most EA approaches capture architectural artifacts and their interrelationships but fall short in balancing strategic business management and decision making with IT systems and infrastructure, we suggest that organizational research would provide additional insights into Enterprise Architecture and its governance.
The second presentation came down to a much more detailed level. It was about integrating business process models with ontologies and given by Peter de Baer from STAR Lab at Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium. In his presentation, de Baer described the conversion process to convert a business process model, stored as an XPDL file, into DOGMA ontology. He illustrated how the DOGMA approach can be used for business process modeling and may facilitate the integration of different process models.
After lunch, Jaakko Riihinen of Nokia Siemens Networks presented an interesting method comparable to normalization of data models for relational databases or partitioning algorithm applied to finite state automata. His process architecture modeling method not only produces normalized models, but also has other desirable characteristics, like simplifying the usage of various engineering methods used for analysis and improvement of process architecture, in order to achieve higher operational efficiency for the organization as a whole.
Next, I gave a presentation entitled “Agile Governance and Steering in Process-Managed Enterprise”. Furthering the ideas put forward in Hiekkanen’s presentation earlier today, I suggested a four-tier Requisite Control Structure underlying all organizational decision-making and a pertinent governance structure that would enable agile steering in the face of both business as usual and unexpected discontinuities that call for novel responses. I instantiated the governance structure with BPM Governance elements and presented a top-down development method to implement business change.
The last track presentation was given by Timo Itälä, Senior Researcher, HUT, who talked about service-oriented master data management. Using a healthcare process as an example, Itälä concluded that SOA needs MDM and MDM can be implemented using SOA. SOA strategy and MDM strategy need to be developed together.
In the end of the track, I chaired a panel discussion on BPM, which was participated by Jaakko Riihinen, Timo Itälä, Peter de Baer and Keith Harrison-Broninski. Some really interesting ideas emerged: Current business process modeling techniques do not cover all types of processes and they do not address information model, method and metamodel adequately. Process modeling should start with the data and first capture key business entities, their lifecycles and the interactions between stakeholders. The purpose of modeling is of great importance, as modeling can be counter-productive and bring about more cost than value. Process management should be driven by business change and its goals; the organization’s strategic goals should be set so that people feel being part of contributing to those goals.
These ideas were also central in Keith Harrison Broninski’s inspiring keynote presentation that concluded the day in the main auditorium. The title of his presentation was “The Future of BPM”. Harrison-Broninski maintained that BPMN is of little use for knowledge work. Everything important is missing: goals and responsibilities, skills and experience, policies and regulations, etc. As an alternative approach, he presented Role Activity Diagrams depicting his theory of Human Interaction Management. HIM deals with information-based processes that are iterative, interactive and innovative in nature. He also revealed a few ideas around his novel methodology called Goal-Oriented Organization Design (GOOD).
The day ended on a very pleasant note at the cocktail sponsored by Sytyke ry.1466