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The need for mature business architecture practises


To deliver on the promise of greater business agility Business Process Management Suites (BPMS) must adopt a Service Oriented Architecture-design approach, says triVector director, Mike Steyn Director.

The object-orientation paradigm has punted reuse at a software level and, in some cases, this has been achieved.  But the lesson that has been learnt is that reuse does not just happen by itself. It has to be included in the intent of the initial design.
This also applies in the drive towards enterprise services bus based integration architecture patterns.  It is not adequate to deploy analysts committed to designing for reuse, no matter how skilled they are.  There must be a set of strong design principles to govern sound application and interface designs.  Application and integration architecture domains usually include these architecture design principles and supporting standards.
Sound process design practises have long preached segregation of function.  Good process analysts would extract management process and support processes from the core business processes, allowing for the single definition of a support process, eg recruitment.  This is key to achieving process standardisation.
The development of SOA and proliferation of BPMS solutions means we must take our process designs to the next level.  We can no longer rely on the strength of individual analysts to apply sound designs to successfully implement SOA-driven BPMS projects.  Although specific projects could be successful, the real business benefits are likely to be realised only once business architecture is managed more effectively.
Two areas needing specific focus from a business architecture perspective are definition of reference architecture for business architecture – including design principles, reusable design patterns, standards, conventions – and appropriate business architecture governance.  
Reviewing process models for compliance to modelling conventions and leaving the process content solely up to the business process owners is inadequate. Adherence to modelling standards and conventions is important, and it is imperative that process owners take responsibility for, and are held accountable for their process designs.