“My team is trying to stand up some shared infrastructure with SOA capability,” Griggs says. “We’re good at business process modeling, and we’re good at exposing legacy applications as Web services. Now its time to say, ‘Let’s bring the two together.’”
To do so, Griggs is leveraging his center of excellence, which sits within corporate IT and now also oversees integration. The group includes product specialists (developers familiar with modeling), process engineers (who interview business users for process-centric modeling), and a consulting organization that markets the technology to the bank’s lines of business. The bank also has a roundtable steering committee for SOA and process modeling, made up of architects from each line-of-business organization.
“The way we typically start a project is with a daylong kickoff meeting, including breakout sessions where we interview subject-matter experts on their perspective,” Griggs says. Then his team gets down to work, developing process maps that can be played back to the business in a two-day validation session -- including re-engineering proposals, for example, to eliminate costs or reduce cycle time.
Be prepared for resistance from the line of business when you try to map business processes as they actually are, Griggs warns. “You wouldn’t believe the amount of pushback we get. They’ll say, ‘We don’t need you to model, just do it like we tell you. I know how I do things today; I know my process is broken.’” Griggs advises IT to refuse this type of engagement.
“That’s a big lesson learned for us. Validation of the as-is is imperative,” Griggs says. “It’s an eye-opening experience when the business sees a process-centric view of their work. They’ll say, ‘Geez, I never thought of our process that way. Why do we staple that in the upper left hand corner? That’s the way we’ve always done it.’”
Another key is to completely ignore organizational constraints when mapping a business process, says Griggs. “We look at how do we make it end-to- end the most efficient, streamlined possible even if it crosses business boundaries.”
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The great methodology debate
Although process modeling has been around for years, the mashup of process modeling and SOA is still new enough that analysts and consultants have strong and often differing opinions about best practices.
IBM, which worked with Wachovia on its pre-SOA deployment process mapping, emphasizes a rigorous methodology called component business modeling for synching up processes with services, starting with proactively selecting the processes that will help differentiate businesses.