Saturday, January 29, 2011

Business Function Models Vs Business Capability Models

The difference between these models boils down to the difference between a “business function” and a “business capability”.  Many organizations use them interchangeably. For e.g. A business capability model may illustrate current-state business functions and also future-state business functions that need to be built to deliver on the business vision.
But there are few folks who would like to draw a clear line of differentiation between the two.  Capability can be defined as the ability to perform actions to achieve specific strategic goals/objectives.

The following links provide interesting reading:
Link 1
Link 2

Hence a business capability is much more than a business function – it encompasses other objects such as Actors, Services, Functions, Processes and Infrastructure.  Examples of business capability are – the ability to service customers through online channels, capability to survive liquidity crisis, etc.

Business Architecture Models

While defining the enterprise architecture of an organization, it is essential to understand the various processes, functions and capabilities of the business. Recently came across the FEA Business Reference Model on Wikipedia. The simplicity of the diagram impressed me.

Every organization has different business areas or LOBs. Each business area has a set of business functions that it performs.  A ‘Business Function Model’ describes these functional areas and sub-functions in a graphical representation. An example of a BFM can be found here
Each LOB executes its business functions by following certain business processes.  A business process is an orchestration of different business activities and tasks that may be exposed as SOA services.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Various dimensions of Security

When we design our applications to be secure, we have to consider all aspects of security. I have often seen people associate security with just authentication and authorization, but there are other security principles to be considered as stated below.
  1. Integrity: We have to ensure that all messages/data have not been tampered with. Integrity of messages ensures that the data has not been maliciously modified by 'man-in-the-middle'.
  2. Confidentiality: This security principle ensures that all messages are encrypted and cannot be eavesdropped. 
  3. Authentication/Authorization: Ensure that all resource access goes through a proper authentication process.
  4. Non-Repudiation: This ensures that any party involved cannot refute the validity of a message exchange.
Modern toolkits and technologies such as digital certifications satisfy all of the above security principles.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Concurrent Business Engineering

Some time back, I had blogged about the advantages of having a unified BPM/SOA strategy at the enterprise level.  Ran through a Forrestor report that touch a similar concept and calls it as "Concurrent Business Engineering".

Concurrent Business Engineering entails greater colloboration between Business and IT for jointly working on defining new business processes and also defining the technology platform for supporting the processes.
Business services are best designed with a strong understanding of the business process context, hence a top down BPM process-centric view would help in understanding what services need to be surfaced to provide maximum agility to the business process.

This is similar to the idea of having a unified BPM/SOA strategy and utilizes the best of top-down and bottom-up methods for executing the business strategy - as blogged earlier

Friday, January 14, 2011

Types of Services in SOA

Found a nice article on MSDN describing the various types of services - a taxonomy for services.
Jotting down the concepts explained in the article.

Entity Services - Expose/Surface business entities in the system.e.g. employee, customer, sales order,etc. They contain CRUD operations and additional domain specific operations - e.g. FindOrderByPrice Entity Services abstract the underlying datasources and persistence mechanisms.

Capability Services - Implement a specific business capability - for e.g. Pricing Service, Credit Card Processing Service, etc.   They may use Entity Services for persistence.

Thus Entity Services are "data-centric" and Capability Services are "action-centric".

Process Services - Acts as a facade for a BPM process. Process services would maintain state due to the very nature of a workflow having to maintain state over a long running process.  Process Services are typically implemented using BPM tools such as WWF, Biztalk, WPS, etc.

Infrastructure Services (Utility Services) - Common cross cutting functions such as Logging, Auditing, Security, Authorization, etc.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Ruminating on SOA Governance

 SOA Governance has two dimensions. First – the processes and methodologies used. Second – the tools and products used for governance.

Quite often, people assume that the purchase of a SOA Governance tool would suffice for implementing SOA Governance. But the fact is that the tools would only help in automating certain enforcement policies and service lifecycle workflows. What is first needed is a framework of processes, policies and organization structure to be defined. Any governance process needs to embrace the trilogy of “people, process and technology”.

The following diagram illustrates this point and states the various activities that need to be done for implementing SOA Governance.

The Open Group has also published a SOA Governance Framework that can be accessed here.