SOA-Based Process-Centric Design

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                       Technology that Delivers with SOA-Based Process-Centric Design

                                                         Published on: August 2010 | Author: Sridharan S

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                                                    Technology that Delivers with SOA-Based Process-Centric Design

     Table of Contents
     1. Introduction                                                                                           03
     2. SOA-Based Process-Centric Design                                                                       03
     3. Guiding Design Principles                                                                              03
     4. SOA in Action                                                                                          04
     5. Conclusion                                                                                             05

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                                                                                  Technology that Delivers with SOA-Based Process-Centric Design

     1. Introduction
     A key step in application development is to capture end user needs accurately. Much of the reason systems fail to live up to their expectations
     is because end users often don’t speak the same language as analysts and developers. As a result, the technology developed doesn’t
     always address the right problems.

     One of the most successful ways to deal with this issue is to adopt a process-centric approach. This involves defining and maintaining
     business process flows that reflect the tasks performed by the users and using these process flows as the basis of communication between
     end users and the development team. Taking a process-centric approach enables the organization to define the needs of the end users in a
     language that is familiar.

     In this paper, we will examine how Service Oriented Architecture (SOA)-based process-centric design can help to deliver significant business
     benefits, tighter alignment between business and IT, and agility to respond faster to ever-changing market realities.

     2. SOA-Based Process-Centric Design
     In any new technology development, it is critical to identify business goals of the new system and set objectives in terms of the desired ipacts.
     Typically these may include:
        Reduced time to market
        Improved business agility
        Greater process harmonization
        Reduced costs
        Tighter alignment between business and IT

     SOA-based process-centric design makes all these possible by linking computational resources, primarily applications and data, on demand
     to achieve the desired results for service consumers, who can be end users or other service providers.

     3. Guiding Design Principles
     While SOA-based process-centric design offers tremendous advantages, there is a need to understand and define the ground rules for its
     development, maintenance, and usage. This set of guiding principles listed below helps to influence the intrinsic behavior of a system and
     the way it offers services:

        Reuse is the ability to expose the functionality as shared business services.
        Granularity is the extent to which a process or a service is broken down into smaller components.
        Modularity is the technique used to build larger systems by combining smaller subsystems.
        Componentization is the method used to expose business contracts via interfaces and thus enabling loose coupling.
        Interoperability is the property which enables platform, language, location, and invocation independence.
        Loose Coupling is the approach by which the implementation details are hidden from the caller, as a result, minimizing the changes
        across the integration interfaces.
        Service (identification, design and consumption) is the principle used in Service Oriented Analysis and Design (SOAD methodology
        to identify, design and consume services.
        Service compositability is the collection of services that can be coordinated and assembled to form composite services.
        Process design is the means by which a process could be optimally designed for reuse by applying granularity.
        Process metrics is the process of defining Key Performance Indicators (KPI) that are used to monitor and minimize bottlenecks.
        Versioning is the capability to enable multiple versions of services or processes to co-exist in an SOA environment.

     Having understood the guiding principles of SOA-based process-centric design, let’s now see it in action.

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                                                                                  Technology that Delivers with SOA-Based Process-Centric Design

     4. SOA in Action
     Consider a business scenario that involves a loyalty system linked with multiple airline operators. Typically, customers earn reward points for
     the travel made and can redeem the reward points for air tickets when they have accumulated the requisite number of reward points.

     Every participating airline that is part of the loyalty system has varying reward policies, which may change frequently depending on market
     dynamics. In addition, the loyalty system needs to be able to interface with different systems for reward booking, payment, etc.

     To stay ahead of the competition, the loyalty system needs to be able to:
       Introduce new promotions and regulations to accelerate speed to market.
       Support participating airlines’ dynamic reward policies to offer business agility and complement new processes faster.
       Add new business partners and support changes to payment service providers with minimal development and ripple effect for increased
       flexibility and decreased error rates.
       Quickly deploy changes in business conditions to support business with improved IT capabilities.


         Agent                             Reward
                             Online       Booking            Get Member’s Reward points
                              Entry                              & Enrollment details

                                Booking Rules

                                  Business                        Determine member
                                                                                            Not Eligible
                                   Rules                           Reward Eligibility

                                                                                                                                   Error Page

                             External System                            Choice?

                                                                                   Airline II
                                                                                                                  If         Yes
                             Validate & Charge
                                Credit Card                     Purchase Shortage Miles                    Miles Shortage?
                                                                        (If Any)

                                                                     Airline II                               Airline I

                                                                    Book Travel                             Book Travel

                                                                                    Reward Booking

                                                                                  Generate Reward


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                                                                                Technology that Delivers with SOA-Based Process-Centric Design

     Some best practices that should be applied in such a scenario are listed below:
       Apply the componentization principle: Avoid embedding business rules into the application so that a tightly coupled design doesn’t
       constrain business.
       Apply granularity, modularity, and reuse principle: Reduce time to market by enabling modifications to the business rules and process
       flows quickly and independent of the application code.
       Apply the loosely coupled invocation principle and interoperability along with service consumption pattern: Seamlessly
       integrate other systems like payment services, booking etc. and also consume functionality from other systems as services.
       Apply service identification, design, and consumption principle: Expose the repetitive business tasks as services.
       For example, retrieving member information, generating reward certificates, etc.
       Apply process design, granularity and composite-ability principle: Design the desired flight reward booking process and other
       optimal sub-processes.
       Apply process metrics, analyze the metrics and improve the business processes: Compute the number of reward booking made in
       a day, loss of business due to not allowing purchase of shortage miles, etc.
       Apply versioning principle: Define process and service validity and manage old and new versions of processes and services so that
       they co-exist for a certain period of time before new processes and services fully take over.

     5. Conclusion
     As you have seen, the SOA paradigm provides compelling reasons to explore its benefits when applied as domain solutions in industries
     such as travel. However, not every business case lends itself naturally to SOA-based process-centric design. It is important to assess if a
     business fits the SOA solution by examining the projected business benefits. Having assessed and initiated an SOA design, if suitable, it is
     important to see the implementation through to its logical end to discover the true advantages of SOA-based process-centric design.

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                                                                                                          Technology that Delivers with SOA-Based Process-Centric Design

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Description: Technology that Delivers with SOA-Based Process-Centric Design