Traditional ERP, CRM systems are designed for providing automation for business functions. Therefore to implement such systems business process need to be modified/adopted to fit the functional requirements of the software system. This results in a functional oriented business process implementation. These software systems are designed to automate common business process of many organizations. They are generally based on ‘best practice’ guidelines for a particular business process. They do not handle the business processes that deliver competitive advantage for certain business processes that an organization may have. Business processes that do not give a competitive advantage such as HR, Administrative processes can be deployed using an ASP (Application Service provider) model. In typical organization’s, 80-85% of the business processes are standard processes that can be implemented using standard software based on industry best practices. Remaining 10-15% business processes can be unique to the particular organization which gives the competitive advantage over its competitors. Hence they need to be implemented using alternate method such as service oriented architecture (SOA).
Service oriented architecture approaches the business process implementation in a different way. In SOA Services or ‘software application components’ are offered as IT components to design and build business processes. This provides the agility (flexibility) that is discussed in MPE and reduces costs due to the ability to reuse the same software components in different processes. As described in MPE it also facilitates the concept of business processes innovation using process models stored in a process factory. Hence SOA can eliminate the need to rely on more standardized software systems and implement business processes that may be unique to an organization.
SOA intrudes middleware that can separate the business process from the software execution. Workflow derived from a business process design stage can be mapped to sub processes that are implemented as a SOA service.
Software components (services) introduced in SOA can be web based and implemented using a service provider on the cloud. SOA can be implemented using vendor software such as Microsoft BizTalk, IBM Websphere, Oracle fusion or SAP Netweaver.
Since SOA based implementation uses common services to build business processes it provides flexibility and easier to integrate with external systems such as suppliers and distributors.
Future IT architectures will be based on the web. Web 2.0+ provides the platform for collaborative approach for IT delivery. Web 2.0+ provides capability for users to contribute to web content (Authoring). SOA based on web 2.0+ can provide software components as web services resulting in a SaaS (software as a service). Subscribers to these services can pay for the usage of that particular service (software component).