Creating a Shared-Services Infrastructure for BPM & SOA

Trained professionals on business process modeling as well as technical integration are required. Always start off a new initiative with a use case. This helps you define the business process model, an excellent starting point to estimate the integration effort and associated costs to deploy the application.

A typical BPM Center of Excellence should be equipped to cover all the phases of developing, running, and maintaining the application, as well as providing business stakeholders with regular product updates and periodic updates on new capabilities within the Center of Excellence.

Design with SOA in mind. Crafting the architecture so it can support multiple applications is key to a shared-services environment. Identify reusable components for subsequent applications. If you take this approach, you are well on your way to setting the stage for an SOA. Refrain from using proprietary technology. It will cost more in the long run.

Develop a charge-back model. A pragmatic charge-back system to the business units is crucial for the long-term survival of the shared-services group. There are different ways of doing this. One approach would be to monitor CPU utilization for a particular application to estimate the charge back to the business unit.

Remember to factor in the cost of the Centre of Excellence’s expertise as well as the associated infrastructure for the BPM application when establishing your charge-back model.

Engage the lines of business. One of the biggest challenges to establishing and sustaining a shared-services group within an organization is getting business units to cede IT power to a centralized function.

The lines of business often fear they are now at the mercy of the shared-services group for new development and product upgrades. Alleviate these fears by engaging with business units on a regular basis to update them on the enhancements to the shared-services infrastructure and the Center of Excellence.

Show the benefits and sell, sell, sell. Develop service level agreements (SLAs) with your lines of business to measure success. The more a shared-services infrastructure is used, the lower the costs involved in operating it and the greater the benefits to the enterprise. So spread the word.

Get executive buy-in for wide-spread deployment. Find opportunities internal and external to your organization to gain more visibility for your shared-services group and the benefits it provides.

Keith Swenson is a vice president of research and development and Amita Abraham is a senior product marketing manager at Fujitsu Computer Systems.