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Archive for May, 2009

BPM versus SOA WHY BPM? WHY SOA?


SOA FAQ

Q: How are SOA and BPM related to each other?

Service-oriented architecture (SOA) and business process management (BPM) share common goal —increased enterprise agility.  BPM creates a deep understanding of processes that, in turn, provide an important dimension for understanding what parts of the application portfolio should be engineered into SOA services.

Combining SOA and BPM projects results in increased benefits, which are achieved more quickly than when either is initiated alone.  Business process semantics can be implemented by combining granular technical services into composite services. The sequencing of business tasks or activities creates context for the work. As the business semantics change, or the process sequence changes, services can be recombined, re-sequenced or even substituted to produce realignment with the new context of process or work.  BPM methods highlight common, shared requirements for business services and, can help SOA projects importance as contributing to improved business performance and innovation by addressing constantly changing business needs. Similarly, for BPM projects SOA should be promoted as the technological enablement of BPM.

Q: What is Service Orientation?

Service orientation is a means for integrating across diverse systems. Each IT resource, whether an application, system or trading partner, can be described and accessed as a service. These capabilities are available through service interfaces.

Service orientation uses standards based protocols and conventional interfaces—usually Web services—to facilitate access to business logic and information among diverse services. Specifically, SOA allows the underlying service capabilities and interfaces to be composed into processes. Each process is itself a service, one that now offers up a new, aggregated capability. Because each new process is exposed through a standardized interface, the underlying implementation of the individual service providers is free to change without impacting how the service is consumed.

Q: What is Service Oriented Architecture (SOA)?

SOA is a standards-based design approach to creating an integrated IT infrastructure capable of rapidly responding to changing business needs. SOA provides the principles and guidance to transform a company’s existing array of heterogeneous, distributed, complex and inflexible IT resources into integrated, simplified and highly flexible resources that can be changed and composed to more directly support business goals.

Q: What business value does SOA provide?

SOA enables businesses to realize greater agility in their business practices, delivering value across both application and IT infrastructure layers. From an application perspective, SOA enables the development of a new generation of dynamic or composite applications. These applications enable end-users to access information and processes across functional boundaries, and to consume them in a number of convenient ways, including through Web, rich client and mobile presentation layers. From an infrastructure perspective, SOA enables IT to simplify application and system integration, to recombine and reuse application functionality and to organize development work into a unified and consistent design framework. The combined business value of the SOA approach helps to lower IT costs; provides better, more rapidly accessible business information, and enables the organization to identify and respond to workflow problems more efficiently.

Q: What business problems does SOA solve?

SOA enables businesses to develop a new generation of dynamic applications that address a number of top-level business concerns that are central to growth and competitiveness. SOA solutions promote:

  • Stronger connections with customers and suppliers. By making available dynamic applications and business services to external customers and suppliers, not only is richer collaboration possible, but customer and partner satisfaction is increased. SOA unlocks critical supply and demand chain processes—such as outsourcing of specific business tasks—from the constraints of underlying IT architectures, thereby enabling better alignment of processes with organizational strategy.
  • Enhanced business decision making. By aggregating access to business services and information into a set of dynamic, composite business applications, decision makers gain more accurate and more comprehensive information, and gain the flexibility to access that information in the form and presentation factor (Web, rich client, mobile device) that meets their needs.
  • Greater employee productivity. By providing streamlined access to systems and information and enabling business process improvement, businesses can drive greater employee productivity. Employees can focus their energies on addressing the important, value-added processes and on collaborative, semi-structured activities, rather than having to conform to the limitations and restrictions of the underlying IT systems.

Q: Will SOA enable alignment of business and IT?

SOA by itself is not sufficient to guarantee alignment of business and IT. In fact, many organizations that have attempted to roll out SOA infrastructure through a top-down approach have found that that by the time the infrastructure was delivered, it was out of sync with the needs of the business. In contrast, those customers that have driven successful alignment have started with a clear understanding of their business vision, have well-defined business initiatives and outcomes, and have chosen to incrementally deliver those “slices” of their SOA infrastructure that deliver upon these objectives. Microsoft has long advocated this approach—what we call our “real world” approach to leveraging service oriented architectures. This real world approach is focused on rapid time-to-value, and on delivering business results through iterative, incremental steps that are more closely aligned with changing business conditions. This helps enable a much tighter degree of alignment between business and IT.

Q: Is SOA a product?

No. SOA is not a product, but an architecture approach and set of patterns for implementing agile, loosely coupled dynamic applications.

There are numerous misconceptions about what SOA is—that it is a product that can be purchased (it is not; it is a design philosophy that informs how the solution should be built); that the goal is to build a SOA (it is not; SOA is a means to an end); or that SOA requires a complete technological and business process overhaul (it doesn’t; SOA solutions should be incremental and built on current investments).

SOA is also often equated with Web services, and the terms used interchangeably. While it is true that SOA is made easier and more pervasive through the broad adoption of Web services–based standards and protocols, the two are distinct. SOA is an approach to designing systems—in effect, the architectural drawings or blueprint—that directs how IT resources will be integrated and which services will be exposed for use. In contrast, Web services is an implementation methodology that uses specific standards and language protocols to execute on a SOA solution.

Q: Why use SOA?

Complex, distributed IT resources are a concern for businesses. Too frequently, the existing IT portfolio does not adequately meet specific business needs, is costly to manage and maintain and is inflexible in the face of business growth and change. The problem for IT departments is typically not insufficient functionality; rather, it is that critical business systems such as customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) operate in isolation from other critical business systems—despite the fact that business processes often span multiple applications.

To obtain an end-to-end view of a complex business process necessitates integration of information and process silos. In the past, this has been accomplished either though time-consuming manual interventions, or through hard-coded solutions that are difficult to maintain. The solution, however, is not to rip and replace systems or applications, nor to completely renovate them, but rather to find a way to leverage existing IT investments so that overall organizational goals are effectively supported.

Service orientation helps to accomplish these goals by making systems more responsive to business needs, simpler to develop, and easier to maintain and manage. Service orientation modularizes IT resources, creating loosely coupled business processes that integrate information across business systems. Implementing a solution architecture based upon service orientation helps organizations plan ahead for change, rather than responding reactively.

Q: Who does SOA?

Strictly speaking, SOA is done by developers and solution architects. However, stakeholders in a service-oriented solution span a range of roles, and it is critical that their interests not only be taken into account but that they actively drive the design of the SOA solution.

  • Starting with those interests, the business analyst is concerned with bringing IT investments more in line with the business strategy. For the developer, this means that the SOA solution must map the sources of business information—systems, staff, trading partners—into a unified and comprehensive view such that the business analyst has greater insight into the costs and benefits of various investments.
  • The chief technology officer (CTO) of the organization will work with developers to ensure that when designing a solution to meet the needs of the business analyst, the integrity of existing IT systems and applications resources are preserved, even as new capabilities are developed.
  • And the IT manager, concerned with effectively integrating distributed systems such that management is simplified, will work with the developer to ensure that these goals are also met.

Ultimately, the developers and solution architects are concerned with creating dynamic collaborative applications that meet the goals of the various stakeholders. The service orientation approach enables them to do so in a way that meets the needs of the organization as a whole.

Q: How long has Microsoft been using Service Orientation? What is the WS-* architecture?

A reflection of its commitment to developing the standards, guidance, tools and technologies needed for developing cross-platform integration solutions, Microsoft has been using service orientation across its products since 1999, when the Web services model was announced and a wave of innovation began that fundamentally changed the application architecture landscape. Beginning with version 1.0 of the .NET Framework, the Microsoft investments in tools, together with platform support for Web services, have helped make Service Orientation mainstream and practical.

Working with other vendors such as IBM and BEA, we invested in authoring a set of specifications referred to collectively as the WS-* architecture. Shortly thereafter, in order to promote interoperability across platforms, operating systems and programming languages, Microsoft worked with IBM to develop the Web Services Interoperability Organization (WS-I). Since it was created, WS-I has grown to roughly 150 member companies and has created Web services that address areas such as interoperability, security and the reliability of messaging.

Q: What is the Microsoft SOA solution approach?

Microsoft SOA solutions help organizations access existing IT resources, assemble them into larger business processes, and make the outputs available to users in order to run their organization more effectively. This “real world” approach lets organizations begin with a focused understanding of the business problem and realize rapid success.

From a more technical standpoint, the Microsoft approach can be summarized as a three-step approach: expose, compose and consume.

1. In the expose phase, existing IT resources (such as legacy systems and line of business applications) are made available as services which can be communicated with through standardized messaging formats. The most common suite of implementation technologies is the standards-based Web services. For existing technology assets that cannot natively speak Web service protocols, interoperability is attained through the use of adapters. As the developer moves forward in deliberations about which services to expose, such decisions must be driven by clearly defined and prioritized business needs.

2. Once individual services are exposed, they must be pulled together or composed into larger business processes or workflows. The goal of the compose phase is to enable greater business flexibility and agility by allowing processes to be added or changed without being constrained by the underlying IT systems and applications.

3. In the final step of constructing an SOA solution, the dynamic (or composite) applications that consume the underlying services and processes are developed. These applications—based on Web technologies (such as portals or AJAX), rich clients, Office business applications, or mobile devices—are what drive the productivity of the end-user.

It is important to recognize that all three steps are essential parts of every incremental SOA project. Without all three elements—including the delivery of the dynamic application—the business will not realize any return on the investment.

Q: Will an SOA solution require a complete overhaul of technologies and business processes?

No. The most effective approach to SOA is to build on existing investments, including legacy applications, and to take an incremental approach to integrating across diverse systems to provide specific business benefits. And because the underlying applications are accessed through an interface, the IT assets are insulated from direct change.

Q: Isn’t implementing an SOA solution a costly and complex proposition?

While some SOA-based solutions require a multiplicity of products to implement, increasing cost and complexity, Microsoft solutions are greatly simplified since core service orientation capabilities are built right into the Windows platform as part of the .NET framework. These core capabilities are complemented with an integrated set of development and management tools, as well as server-based solutions for composing and integrating dynamic, composite applications.

Q: Is SOA technology only for large Fortune 1000 enterprises?

No. The Microsoft “real world” SOA approach has been successfully adopted by organizations with very modest IT resources, since it can readily scale down to fit within their existing IT capabilities. At the same time, the Microsoft approach to SOA scales to the largest of global enterprises, supporting mission-critical processes for hundreds of thousands of employees worldwide.

Q: How do I get started with an SOA solution?

The goal of the SOA approach is to deliver a business solution that enables business agility, not to build a SOA. Reuse of services is often stated as a goal of SOA, and while it is true that reuse can be a good by-product of SOA, it is not the end goal itself. The first step in any SOA implementation, therefore, is to identify key business integration challenges or priorities. Development efforts, implemented along principles of SOA, are chosen such that they: 1) best meet the stated business needs, 2) offer the fastest time to value, and 3) best support long-term growth of the business.

Q: What are common SOA pitfalls?

One of the most common pitfalls is to view SOA as an end, rather than a means to an end. Developers who focus on building an SOA solution rather than solving a specific business problem are more likely to create complex, unmanageable and unnecessary interconnections between IT resources.

Another common pitfall is to try to solve multiple problems at once, rather than solving small pieces of the problem. Taking a top-down approach—starting with major organization-wide infrastructure investments—often fails either to show results in a relevant timeframe or to offer a compelling return on investment.

BPM FAQ’s

Q: What is a “business process”?

Business process is a set of linked steps or activities that taken together result in a specific business outcome, either internal or external to the organization. Documenting business processes involves describing what is done, why it is done, how it is done, who (or what system) does it, as well as how well it is done. Business processes may be structured or unstructured, depending on the extent to which the underlying steps are fixed and therefore automated or changeable.

Q: What is Business Process Management (BPM)?

Business process management (BPM) is a management discipline that combines a process-centric and cross-functional approach to improving how organizations achieve their business goals. Business processes underlie all organizational efforts, and the effectiveness with which they are carried out contributes directly to critical business goals such as customer retention, length of time it takes to fulfill a product order or service, or regulatory compliance. A BPM solution provides the tools that help make these processes explicit, as well as the functionality to help business managers control and change both manual and automated workflows.

Q: What are the origins of BPM?

Business process management has its origins in total quality management and business process reengineering. While it adds to these a technological framework, it is more than just the combination of these disciplines. BPM is an IT enabled management discipline that promotes organizational agility and supports the efforts of people to drive process change and rapid innovation. As such, BPM supports the alignment of IT and business activities both within the organization and with business partners and suppliers.

Q: Who does BPM?

Business process management is inherently a cross-disciplinary exercise involving personnel from all areas of the organization—from the process owners who are responsible for getting the day to day operational work done, to the department heads who are responsible for managing divisional areas, to the CXOs of the organization providing oversight and direction. That said, most organizations appoint or hire a point person to oversee the BPM process. That person, often referred to as a business analyst or process architect, generally comes from the business side of the organization, but has a strong enough understanding of IT to serve as an effective liaison with the IT department.

Business process management is inherently a cross-disciplinary exercise involving personnel from all areas of the organization—from the process owners who are responsible for getting the day to day operational work done, to the department heads who are responsible for managing divisional areas, to the CXOs of the organization providing oversight and direction. That said, most organizations appoint or hire a point person to oversee the BPM process. That person, often referred to as a business analyst or process architect, generally comes from the business side of the organization, but has a strong enough understanding of IT to serve as an effective liaison with the IT department.

Q: What is the BPM lifecycle?

The BPM lifecycle is an interative process with several stages: planning, model and design, develop and deploy, manage and interact, analyze and optimize.

  • Planning. The initial planning stage consists of identifying and prioritizing a short list of candidate BPM projects, identifying key players whose input is critical to project success, and establishing the governance to ensure that the BPM project stays on track throughout all of the iterative stages of the cycle.
  • Model and Design. Modeling business processes that span people and systems within the organization, as well as those that reach across to the business partners in the supply chain, enables you to clearly and explicitly lay out each step in a business process, including the critical touch points across people and disparate systems.
  • Develop and Deploy. Armed with the detailed model of the business process and the underlying business rules, the IT developer maps the business needs onto the underlying technologies that contribute to the complete solution. Using BPM tools to uncouple business rules from their underlying technologies, the IT developer abstracts these rules to a layer independent of the systems and applications, then joins the logical components into a “composite application” that combines the functionality of underlying systems.
  • Manage and Interact. With the BPM solution for a specific business process in place, end users interact with the process as it runs though the various process stages. At the same time, business users can monitor for potentially disruptive events along the various steps of the workflow process, and take appropriate action as required. In the background, IT staff manage the entire automated business process solution to ensure that the running process continues to meet capacity and availability standards.
  • Analyze and Optimize. Information derived from performance metrics is critical in driving the iterative process of optimizing the business practices and policies that support organizational goals. The most effective BPM systems enables IT staff or non-technical business users to optimize business rules in real-time, an iterative process that enables rule change, versioning and simple execution.

Q: Which business processes are good candidates for an initial BPM project?

Look for two things. Those processes that have considerable impact on your organization’s ability to achieve its goals either in the short or long term. And those processes, which if improved, will enable your organization to realize a high return on investment. Look at areas where there are known complaints, whether from customers, trading partners or internal staff. At the root of these complaints are processes that are ineffective and require reworking, streamlining, or better management.

Because organizational buy-in is so critical to the success of business process management, the project that has the greatest support for the BPM process may be the most effective place to start. A successful BPM experience in one area of the organization will help create enthusiasm for subsequent projects in other areas.

Q: What are the benefits of BPM?

The reasons for embarking on a business process management effort are as varied as the organizations that undergo the endeavor, but most organizations are driven by the following benefits:

  • Increased customer retention, gained through better, faster customer sales and services, as well as providing customers better access to resources and information
  • Reduced process time, gained through process optimization and efficiencies
  • Improved regulatory compliance, gained through improved process control, regulation and monitoring
  • Improved efficiencies across organizational boundaries such as departments, branches and trading partners
  • Reuse and create new IT assets, through integration with legacy applications and the creation of new composite applications that help to overcome their limitations
  • Greater personal productivity and satisfaction, resulting from greater insight into processes and improved workflow
  • Reduced risk, reduced waste and more profitable allocation of human resources
  • Increased agility through compression of BPM lifecycle, allowing for more rapid process innovation and response to changing business conditions

Q: What are the challenges associated with BPM?

Successful business process management initiatives require both near and long term planning and goal setting, and the goals and means by which to achieve them must be supported by executives across the organization. Without clear alignment on the goals and commitment to the BPM process, organizational resistance will defeat the initiative.

BPM also requires strong communication both within and across departmental boundaries. A strong business analyst or process architect is key to ensuring that the BPM process remains on track as well as ensuring effective communication throughout the initiative. The individual in this role ensures continuous alignment between business and IT since failure to keep business personnel engaged in the process can too readily result in IT solutions that fail to meet business goals.

Q: How do I get started with BPM?

It is critical that to have a BPM process architect who understands both business requirements and technical solutions. In addition to garnering organizational buy-in and choosing an initial project that targets a weak process directly impacting the customer, as well as one that offers a high return on investment, it is imperative to choose the right business process management solution to support the BPM process.

Q: How do I choose a BPM Solution?

BPM enabling technologies span a broad spectrum of activities, but can be generalized as supporting either activities that are unstructured (such as ad-hoc or collaborative tasks) or activities that are highly structured and often transactional in nature. Unstructured or human-workflow activities are supported by tools that center on the information worker; structured (or straight through processing) activities are supported by traditional IT business applications and integration middleware.

It’s important to look for comprehensive BPM solutions that:

  • support both human-centric and straight through processing activities
  • offer a solution framework rather than simply a point solution (necessitating multiple point solutions)
  • support process standards enabling integration across different platforms and with different line of business applications
  • support integration across business partners
  • provide business users with the ability to define the business rules that make up business processes, without IT programming
  • provide visibility into business processes, enabling real-time monitoring and event management

Q: What are the key differentiators of the Microsoft BPM solution?

The Microsoft business process management solution—a BPM system—is built upon the Microsoft application platform technology stack and spans both structured and unstructured processes. The BPM system provides a comprehensive set of tools, servers, patterns and practices for creating reliable, enterprise-grade BPM solutions.

  • People-Ready Processes. The Microsoft BPM system empowers people to drive success for their businesses. This is in contrast to older business process reengineering type initiatives, which were about automating people out of the process. Because people are a critical part of effective processes, the Microsoft BPM system is built to enable business stakeholders to design, interact with, monitor, and innovate critical business processes.
  • Easy To Use. The Microsoft BPM system uses familiar tools and environments that considerable numbers of end-users are already productive with, such as Office for business users and analysts, and Visual Studio for developers. By building upon this existing experience base, organizations can quickly become productive using the BPM system, and can incrementally deliver new innovation through use of many tools already owned.
  • Breadth of Process Support. Only the Microsoft BPM system addresses the full spectrum of business processes from highly unstructured processes (human and document centric) to highly structured and transactional system processes. Most existing vendors focus on just portions of the spectrum, or have tried gain breadth by cobbling together numerous acquired tools.
  • Integrated Platform for BPM. Microsoft BPM system is built upon a common application platform that enables businesses to realize the strategic business benefits of BPM. This platform provides an integrated set of capabilities around user presentation, process, business analytics, and development tools. The net result is a BPM solution that delivers greater agility and lower TCO than competitive solutions.
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BPM and SOA FAQ(Frequently Asked Questions)


What is Business Process Management?

Business Process Management (BPM) is a system of enterprise administration that both reviews and carries out a company’s business processes. Essentially, BPM is an information system that is able to comprehensively gather data from throughout an enterprise which it then uses to make automated decisions for everything from day-to-day workflow to shifts in business strategy. The rapidly evolving technology has come to administer not only workflow but many other complex aspects of business processes as well. Included are tools for collaboration, tools for development, marketplace applications as well as application servers and rule-creation engines so that the BPM activities can be easily modified by administrative specialists. The advantages of BPM are clear, as evidenced by its ability to cut costs by streamlining processes throughout the corporate world. BPM does this by enabling businesses to convert their existing processes into an automated, codified system of task execution that is highly accessible to both monitoring and as needed modifications that can be made without interrupting the workflow in real time.

How do I implement Business Process Management software?

Busines Process Management software can often be implemented in a way that reflects the existing technological infrastructure of you company.  For example, if you are already using ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), then the Business Process Management software that you adopt must be able to straddle this platform.

Successfully implementing Business Process Management software often requires the assistance of a consultant, or team of BPM consultants.  In this way, Business Process Managment professionals can assist you in determining whether or not you need a CRM (Customer Relations Management) interface, integration technology or any combination of a variety of other solutions to optimize your workflow.

In order for business processes to properly reach completion, data must be pulled from a variety of disparate programs. Often these incompatible platforms correspond to different departments, each of which represents an important stage in the business process. In order to consolidate information various methods of information unification have been implemented over the years. At the same time, many software programs have been developed to better speed up companies’ workflow. But not until BPM technology has there been a system that can both centralize data as well as conduct tasks based upon the information it receives. That’s why the concept of business process management has had huge success with business leaders everywhere. Many experts agree that by automating business processes company leaders will not only dramatically reduce expenses but will also be able to devote more time to strategic planning.

What are the benefits of BPM consulting?

BPM consulting is an invaluable part of nearly every business process management package. Whether implementing workflow software for the first time, maintaining an in-place system or upgrading from any variety of interfaces—including ERP—accessing the help of a consultant or BPM consulting firm is essential.

That’s because getting past the obstacles to your enterprises’ requires careful analyses of your process management needs. Seeking either domestic or international BPM consulting services is crucial to the sensitive nature of these software applications. After all, your company is stringing together processes that span the entire enterprise. It’s more complicated than simply plugging in a few numbers here and there. Indeed, your company’s management needs BPM consulting in order to apply the most productive, efficient and profitable approach to BPM integration.

Any consulting firm for business process management can recognize the importance of bringing your business onto the path of successful on-demand activity. Transactions occurring on the electronic level are increasingly becoming commonplace these days, but simply implementing BPM software is far from the end of the story. Having the right strategy in place is paramount to your success.

For practically any industry, the conditions in the marketplace are always in flux. Ranging from changing economies to altered customer behavior patterns, the need for having a solid action plan in place—all the time—is great. That’s why a qualified BPM consulting firm is able to actually leverage the years of experience that its teams of professionals will bring to the table. Whether its system analysis, new product integration, technology or more, a BPM consulting firm will guide you toward success.

What is Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)?

Enterprise resource planning is an incredibly effective way of putting together business processes so that they work together efficiently. Commonly known as ERP, the system of management integrates vital enterprise functions that range from logistical operations such as shipping and inventory to human resources like accounting and invoicing. In addition, the ERP implementations that enjoy the most success also integrate methods of ERP database management with manufacturing, distribution and a wide variety of other important business processes that play a major role in enterprise resource planning.

ERP database methods and software that encompasses the planning of resource management throughout an enterprise is typically described as a back end system, as it often has little to do with the business processes that manage customer relations or, alternatively, the vendors that supply goods and services to the company itself.

Essentially, a highly functional enterprise resource planning infrastructure will span the management of a wide number of database methods and ERP functions throughout an enterprise and its multiple departments.

While it’s been a major boon to companies that would otherwise hand-code their business processes, an integrated ERP database can appear rather limited in its methods of comprehensive organization when compared to a business process management (BPM) system that not only integrates back end processes, but also plays a major role in taking a comprehensive approach to the integration of customer relationship management (CRM) into the workflow solution.

What is a Content Management System (CMS)?

One of the key features of a content management system (CMS) is its ability to efficiently integrate content input with large scale website editing processes.  The workflow for CMS process management functions by allowing authors to enter content that a CMS can then manage by storing, formatting, modifying, etc. A CMS typically delivers integrated functionality and display for websites with internet and/or intranet capabilities on an enterprise-wide level.

Typically a CMS workflow solution within a business process management application involves large scale websites with thousands of pages. Input content that can be managed by a CMS may include simple text pages, formatted pages, materials for training, business documents, manuals published online, active database content, end user edits and high level linkage in between pages. In addition, a CMS allows multiple authors to simultaneously add content.

Given these capabilities, a good CMS business process workflow solution can facilitate significant workflow applications so that input content can be effectively passed through the appropriate channels for human edits, formatting and various other applications

What does SOA do?

SOA systematically collects, analyzes and processes data significant for the national security. SOA endeavours to detect and prevent activities aimed at threatening the independence and sovereignty of the Republic of Croatia, violent subversion of state authorities, basic freedom and human rights guaranteed by the Constitution and other laws, and the basic economic system of the Republic of Croatia.

Abroad, SOA systematically collects, analyzes, processes and evaluates the political, economic, security and military data relating to foreign countries, international governmental and non-governmental organizations, political, military and economic alliances, groups and individuals exhibiting intentions, capabilities, covert plans and secret activities aimed at threatening the national security.

How do I get started?

SOA is best approached as individual projects – each of which bring your business greater flexibility and service orientation. Successful SOA adoption is done incrementally stressing the importance of starting small, and scaling appropriately. IBM can help you identify what SOA projects make the most sense for you. For example, we have a brochure called “Five SOA projects that can pay for themselves in six months“. Regardless of whether you’re looking to SOA for an enterprise-level project, a tactical technology-level project or something in between, IBM can help you lay out a roadmap that makes sense for you. We have workshops available free of charge which can bring together IBM’s SOA architects and subject matter experts and your IT staff to help find projects to boost your business flexibility with quick financial return. Send a note to soa@us.ibm.com for more information.


What are the major benefits of SOA?

SOA helps create greater alignment between IT and line of business while generating more flexibility – IT flexibility to support greater business flexibility. Your business processes are changing faster and faster and global competition requires the flexibility that SOA can provide. SOA can help you get better reuse out of your existing IT investments as well as the new services you’re developing today. SOA makes integration of your IT investments easier by making use of well-defined interfaces between services. SOA also provides an architectural model for integrating business partners’, customers’ and suppliers’ services into an enterprise’s business processes. This reduces cost and improves customer satisfaction. Finally, SOA reduces business risk and exposure by helping you comply with proliferating government regulations, such as (in the United States) Sarbanes-Oxley, the US Patriot Act, etc.


What are the main obstacles?

According to a survey of six hundred senior executives around the world, the #1 barrier that companies are seeing to adopting SOA is shortage of skills. #2 was the difficulty in justifying the ROI of SOA projects. IBM helps break down these and other barriers. We can provide the skills and best practices that we’ve honed through over 1000 SOA customer engagements worldwide. We can help develop skills within your own organization and supplement with the expertise we have perfected. We can also help identify the right SOA projects for your organization to pursue with very attractive ROI.


Can I buy an SOA or must I build one?

To move your organization toward greater service orientation, you need to take a balanced approach to building versus buying. To create the infrastructure for an SOA, you’ll need the right commercial off-the-shelf software that complements (rather than replaces) your existing IT infrastructure. This is a “buy” statement. On the “build” side, you may also choose to access know-how and hands-on involvement to use these software products effectively and get the most out of them. This infrastructure and the associated tools can help you create the business services that run on your SOA. Again, there is some “building” associated with this. So the real answer is that you need a certain measure of both building and buying. IBM has worked hard to develop software that satisfies the vast majority of repeatable business needs for SOA. At the same time, we have a deep portfolio of experience with past customers that we can access to help you meet any unique needs you may have. From both the build and buy perspective, IBM addresses the whole SOA Lifecycle – Model, Assemble, Deploy, Manage, and Governance – to help create an SOA environment that’s right for your specific needs.


How do I integrate with my legacy applications?

Legacy applications are frequently at the core of your IT environment. But many times, these essential applications are isolated and inaccessible to common skill sets. Without the right skills and tools, it can be difficult to integrate these core investments with the rest of your IT environment. However, IBM can make this much easier. IBM can help you identify discrete elements within your legacy applications and “wrap” them in standards-based interfaces and use them as services within your SOA. IBM can accelerate your integration efforts through the use of application and technology adapters that have been developed cooperatively with our many partners


How does the Enterprise Service Bus relate to SOA?

The Enterprise Service Bus is a core element of any SOA. ESBs provide the “any to any” connectivity between services within your own company, and beyond your business to connect to your trading partners. But SOA does not stop at just implementing an ESB. Depending on what your goals are, you may want to use an ESB to connect other services within your SOA such as information services, interaction services and business process management services. Additionally, you will need to consider development services and IT service management services. The SOA reference architecture can help you lay out an SOA environment that meets your needs and priorities. The ESB is part of this reference architecture and provides the backbone of an SOA but it should not be considered an SOA by itself.

Q. What is Service Oriented Architecture (SOA)?
A. SOA is a standards-based design approach to creating an integrated IT infrastructure capable of rapidly responding to changing business needs. SOA provides the principles and guidance to transform a company’s existing array of heterogeneous, distributed, complex and inflexible IT resources into integrated, simplified and highly flexible resources that can be changed and composed to more directly support business goals.
Q. What business value does SOA provide?
A. SOA enables businesses to realize greater agility in their business practices, delivering value across both application and IT infrastructure layers. From an application perspective, SOA enables the development of a new generation of dynamic or composite applications. These applications enable end-users to access information and processes across functional boundaries, and to consume them in a number of convenient ways, including through Web, rich client, and mobile presentation layers. From an infrastructure perspective, SOA enables IT to simplify application and system integration, to recombine and reuse application functionality, and to organize development work into a unified and consistent design framework. The combined business value of the SOA approach helps to lower IT costs; provides better, more rapidly accessible business information; and enables the organization to identify and respond to workflow problems more efficiently.
Q. What business problems does SOA solve?
A. SOA enables businesses to develop a new generation of dynamic applications that address a number of top-level business concerns that are central to growth and competitiveness. SOA solutions promote:

Stronger connections with customers and suppliers. By making available dynamic applications and business services to external customers and suppliers, not only is richer collaboration possible, but customer and partner satisfaction is increased. SOA unlocks critical supply and demand chain processes—such as outsourcing of specific business tasks—from the constraints of underlying IT architectures, thereby enabling better alignment of processes with organizational strategy.
Enhanced business decision making. By aggregating access to business services and information into a set of dynamic, composite business applications, decision makers gain more accurate and more comprehensive information, and gain the flexibility to access that information in the form and presentation factor (Web, rich client, mobile device) that meets their needs.
Greater employee productivity. By providing streamlined access to systems and information and enabling business process improvement, businesses can drive greater employee productivity. Employees can focus their energies on addressing the important, value-added processes and on collaborative, semi-structured activities, rather than having to conform to the limitations and restrictions of the underlying IT systems.
Q. Will SOA enable alignment of business and IT?
A. SOA by itself is not sufficient to guarantee alignment of business and IT. In fact, many organizations that have attempted to roll out SOA infrastructure through a top-down approach have found that that by the time the infrastructure was delivered, it was out of sync with the needs of the business. In contrast, those customers that have driven successful alignment have started with a clear understanding of their business vision, have well-defined business initiatives and outcomes, and have chosen to incrementally deliver those “slices” of their SOA infrastructure that deliver upon these objectives. Microsoft has long advocated this approach—what we call our “real world” approach to leveraging service oriented architectures. This real world approach is focused on rapid time-to-value, and on delivering business results through iterative, incremental steps that are more closely aligned with changing business conditions. This helps enable a much tighter degree of alignment between business and IT.
Q. Is SOA a product?
A. No. SOA is not a product, but an architecture approach and set of patterns for implementing agile, loosely coupled dynamic applications. A reflection of its commitment to developing the standards, guidance, tools and technologies needed for developing cross-platform integration solutions, Microsoft has been using service orientation across its products since 1999, when the Web services model was announced and a wave of innovation began that fundamentally changed the application architecture landscape. Beginning with version 1.0 of the .NET Framework, the Microsoft investments in tools, together with platform support for Web services, have helped make Service Orientation mainstream and practical.

Working with other vendors such as IBM and BEA, we invested in authoring a set of specifications referred to collectively as the WS-* architecture. Shortly thereafter, in order to promote interoperability across platforms, operating systems and programming languages, Microsoft worked with IBM to develop the Web Services Interoperability Organization (WS-I). Since it was created, WS-I has grown to roughly 150 member companies and has created Web services that address areas such as interoperability, security and the reliability of messaging.

Q. Will implementing an SOA solution require a complete overhaul of existing technologies and business processes?
A. No. The most effective approach to SOA is to build on existing investments, including legacy applications, and to take an incremental approach to integrating across diverse systems to provide specific business benefits. And because the underlying applications are accessed through an interface, the IT assets are insulated from direct change.
Q. Isn’t implementing an SOA solution a costly and complex proposition?
A. While some SOA-based solutions require a multiplicity of products to implement, increasing cost and complexity, Microsoft solutions are greatly simplified since core service orientation capabilities are built right into the Windows platform as part of the .NET framework. These core capabilities are complemented with an integrated set of development and management tools, as well as server-based solutions for composing and integrating dynamic, composite applications.
Q. Is SOA technology only for large Fortune 1000 enterprises?
A. No. The Microsoft “real world” SOA approach has been successfully adopted by organizations with very modest IT resources, since it can readily scale down to fit within their existing IT capabilities. At the same time, the Microsoft approach to SOA scales to the largest of global enterprises, supporting mission-critical processes for hundreds of thousands of employees world wide.
Q. What is the Microsoft SOA solution approach?
A. Microsoft SOA solutions help organizations access existing IT resources, assemble them into larger business processes, and make the outputs available to users in order to run their organization more effectively. This “real world” approach lets organizations begin with a focused understanding of the business problem and realize rapid success.

From a more technical standpoint, the Microsoft approach can be summarized as a three-step approach: expose, compose and consume.

1. In the expose phase, existing IT resources (such as legacy systems and line of business applications) are made available as services which can be communicated with through standardized messaging formats. The most common suite of implementation technologies is the standards-based Web services. For existing technology assets that cannot natively speak Web service protocols, interoperability is attained through the use of adapters. As the developer moves forward in deliberations about which services to expose, such decisions must be driven by clearly defined and prioritized business needs.
2. Once individual services are exposed, they must be pulled together or composed into larger business processes or workflows. The goal of the compose phase is to enable greater business flexibility and agility by allowing processes to be added or changed without being constrained by the underlying IT systems and applications.
3. In the final step of constructing an SOA solution, the dynamic (or composite) applications that consume the underlying services and processes are developed. These applications—based on Web technologies (such as portals or AJAX), rich clients, Office business applications, or mobile devices—are what drive the productivity of the end-user.

It is important to recognize that all three steps are essential parts of every incremental SOA project. Without all three elements—including the delivery of the dynamic application—the business will not realize any return on the investment.

Q. How do I get started with an SOA solution?
A. The goal of the SOA approach is to deliver a business solution that enables business agility, not to build a SOA. Reuse of services is often stated as a goal of SOA, and while it is true that reuse can be a good by-product of SOA, it is not the end goal itself. The first step in any SOA implementation, therefore, is to identify key business integration challenges or priorities. Development efforts, implemented along principles of SOA, are chosen such that they: 1) best meet the stated business needs, 2) offer the fastest time to value, and 3) best support long-term growth of the business.
Q. What are common SOA pitfalls?
A. One of the most common pitfalls is to view SOA as an end, rather than a means to an end. Developers who focus on building an SOA solution rather than solving a specific business problem are more likely to create complex, unmanageable, and unnecessary interconnections between IT resources.

Another common pitfall is to try to solve multiple problems at once, rather than solving small pieces of the problem. Taking a top-down approach—starting with major organization-wide infrastructure investments—often fails either to show results in a relevant timeframe or to offer a compelling return on investment

  1. What is Business Process Modeling (BPM)?

    Business Process Modeling (BPM) is the representation of current (“as is”) and proposed (“to be”) enterprise processes, so that they may be compared and contrasted. By comparing and contrasting current and proposed enterprise processes business analysts and managers can identify specific process transformations that can result in quantifiable improvements to their businesses.

  2. What is the difference between Business Process Modeling and business modeling?

    Although business modeling may be considered more generic than Business Process Modeling, the terms are largely synonymous, and they are frequently used interchangeably.

  3. How is Business Process Modeling related to the other BPM’s: Business Process Management, Business Process Monitoring, and Business Performance Management?

    In the business domain the BPM acronym is heavily overloaded with several different expansions which are related to each other. Business Process Monitoring refers to the the observation of enterprise processes. Business Process Management, which refers to all activities that manage enterprise processes, is the most generic term and subsumes the others.

  4. What are the industry standard languages for Business Process Modeling?

    Business Process Modeling is supported by a mix of emerging industry standards that include the following:

    * Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN) — BPMN is a graphic notation for representing business processes. BPMN defines a Business Process Diagram, which is based on flowcharting techniques customized for business processes, and a mapping to BPEL executable semantics (see below). The BPMN industry standard is maintained by the OMG. For more information about the BPMN check out the BPMN Forum.
    * Unified Modeling Language (UML) — UML is the industry-standard visual modeling language for specifying software-intensive systems, and it can also be used to model business processes. In particular, UML Activity diagrams provide many of the workflow modeling constructs furnished by BPMN. The UML industry standard is maintained by the OMG. For more information about the UML check out the UML Forum.
    * Business Process Executable Language (BPEL) — BPEL is an XML-based executable language for representing business processes. BPEL is an orchestration language (cf. choreography language, such as WS-CDL), and consequently focuses on the view of one business participant. The BPEL industry standard is maintained by OASIS.
    * Web Services Choreography Description Language (WS-CDL) — WS-CDL is an XML-based non-executable language that represents global business processes. WS-CDL is a choreography language (cf. orchestration language, such as BPEL), and consequently, describes peer-to-peer collaborations of multiple business participants working on a common business goal. The BPEL industry standard is maintained by W3C.

  5. When will the industry standards for Business Process Modeling converge?

    The linguistic divergence of Business Process Modeling languages is problematic for efficient communication and interoperability, since it perpetuates a Tower-of-Babel syndrome among the various business stakeholders. Since the Business Process Management Initiative (BPMI) merged with the OMG in 2005 there has been some hope that BPMN and UML Activity diagram notation will be merged in the near future. However, given the OMG’s poor track record regarding interoperability of modeling standards, such as UML 2.0, it is unlikely that this will happen soon.

  6. What is the difference between a graphic (visual) Business Process Modeling language and a non-graphic (text-based) Business Process Modeling language?

    These differences refer to variations in the concrete syntax (notation) of the Business Process Modeling languages. Graphic business modeling languages typically use a visual notation of 2-dimensional symbols (e.g., the “boxes and lines” used in BPMN and UML), whereas non-graphic business modeling languages use a text-based notation (e.g., BPEL, which is defined with XML notation).

    Many persons find visual notations easier to learn and apply, perhaps because they process visual information more efficiently than textual information. (This may have something to do with how the human brain is divided into left and right celebral hemispheres, and that individuals tend to emphasize one hemisphere over the other. For more information regarding this click here.)

  7. What is the difference between an executable Business Process Modeling language and a non-executable Business Process Modeling language?

    These differences refer to variations in the semantics (meanings) of the Business Process Modeling languages. Executable Business Process Modeling languages are associated with precise semantics that can be used to automatically validate and simulate business processes (e.g., BPEL, UML Action Semantics) whereas non-executable Business Process Modeling languages lack precise semantics (e.g., BPMN).

  8. What is the relationship between BPMN and BPEL?

    BPMN is a visual notation for Business Process Modeling, whereas BPEL is a text-based (XML-based) Business Process Modeling language which includes precise execution semantics. BPMN defines a mapping of its visual notation to BPEL execution semantics, so that the best features of both these standards can be synergistally combined.

  9. What is the relationship between BPEL and WS-CDL?

    Both BPEL and WS-CDL are XML-based languages, but BPEL is executable and is an orchestration language (i.e., focuses on the view of a single business participant), whereas WS-CDL is non-executable and is a choreography language (i.e., describes peer-to-peer collaborations of multiple business participants)

Model Driven Architecture (MDA) FAQ


Model Driven Architecture (MDA) FAQ
Q: What is the Model Driven Architecture (MDA) and how is it different from other
architectures?
A: The MDA is a new way of writing specifications, based on a platform-independent
model. A complete MDA specification consists of a definitive platform-independent base
UML model, plus one or more platform-specific models and interface definition sets,
each describing how the base model is implemented on a different middleware platform.
The MDA focuses primarily on the functionality and behavior of a distributed application
or system, not the technology in which it will be implemented. It divorces
implementation details from business functions. Thus, it is not necessary to repeat the
process of modeling an application or system’s functionality and behavior each time a
new technology (e.g., XML/SOAP) comes along. Other architectures are generally tied
to a particular technology. With MDA, functionality and behavior are modeled once and
only once. Mapping to the supported MDA platforms will be implemented by tools,
easing the task of supporting new or different technologies.
Q: Why is the OMG going in a new direction? What prompted it?
A: It’s not really a new direction, when you take OMG’s history into account. In 1997,
OMG expanded its scope to include modeling with the adoption of the Unified Modeling
Language (UML) and Meta-Object Facility (MOF). Although it has always been true that
UML models can be implemented on any platform, the continuing proliferation of
middleware “silver bullets” suggested that a platform-independent UML model is the
secret to software stability and ROI – a stake that remains fixed in the ground while the
infrastructure around it shifts over time. The MDA unites OMG’s well-established
modeling standards with not only CORBA but also every other middleware technology –
past, present, and future – to integrate what you’ve built, with what you’re building, with
what you’re going to build. Rather than focusing on yet another “next best thing,” MDA
raises the bar and designs portability and interoperability into the application at the model
level.
Q: What is the role of UML in the MDA?
A: UML is the key enabling technology for the Model Driven Architecture: Every
application using the MDA is based on a normative, platform-independent UML model.
By leveraging this universally accepted modeling standard, the MDA allows creation of
applications that are portable across, and interoperate naturally across, a broad spectrum
of systems from embedded, to desktop, to server, to mainframe, and across the Internet.
Q: What is the role of middleware platforms in the MDA?
A: In the MDA, a specification’s platform-independent base UML model is used to
define one or more platform-specific models and interface definition sets, each describing
how the base model is implemented on a different middleware platform. Because the base
model, platform-specific model, and interface definitions will all be part of an MDA
specification, OMG will adopt specifications for multiple middleware platforms as it puts
this new architecture into place. While CORBA’s platform and language independence
and proven, deployed transactional and secure nature continue to make it the best choice
for systems from embedded to desktop to Internet, MDA makes porting to, and
interoperating with, other middleware platforms easier and cheaper.
Q: What about CORBA, then?
A: OMG continues to promote and develop CORBA, and the CORBA market continues
to expand, particularly in real-time & embedded systems, and the large, mission-critical,
fault tolerant systems essential to enterprise computing. Because CORBA is the only
multi-platform, multi-language solution for systems integration, many enterprises will
use CORBA to build and integrate applications defined in the MDA.
OMG and its member companies have always recognized the value of interoperating with
other standards as well as proprietary platforms & languages. OMG created the
COM/CORBA interoperability specification in 1995 (for connections to Microsoft’s
proprietary desktop systems) and expanded it in 1997, and designed and constructed the
many ways that CORBA works with Java and XML. Amongst its other benefits, MDA
continues this work of defining cross-middleware interoperability, and will provide tool
support to speed and automate the process. This will be a great benefit to users who find
themselves supporting multiple middleware platforms.
Q: How does MDA enable cross-platform interoperability?
A: In the MDA, interfaces and implementations of a specification all derive from a
common base UML model. This structure of linked models allows automated building of
the bridges that connect implementations on those various middleware platforms. And,
when the base model for a new specification is being designed, interoperability with other
specifications and services can be designed into it.
Q: How does MDA compare or compete with Microsoft’s .NET or Sun’s ONE?
A: MDA works at a different level than .NET and ONE. These are platforms, aimed at
specific albeit broad application targets, while the MDA is (as its name declares) a Model
Driven Architecture that works above the level of every middleware platform, .NET and
ONE included. A middleware platform is incorporated into the MDA as a platformspecific
profile. As ONE and .NET establish market share, OMG members will define
platform-specific profiles for them, allowing them to participate in the MDA along with
the other platforms which will almost certainly include Java/EJB, XML and one or more
protocols dictated by the industry or the marketplace (SOAP or XP), and others.
Q: Who is responsible for the MDA?
A: Although the original impetus for the MDA came from OMG staff, it is now
supported by the membership as demonstrated by unanimous votes of the technical
representatives attending the organization’s meeting in late February, 2001. Like all the
other work of the OMG, MDA was defined and will be developed by the OMG
membership which includes a diverse cross-section of computer vendors, software
suppliers, and many end-users. The wealth of experience contributed by these hundreds
of organizations is one of the great strengths of OMG’s process, and has been put to good
use in defining and refining the MDA. The initial vision was drafted in late 2000 in a
paper available at http://doc.omg.org/mda, and subsequently refined with the help of
many individual contributors into a technical perspective, available at
http://doc.omg.org/ab/1-2-4..
Q: What are the top three benefits of the MDA to enterprises trying to cope with
today’s computing environment?
A: There are many benefits to using the MDA approach, with the most important being:
• An architecture based on the MDA is always ready to deal with yesterday’s,
today’s and tomorrow’s “next big thing”.
• The MDA will make it easier to integrate applications and facilities across
middleware boundaries.
• Domain facilities defined in the MDA by OMG’s Domain Task Forces will
provide much wider interoperability by always being available on a domain’s
preferred platform, and on multiple platforms whenever there is a need.
Q: How will the MDA be delivered? In what kind of tools? And when?
A: Several key parts of the MDA vision have already been standardized, including not
only the UML, MOF, XMI and CWM, but also the first middleware mapping (to OMG’s
own CORBA). Several other major MDA foundation specifications are “in the chute,”
including a middleware-independent mapping for enterprise systems (called “UML for
Enterprise Distributed Object Computing”).
In terms of products, MDA will be implemented by modeling tools and we expect the
first generation to emerge late this year. Additional vendors’ products will join these soon
after, so that almost all OMG vendor members (and many non-members) will be
represented in the marketplace by products in about eighteen months.
The biggest benefit of MDA will be the generation of application code from an MDA
model through an automated or semi-automated series of steps. Although fully automatic
code generation is unlikely for some platforms, examples with limited scope are running
today and demonstrate the practicality of this vision. MDA tools will initially move
beyond modeling with the generation of code for interfaces (such as OMG IDL), for
functionality constrained by a specification such as the CORBA Component Model or
EJB, for wrappers around programmer code that make it transactional or secure, and for
operations that get and set the values of variables declared in the model. A subsequent
version may code execution of simple business rules.
Q: How is OMG doing, anyways?
A: OMG is bigger than ever, and doing well. With about 800 member companies, OMG
continues to be the largest software standards organization of its kind. There are more
systems deployed using OMG’s standards than ever, with new success stories appearing
daily. Some recent examples include major design wins at a large airline reservation
system and two of the world’s biggest multinational automobile manufacturers.
In terms of the OMG standards process, there are now more adoptions in process than at
any other time in OMG’s twelve year history. Our meetings, which typically attract more
than 500 members and guests, regularly host industry workshops and co-host meetings of
other organizations.
Q: Will MDA adversely impact the CORBA-based product I’ve installed or plan
to install in the near future?
A: Absolutely not. First, OMG plans to continue support for CORBA at current levels at
least; demand from CORBA users in realtime, embedded, fault-tolerant, and enterprise
systems will actually increase the tempo of CORBA standardization. CORBA will also
be one of the most prominent platform-specific models in the MDA. MDA will make it
practical to either keep all of your CORBA applications and connect to other platforms,
or to port to them, as dictated by business factors.

Astragraphia: “An IT-based Document Solutions Provider”


http://bisniskeuangan.kompas.com/read/xml/2009/05/06/08291026/astragraphia.an.it-based.document.solutions.provider

Kalau kampanye lingkungan dilakukan oleh LSM dan bukan oleh Xerox, pasti jadi biasa.

Tapi ternyata kampanye itu memang dilakukan perusahaan yang ikut membuka jalan tampilnya Steve Jobs meniti karir dan kemudian menjadi icon industri ICT dunia. Dan dalam kampanyenya, Xerox bukan hanya sekedar menunjukkan punya kepedulian, tapi sudah melangkah ke value proposition. Xerox sebagai penyedia produk dan jasa berbasis mesin fotokopi menganjurkan kliennya untuk mengurangi pencetakan atau pengkopian dokumen, tetapi tetap berharap dapat untung.

Bagaimana caranya? Dengan erasable paper. Dengan teknologi ini, kertas dapat digunakan berkali-kali dengan melakukan pencetakan dan penghapusan dengan mesin Xerox. Sebagai perusahaan kedua terbesar di bidang printer-copier di dunia, Xerox memang selalu mencoba menghemat pengeluaran konsumennya dalam menggunakan kertas. Dulu, Xerox menjadi pencetus ide double-sided printing. Bagi Xerox, solusi dokumen yang lebih ramah lingkungan menjadi value-add bagi kliennya. Dengan demikian, margin yang diperoleh Xerox atau reseller-nya menjadi lebih besar.

Menjadi distributor atau reseller perusahaan yang produknya dicari seperti Xerox tidaklah sulit. Akan tetapi bisnis distribusi Xerox ini adalah bisnis yang mengandalkan penghasilan dari margin produk yang dijual. Semakin kecil value-add yang bisa ditawarkan sebuah reseller, semakin kecil margin yang bisa diraih. Value-add terbesar adalah ketika distributor mampu menawarkan berbagai produk ke dalam suatu solusi yang terintegrasi untuk memenuhi kebutuhan pelanggan. Karena itulah, PT Astra Graphia Tbk (ASGR) berkembang dari bisnis distributor menjadi bisnis solusi.

Menjadi bagian dari Astra International sebagai distributor eksklusif –lengkap dengan layanan purna jual– dari mesin fotokopi Xerox sejak 1971, ASGR mengalami transformasi menjadi penyedia solusi dokumen. Seperti didefinisikan oleh ASGR, dokumen adalah alat penting yang menjadi jembatan transmisi informasi. Dengan demikian, sebuah perusahaan perlu suatu strategi dokumen mulai dari desain, produksi, sampai penyimpanan dokumen.

Saat ini separuh bisnisnya ditopang oleh Office Product Business yang menjual perangkat dokumen multi-fungsi sebagai solusi bagi klien perkantoran. Sisanya didukung oleh Production Service Business untuk solusi dokumen berskala produksi dan Printer Channel Business untuk solusi printing serta FX Global Services untuk jasa integrasi dan outsourcing solusi.

Karena dokumen itu tidak selamanya paper-based, sejak tahun 1983, ASGR mulai merambah masuk ke area solusi teknologi informasi (TI) sehingga mampu menawarkan solusi dokumen berbasis TI. Memasuki area baru, Singapore Computer Systems Limited (SCS) pun digandeng untuk membentuk SCS Astragraphia Tehnologies (SAT). Setelah proses pembelajaran dari SCS rampung, di tahun 2008 ASGR membeli kembali saham SAT dari SCS hingga perusahaan ini mempunyai unit bisnis solusi TI yang dimiliki penuh. Sinergi antara unit bisnis solusi dokumen dan solusi TI diharapkan mampu memperbesar value-add dari produk yang dijual sehingga ASGR semakin jauh dari status distributor yang rentan terhadap negosiasi harga dengan klien.

Tantangan terbesar sebuah perusahaan solusi, termasuk ASGR, adalah dalam hal pricing, terutama di saat klien mengincar penghematan di proses bisnisnya. Terlalu mahal, klien akan mencari harga yang lebih murah dari pesaing atau merancang solusi sendiri. Terlalu murah, perusahaan akan mendapat margin yang terlalu kecil untuk melakukan banyak pekerjaan di luar operasional rutin, mulai dari desain solusi, instalasi, sampai layanan purna jual.

Untuk menjawab tantangan tersebut, ASGR perlu mengedukasi klien bahwa margin yang dibayarkan di atas harga produk adalah untuk jasa customization dan integration produk ke dalam proses bisnis klien. Selain itu, ASGR sebagai an IT-based document solutions provider perlu memastikan bahwa customization dan integration memang menjadi value-add yang ditawarkannya

Unilever Indonesia: “A Premium Yet Localized Consumer Goods Company”


http://bisniskeuangan.kompas.com/read/xml/2009/05/04/07564215/unilever.indonesia.a.premium.yet.localized.consumer.goods.company

Di China, shower cream diperkenalkan pertama kali oleh Unilever pada tahun 1990.

Dengan merek Lux dan positioning untuk beauty and glamor, Unilever menjual produknya di kisaran 100-200 persen lebih premium dari merek lokal. Ketika diluncurkan, pertumbuhan penjualan sangat lambat karena selain dianggap barang mewah, perilaku mandi konsumen di China tidak mendukung. Di China, perasaan lembab setelah mandi dengan shower cream dianggap kotor dan lengket. Sabun yang membuat kulit kering lebih disukai oleh konsumen.

Beberapa tahun setelah diperkenalkan Unilever, perusahaan lokal bernama Shanghai Jahwa meluncurkan merek Liushen. Bedanya, Shanghai Jahwa berhasil menangkap local insight mengenai masalah persepsi kotor dan lengket dan mengubah formulasi produknya untuk menyesuaikan dengan preferensi konsumen. Dengan cepat, Liushen meraih 60 persen pangsa pasar di kategori shower cream walaupun harganya 100 persen lebih mahal dari sabun-sabun produksi Shanghai Jahwa sebelumnya. Rahasianya adalah dengan mengenali selera lokal.

Unilever sendiri di China bukannya tanpa prestasi. Meski sekarang jauh lebih kecil daripada P&G di negara tirai bambu ini, Unilever berhasil menciptakan Clear sebagai merek shampoo yang murni dilahirkan di Shanghai dan Bangkok untuk menantang P&G dengan produk unggulannya Head & Shoulders. Karena diciptakan di negara Asia dan bukan di negara Barat, penerimaan produk ini di Asia cukup tinggi. Mirip dengan kasus Shanghai Jahwa, kesesuaian dengan konsumen lokal menjadi kunci kesuksesan.

Di Indonesia, Unilever berdiri pada tahun 1933, persis 10 tahun setelah berdiri di China, sehingga punya akar panjang di industri barang konsumsi di Indonesia. Dengan operasional yang sudah dimulai sejak sebelum kemerdekaan, PT Unilever Indonesia Tbk (UNVR) berhasil membangun salah satu jaringan distribusi terbaik sekaligus membangun ekuitas merek-merek global. Merek-merek yang kita kenal dari UNVR adalah merek-merek tertua sekaligus pelopor di pasar Indonesia seperti Rinso dan Pepsodent.

UNVR adalah satu dari sedikit pemain di industri barang konsumsi yang bisa menawarkan harga premium dibandingkan para pesaingnya dan tetap menjadi pemimpin pasar. Di industri ini, harga premium menjadi modal besar untuk bisa menggelontorkan anggaran untuk komunikasi merek. Boleh dibilang, UNVR adalah sekolah untuk para brand manager baru di Indonesia karena keahliannya dalam membangun merek melalui komunikasi.

Portfolio merek UNVR agak sedikit unik jika dibandingkan dengan portfolio merek  Unilever secara global. Di seluruh dunia, Unilever secara keseluruhan mempunyai portfolio merek yang seimbang antara home and personal care yang berkontribusi sekitar 46 persen dengan food and beverages yang sekitar 54 persen. Bahkan Unilever secara global cukup adalah leader di beberapa kategori food and beverages terutama di savoury, dressings, ice cream, spreads, dan tea. Uniknya, portfolio merek UNVR justru lebih berat ke home and personal care yang berkontribusi hingga 79 persen.

Meski dominan di kategori toiletries, di kategori food and beverages UNVR masih kalah bersaing dengan merek-merek lokal. Maklum, jika menyangkut makanan dan minuman, selera lokal lebih mampu ditangkap oleh merek dalam negeri. Beberapa kali usaha UNVR membangun merek seperti Mie & Me dan Tara Nasiku mengalami jalan buntu. Karena itu, UNVR lebih memilih membeli merek-merek lokal legendaris daripada membangun merek food and beverages sendiri. Tercatat ada beberapa merek lokal seperti Kecap Bango, Sari Wangi, Taro, GoGo, dan Buavita yang diakuisisi oleh UNVR. Dengan demikian, kasus Shanghai Jahwa vs. Lux di China bisa dihindari dan kasus sukses Clear bisa diulangi.

Meski masih mencoba menyeimbangkan portfolio mereknya, UNVR sangat paham akan pentingnya menyeimbangkan konsep lokalisasi dengan konsep globalisasi merek. Dengan visinya untuk meningkatkan vitalitas masyarakat Indonesia, UNVR harus tetap menjadi perusahaan global yang menawarkan merek-merek premium namun sesuai dengan selera lokal.

Lippo Karawaci: “The Most Diverse Property Company”


http://bisniskeuangan.kompas.com/read/xml/2009/04/30/0754379/lippo.karawaci.the.most.diverse.property.company

Mochtar Riady bisa jadi adalah pionir dalam building brand equity di Indonesia.

Ini bisa dilihat dari pilihan nama dan logo perusahaan yang didirikannya lebih dari 40 tahun yang lalu, yaitu Lippo Group. Mungkin tidak banyak yang tahu bahwa kata Lippo merupakan kependekan dari dua kata Li yang berarti energy dan Pao yang berarti treasure, yang merupakan inti dari filosofi bisnis dari pengusaha besar Indonesia generasi pertama yang dikenal filosofis ini, yaitu menemukan sinergi antara perjalanan hidup manusia dengan sumber-sumber keuangan. Dan logo Lippo sebetulnya merupakan gabungan antara huruf-huruf pertama dari dua kata pembentuk Lippo, L dan P, yang kemudian menjadi stilisasi dari infinity loop.

Apa yang dilakukan Mochtar Riady itu sungguh membedakannya dengan para pengusaha besar Indonesia generasi pertama lainnya yang boleh jadi tidak begitu peduli dengan brand equity. Ini bisa dilihat dari nama-nama perusahaan ciptaan mereka yang sulit mewadahi semua aktivitas bisnis yang dimilikinya pada saat ini. Sementara Mochtar Riady sudah membayangkan bahwa perusahaannya akan memiliki bisnis yang end-to-end sesuai dengan perjalanan manusia.

Tak mudah sebetulnya untuk menemukan wujud dari visi Mochtar Riady sebelum kita mengenal PT Lippo Karawaci Tbk (LPKR). Didirikan di tahun 1990 dengan nama PT Tunggal Reksa Kencana, tiga tahun kemudian perusahaan ini menjadi pionir pengembangan  kota satelit yang bernuansa urban dan berdiri secara mandiri karena berbentuk integrated township, melalui Lippo Karawaci sebagai lifestyle-based township dan Lippo Cikarang sebagai industrial-based township yang menjepit Jakarta dari arah Barat dan Timur. Ini merupakan langkah yang mengagetkan banyak orang pada saat itu karena jenis properti dan lokasi yang dipilih, apalagi setelah ia kemudian juga membangun Tanjung Bunga sebagai trading-based township untuk Kawasan Timur Indonesia empat tahun kemudian.

Dan Mochtar Riady bukan hanya sekedar township developer. Untuk meyakinkan orang akan pilihan jenis proyek dan lokasi, ia pun tidak ragu untuk memindahkan kantor pusat perusahaan-perusahaan besar Lippo Group ke Karawaci. Ia bahkan tidak ragu untuk membangun sendiri fasilitas yang mestinya ada dalam sebuah kota satelit, mulai dari pusat perbelanjaan, pendidikan hingga fasilitas kesehatan.

Pada mulanya semua perusahaan yang kini menjadi unit-unit bisnis LPKR, berdiri sebagai sebuah perusahaan tersendiri. Tapi di bulan Juli 2004, Lippo Group kemudian menggabungkan berbagai perusahan properti pemukiman, ritel/komersil, kesehatan, infrastruktur, dan hospitality ke dalam LPKR. Setelah merger, aktivitas bisnis LPKR kemudian terbagai menjadi tiga bagian besar: property, healthcare dan hospitality.

Entah itu karena terkait dengan filosofi bisnis atau karena business opportunities, langkah merger itu kemudian diikuti dengan membangun sinergi antara trade center/town-square/mall dengan anak perusahaan Lippo Group yang lain seperti Matahari Putra Prima sebagai anchor tenant, selain tentu saja dengan unit bisnis hospitality atau healthcare LPKR. Cara pengembangan semacam ini menurut kami punya aspek positif dan negatif. Positifnya, LPKR akan punya kesempatan mempercepat upaya menggenjot development revenue, sementara negatifnya bisa membuat LPKR tidak bisa mengoptimalkan recurring revenue, terutama yang akhirnya diandalkan jadi penyewa adalah unit bisnis sendiri.

Di pihak lain, yang namanya membuat langkah yang menarik perhatian terus dilakukan LPKR. Salah satunya adalah membangun pemakaman San Diego Hills Memorial Park & Funeral Homes. Langkah ini bahkan lebih fenomenal dibandingkan dengan langkahnya membangun berbagai major development seperti City of Tomorrow di Surabaya, Kemang Village Superblock serta yang paling fenomenal adalah pembangunan mega proyek The St Moritz Penthouses and Residences.

Keberadaan unit bisnis San Diego Hills tersebut menurut kami membuat LPKR bisa menghidupkan logo dan filosofi Lippo, mengikuti perjalanan hidup manusia dari awal kelahiran, yaitu womb (melalui Siloam Hospital), lalu rumah, sekolah, perbelanjaan hingga akhir perjalanan manusia yaitu tomb (melalui San Diego Hills).  LPKR bukan hanya punya bisnis property yang end-to-end, tapi juga mempunyai sumber pendanaan yang beragam, mulai dari dana sendiri, investor saham biasa, hingga ke real estate fund. Dan hal yang tersebut terakhir ini bisa terwujud antara lain karena LPKR yang merupakan the most diverse property company punya development revenue dan recurring revenue yang variatif dan stabil

Bukopin: “An Aggressive Medium Sized bank”


http://bisniskeuangan.kompas.com/read/xml/2009/04/21/17162032/bukopin.an.aggressive.medium.sized.bank

Doha tampak begitu all-out untuk menjadi salah satu kota terpenting Timur Tengah.

Sebagaimana halnya dengan berbagai negara-negara di Teluk Persia, penemuan cadangan gas dan minyak yang besar di Qatar merubah nasib negara ini dari sebuah negeri yang relatif miskin dan bergantung pada hasil tangkapan ikan dan mutiara, menjadi negeri kaya. Tidak seperti Dubai yang cadangan minyaknya terbatas, Doha atau Qatar sungguh berlimpah dengan minyak dan gas. Bahkan untuk gas, kota dengan jumlah penduduk yang tidak sampai 500 ribu jiwa ini, dengan sebagian besar orang yang tinggal di Doha bukanlah warganegara Qatar, punya total cadangan gas terbukti yang dikenal sebagai salah satu yang terbesar di dunia.

Tapi belajar dari pengalaman ketika harga minyak berada di bawah USD 20 per barrel, negara-negara kaya minyak dan gas itu banyak yang tidak mau hanya bergantung pada minyak dan gas. Setelah Dubai, yang kebetulan tidak punya cadangan gas besar, mulai terlihat bisa mendiversifikan perekonomian yang semula tergantung pada gas, sejumlah kota utama di setiap negara Teluk berlomba-lomba mengikuti jejaknya. Apalagi mereka percaya bahwa dengan uang yang banyak mereka juga bisa cepat meniru Dubai.

Tidak hanya sekedar ingin mengikuti jejak Dubai yang mencoba menjadi berbagai hub di Timur Tengah, Doha bahkan melangkah lebih jauh. Kota ini menjadi tuan rumah dari pertemuan bersejarah para menteri anggota WTO di tahun 2001, yang membuat kota ini banyak disebut orang di seluruh dunia ketika bicara mengenai perdagangan internasional . Doha sekaligus juga merupakan tuan rumah Asian Games terbesar sepanjang sejarah di tahun 2006. Dan keberadaan stasiun televisi berbahasa Arab Al Jazeera yang muncul di tahun 1996, yang siarannya bisa dinikmati di seluruh negara Arab, dan seolah seperti menjadi corong warga Arab biasa di seluruh negara Arab, membuat Doha yang berasal dari negeri mini menjelma menjadi salah satu kota terpenting Timur Tengah.

Seperti Doha yang all-out menjadi salah satu kota terpenting Timur Tengah, PT Bank Bukopin Tbk (BBKP) dikenal sebagai bank yang agresif dalam menjadikan diri sebagai bank papan tengah pilihan di Indonesia. Sekalipun bukan suatu hal yang gampang, karena penghuni papan tengah perbankan Indonesia merupakan campuran antara bank nasional, regional dan global, BBKP terlihat bergerak agresif dalam memperluas produk dan layanan. Demi mendukung tercapainya tujuan untuk meningkatkan kenyamanan bertransaksi para nasabah, BBKP tak segan-segan bukan hanya sekedar memperbaiki fasilitas e-delivery channel-nya, tapi juga tak ragu untuk agresif mendorong utilisasi ATM-nya dengan kampanye ”Kartunya satu, ATM-nya banyak” dan gratis biaya tarik tunai di jaringan ATM ALTO, ATM Bersama, ATM BCA dan Prima

Sementara untuk mendongkrak peningkatan dana murah, BBKP juga tidak segan untuk menggelar program undian berhadiah rutin dengan hadiah utama mobil mewah, sesuatu yang hanya sejumlah bank papan tengah yang melakukannya. Karena persaingan antar program undian berhadiah sangat ketat, BBKP juga agresif mengkampanyekan program undian berhadiahnya. Dan untuk keperluan terakhir ini BBKP tidak ragu-ragu untuk mempromosikan merek mobil hadiah utama.

Tidak hanya di mass market banking, BBKP juga agresif dalam membangun layanan untuk nasabah prioritas-nya. Untuk keperluan ini, BBKP bahkan sampai menggunakan seorang pengusaha muda dan investment banker yang sedang naik daun sebagai bintang iklannya. Ini jelas, upaya all out untuk membangun kredibilitas layanan prioritas-nya.

BBKP memang mesti melakukan langkah-langkah tersebut di atas, karena bukan hanya sekedar berada di papan tengah tapi juga karena masih berusaha mencapai rasio keuangan yang impresif. Dimana untuk mencapai tujuan tersebut mesti didukung dengan porsi dana murah yang semakin besar dan utilisasi yang tinggi atas berbagai layanan yang bisa menghasilkan fee based income. Karena hampir semua bank mengejar dua target tersebut, mau tak mau bank papan tengah seperti BBKP juga mesti kreatif -sekalipun mahal- dalam mengkomunikasikan berbagai produk dan programnya.

Berbagai langkah agresif yang sekarang dilakukan BBKP, termasuk membentuk unit usaha syariah bisa jadi merupakan suatu hal yang tak terbayangkan ketika BBKP didirikan 10 Juli 1970, sebagai badan hukum koperasi dengan nama BUKOPIN yang merupakan singkatan dari Bank Umum Koperasi Indonesia. Setelah namanya berubah menjadi Bank Bukopin di tahun 1989 dan badan hukumnya berubah menjadi perseroan terbatas, BBKP kian berkembang pesat. Dimana BBKP tidak hanya ingin menggantungkan diri pada bisnis yang terkait dengan aktivitas para pemegang saham terbesarnya, yang pada saat ini terdiri dari koperasi pegawai Bulog seluruh Indonesia, koperasi perkayuan APKINDO MPI dan yayasan sejahtera warga Bulog.

Hasil dari langkah agresif tersebut membuat BBKP kini menjadi salah satu bank papan tengah yang layak menjadi penghuni 10 besar bank dengan DPK terbesar di Indonesia