IDC: SOA is the route to effective process automation

Developing service oriented architecture is one of the most effective routes to successful business process automation, IDC has said.

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Developing service oriented architecture is one of the most effective routes to successful business process automation, IDC has said.

At IDC’s SOA Conference in London earlier this month, Ruediger Spies, VP enterprise applications at the analyst house, said: “SOA makes it possible to automate a much higher degree of business processes.”

When businesses map their processes and define an effective structure, they can much more easily test services and predict malfunction, he said. This led to businesses being much more ready to automate processes.

But firms have a long way to go in predicting process failure, structuring better processes and then automating them, Spies said. A recent IDC survey found that only four percent of banks can predict process malfunction, and part of the reason for this is that testing is not automated in many banks, with 43 percent still manually monitoring systems.

Many businesses wanted to automate processes but they lacked the know-how, Spies said. Six in 10 banks surveyed wanted better business process quality, the top challenge ahead of being better customer oriented and more effective on price. Over half plan to optimise processes this year.

Jim Craig, software product marketing manager at supplier Sun Microsystems, said SOA offered help to businesses looking for dramatic efficiency improvements while cutting costs. “SOA is process centric, and allows you to properly compose new services and reuse them easily,” he said.

But it was crucial that businesses did not just implement a large SOA solution and expect it solve their process problems, said David Yeates, head of IT at Irish building society EBS. “A lot of big firms spend time making large SOA changes,” he said. “You need to have governance and proper service management to make sure your new processes are effective and easily turned into cross-organisational applications.”

It was also vital to test processes thoroughly and to ensure security for each process, he advised.