I attended Dale Vecchio‘s session on “Using SOA from Legacy in BPMS”, which promised “ways to create web services out of existing systems and use them in BPM solutions”. An interesting tidbit: he claimed that the most common surprise during the application archaeology required for Y2K rework projects was that IT departments didn’t know what was connected to what, and that the requirement to understand legacy linguine still often leads to the decision to do nothing rather than have to understand and unravel the mess.
I also liked his definition of a business process:
A set of activities & tasks performed by resources (humans & machines)
Using a variety of information (structured & unstructured)
Interacting in various ways (predictable & unpredictable)
Guided by business policies and principles (business rules & decision criteria)
since it sums it up nicely for those who still think that an application is a business process. With that as a focus, he talked about the importance of multilevel modelling, where you model a business architectural view, a system architectural (by which I think that he meant application and data/information architectural) view and multiple technical views: not fundamentally different from what we do when using an enterprise architecture approach to BPM.
He went through a couple of different approaches for modernizing legacy systems in order to allow them to be consumed as services by BPM and other systems, lining up nicely with Janelle Hill’s earlier talk on leveraging existing IT assets in BPM. Nothing earth-shattering, but some good stuff on separating the presentation layer and replacing it with a services layer versus just wrapping the legacy app, and on different approaches to determining service granularity that still maintains the philosophy of a service as a business function.