Gartner Day 1: Daryl Plummer

I can’t believe how quickly today has passed: it’s already time for the closing keynote of the day with Daryl Plummer. First, however, he showed us six predictions and asked us to vote to see which will be covered in the research session on Wednesday:

  • By 2013, your executives will no longer have control over more than 40% of the people they depend on.
  • Business people will become adept more quickly at business-IT alignment than will IT professionals, causing many It professionals to be shut out of BPM leadership.
  • By 2010, job opportunities for IT professionals lacking business expertise will shrink by 30%.
  • Packaged business applications vendors with implicit process models in their solutions will be relegates to commodity status by 2010.
  • Through 2010, SOA, SaaS, BPO, open source, business application implementation projects that don’t make process integrity an integral part of the implementation will fail. (The SOA SaaS, BPO, open sources on the front end of this sentence didn’t make much sense)
  • By 2009, less than 10% of BPM project revenue will flow to offshore services vendors.

The real focus of his keynote, however was on how BPM tames the SOA beast and the related keys to success. Plummer, who’ve I’ve always seen as an SOA guy in the past, has really come around to the BPM party line, stating that SOA is “one mechanism that makes BPM easier to do consistently well” rather than “the foundation of all life as we know it”. Maybe it’s due to the survey that they did finding that CIOs’ #1 priority is now improving business processes.

He started out with a wonderfully amusing description of SOA and web services in business terms; I’d be surprised if there was anyone in the room, no matter how non-technical, who didn’t understand it when he was finished. He then moved on to the three primary issues of the session: the relationship between BPM and SOA, how BPM can be used to govern and evolve an SOA, and what technologies, vendors and practices are most effective for building SOA success. My favourite quote from his presentation: “SOA can have an unexpected impact on people; BPM can have an unexpected impact on systems” — what an understatement!

In covering the evolution from distributed computing to SOA, Plummer pointed out that we’ve moved from integration technologies (RPC, CORBA, etc.) to the interoperability enabled by web services; on the BPM side, we’ve evolved from automation to process centricity. Interestingly, in the evolution of SOA we see where the need for BPM arises, and in the evolution of BPM we see where the needs for SOA arises. He brings it all together under the umbrella of enterprise architecture, where BPM provides the business viewpoint and SOA provides the technology viewpoint, all within the context of business strategy and supported by the underlying technology infrastructure.

He moved on to discuss critical end-to-end processes: “processes that provide a unified function but depend heavily on multiple subprocesses, none of which is intended solely for the purpose of satisfying the E2E process.” The subprocesses on which they rely are the siloed functional processes, but it’s the end-to-end process that makes a difference in the organization’s success.

Of course, when you start talking about SOA and service assembly into processes, the natural progression is to look at compositions instead of monolithic applications, and from there to what Gartner refers to as service-oriented development of applications (SODA): designing and developing components for reuse and dynamic binding. This, in turn, requires the right kind of process-centric people to bridge between the worlds of BPM and SOA using tools such as a BPMS for iterative process implementation and improvement.

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