Planning Governance Capabilities

Like the three legs of a stool, effective service portfolio planning is dependent upon the three core disciplines of SOA Modeling, Asset Identification and SOA Roadmap Management.  These disciplines combine the build to plan and build to priority emphases of an effective SOA program with clear mapping to the underlying system capabilities that serve as your organization’s SOA foundation.  Let’s explore each of these disciplines in turn.

SOA Modeling

Defining the right target business processes and resulting services – i.e., the “to-be” state of your organization’s SOA initiative – is essential to achieving strategic value from that initiative.  Portfolio Manager gives you the right tools to align your enterprise’s desired business capabilities and processes with industry best practices and your own “secret sauce” that gives you business advantage.  As a baseline, preloaded APQC Process Classification FrameworksSM (PCFs) give enterprises ready access to industry best practices and process guidance.  Both cross-industry and industry-specific frameworks are provided, with industry-specific frameworks addressing the aerospace/defense, automotive, broadcasting, consumer products, electric utilities, petroleum (both upstream and downstream), pharmaceutical and telecommunications domains.  Combining these benchmark-tested views of business processes with your own specialized perspective via Portfolio Manager’s patented graphical reference modeling environment gives your service planning team not only an effective way to organize your concepts, candidates and capabilities but also to present that aggregated information to a broader set of business stakeholders in a visual and highly accessible manner.  These visual views can be built directly using Microsoft’s popular Visio drawing environment or can be imported from any html-capable toolset.  Portfolio Manager supports the definition and enforcement of multiple parallel domain ontologies, giving you the ability to describe your candidate services and other service planning information from multi-faceted perspectives and ultimately providing service planning stakeholders the right information to guide them as they participate in the service planning governance process.

The PCF was developed by non-profit APQC, a global resource for benchmarking and best practices, and its member companies as an open standard to facilitate improvement through process management and benchmarking, regardless of industry, size, or geography. The PCF organizes operating and management processes into 12 enterprise level categories, including process groups and over 1,000 processes and associated activities. To download the full PCF or industry-specific versions of the PCF as well as associated measures and benchmarking, visit www.apqc.org/pcf.

Asset Identification

But SOA modeling in and of itself is insufficient. Many an Enterprise Architecture team has foundered its architectural ship upon the rocks of “architectural vision” – while they presented a grand and glorious future for the business, they had no idea how to connect that future vision with the current reality.  For service portfolio planning to be effective, enterprises need to understand not only where they are headed but also from whence they are starting.  Effective SOA initiatives must gain a strong understanding of existing system capabilities including purpose-built mainframe applications, packaged applications with their prebuilt Web service interfaces, data warehouses and other information-oriented resources, and upstream and downstream business partner interfaces to name a few.  Portfolio Manager gives organizations a wide-ranging set of flexible mechanisms to pull this current system information into their service portfolio planning environment – including automated service discovery and introspection, bulk loading of application inventory information and integration frameworks that can tap into live sources of application and other system of record data.  Within Portfolio Manager service planners can access this normalized information interactively, thereby improving their understanding of current system capabilities and increasing the accuracy of their candidate service identification and definition efforts.

SOA Roadmap Management

Finally, effective service portfolio planning requires a big picture view – one that takes a perspective broader than individual IT projects.  This big picture view enables service planners to ensure that high priority business initiatives are supported first and foremost by SOA development activities, and also gives these planners the ability to see and identify “the sum is greater than the parts” opportunities that naturally arise from well-governed SOA initiatives – situations where funding one or two more services opens up a new business opportunity that can leverage prior SOA efforts.  Portfolio Manager provides an effective set of interactive options to gain this view, ranging from its prebuilt and imbedded service roadmap reports to its interactive graphical planning dependency analysis view.  Combining these capabilities with the powerful planning governance automation capabilities of Portfolio Manager gives service planning organizations the right mechanisms to not only shepherd service candidates through the definition and prioritization processes to development but also to understand and gain perspective on the sum total of your organization’s SOA planning efforts.  An effective SOA should result in symbiotic relationships forming within and across business lines.  Portfolio Manager’s service roadmap management capabilities can help your organization accelerate towards the business advantage that is, after all, the reason why you’re investing in SOA.