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State of business process orchestration tools, part 1

What is the exact state of business process orchestration tools at this time to ensure successful implementation?...

Are BPEL4WS-based tools capable of getting the job done by themselves? I'll start with the first part of your question: what is the exact state of business process orchestration tools at this time to ensure successful implementation? There are several business process packages in the industry, with varying degrees of experience, different focuses, and implementing different standards. Trying to assess the tool that best performs business process orchestration might be extremely time consuming and not suited to your business needs in the first place. To ensure a successful implementation, an organization needs to focus on its own current and expected business needs and look for a solution that matches those needs. The organization should perform analysis similar to what I list below: - Assess the type of e-business it wishes to conduct: is it standard business processes between a large number of partners? Or an elaborate process with a tightly integrated business partners? Have the business partners already invested in an e-business "platform"? Are the most important business partners willing to implement an e-business "platform?" - Select the appropriate e-business standard for the business needs. There are many choices here: RosettaNet, EbXML, BPEL4WS, EDI, OAGI, etc - Assess the ROI: How much does it currently cost to conduct the same business process? How much will be spent on implementing the infrastructure? How much will be saved by conducting automated electronic business processes? How long will it take to start seeing benefits of the savings? How much will be spent on adding a new business partner? How much will it cost a new business partner to join? Etc - Choose an important business partner to prototype the e-business dialogue with. The organization should choose the most important business process with the most important partner. The prototype needs to assess the feasibility of the messages exchanged: are these the right messages to conduct the process? Simply emailing the messages (in the appropriate standards format) can help the partners assess the applicability of the standard and the process without having to incur costs in implementing infrastructure first. - Select the appropriate tool for the business need. The tool must support the standard for the type of e-business you wish to conduct. - Conduct people monitored, infrastructure enabled, pilot project for a few months where all the kinks of the dialogue are removed before moving onto a fully automated system. The steps I listed here highlight the type of work that goes into ensuring a successful implementation. Note that tool selection comes after a lot of focus on what the organization's e-business need is. Click here to read part two of this reply.

This was last published in August 2003

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