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Editor's note: This is a book excerpt from Smart (Enough) System, published by Prentice Hall (2007). Purchase the book here. Copyright © 2007 Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

Complementing Your IT Architecture

The first area of IT architecture to consider is what EDM (Enterprise Decision Management) complements. EDM builds on and takes advantage of some current IT architectural trends:

  • Service-oriented architecture (SOA)

  • Business process management (BPM)

  • Data integration (including CDI, MDM, EAI, and EII)

  • Web 2.0 and social networking (tagging, mashups, wikis)

EDM builds on each trend in different but complementary ways, as explained in the following sections.

Building on SOA

A major benefit of adopting an SOA is supposed to be an increase in business agility, mostly because of the reduced time, cost, and difficulty of making a change. The definition of functionality as coherent components or services with well-defined interfaces helps limit a change's impact to a single service, which makes change easier to control and implement. Well-defined services are loosely coupled—they use service contracts to allow services to interact without having to depend on interaction. These services change independently, and as long as the interface to the service doesn't need to be changed, independent service changes shouldn't affect other services. SOA contrasts with the typical result of changing monolithic applications—a change is likely to cause a ripple effect throughout the application stack. SOA also supports a more iterative approach to defining services because of this control over the impact of change, which also helps in agility by eliminating the need to define a complete set of requirements upfront. SOA makes more agile development possible.

When you define business services with SOA, you can decouple the business from automation of the business. Business services are independent of a particular process; they perform a business function you can use in many processes. In this way, you can define new composite applications and business processes that use existing business services, which increases reuse as well as agility. Now you can assemble a new process—such as for handling a new channel, for example—mostly by orchestrating existing business services, especially with entity-centered business services in which functionality is associated with a defined entity or set of information, such as customers or accounts.


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