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1 Case Study: Using SOA And BPM To Support Enterprise Agility How A Florida College Used An Integrated Approach To Reach Its Goals by Ken Vollmer with Gene Leganza and Matt Czarnecki Executive Summary Case studies are often the best way to illustrate technology s dramatic impact on enterprises. This case study provides an excellent example of how a joint implementation of a service-oriented architecture (SOA) and business process management (BPM) can support higher levels of enterprise agility. Over the past several years, Florida State College at Jacksonville used this approach to support improved operational efficiency and innovation that paved the way for significant growth for the institution. Architects should consider how a similar approach can increase their enterprise s agility. Florida State College at Jacksonville Uses Soa and bpm to Support Growth Ten years ago, Florida Community College at Jacksonville was a well-established community college serving more than 78,000 students. Today, this institution has grown into Florida State College at Jacksonville, a fully accredited Baccalaureate (level II) public institution serving more than 93,000 students. The college also has the largest workforce development program, IT curriculum, and distance learning programs in the State of Florida and is the largest provider of undergraduate education services to the US Navy. Technology with an emphasis on SOA and BPM provided the foundation for this growth. A Strong Technology Partnership Was A Key Success Factor The college obtained its SOA and BPM capabilities through a long-standing technology relationship with Software AG. In 2002, the college began using EntireX to support the creation of services that would enhance future development efforts. Approximately two years later, the college implemented the Software AG CentraSite tool to provide management and governance of the more than 2,500 services it had created. In 2007, the college implemented enterprise service bus (ESB) and BPM features that Software AG acquired via its acquisition of webmethods in April of that year. During the course of this multiyear effort, Software AG provided training on the acquired tools, but the college relied on its own 12-person project team for the actual planning, development, and implementation of the new application systems (see Figure 1). Multiple Challenges Provided Roadblocks To Increased Agility Like many commercial enterprises, the college faced multiple roadblocks that were preventing it from improving its level of enterprise agility. Two were particularly vexing: the quality of system-supported human interactions and the low level of automation related to key institutional processes. The technical team identified two projects to address these challenges: Headquarters Forrester Research, Inc., 400 Technology Square, Cambridge, MA USA Tel: Fax:

2 2 Connecting to digital natives. The college was seeing significant growth, with enrollment in key online programs doubling each year. In addition, the nature of the students was evolving; the majority fit a category the college refers to as digital natives those that have grown up in the digital age and are used to online communications, social networks, and online transaction processing. According to Dr. Robert Rennie, the CIO and VP of technology at Florida State College at Jacksonville, The college needed a more efficient and holistic way to engage students online in order to provide them with the resources that a successful educational experience requires. In response, the college decided to implement a new, state-of-the-art portal to meet the needs of students and staff (see Figure 2). Eliminating paper-based processes. Realizing that paper-based process flows would limit its ability to support improved agility, the college undertook an effort to update its paperbased systems. It started with its leave and attendance forms and workflow systems, as it identified these as the most manually intensive and unreliable. The college implemented a new development environment that focuses on digital process models as the control point for routing information within the institution (see Figure 3). Figure 1 Florida State College At Jacksonville Faced New-Century Challenges Enterprise name Industry Problem Key players Technology Florida State College at Jacksonville Education The college was facing new challenges related to improving the quality of contacts with its clients (students and staff) and the need to modernize key business processes. Dr. Robert Rennie, CIO & VP of technology Dennis Reiman, AVP of strategy and emerging technology, CTO Chris Martin, director of esystems development Herman Moeller, director of enterprise applications The College has a long-standing relationship with Software AG and used many of its products to implement a comprehensive service-oriented architecture that supports more than 2,500 services used in application development efforts. Key tools include ADABAS, Natural, EntireX, webmethods ESB, webmethods BPM, and the CentraSite SOA repository and governance tool.

3 3 Figure 2 Challenge No. 1: Connecting To Digital Natives Challenge No. 1 Description Solution Results Technology details Connecting to digital natives A majority of today s online students are accustomed to robust online systems, and the college needed to maintain a leadership position related to interacting with students in this manner. The college created Connections, a next-generation portal that provides students and staff a connection to all college services and resources. Key features include online degree audit and BPM-assisted progress tracking tools, billing, and financial aid management. Connections enables students to: Enroll in the college. Develop an educational plan. Select courses. Measure success against their goals. Connections creates additional value for the college by: Supporting recruitment and retention of students. Enhancing the way that students engage the college. Enabling all transactions to be completed online. The portal was developed using Software AG products including ADABAS, Natural, EntireX, SQL Gateway, and webmethods BPM. More than 2,500 services were created to support this and other technology initiatives. Figure 3 Challenge No. 2: Eliminating Paper-Based Processes Challenge No. 2 Description Solution Results Technology details Eliminating paper-based processes Manually intensive, paper-based processes were inefficient and error-prone, causing significant delays in many key business efforts. The college implemented a new development environment that is based on process models to control the flow of information within the college. The new system supports electronic routing and approval processes that eliminate unnecessary delays and provide a secure and effective means for modernizing business processes. Reduced average approval time from five business days to less than one day. Estimated savings of more than $1 million are projected over five years based on the increased efficiency of moving from the old paper-based workflow system to the new digital workflow environment. Achieved higher levels of enterprise agility due to: - Anytime/anywhere access to the approval system - Improved staff productivity - Real-time communication of status to clients - Improved accuracy and verification While many of the Software AG products played a role, the key component for this solution was the webmethods BPM tool that provided the process modeling and process execution features.

4 4 The Impact Of SOA And BPM The college has implemented a comprehensive SOA and BPM environment to serve as the basis for its application development and business process optimization efforts (see Figure 4). According to Dr. Rennie: Adopting and implementing this approach has allowed the college to define and provision an information technology infrastructure that makes it possible for different applications to exchange data and participate in various processes such as enrollment, billing, class registration, and progress audits. Figure 4 Florida State College At Jacksonville: Integrated SOA And BPM Architecture Identity management EII EntireX Device layer (Web, mobile, desktop, and gaming) ARTEMIS Portal (connections) Application server Composite application framework Natural webmethods Business Process Management ApplinX Enterprise service bus SQL Gateway Exchange WebDav Dashboard Widgets Dashcode Stored procedures Adabas SQL Oracle Enterprise infrastructure layer Building blocks Blackboard CentraSite (Metadata Repository Services Catalog) SOA & BPM-specific tools Other infrastructure tools While the college did meet the challenges of connecting to digital natives and eliminating paperbased processes, these are not the only benefits the new environment has provided; the servicebased and process-oriented environment continues to provide real value to the college on an ongoing basis. For example, the college was able to create a new application to support two other initiatives:

5 5 A student advocacy system. This new application provides information to students on their educational status, learning objectives, and curriculum requirements. A state reporting system. This new system enables the college to maximize reimbursements from the State of Florida for each student by providing the ability for more complete reporting on each student s progress. These new applications rely on data mining from legacy applications and the reuse of existing services to provide their functionality once again demonstrating the value of a joint SOA and BPM approach. Recommendations Consider SOA and BPM together for Enterprise Agility Improvement projects SOA offers significant potential for supporting enterprise efforts to improve performance. The primary factor is the ability to support service reuse, but that s only part of the story. The other major benefit is the more-productive model-driven development and execution environments that BPM tools provide. Enterprises that implement an integrated approach to SOA and BPM are in the best position to maximize their enterprise agility improvements. Enterprise architects should ensure that both capabilities are available. Two distinct scenarios exist: Enterprises that have already implemented SOA or BPM. Organizations that have adopted SOA will have no problem, as BPM tools will integrate with existing infrastructure after the fact. The reverse is also true. Why is that? Both SOA and BPM tools are designed to work with other, closely related technologies. Enterprises that have neither. For enterprises that need to implement both SOA and BPM, the best plan of action is to select a tool that provides both capabilities in an integrated suite, as this will reduce ongoing maintenance issues going forward. 1 WHAT IT MEANS When it comes to Improved enterprise agility, there is no free lunch Enterprises that want to achieve significant improvements in their level of enterprise agility must be prepared to put in the effort required to support this agility. Florida State College at Jacksonville achieved substantial results by developing a robust service-oriented architecture including more than 2,500 services. This implementation required significant effort from its 12-person technical development team over several years, but the college is now well positioned to meet a wide array of future challenges that may arise.

6 6 Supplemental MATERIAL Enterprises Interviewed For This Document Florida State College at Jacksonville Endnotes 1 Forrester evaluated leading integration-centric business process management suite (IC-BPMS) vendors across 109 criteria and found that Software AG, IBM, TIBCO Software, Vitria Technology, Oracle, SAP, and Cordys Software achieved leadership status based on their combined strength across the four major areas of evaluation. For a detailed review of the capabilities of tools that provide combined SOA and BPM features, see the October 6, 2008, The Forrester Wave : Integration-Centric Business Process Management Suites, Q report. Forrester Research, Inc. (Nasdaq: FORR) is an independent research company that provides pragmatic and forward-thinking advice to global leaders in business and technology. Forrester works with professionals in 20 key roles at major companies providing proprietary research, customer insight, consulting, events, and peer-to-peer executive programs. For more than 26 years, Forrester has been making IT, marketing, and technology industry leaders successful every day. For more information, visit , Forrester Research, Inc. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited. Information is based on best available resources. Opinions reflect judgment at the time and are subject to change. Forrester, Technographics, Forrester Wave, RoleView, TechRadar, and Total Economic Impact are trademarks of Forrester Research, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective companies. To purchase reprints of this document, please For additional information, go to

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