Enterprise Architecture and Service Orientation – What is This? | Business Services

Few abbreviations connected with the future air traffic management systems have given rise to so many questions and misunderstandings as EA (Enterprise Architecture) and SOA (Service Oriented Architecture). In the United States both concepts are part and parcel of air traffic management system development since the marching orders were given by the Federal Government. In Europe, however, it was only during the SESAR development phase that EA and SOA were first introduced into the ATM context and the reception was at first mixed.To-day there is probably no doubt any more that EA and SOA are the way to go but the fact remains: to many in the air traffic management family the exact meaning of both remains a puzzle.Let’s try to set out the pieces and see what picture emerges.EA and SOA of non-aviation fameOriginally, the concepts of enterprise architecture and service orientation had nothing to do with air traffic management. They were defined and progressively refined to answer the needs of complex information technology (IT) systems with a view in particular to improving the business agility of those systems. EA and SOA aim to break the stranglehold of information technology on the business aspects of the enterprise, enabling business needs to drive IT rather then the other way round.That EA and SOA are usable also in the air traffic management context is a tacit admission that ATM is not unique in its requirements and that under the skin ATM systems, all claims to the contrary, have a lot in common with other critical systems, like those controlling the power grids or enabling remotely controlled surgical operations. All those systems need to crunch prodigious amounts of real time data, must provide common situational awareness and are driven by decisions.If EA and SOA can improve those systems, it stands to reason that they can also help in making air traffic management systems better even if certain adaptations of the original ideas may be required.So what is Enterprise Architecture (EA)?The definition of EA given by the Institute of Enterprise Architecture Development (IFEAD) is the following:”Enterprise architecture is a complete expression of the enterprise; a master plan which “acts as a collaboration force” between aspects of business planning such as goals, visions, strategies and governance principles; aspects of business operations such as business terms, organization structures, processes and data; aspects of automation such as information systems and databases; and the enabling technological infrastructure of the business such as computers, operating systems and networks.”Fine you will say… how does this help air traffic management? Critics often say that the architecture of the enterprise exists whether or not it is described. True, but we have seen what happens when lots of ATM enterprises grow without following an overall strategic guidance and then try to work together. That is called European ATM before SESAR…In this view, the definition of EA from the MIT Center for Information Systems Research is particularly relevant:

“Enterprise architecture is the organizing logic for business processes and IT infrastructure reflecting the integration and standardization requirements of the firm’s operating model.”We are getting nearer…And EA in air traffic management?The SESAR program is the European Air Traffic Management modernization program that combines technological, economic and regulatory aspects of ATM and which will use the Single European Sky (SES) legislation to synchronize the plans and actions of the different partners and federate resources for the development and implementation of the required improvements throughout Europe, in both airborne and ground systems.Although SES does provide the legislative basis for implementing the future ATM system, it is still necessary to devise and agree an overall framework in which the hitherto fragmented elements of European ATM can be properly bundled and aligned towards the SESAR strategic goals. These goals imply in particular a net-centric, service oriented approach to air traffic management.To achieve the goals, European ATM has to be seen as a single enterprise in which the constituent parts work together in a networked, service based operation, with the business processes driving the supporting IT infrastructure.Once we recognize that air traffic management in Europe needs to be seen as a single enterprise (even if it is composed of several constituent entities), the aims and goals of the Enterprise Architecture concept suddenly become not only relevant but also a highly desirable solution.A European ATM enterprise architecture?To instantiate the single enterprise concept, we can define the European ATM Enterprise Architecture (EAEA), building upon the more generic idea of Enterprise Architecture (EA), however adapted both in scope and content to the air traffic management environment.So what is the purpose of an EAEA?EAEA can guide and focus the strategic decisions, in particular those related to the air traffic management operational concept implementation and supporting information technology investments. This enables the partners to proactively plan the introduction of services, avoid duplication of developments, reduce costs and better align IT investments to the business processes on all levels.EAEA can also provide the strategic guidance for the efforts to define and implement, on both business and IT level, a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) duly adapted to the requirements of the European ATM environment.But what is the ATM enterprise?A convenient definition of the European ATM enterprise could be the “totality of the partners in the SESAR Performance Partnership”. Other definitions are possible, the important message being that every partner who needs to use ATM or has something to contribute must be seen as an element of the single, overall enterprise.Using the above definitions, we can conclude that the European ATM Enterprise Architecture is the description of the structure and behavior of the partners’ processes, information systems, personnel and organizational sub-units, aligned with the enterprise’s performance goals and strategic directions as defined in the SESAR program.And SOA then?As will be clear by now, EAEA provides a business-driven framework that allows the description of the various parts of European ATM and their interactions from different points of view (including both operational and technical aspects). EAEA provides a meaningful way to partition and manage the complexity of the ATM environment, to reconcile different partners’ business visions across the Single European ATM System and to create a bridge between the businesses and IT requirements.SOA is an approach that uses the notion of “services” which can be used to populate the EAEA framework.”Service” is a word that can mean different things depending upon the context in which it is being used. In general, the context is based upon a consumer/supplier relationship. Further, a hierarchy of services can exist with, for example, a high-level service being made up of a number of lower level sub-categories of services. Therefore, it is very important to ensure that the nature, scope and detailed characteristics associated with each service are clear and unambiguous each time it is used, including defining who is supplying what to whom.Services may be defined from a business perspective or an IT perspective.Services from the business perspectiveA service from the business perspective is really the consumer’s view of the provider’s capabilities. The services must meet defined characteristics to ensure their efficiency and cost effectiveness. Among others, they must be modular and autonomous, delivered where needed, shareable and reusable and above all, they must drive the underlying IT support and not vice versa.Services can be defined on several levels of the enterprise but in the air traffic management context, the operational services are the highest level of service. A service can be associated to one or more contracts, a service contract being understood as being an agreement (generally expressed as a Service-Level Agreement) between two or more parties.Increasing competition, globalization and technology advances are driving airlines, airports and other users of ATM to change their products, business processes and prices more frequently than they did in the past. The structure of services offers the flexibility to adapt more quickly to fast-changing conditions.SESAR has promoted the vision of creating a performance partnership structure which links the Airspace Users, Airport Operators and ANSPs as the way in which the future ATM System will be defined, created, implemented, delivered and managed. The notion of the supply and consumption of operational services through a set of Service Level Agreements will be the way in which the partners will be bound together from a business perspective but retaining the flexibility afforded by service orientation to be able to efficiently react to changing circumstances and demands.While the word “business” and air traffic management have not often been used together in the past, it needs to be recognised that the constantly evolving business world of the airspace users must be served by an air traffic management system that is able to evolve with it and remain safe and cost efficient at the same time. This essential business agility can best be achieved by service orientation.

Services from the IT perspectiveFrom an information technology (IT) perspective, the use of services defines IT services that correspond to real-world business activities or recognizable business functions and that can be accessed according to the service policies that have been established for the business services relationships. In addition to the IT services that are directly supporting the business services, technical services can be defined that can be re-used across the enterprise, providing generic technical functions (data transformation, logging, identification management, etc.). There are many different ways to describe such services depending upon the way in which the interactions between the IT systems are needed to facilitate and enable the business view.From the specific air traffic management point of view, the highest priority is to define the business services as these will drive the services to be developed in the IT context.EA and SOA in NextGen?Yes, absolutely. The use of enterprise architecture methods and service orientation has been mandated for all federal projects and so NextGen is being developed on this basis. This is a major advantage compared to Europe where no doubt a lot of discussion will still need to go on before agreement can be reached between all partners on the finer details of enterprise architecture and service orientation.Do we understand EA and SOA now?I guess this write-up is probably too simplistic for the experts and possibly still too abstract for the average person involved in air traffic management. Logical as EA and SOA is they need a shift in thinking and the acceptance of a few things we do not readily conclude otherwise.I will try to summarise the most salient points here, may be that will help. If you still have a question, leave a comment and we will come back on the issue you raise.Summary pointso EA and SOA are not air traffic management construct but they are applicable to ATM systems also. ATM systems are not unique.
o While safety is always paramount, air traffic management serves a major worldwide business community and hence ATM must have the required business agility to be able to adapt to the changing business environment.
o The ATM “enterprise” needs an overall guiding framework to enable coordinated and focused development.
o Business requirements must drive information technology and not the other way around.
o Enterprise Architecture (EA) provides the required guiding framework; Service Oriented Architecture within it provides the structure ensuring a business (as opposed to IT) driven system.
o Both SESAR and NextGen will use EA and SOA.Note: The use of some text from the SOA TF, of which I was a member, is gratefully acknowledged.

Gain a Business Foothold in China With the ‘Build – Operate – Transfer’ Model of Outsourcing | Business Services

China offers appealing business opportunities because of a highly skilled workforce, attractive wage levels, reliable IT and telecom infrastructure and government support for foreign ventures. Most attractive of all, of course, is the world’s largest and fastest-growing market.Domestic demand for consumer products and services expands annually in China, and did so even during 2008-09 global economic slowdowns. In turn, there’s a strong need for Western expertise to design, market and administer insurance, banking, investment and credit services.North American and European companies that have business process, R&D or manufacturing operations in India or Southeast Asia increasingly recognize that prudent risk management means diversifying with a second location in a separate region with a large, well-educated labor supply.China provides an inviting commercial arena that meets all requirements to assure uninterrupted operations, although it has entry hurdles for foreign-based newcomers. They include:o Extensive location choices: National and provincial governments support numerous High-Technology Industries Development Zones and software parks in regions with lower labor and facility costs than in the business centers of Beijing and Hong Kong.o Navigating the bureaucracy: While China welcomes foreign enterprises and encourages private ventures, an elaborate series of permits, licenses and other paperwork are required by municipal, provincial and central government agencies.o Site development: Leasing, remodeling, equipping and maintaining workplaces for international business requires prescreening local vendors, soliciting and evaluating bids, negotiating contracts and overseeing installation of work stations, electronic networks, telecommunications, backup capabilities and other logistics.o Recruiting and training: Reliable, well-educated managers and qualified production employees are widely available — and in demand by Western firms. An experienced business process outsouricng (BPO) company can provide industry knowledge and local contacts that are essential to recruit, hire, orient, train and retain skilled workers who can perform back-office functions reliably — services a general employment agency clearly cannot provide.This White Paper illustrates how the Build – Operate – Transfer approach lets foreign-based providers in the BPO industry or other fields develop an efficient production center in China through a limited-time startup relationship with an experienced local partner.The Build-Operate-Transfer Model As the name indicates, B-O-T is a three-stage process that lets companies outsource the logistics of establishing offshore capacity to deliver services, develop products or perform manufacturing. To gain a secure foothold in China at minimal risk, software developers and other Information Technology Outsourcing companies currently rely on this proven business model — which is especially well-suited to the BPO industry.The business owner forms a strategic alliance with an experienced local partner already established in the same industry who plans and manages every aspect of opening and running one or more work centers in the first two stages — Build and Operate. (“Build” refers to constructing a client-dedicated operation, not a physical location.)The final stage — which arrives after a contractually specified time, productivity/quality level or a combination of factors — brings a Transfer of all tangible and intangible business assets to the owner.During each of the first two phases, the local partner’s industry experience and host country familiarity are applied to:
Achieve the foreign owner’s business objectives
Transfer knowledge from the client to managers and workers it will inherit
Uphold the owner’s best practices, quality levels and other requirements
Maximize short-term and long-range profitability for the owner

This model can be applied to a variety of industries and to small, mid-size or large MNCs, and has proven to be effective in China.BOT also provides powerful advantages for business process service providers.Benefits for new and existing BPO companies expanding to China are evident from the following look at services furnished between the first steps and the final business transfer.Services at Each Stage A detailed contract specifies the work production, space, staffing, wage rates, English proficiency, productivity, quality levels and other metrics that the client wants in exchange for a management fee and reimbursement of actual costs. After this needs assessment and planning stage, the local partner then assigns a setup team exclusively to the project.That team conducts a site selection review of real estate matching the client’s requirements for size, location, cost, capabilities, amenities and other factors. Reports, diagrams and photos are furnished so that the client’s project team can analyze options and the local partner’s recommendation.Next, lease terms are negotiated and site preparation begins. Work spaces are configured, furnishings and production equipment are procured, and services are arranged (telecommunications, high-speed Internet with backup, etc.) In this Build stage, the local partner also secures required permits, licenses and other registrations from the Ministry of Commerce and regional government departments.While workplace development is under way, the Operate phase starts with staffing (labor arbitrage). Qualified personnel are invited to apply, are pre-screened, are interviewed and are hired for work only on the client’s business.Knowledge transfer is the next step — and one that continues throughout the Operate stage. Managers, supervisors and employees are given orientation and training to become well-prepared for handling the client’s work processes at an expected pace.Maintaining and expanding skills is a vital part of the operating agreement. Clients should look for a service partner who recognizes the importance of continuous, adaptable training to prepare employees for:
Progressive advancement
New client projects
Next-generation software and hardware
Continuing education — combined with on-site English-improvement classes, if wanted — helps increase staff reliability, retention and value to the client. Human resources groomed by the local partner, after all, are among assets the client inherits at Transfer.The Operate portion involves work supervision, quality assurance, record-keeping, purchasing, facility maintenance, government liaison and administrative support services (invoicing, payment processing and other accounting tasks, if requested).At the Transfer to client ownership and management, after perhaps one to three years (based on a pre-determined scale), the local partner arranges a transition of leases, vendor contracts, utilities, personnel, administrative services and other functions during an orderly process of joint supervision.The client inherits all training and procedure manuals, proprietary software, work product templates, business records and other intellectual property generated on its behalf.–> Key points
Client-stipulated quality assured from the start and at each step of growth
New operation is a seamless extension of client’s work environment
Client inherits a smoothly functioning team familiar with its processes
Client captures valuable support documents and proprietary software
Fixed-fee arrangement eliminates startup risks and assures budget control
Ideal Fit for BPOUnlike software or electronic product suppliers, who use small technical teams to conduct R&D at offshore testing and development centers, BPO providers typically rely on hundreds of multiple-shift employees to enter data, process forms, convert records, verify claims, perform coding and handle other back-office services.BPO also has a critical need for absolutely reliable infrastructure — power, telecommunications, high-speed Internet access — to deliver deadline-sensitive work without interruption.China’s size and sophistication assure that it can meet all labor and infrastructure demands.Companies can achieve significant gains in costs, time and productivity through a BOT alliance with an established partner in China who has a working knowledge of Western business methods — knowledge that is transferred swiftly and seamlessly.In addition to needing a large, skilled labor pool, BPO players depend on advanced, reliable infrastructure. broadband Internet access from redundant service providers, multiple international telecom lines, top-level data security and separate servers for each client.Moreover, the nature of project-driven BPO accounts means that workflow can expand abruptly — again requiring readily available personnel with data processing experience. Scalable growth may require facility expansion or secondary site setup.While IT Outsourcing may allow flexible project schedules and adjustable delivery targets at times, BPO providers cannot afford delays or workflow interruptions. Speed and dependability are essential for back-office service providers, whose own clients rely on timeliness in the same way that automotive manufacturers in China, Japan and the United States rely on Just-in-Time deliveries from parts suppliers.Internal PerspectiveProviders with deep cultural and business roots in China are well-positioned to pave an obstacle-free BOT path for newcomers who currently operate in India or in their home bases of Europe or North America. These indigenous Chinese entrepreneurs already have an inside perspective of Business Process Outsourcing — as well as of China itself.They have well-refined recruiting networks, training procedures, operating methods and quality standards. Relationships with vendors, landlords, universities and government regulators all pay immediate dividends for their foreign BOT partners. As London-basedHSBC Bank says in advertisements: “Never underestimate the importance of local knowledge.”–> Key points
Local BPO veterans have significant host country relationships
Established partner assures continuity of operations at new site
Reliable recruiting and training from a large workforce shorten startup time
Client avoids infrastructure investments during startup
Client can focus on marketing and core business, not support functions at new site
Strategic alliance maximizes ROI
Why a China Site Makes Sense China is widely recognized as one of the lowest-cost producers in the world. But that’s just one reason why it is the base for a growing share of BPO for clients from North America, Europe and Asia.Equally important are government support, social-political stability, technical skills, a large and highly educated workforce, Internet and telecommunications networks that meet international standards, cost advantages and entry into the World Trade Organization.Since joining the WTO in 2001, China has rapidly become a global economic force. Thirty-seven Chinese companies are on the latest Fortune 500 list.As more multinational corporations participate in China’s dramatic transformation, they and their local partners adapt Western best practices to Chinese cultural and economic conditions.In addition to those attractions for BPO providers and other industries, a presence in China provides another huge opportunity — access to a country with 1.3 billion people and rapidly expanding markets for business services, consumer services and consumer products. China’s GDP grew by 9 percent in 2008 and 7.7 percent during the first three-quarters of 2009.

Outsourcing can strategically assist expansion into Asian markets, product launches and development of new business models.As more companies move into China to capitalize on growing demand for industrial and consumer products, firms with little or no experience in China and are vulnerable to various mistakes.Backup Capacity = Risk Management The same principles behind business insurance, duplicate records storage, IT security safeguards and disaster recovery plans also apply to BPO operations overseas. Because quick turnaround and continuity are critical, BPO providers with sites in India increasingly recognize that maintaining backup capability at a second site within that country does not provide sufficient safeguards.A study from AMR Research in Boston warns: “Companies with offshore experience should mitigate offshore outsourcing risk by moving beyond India. High worker attrition rates, the danger of natural disasters, a hostile relationship with Pakistan and religious strains as reasons why many companies are looking to non-India locations in order to minimize the risk of geo-political destabilization.”Climbing wages, rising worker turnover rates, labor shortage forecasts and sometimes-unreliable infrastructure are among reasons why Western companies with support operations in India now also have partnerships with service providers in China. Corporations such as Whirlpool, United Technologies, Danaher and Sweetheart Consumer Products have diversified this way.Even Indian-owned companies such as Infosys and Wipro now develop software in China, where labor costs are lower and a well-trained workforce is much more plentiful.Government Addresses ConcernsChinese leaders, eager to solidify and extend their republic’s major role in international commerce, are responding to concerns about legal protections, financial safeguards and communication skills. The government is committed to enhancing trust and confidence in China’s market economy, which has evolved significantly since reformsbegan during the 1980s.As part of the current Five-Year Plan, the State Council Information Office has drafted legislation regulating governing digital signatures and is working on methods to improve the security of information and communications systems. It prepared China’s first personal data protection law in 2005.New privacy and intellectual property safeguards emerged from a year-long study into best practices in Europe, North America and Australasia. The legislation is seen as essential in the furtherance of both the ITO and BPO industries.Education improvements to expand technical proficiency and English language abilities also are a priority.–> Key Pointso Outsourcing to China diversifies risks for India-based operators
o China presence provides foothold in world’s fastest-growing market
o Government is responding effectively to legal protection and language education needsFor all reasons outlined, BPO providers with operations in India or Southeast Asia increasingly recognize that prudent risk management to assure continuity means diversifying with a location in a separate region that offers a large, well-educated labor supply with attractive costs.