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Abstract

This thesis concludes my Master of Science, Information Technology in Ebuss. It has been
the basic tenet for this thesis, that enterprises are operating in world that is becoming ever
more fast-paced and unpredictable. This reality calls for a greater emphasis on the ability
to respond effectively to changes, rather than on rigid long-term planning. As such, the
ability to act in an agile fashion will be a critical competence for enterprises in navigating
this new world. It was with these observations in mind, that I sought out to establish an
integrated approach to EA, SOA and BPM, which can be leveraged for agility. The focal
point was to enable enterprises to better handle business changes, driving changes in
business processes and their underlying information systems.

Keywords: enterprise, agility, business process management, enterprise architecture, service-


oriented architecture, alignment, governance, meta-data management, ontology, meta-model, rdf,
rdfs

The thesis was done through a theoretical literature study, supplemented by qualitative
interviews with people considered experts within relevant domains. Moreover, a simple
enterprise meta-model was devised and implemented in an ontology.

The main findings of this thesis are:

● The relationship between BPM and SOA is often sold on the idea of a business
analyst being able to analyse, design and deploy business processes with little or
no intervention from IT. I did however find significant semantic gaps in the chain
from analysis to deployment. The primary advantage of using BPM and SOA
together is to decompose business processes from their underlying implementation
details, rather than to automate software development

● Because of the semantic gaps, stake-holders, such as business analysts, system


architects and system developers still needs to come together in order to bridge the
semantic gap between business and IT. A process for service design was devised,
including using BPM for domain decomposition.

● Coupling remains an issue, even in a loosely coupled service-oriented


architectures. I especially pointed towards the problem of semantic coupling.
Managing residual coupling calls for sound meta-data management and
governance.
● BPM and SOA together requires long-term planning, commitment and management
far beyond the individual BPM-SOA project. I found EA to be an excellent tool for
establishing BPM and SOA. The focus on alignment is however at the cost of agility.
I devised some modifications to the TOGAF ADM that would make it possible to
better balance agility and alignment.

● Integrating EA, SOA and BPM for agility requires visibility across all EA artefacts.
An architecture based on BPM-SOA contains a rather large amount of components,
each having their own life-cycle to be managed. I found that a a shared neutral
language connecting EA artefacts was needed. This language could bridge the
many small worlds of domain specific models into a consolidated model of the
enterprise.

● A case scenario was described in order to codify important findings in the thesis

● Finally, I demonstrated initial feasibility of using ontologies and ontology


representation languages to established the common language for EA. The
ontology was based on RDFS.

The overall conclusion of this thesis is, that I see meta-data management and meta-data
integration through the creation of a common architecture language, as absolutely vital in
integrating BPM, SOA and EA around the theme of agility.