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Letter Drop

Think Out of the Box; Verbal Abuse

Think Out of the Box

In Doug Henschen's Q&A interview with Forrester Research analyst Connie Moore ("Advice for BPM Neophytes," November 2005), Moore states that one of the biggest stumbling blocks when implementing business process management (BPM) is that, "A lot of people get stuck on the modeling and don't move on."

The reason for this is that most modeling tools and techniques are insufficient, forcing would-be flowcharters to group all the forms, systems, spreadsheets, reports, and so on that make up a business process into high-level, single-line diagrams of boxes and arrows, thereby limiting their usefulness. Unless analysts dig into each box and uncover the specific items concealed within them, they wind up with general, untestable solutions that may create more problems than they solve.

On the other hand, analysts who use the old work simplification detail process charting method (adopted as the ANSI and ASME standard for Process Charts in 1946) end up with large, detailed diagrams that identify all the items in the process and show the various interrelationships among them. While these flowcharts sometimes appear ominous to the uninitiated, their value is easily recognized if you take a few moments to understand them. The fundamental nature of detailed process charts provides a graphical representation of complicated work that anyone can understand.

Ben Graham
Tipp City, Ohio

Verbal Abuse

I just read the article "Blue Titan Software and IBM Aim for Easier SOA Adoption" (Dashboard, July 2005) and wanted to comment on the industry's misuse of terms. The term service-oriented architecture (SOA) was first used in 1995 and today has digressed into a perversion of itself. Just look at all the companies (90 percent of which are Windows-based) that use the SOA term loosely to encompass everything business, from technology to management processes.

It's naive to think non-IT-focused businesses won't eventually figure out that this is a marketecture ploy by IT companies wanting to get into their wallets. At least 70 companies have sales literature offering revolutionary "SOA services" (service-oriented architecture services?) today.

It's ridiculous when you think about it really. What's more ridiculous, however, are all the journalists out there who have confused SOA with Web services. These folks should have referred to them as "XML Web services" — just as Capient, Microsoft, IBM, Sun Microsystems, Amazon and others consistently have — to avoid any confusion.

Rich Hapner
Redmond, Wash.

Correction

In our August 2005 story "XBRL Offers a Faster Route to Intelligence" (Dashboard), we misquoted Brian Hankin of PricewaterhouseCoopers on the use of Ipedo's information integration technology. While PricewaterhouseCoopers' Federal Practice has experimented with Ipedo's software internally, it wasn't used in connection with the Toronto Stock Exchange XBRL conversion project or other client-related work.

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