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20.09.2015
Service Oriented Architecture or SOA is an architectural principle that offers the prospect of better alignment of business and Information Technology in the Hospitality Industry.
The HTNG Reference Architecture is split into three different parts: Business Architecture, Application Architecture, and Data Architecture. One of the pillars of Service Orientation is alignment between the architecture and the business. After analyzing the Business Domain and revisiting the common business processes identified in the HTNG Reference Architecture, this document will focus on decomposing these business processes to identify business application services, which will be valuable for the integration of vendor applications with hoteliers’ service oriented architectures. In addition to a business domain analysis and an overview of business application services, this document will conclude by looking at how to ensure success during transformation through life cycle management and SOA governance. A first important step to developing increased service-oriented enterprise architecture is analyzing the business. The following diagram (Figure 2) lays out a typical hotel business by describing core domains (Guest Services, Facilities, etc.) and the key business processes within those domains. The Business Architecture, represented by Figure 2, helps with increasing Service Orientation in an Enterprise Architecture by helping to identify who owns each set of services. Business Processes have been owned and managed by one organization or division within the business. In addition to helping identify owners and developing proper governance procedures, this Business Architecture can serve as an important tool for those in the line of business to communicate how they think about the business.
The first challenge an enterprise faces in driving a business towards increased service orientation adoption is how to get started. Service Oriented Architecture entry points help businesses pursue SOA the right way based on the business value and priority. People: The people entry point focuses on enabling people to interact with application and services that support business processes to drive greater productivity and collaboration. Process: The process entry point focuses on streamlining business processes to align business and IT goals.
Information: The information entry point leverages information in a consistent and visible way to allow timely information available for making decisions that are critical to success of a business.
For this document, the Process entry point will be the focus; this is a convenient way to start SOA adoption by transforming one business process at a time. To identify high ROI business processes, first look for areas of problems as well as opportunities to improve and optimize business processes that could lead to a positive return. Phase III: Identifying business processes that can benefit from increasing business partner relationships.
The process entry point focuses on building services that needs better business processes automation or monitoring.
In a mature Service Oriented style of Architecture, business processes are realized through business application and infrastructure services.
The following diagram (Figure 4) attempts to show how business process choreography and supporting services are deployed.
A Business Application Service is the most fundamental unit of a service-oriented solution that is packaged as a reusable component for use in a business process. The fundamental benefits of “well-defined” services are to facilitate interoperability of service interaction and to enable flexibility and reuse of business functionality within an enterprise and with partners. Task services, which typically contain a group of capabilities related to the same business task, for example Tax Calculation Service.


Process services, on the other hand, usually deal with a larger functional context defined by the encapsulated business process. Business application services are those services that perform a business function and are specific for a particular industry or business. Although business application services can be identified through various entry points, the most common approach is through business process decomposition.
This section will describe how to take the business processes identified in chapter 3 as well as the service characteristics described above in section 4.1 and identify candidate business application services. For this exercise, the HTNG Check-In Business Process was chosen because of its core nature to hotels and its overlap with the Reservation Business Domain. For the various activities in the process diagram in Figure 5 that are supported by one or more business application services, the next step is to identify candidate services and service capabilities. Following completion of business process to business application services decomposition for all relevant business processes identified earlier as being considered for optimization, the output is a list of candidate services and service capabilities needed to support these business processes. In an ideal SOA environment, Hoteliers will have access to an inventory of SOA services that can be used, reused and composed in any fashion that suits the changing business requirements. This type of an environment gives maximum flexibility to a business and makes its IT agile and responsive to change. The next step in improving the integration maturity of a packaged application is to begin exposing its business function capabilities as a set of Service capabilities. Service consumers and service providers could run in different processes on different platforms, be developed and managed by different departments, and require coordination to work together successfully. The Quality component of SOA Governance includes creating an end-to-end process for developing and deploying high quality services.
As hoteliers use SOA to better align IT with the business, proper SOA governance, including all six of these major components, is necessary to realize the benefits of SOA.
In developing a better planning process, organisations must first return to the fundamentals of business planning. As a consequence, the role of planning is to help manage what can be controlled (business processes, resources, and workload) to produce outputs that will achieve organisational objectives, within an uncontrollable and unknowable external environment. Furthermore, Service Oriented Architecture enables the Hotelier to not only transform internal systems to be more service oriented, but also permits collaboration amongst business partners as well as outsourcing of useful business functions in a seamless, non-disruptive fashion.
The actual implementation of Services and Business Processes is briefly touched upon, but not dealt with in detail in this document. Content from all three, such as business processes, data definitions, and functional capabilities, will be used throughout this document.
In order to achieve this alignment, it is critical that both Business and Information Technology are speaking the same language. This breakdown comes directly from the Business Architecture of the HTNG Reference Architecture V1.0, which is initially focused on a limited service, independent, US-based hotel. However, in an effort to realize the benefits of service orientation, services will be developed that will be used by more than one business process and from more than one business domain.
A good way to look at commencing the effort is to prioritize the problem areas for investment, demonstrate some incremental success in adopting service orientation in some aspects of business, and receive a return on that investment. These entry points are specific approaches for getting started and are driven by both business and IT needs. This entry point focuses on deriving value from previous business-centric services investments.


Investing in optimizing and streamlining those processes offers a promising ROI with a clear focus on meeting business goals.
During the design of new, improved business processes, redundant processes should be eliminated where possible and similar processes should be merged into singularly integrated processes. While modeling these new optimized business processes, the HTNG Reference Architecture Business Processes, modeled for each process in the Business Architecture, can serve as an excellent starting point and guide. The top layer contains the typical touch points found at a hotel property; these are often connected through interaction services. This establishes an environment wherein services produced by different projects at different times can be repeatedly assembled together to help automate a range of business tasks for addressing new business opportunities or changing business priorities. From the granularity discussion in section 4.2, business application services would be primarily entity, task, and process service types. Although this section will not outline all of the candidate business application services for each process defined in the Business Architecture, the example process chosen could be a reference on how this process and output can be extended to other processes.
In this step, the HTNG Application Architecture is referenced to learn more about the different groupings of capabilities needed to support a particular process.
In other words, in an ideal environment, services would be in the business of providing a service, and business processes would be external to the services themselves. Although policies are often expressed as business rules, for example protecting private information, they have important IT components as well. HTNG’s Reference Architecture for Hospitality helps with this critical piece by defining industry specific vocabulary, including common business processes, data definitions, and functional capabilities. After looking at a reference business domain analysis, taken from the HTNG Reference Architecture, this chapter will focus on how to get started with Service Oriented Architecture, including how to identify the higher ROI business processes to optimize. In that document, descriptions for each of these domains and business processes can be found. With a focus on reuse and agility, service ownership will become as important as business process ownership. With SOA, business processes can be realized as choreography of distinct, reusable services, which can be re-combined to address the changing business priorities and support new business processes. The services developed for a business process can be reused and possibly combined to develop other business processes to fulfill business goals. These capabilities, in addition to the logical functionality needed for each activity, lead to a first list of candidate services for the Check-In Guest Process. This enables not only the core business process to be aligned with Open Standards, but the messaging and service interfaces as well; this is significant to improving interoperability at various levels within hotel enterprise architectures. Adding suitable protocol and message adapters can help in exposing a set of Service capabilities from the application and make them available for participation in business processes. As described above, the processes are then realized by composing together services found in the services layer. The decomposition chart in Figure 6 describes the different services identified for the Check-In process, including the capabilities needed, for each activity from the process model.



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