I note in the Business Process Trends Advisor Paul Harmon is confused about what is a capability. What Harmon is missing is that capabilities are not just another modelling device that further helps to understand the business. Rather they are core structural concepts that allow us to establish independent units of capability. Capabilities are coarse grained business components that are inherently reusable. We define the characteristics as follows:
- Service Oriented: Offers a software service.
- Composite: May encapsulate all manner of behaviors including process, utility, core business (data) services.
- Enduring: Outlives changes to how it is realized or the business processes that use it
- Process Independent: May be used within several business processes
- Implementation Independent: independent of how, where or by whom the capability is realized. Does not pre-empt or expose how each action is executed internally. Internal processes could therefore be changed and not impact the user of the capability service providing the contract remains unchanged.
- Minimum Dependency: May depend upon another where a) it needs some other capability to have been exercised first or b) where there are internal dependencies. Some capabilities can be independent or self-contained. See below.
- Measurable: Performance must be measurable
- whilst “not standalone” capabilities may be tactical necessities, standalone, fully independent capabilities are essential for maximum business agility, enabling replication, offshoring, ecosystem partner provisioning etc and reducing the horizon of change
- also enabling maximum business agility, capabilities should offer a software service which is externalized, exposing the business capability to a wider world.
Harmon asks for examples. Look no further than Amazon – they offer well-formed capabilities that externalize the Amazon business such as Cloud Service; Storefront etc.
For more on this topic see the October CBDI Journal. It is free with simple registration.
Business Process Trends Advisor - Capabilities Again