I've received a number of emails today following my presentation last week at the Microsoft Australia SOA and Business Process Conference, asking me to provide some more insight into my concept (blue-sky idea) of Business Process as a Service (BPaaS... he he), meta-layers and designers.
My session was on the evolution of the SaaS model, and why I believe it's actually a stepping stone to a richer business and technology experience which I'm calling Business Process as a Service and the Business Process Service Layer (BPSL), which ultimately resides in the cloud.
The whole idea is that, the next generation of the Web Service Platform is going to be based on a supplier -> provider -> value-adder -> consumer supply chain. Suppliers are actually organizations who are hoisting their internal business processes into the cloud via a provider. The provider controls the cloud layer, and ensures there is a scalable, SLA managed environment for the provision and consumption of Business Process Services via the cloud. The value-adder provides high-value experiences by integrating the BPaaS consumption points into software that is then used by consumers. Their is a revenue chain all the way from the supplier to the consumer, and it's all managed online by the BPSL.
Now the idea I put forward was one where the actual BPSL is far richer than the current web service layer, and actually enables whole Business Processes to be published to the cloud in a design/disconnected manner, that is then integrated into software by value-adders. They register for the Business Process, then using their design tools, import the BP and drop it onto a designer. They then connect the BP into their solution, set the parameters of the BP for their need, then provide that solution to consumers.
For example, let's take the scenario where a number of banks publish their loan application processes into the cloud via a BPSL. This is then offered to value-adders as a BP Service, complete with meta-layer to enable integration into a solution design environment. Then, two value-adders hook into the service; one is going to create an application for mortgage brokers, the other is going to create an application for hardware suppliers who provide finance services! They import the BP service into their design studio, Visual Studio for example, and it appears as a whole BP, with workflow, and hooks into other online BP services, like a credit check service for example. Now, the first value-adder sets certain parameters in the BP to respond to certain conditions based on a mortgage broker use case, and the other value-adder uses different parameters unique to their end-user profile. They then build and publish their solutions into the cloud.
The target users then interact with the solutions, and each time they access that business process, it passes through the BPSL, which punches the "ticket", charges the value-adder for using the service (because the value-adder is also charging the end-user for using their value-added service), and remits a royalty to the supplier for providing the background process. So the supplier is now making money off their internal processes, the provider is making money hosting the BP, and finally the value-adder is making money by creating high-value on top of the base BP.
This is all very much pie in my head, but I honestly feel this is where the future of the Web platform is heading.
Anyhoo, for those that asked, I hope this was off help :)