Loan Origination Architecture and the Financial Services Component Library

March 3, 2008

A couple weeks ago Mike Walker (an architect and technical evangelist at Microsoft) announced the 2nd release of the Loan Origination reference architecture (OR-LOS) and a Financial Services Component Library.  I’ve been watching some of his work over the last 1/2 year or so in terms of these reference architectures it looks like some really great reuse and guidance.

The Loan Origination reference architecture shows how to build solutions that unify people, process and technology through familiar Office 2007 user interfaces. It includes an architecture framework for lending with an Office Business Application based scenario and BizTalk “MISMO” Accelerator for the loan origination process in banking.

The Financial Services Component Library provides over 90+ OBA components spanning key areas in Banking, Insurance and Capital markets. These components and associated guidance is expected to be released over the next month or so at the Microsoft Financial Services Architecture Portal.

“OBAs are an emerging class of business applications that connect existing line-of-business (LOB) systems with the people that use them every day through the familiar user interface of Microsoft Office, bridging the gap between how business process systems work, and how people work. OR-LOS will help customers simplify document management, increase integrated workflow, improve efficiency and ultimately lower time-to-market offering for faster turn-around and reduced cost.”

Architecture Themes
Described below are some of the Microsoft architecture themes in which these architectures highlight.

Architecture Themes

Technology Components Included in the Financial Services OBA Component Library

Technology Components


Interactive BizTalk Capabilities Poster

March 3, 2008

Jon Flanders recently built a really cool Interactive BizTalk Capabilities poster and kicked it up a notch using Silverlight. Its pretty cool and could also prove to be a nice reference guide. It’s also discussed on the BizTalk Server Team Blog. All the really cool technical guide posters can be found here.

In a similar “light”, an Interactive Developer Map for Microsoft Office is also available.


BizTalk Blogs Aggregator

March 3, 2008

Back in December, Microsoft quietly released BizTalkBlogs.com. Its a blog aggregator bringing us recent posts from some of the most influential bloggers in the field focusing on BizTalk Server, .NET and Connected Systems. Its a must have reference, place to visit and site to keep your eye on.


Microsoft BizTalk Server Operations Guide!!

March 3, 2008

Microsoft recently released extremely valuable BizTalk operations readiness documentation chock full of excellent planning information, best practice, configuration, check lists, performance considerations and the like. There are over 600 pages of references and guidance and no BizTalk tool box should be without it. It can be found on Microsoft Downloads site or through the link above.

What’s in It? (from the document)

Guidance based on real-world experience. The idea for the guide originated with Microsoft field representatives, partner organizations, and customers who plan, deploy, and maintain BizTalk Server installations. This group of IT professionals has accumulated extensive hands-on experience with a diverse range of BizTalk solutions. As they gained experience they created checklists, best practices, and presentations to guide future BizTalk Server operations. We collected and organized this information to create the guide.

Key portions of this guide are new; however, a considerable portion consists of documentation taken from BizTalk Server 2006 R2 Help, white papers, Knowledge Base articles, and other sources. It has been carefully reviewed and vetted by experts from the community of BizTalk Server IT professionals and members of the product development team, whom we gratefully acknowledge at the end of this topic. We believe that the information presented here will help BizTalk Server users solve, and above all, avoid many of the common problems that can occur while deploying and maintaining a BizTalk Server installation.


Web Service Factory – Modeling Edition

March 3, 2008

The Microsoft Patterns and Practices group has recently announced the release of the Web Service Software Factory: Modeling Edition for Visual Studio 2008. As you might expect, we should begin seeing more and more modeling tools coming our way over the next couple years and it looks like the service factory is moving in that direction.

Also see: Service Factory Blogs, Web Service Software Factory Community Site

The following is an brief excerpt from the official posting.

Summary
The Web Service Software Factory: Modeling Edition (also known as the Service Factory) is an integrated collection of resources designed to help you quickly and consistently build Web services that adhere to well-known architecture and design patterns. These resources consist of patterns and architecture topics in the form of written guidance and models with code generation in the form of tools integrated with Visual Studio 2008.

What Is in the Service Factory: Modeling Edition?
For the Web service developer, the Service Factory contains automation and guidance integrated into Visual Studio for building services. The core of the automation components is a Web services domain model. This domain model contains elements such as service contracts, operations, messages, and data contracts. This domain model manifests itself in the form of three integrated domain-specific languages (DSLs) that are used to model services: Service Contract Model, Data Contract Model, and the Host Model. Figure 1 illustrates an example of the Service Contract Model. For more information about working with this and the other models, see the “Designing with the Models” section in the documentation included with the Service Factory.

Service Contract Model

Figure 1
The Service Contract Model

In addition to the Visual Studio automation facilities, the Service Factory also contains the relevant written guidance about building Web services from the December 2006 release. Some of these topics include architecture, message design, versioning, exception handling, and other useful patterns. For a full list of topics that are included, see the “Web Service Architecture” section in the documentation included with the Service Factory. Web service developers interested in learning more about the Service Factory: Modeling Edition are encouraged to complete the Building a Web Service hands-on lab provided on the Service Factory Community Site on CodePlex.


What is the Microsoft VTS Program?

March 3, 2008

The Virtual TS program is a very unique program within Microsoft and has grown from the US to a global level. The VTS Program is sponsored and managed by a global team of Field Program Managers out of the BizTalk Corporate Product Group which is part of the Connected Systems Division.

The Field PM team is comprised of regionalized Program Managers dedicated to assisting customer, partners, and Microsoft in providing world class technical resources for BizTalk. In order to scale their role, the Field PMs enlists highly skilled individuals from the partner community as Virtual BizTalk Technology Specialists to become an extension of the team. The Virtual TS team generally has access to resources that are typically reserved for only the Microsoft internal teams. The group reports directly into Product Engineering, in contrast to Product Marketing and forms a cornerstone of our Advisors, TAP (Technology Adoption Programs), customer programs, release management, and QFE (Quick Fix Engineering).

The Virtual TS program was designed to create a deeper partnership with local Solution Integrators, the Product Team in Redmond and Microsoft customers in the field as well as local Microsoft sales resources. It is designed to enable a high performance team of partner-based resources to deliver pre- and post-sale activities and provide service, support, and integration directly with Corporate and District resources to empower customers and help them meet their integration needs.

“By Microsoft and AIS working together, our hope is that we grow AIS and at the same time, increase the adoption of BizTalk in the Mid-Atlantic District,” said Bashar “BASH” Badawi, Microsoft’s BizTalk Field Program Manager responsible for the VTS program partners in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast districts. “We believe the BizTalk Virtual TS program provides the right balance of training, Microsoft Corporate Access, Product Group affiliation and escalation paths that will allow AIS to develop a strategic advantage in this space.”


Onward to Applied Information Sciences (AIS)

March 3, 2008

So it’s been some 13 years and I’ve decided to move onward.  I’ve landed a new job at Applied Information Sciences (AIS).  For those that know me, I’ve been at RDA Corporation since mid 1994 as Consultant, Project Manager, Principal Architect and EAI Evangelist team lead working across a number of markets and industries. While there I had the opportunity to develop business system applications and enterprise architectures centered primarily on the Microsoft stack of technologies such as Windows Server, BizTalk Server, SQL Server, MOSS, Office, System Center, .NET and SourceCode’s K2.Net. In mostly all of these enterprise solutions developed, Microsoft BizTalk Server was leveraged as the core business process integration and management tool since early 2000.

Prior to joining RDA I spent about 5 years at Becton Dickinson Diagnostics Systems Division working on real-time embedded control and patient demographic systems in the medical diagnostic systems industry focused primarily on instrumented blood culturing systems. Before joining Becton Dickinson I spent over 10 years with EMC Controls, later purchased by Texas Instruments, in the Distributed Process Control Systems industry working on the D/3 Process Control system . Here I worked in Research and Development designing both hardware and software controlled intelligent I/O devices, process control and communication subsystems, real-time operating systems and tools hosted on Digital Equipments (DEC) PDP11, VAX, Intel and Multibus platforms.

The last few years have been a fun ride but I found myself getting spread thin with less time to focus on all the new and exciting things taking place in the industry. With the advances in tools, technologies and approach, we’re able to build first class enterprise wide solutions aimed at solving simple and complex business problems, faster and cheaper. I’m a big believer in abstraction and encapsulation. Developing highly reusable, decoupled, and service oriented solutions is going to continue to stay exciting well into the future with concepts, technologies and tools such as SOA, ESB, Windows Server, BizTalk Server, SQL Server, MOSS,  Office, Dynamics, Visual Studio, System Center, .NET and soon Oslo.

Here at AIS I will have the opportunity to work as a solutions architect and member of the corporate technical staff (CTS) providing strategic direction for solutions, executive oversight on projects and leveraged by our customers before, during and after project engagements. In this role I will be focusing primarily on enterprise wide business process automation, integration and management solutions specializing in Microsoft BizTalk Server and complementary technologies.

I am a member of the Microsoft BizTalk Virtual Technical Specialist Team in the Mid-Atlantic, certified in .NET and BizTalk Server and a member of the Microsoft Connected Technology Advisors Group focused on early product planning and adoption efforts for “Oslo” and beyond.  I’m looking forward to having dedicated time to focus on these initiatives and of course, time to blog!