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1. Setting up a BizTalk Server Environme... > Gathering requirements by asking the...

Gathering requirements by asking the right questions

Gathering requirements by asking the right questions Although, this is not an exact recipe, asking questions to obtain requirements for your BizTalk environment is important. Having a clear view and understanding of the requirements enables you to deploy the desired BizTalk environment that meets expectations of the customer. What are the right questions you may ask yourself? Well, there is quite a large area in general you basically need to cover with questions. These questions will be around the following topics: A BizTalk work load(s) that is functionalNon-functional (high availability, scalability, and so on)Licensing (software)HardwareVirtualizationDevelopment, Test, Acceptance, and Production (DTAP) environmentTracking/TracingHostingSecuritySupport Getting ready Organize the sessions, and/or the workshop(s) to discuss the BizTalk architecture (environment), functionality, and non-functional requirements, where you do a series of interviews with appropriate stakeholders. This way you will be able to retrieve the necessary requirements and information for a BizTalk environment. You will need to focus on business first and IT later. You will notice that each business will have a different set of requirements on integration of data and processes. Some of these are listed as follows: Business is able to have the access of information from anywhere any timeHave the proper information to present to the proper peopleHave the necessary information available when neededManage knowledge efficiently and be able to share it with the businessChange the information when neededAutomate the business process that is error-proneAutomate the business process to reduce the processing time of orders, invoices, and so on Regarding the business requirements, BizTalk will have certain workloads, and with the business you determine if you want BizTalk to aid in automating processes, exchange of information with partners, maintaining business rules, visibility of psychical events, and/or integration with different systems. One important factor to reckon with bringing BizTalk into an organization is risk-associated with transitioning to its platform. This risk can be of a technical, operational, political, and financial nature. BizTalk solutions have to operate correctly, meet the business requirements, and be accepted by stakeholders within the organization and should not be too expensive. With IT, you focus more on the technical side of the BizTalk Environment such as, "What messages in size, format, and encoding are sent to the BizTalk system or what does it need to output?" You should consider security around it, when information going to or coming from trading partners is confidential. Encryption and decryption of data such as, "What processes that are automated need to interact with internal and external systems?" or "How are you going to monitor messages that are going in and out?" can come into play. Support needs to be set up properly to keep BizTalk and its solutions healthy. Solutions need to be developed and tested, preferably using different environments such as test and acceptance. For that, you will need an agreed deployment process with IT. These are factors to reckon with and need to be addressed when interviewing or talking to IT stakeholders within the organization. How to do it… Categorize your stakeholders into two categories business and IT. Create a communication plan and list of questions related to areas mentioned earlier. With the list of questions you can assign each question to a person you think can answer it. This way you ask the right questions to the right people. The following table shows a sample of roles belonging to business and/or IT. It could be that you identify more roles depending on your situation:


Having the roles clear belonging to either business, IT, or both, you will then need to have a list of questions and assign these to the appropriate role. You can find an example list of questions associated to a particular role in the following table:


There's more… The best approach to gather the requirements is to view it as a project or a part of the project. You can use a methodology such as PRINCE2. PRINCE2 Projects in Controlled Environments (PRINCE) is a project management method. It covers the management, control, and organization of a project. PRINCE2 is the second major release of it. More information is available at http://www.prince2.com/. Microsoft BizTalk Server website The Microsoft BizTalk Server website provides a lot of information. Especially, the Production Information section provides detailed information on system requirements, roadmap, and the FAQs. The latter sections provide details on pricing, licensing, and so on. Go to http://www.microsoft.com/biztalk/en/us/default.aspx. See also Refer to the Analyzing requirements and creating a design recipe later in this chapterRefer to Chapter 4, Securing your Message ExchangeRefer to Chapter 7, Monitoring and Maintenance

  

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