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SOA and BPM - two sides of the same coin
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SOA and BPM - two sides of the same coin
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April 2009, Michal Fabrici

Business Process Management (BPM) has become the hot topic of these days in all Business areas. The most often discussed part of the BPM is probably Business Process Automation (see BPM). Application Processing System (APS) in Banking, Order Processing, Activation & Provisioning in Telecommunications or Production data Capture and Billing in Utilities are typical examples of processes which automation has got potential of increase of the efficiency and cost savings.

Business Process Automation is, however, a very complex domain that requires detailed knowledge of the related Business in sales and operational details on one hand (Business View) as well as the deep knowledge and experience in IT, specifically with automation, service implementation and orchestration (IT View) on the other hand.


Fabrici Management Consulting has participated in several Business Process Automation Projects both on the side of Business as well as on the side of IT. The practical experience shows the only way to succeed in the Business Process Automation is the interconnection of above mentioned views: Business Rules, Business Processes, Organization - Business Architecture; Information Systems, Supported functionality, Data organization and storage, Infrastructure and technologies used – IT Architecture.

Some Projects of Business Process Automation delivered unsatisfactory results due to underestimated impact of the Business on the end product. Organizations, under the marketing pressure from Technology vendors and Consulting companies, took the Automation initiatives as the “IT Projects of SOA Implementation” without strong buy-in of Business representatives.

This bottom-up approach often produces the deliverables that do not meet the Business Requirements and expectations. The bullets below shows some basic principles that are necessary to understand to assure the success of the Automation projects based on SOA:

 

  • The entity that dictates the sequence of actions in time within the Business Process, the information content, the user roles and external communication and dependencies is the Business Process (scope and details of the automation),
  • The order of Business Service Implementation has to be identified (designed) via top-down decomposition of Business Processes,
  • SOA is an application architecture from the Business point of view - the architecture with implemented functionality in the form of callable services with specifically defined interfaces. The architecture supports the orchestration of the services into the scope of the Business Process,

  • The Business Process is the main accelerator of the SOA that shifts the Data-centric development of Information Systems into the Process-centric orchestration and automation.


The publication "BPM: the third wave (Smith, H.; Fingar, P.: Business Process Management: The Third Wave, Megan-Kiefer Press, November 2002)" specifies the future of the Business Process Management in the interconnection of the Business Views (the Business Architecture) and IT Views (IT Architecture). The BPM accelerates the renewing of the IT Architecture via Integration of legacy Information Systems based on the Business Process Integration.



The BPM and SOA are the two sides of the same coin. Successful SOA implementation cannot be achieved without the full support of the Business Process Management.

 

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