Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Business Process Management and Service Oriented Architecture

Business Process Management (BPM) is used to model, simulate, automate, manage, and monitor processes, in order to coordinate operations with dynamic business priorities.

With BPM, workflows (both human and automated) are determined in real-time by events and/or outcomes within the process, and effective knowledge transfer is made possible as processes become well-documented business artifacts on which staff members can be trained.

To enjoy the full benefits of BPM, processes must integrate with existing applications and systems (e.g., hospital EHR and EMR, to name a couple of areas currently being funded by the Obama administration in the U.S.). This is where Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) - the subject of earlier posts - comes in. BPM and SOA are a natural match. There are links to a few of my early articles on SOA, in the bibliography at the bottom of this blog.

In preparation for my next post to this blog, I'd like to cite the following book:

This book shows the reader how to fill the semantic gap between the process model and the applications:

Modeling business processes for SOA and developing end-to-end IT support has become one of the top IT priorities. The SOA approach is based on services and on processes. Processes are focused on composition of services and in that sense services become process activities.

Experience has shown that the implementation and optimization of processes are the most important factors in the success of SOA projects. SOA is so valuable to businesses because it enables process optimization. In order to optimize processes, we need to know which processes are relevant and we have to understand them – something that cannot be done without business process modeling. There is a major problem with this approach – a semantic gap between the process model and the applications.

This book will show you how to fill this gap. It describes a pragmatic approach to business process modeling using the Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN) and the automatic mapping of BPMN to the Business Process Execution Language (BPEL), which is the de-facto standard for executing business processes in SOA. The book will also cover related technologies like Business Rules Management and Business Activity Monitoring which play a pivotal role in achieving closed loop Business Process Management.