The business process management tools (BPM) are a paradigm that enables companies to model, automate, execute, control, measure, and optimize the flow of business activities. This occurs between integrated enterprise systems, employees, customers, and partners, both inside and outside corporate boundaries. Service-oriented architecture (SOA), on the other hand, is an architectural approach to building software-intensive systems from a set of universally interconnected and interdependent services.
According to analysts and practitioners, enterprises miss the boat on SOA success if they spend millions of dollars on a service-oriented architecture only to use it for application integration. Today’s SOA success stories are found in more extensive business process management (BPM) initiatives where, in some cases, even IT is organized along business process lines.
The goal of bringing BPM and SOA tools together is to assist the needs of dynamic business processes, adapting quickly to change and enabling scalability. The two SOA architectural approaches, SOAP and REST, can be used to support BPM strategies. SOAP is used mainly at the enterprise level, and REST is more focused on web development. However, further research should be done to discover which of the two architectural systems will best support BPM to transform this union into a source of competitive advantage. For example, different artifacts (e.g., models or methods) can be designed and implemented to assess the suitability of SOAP and REST architectures. Studying BPM using a design-based methodology has already proven to be successful in terms of generating new knowledge. It is worth exploring the benefits of BPM tools as a key to SOA.
The key to BPM and SOA
Enterprise architecture is the logic that organizes an organization’s business processes and IT infrastructure. It is also the umbrella that governs these two paradigms. Service-Oriented Architecture is an architectural style used to implement or create an enterprise architecture such as client-server, layered architecture, mainframe, etc. The main goal of service-oriented architecture is to align business with information technology to make both more efficient.
SOA and BPM can exist separately, but the combination is what makes the enterprise architecture complete. BPM fits into the SOA puzzle as one of the critical components that provide the business process dimension. Service orientation allows applications to access their behavior as a service, a repetitive task in the business process. Enterprises’ business processes are realized by chaining together services offered as part of SOA.
Approaches and tools to support BPM and SOA
Traditional application development
The idea is to develop a new application in-house. Most companies do this, so they often evaluate whether they can use traditional application development software instead of business process management software (BPMS). The decision parameters focus on whether there are internal skill sets that meet the requirements and time to market. Extending an existing application
Most organizations already use applications in their business processes. Of course, it is essential to use an existing application. If the application already exists, some companies are considering expanding it to streamline key areas of the process. The solution parameters focus on cost, complexity, and immaturity in this case.
Purchasing the add-on application
In many cases, you can purchase an out-of-the-box application designed to meet the needs of a particular process or function. Solution options include payback time, implementation risk, responsiveness to change, and scalability.
The figure below is an SOA reference architecture that points out where BPM fits in the SOA stack. BPM builds on the solid foundation provided by SOA and attains significant integration opportunities.
Service-oriented architecture offers a convenient way to develop platform-independent, interoperable, and reusable applications. The combination of SOA and BPM allows companies to gain more agility and flexibility while automating dynamic processes. Little research has been done in this field, but the growing popularity and acceptance of research approaches such as design-based science may contribute to expanding knowledge in this area.
Retailers worldwide face a problematic situation due to shrinking profit margins, increased competition, rising wages, and the inability to pass on costs to shoppers in a competitive marketplace.
So when we talk about business process management tools, the automation becomes necessary to reduce costs while increasing efficiency and boosting profits for these companies. While many efforts to automate organizations are hampered by leadership inertia and lack of skills, companies like Amazon are moving forward with concepts like the Amazon Go retail store.