In my last post, I discussed the sometimes uncertain relationship between service oriented architecture and business process management (BPM).
BPM doesn't need SOA as much as SOA needs BPM -- yet
In a recent post, Jim Sinur sheds more light on SOA-BPM, calling this interaction a "strange relationship and certainly a codependent one."
Jim points out that there's a lot of business processes that still require human interaction: "Typically 80% of business activity does not include systems, integration, straight-through processing and transactions (the playground of SOA). The 20% that is highly automated is certainly the most efficient and productive; therefore, the more work an organization can push there, the better."
However, it's a challenge to put such human activities as knowledge work and collaboration "into applications or transactions, much less become service enabled," he says. The goal of SOA should be to enhance those areas that lend themselves to automation.
While BPM can exist without SOA, Jim observes that BPM may become more SOA-like: "BPM can live well managing the human-only activities without SOA. But as more rules and processes are leveraged as reusable components, they take on a SOA flavor." In addition, SOA itself could benefit from BPM-inspired workflow processes to assemble and deploy services.