If, from an information technology (IT) perspective, SOA is an approach for application integration, how did business process become connected to SOA? Application integration and business process seem like the odd couple, each living in its own world. But, are they, really? By setting up a clever connection between the two, SOA opened up a slew of whole new possibilities that went beyond solving application integration problems. Let us take a moment to find out how that happened.
Conventional Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) already saw the benefit in workflow. A workflow was a sequence of nodes arranged in a flowchart-like fashion. Each node acted either as a data source or as a sink. A source contributed input data to the workflow. The workflow delivered data to the sinks. Exhibit 2.1 shows an example workflow with source and sink nodes.
In this example, customer order data is contributed by the web site. The workflow delivers the data to the accounting system and the warehouse. Obviously, all three applications use a different data format.The workflow uses data conversion modules to prepare data appropriate for each sink.
The workflow approach was a great boon. It helped the EAI architects grapple with complex data synchronization problems. Individual ...