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SOA in Practice by Nicolai M. Josuttis

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Chapter 7. Business Process Management

IN SOA, SERVICES ARE TYPICALLY PARTS OF ONE OR MORE DISTRIBUTED BUSINESS PROCESSES. THUS, the main motivations for services come from business processes. And, of course, the question of how to identify services arises. This leads to the terms of business process management (BPM).

This chapter discusses BPM from a SOA perspective, including the topics of business process modeling and orchestration. I will introduce some BPM tools and standards (such as BPEL), and I’ll present possible processes for identifying new services according to new business requirements.

Note that entire books and web sites have been devoted to the subject of BPM. This chapter is only an overview, with a focus on developing services in a SOA context (spiced with my experience). The following two chapters will discuss organizational and technical consequences of what is discussed here.

BPM Terminology

Let’s begin with some terminology. There is a bit of confusion about the management and modeling of business processes, so first I’ll try to clarify things a bit.

The confusion starts with the acronym BPM itself, which can stand for two different things. Usually, it stands for business process management, which is a general term that refers to all activities related to managing and improving business processes. As [BloombergSchmelzer06] states:

Business process management usually refers to a technology-enabled means for companies to gain visibility and control over long-lived, ...

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