The BPM/SOA Blend

Loraine Lawson

Forrester Research has come up with what we'd call the most interesting analysis of SOA's future that's yet to appear in print. In a new research paper, Forrester argues that the future of SOA lies in business process management (BPM). SOA makes BPM easier to execute, and BPM (with its obvious ROI potential) creates a reason for investing in SOA.


An association with BPM makes any technology more attractive. BPM's promises -- like cost and time savings as high as 70 percent -- are hard for companies to ignore. And the SOA/BPM connection makes sense. Both are based on the idea of creating processes out of building blocks that can be easily linked together and easily modified down the road (because you can modify the process one block at a time).


Unfortunately, there are historical problems that may get in the way of this perfect marriage. BPM advocates tend to be business managers, while SOA advocates tend to come from IT. The business types can't easily forget how rigid legacy systems have frustrated their process re-engineering attempts in the past, so they have a lingering mistrust of anything that comes from IT.


There's another human problem related to BPM: resistance to change. In most cases, little thought is given to the people who are left behind after BPM efficiencies have lowered the head count.

Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Jan 18, 2007 7:15 AM Graham Douglas Graham Douglas  says:
Integrative Improvement™ offers a novel and low-cost way of addressing both "historical" and other "human" problems quickly, efficiently and permanently. Reply
Jan 22, 2007 12:40 PM Mark Fuhrmann Mark Fuhrmann  says:
This is an excellent article that packs alot into a few words.  You do a good job noting the friction between Business Management and IT. You have highlighted a core cause of project failure in industry.In other words, a significant cause of project failure is going live wiht an IT solution before supporting business processes, training, and political groundwork are sufficiently mature. An Integrated Product Team is often the solution to BPM/SOA issues you describe.  An IPT can act as a clearing house wher BPM/IT and other interestes are vetted and all subject matter expertise is maximized. In practice however, a very good IPT is great and a bad one can make things worse.Nice job. Reply
Mar 14, 2007 8:57 AM Marcel Fleming Marcel Fleming  says:
Not intending to polemize on this, and also being aware that reality in my country/company can be rather different, but I have difficulties to follow affirmatives like this: "an IT solution before supporting business processes, training, and political groundwork are sufficiently mature"What is "sufficiently mature"? Process management, since Reengineering creation is something easier said than done. Technology brings some facilitators for BPM, but if the human factor is the biggest barrier for an effective BPM. There is a trend to blame problems in process definition for ERP and other packages implementation. Although this is true in many cases, we can not deny that the better the package, the easier to implement, even if the process is not the "so-called" Best Practices.Process, tools (SOA, for instance) and People have to be worked together. The article touches a very good point. Reply

Post a comment





(Maximum characters: 1200). You have 1200 characters left.



Subscribe to our Newsletters

Sign up now and get the best business technology insights direct to your inbox.