What is in this article?:
Business process management (BPM) is a formalized method to manage the activities of the business. Through process management, company executives can view and monitor the running of the business, and make informed decisions about developing and optimizing the business.
BPM allows business processes and goals to be abstracted from the underlying technical platforms. At the business level, a broadcaster may want to add social media interactivity. At the technical level, this could involve synchronizing playout automation with social media platforms though a Web-services interface. The business decision maker should not be concerned with the technical minutiae.
Often linked to BPM is service-oriented architecture (SOA), which is a configuration of the systems that implement the processes of the business. We use SOAs all the time when interacting with e-commerce services. As an example, when a user books a vacation, a travel website calls up hotels and airlines via the Web services. From these loosely coupled services, a federated view is presented to the user of a combined flight/hotel/rental car deal from 10 or so airlines and hundreds of hotels.
It is key to note here that each airline may have its own booking system, but presenting the flight schedules and availability as a Web service abstracts the travel Web site from the airline’s software. This removes the need to intimately link the booking systems with inflexible APIs that are costly to maintain as software is updated or changed.
The business capabilities of each party are presented as re-useable services. In implementing an SOA, services are wrapped via adaptors that hide the complexity and present only the data necessary to make the business transaction.
BPM is a software layer above the workflow orchestration within the SOA. It will provide a toolset to simulate and model business processes. Workflows can be designed, and business rules applied to processes. The workflow orchestration engine calls on services as appropriate using the information from the business model. It also reports feeds to the “dashboard” with data appropriate to the role of the user.
The orchestration engine and the services that implement the business processes are linked with an enterprise service bus (ESB) that carries the control messages.