Study shows SOA and BPM implementations provide more benefits

An interesting article shows up how SOA (Service Oriented Architecture) implementations are related to how business processes are executed in the organization.

I think SOA is the way for developing applications in the future. The concept is very simple: to build applications, data stores or what is important to the organization, to save information about the company. The next step would be to expose services around this information already store so other applications (or maybe the same application) can extract it. This services also will provide the mechanism for insertion and deletion of information.

The great thing about developing applications this way is that those services are made conforming a standard of the industry, so any other application, regardless of the platform or technology it was built on, should be able to call this services and get the information. There won’t be those ugly cases when you couldn’t get the information because it cannot be accessed in a standard form. So imagine you opening your favorite application (Excel, InfoPath, SharePoint, etc.) and telling it to extract this kind of information that you need from store one, store 2 and store 3 and then combine it.

The study, from where the article gets the information, shows that the biggest benefit from implementing SOA is faster and more flexible reconfiguration of business processes with a 48%. This benefit can be better yet when using a BPM software implementation in conjunction. Although the survey shows that only 14% is implementing BPM.

I think that the greatest benefit of these service oriented applications is that you can take advantage on it by putting a business process management software in the middle and let it manage the resources. For example, imagine that your ERP application exposes services for letting you create an expense reimbursement or a vacation request in your human resources store, you can draw a workflow specifying the steps required by any employee in the organization to request a reimbursement and, at the same workflow, you can specify at which point you are going to call the service and what information you are going to send. That’s why Procx has the ability to call web services since the beginning.

You can manage and coordinate every process in the organization using the BPM software, and push information to your backend systems using these services and at the same time pull them out for reports and alarms, letting you have a real view and knowledge of the business.

This kind of application will let business users get to a new level of understanding of their company, implement and control business processes in a more standard way leading as always to lower costs and increase performance.

ROI Areas

Calculating the return of investment of any anything that you do in your business is vital, that’s the easiest way you can decide if in the long run the money you are pouring in is going to be of value to the organization.

As I have said earlier, one of the biggest ROI that you can get when implementing a software in the organization comes with business process management. Automating day to day processes and approvals transforms in real benefits almost immediately. The ROI can be calculated from the lower amount of time that it takes to execute a process to the reduce costs involved.

According to an article by Terry Schurter there are five areas where you can calculate the ROI of BPM or workflow solution:

- Automation

- Compliance

- Management

- Process Optimization

- Quality

The easiest one to calculate are the process concerning automation, because this leads to reduce time running the process and increments the ROI since day one of implementation.

If you are planning on installing a BPM solution, find out first on which of these areas your process or goal falls and proceed on calculating your ROI.