Had a chance to catch a good talk on Business Process Management with our partners at Software AG today.
Mike Lees delivered an extended definition of BPM in their eyes, and this practice is not centered around technology at all - it is really a management discipline involving the non-technical side of the house, and getting them to understand the "3 A's" (Alignment, Automation & Agility). So, BPM excellence is delivered first as process and later reflected in the software infrastructure.
Another interesting aspect of BPM is the idea of Reuse. Just like the underlying technology in SOA, a defined business process is a piece of metadata that you want to optimize and repeat, especially if it is an effective one. It is interesting to see how "behaviors" and "events" in business can be modeled to meet business needs - they are really more IP than the details of the software itself.
Lastly, I found an interesting "helping-hand" portion of the talk that really hits home - if you want SOA to be a success, get BPM to be a facilitator to SOA. Getting the business teams to think in terms of optimizing, integrating and reusing processes, makes it easier for the IT side of the house to architect and manage their SOA around these vertical and horizontal processes. When interactions between groups, decision points and constraints are modeled successfully, it makes the case for technology that can support it.
It is easy when you are working in the technology/terminology bubble to remember that things like "process transparency" and "optimization" are not about debugging and monitoring the performance metrics of software and integration servers - for the business, they are exactly what they mean.