Definitions of Services and Processes

After once again looking for good, useful definitions of Services and Process decided to put them here for future reference.

Service Orientation – Paul Allen

The following definitions come from Service Orientation: Winning Strategies and Best Practices by Paul Allen.

A service is functionality that must be specified in the business context and in terms of the contracts between the provider of that functionality and its consumers. Implementation details should not be revealed. The implementation of the service does not have to be automated – it could consist of purely human activity.

A business process is a set of activities that is initiated by an event, transforms information or materials, and produces an output. These sets of activities are either value chains that produce outputs valued by customers or infrastructure processes that produce outputs that are valued by other processes.

With the remark that “a business process is usefully pictured as being composed of re-configurable services”.

A software service is a type of service that is implemented by software and that offers one or more operations (or software functuions).

Web services technology is a set of XML-based industry standards and specifications that specify a communication protocol (SOAP), a definition language (WSDL), and a publish-subscribe registry (UDDI).

Succeeding with SOA and Implementing SOA – Paul C. Brown

The following definitions were taken from Succeeding with SOA by Paul C. Brown. Who also wrote Implementing SOA.

A service is a unit of functionality packaged for convenience and consistent use.

With the remark that typically, this functionality consists of a body of information and a set of operations for managing this information.

A business process is a structured set of activities organized to produce results.
A process, or more specifically a discrete process, is a sequence of distinct activities that produces (or attempts to produce) discrete countable results.

An activity is a function performed by one or more agents that uses on or more inputs and produces one or more results.

SOA Design Patterns- Thomas Erl

This post could simply not exist without quotes from Thomas Erl. A complete list of his books in the Service-Oriented Computing series can be found on

Services are collections of capabilities. A Service is a unit of solution logic to which service-orientation has been applied to a meaningful extent.
Services exist as physically independent software programs with specific design characteristics that support the attainment of the strategic goals associated with service-oriented computing.

A Web service is a body of solution logic that provides a physically decoupled technical contract consiting of a WSDL definition and one or more XML Schema definitions and possible WS-Policy expressions
In a Web service Capabilities are exposed as operations.

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