Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Once you've gotten past the first stage, what's next? We all know that EAI and integration tools started out by focusing on connectivity-getting application A to talk to application B, or getting data from system A into system B. As integration vendors have begun rejuvenating their product lines over the past few years and extending them into business process modeling, business activity monitoring, and other areas, some businesses are wondering what the benefits really are of these new capabilities. Are they bells and whistles or a core part of future systems?

Integration Matures With Business Activity Monitoring [source ebizq]
It's no mystery that businesses need to react to changing market conditions faster than ever. But how do you improve your current business operations while adapting to constantly changing market and customer needs? One of the keys to this effort is gaining an understanding of your organization's business processes, which can define how effectively the company is managed. To address these needs, a new generation of tools is emerging to give executives visibility into business processes, providing essential information for understanding--and improving--their operations. These tools are critical for businesses in a variety of industries--from manufacturing companies to financial services organizations to government agencies. For example, a mortgage lender with a goal to reduce approval cycle time by 30 percent could track progress and identify potential roadblocks to achieving the goal. By analyzing various metrics of its business processes, the organization could evaluate types of loans processed, processing time for each, customer response time, productivity per employee, and also take corrective action to realign any areas of the process.

Process Visibility: The Key to Optimizing Business Operations [source Filenet and ebizq]

Friday, December 27, 2002

A raft of business process management upgrades from IDS Scheer AG, Intalio Inc. and IBM should aid corporations looking to map and integrate business processes at the department level. IDS Scheer, of Saarbr├╝cken, Germany, and Intalio, of San Mateo, Calif., next month will announce new versions of their respective BPM software suites. Separately, IBM last week announced the commercialization of BPM capabilities it gained with its acquisition of Holosofx Inc. in September. The Armonk, N.Y., company next year will add those capabilities to its WebSphere integration offerings.

BPM apps take on integration for departments [source eWeek]
ILOG and Versata have aligned to further an existing partnership designed to more tightly tie executive dashboards to process engines. To that end, the companies announced the second phase of a partnership designed to create customized end-to-end BPM (business process management) solutions that enterprises need to power real-time executive dashboards for monitoring and responding to changing business conditions.

ILOG, Versata team to customize BPM [source InfoWorld]

Tuesday, December 24, 2002

A raft of business process management upgrades from IDS Scheer AG, Intalio Inc. and IBM should aid corporations looking to map and integrate business processes at the department level. BPM software in the ideal state lets users model business processes with graphical tools, map improved processes and integrate those new processes across existing enterprise applications. But few tools live up to that promise in every situation. By modeling and mapping at the department level, enterprises can move the process closer to the end users who are most familiar with the processes.

BPM Apps Take on Integration for Departments [source eWeek]

Friday, December 20, 2002

This author claims that current BPM models have a weakness: "Often they do not bridge the gap between structured and unstructured environments. Collaborative BPM combines the worlds of c-commerce and BPM to provide a more expansive model of process logic." Well, that might be true of some BPM, but not all. If he wants
to define collaborative BPM, I suggest he look at the Pi-Calculus adaptive processes of BPML.

Business process logic - half empy or half full? [source EAIJournal]

Thursday, December 19, 2002

For the past fifty years, computers have been seen as "data machines." But the demands of the new business process management are taking IT in another direction. Business processes of all shapes and sizes are the focus of management attention today—management wants to overcome the great "business-IT divide" and gain control over business processes.

The Next Fifty Years [Darwin Magazine]

Monday, December 16, 2002

The congestion in the market for standards shows that, despite the splash made by Microsoft and IBM, there is still considerable resistance from competing organizations. The Business Process Management Initiative (BPMI.org) touts BPML, with backing from BEA Systems (who also support BPEL4WS), Sun Microsystems, and SAP, among others. The Workflow Management Coalition (WfMC) offers XPDL. Even the United Nations is involved, standing behind BPSS, which is part of the larger Electronic Business XML (ebXML) initiative run by OASIS.

A fight to the finish for Business Process standards [source Web Services Journal]

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

To provide true business benefits, a portal must enable business users to define processes and information flow between applications. A portal should also give business users the capability to report on specific events that they define. From an architectural standpoint, portals need to provide an integration layer that performs translation, transformation, single sign-on and business process management (BPM) to connect disparate systems, thus moving away from point-to-point connectivity. Process integration enables portals to provide portlets that are architected with a clear separation of the presentation layer from application connectivity, making portlets flexible instead of brittle.

Integrating Enterprise Portals with BPM [source Oracle and ebizq.net]

Sunday, December 08, 2002

Business Process Management defines, enables, and manages the exchange of enterprise information through the semantics of a business process view that involves employees, customers, partners, applications and databases. It has to be capable of modeling a process, brokering that process, delivering it with straight through processing (STP), and then managing it, all within a single environment. Aberdeen's BPM practice focuses on the technologies developed and marketed to model, build, execute and manage business processes across multiple applications and business boundaries. The BPM software layer unifies people, business rules, and information into a single, flexible, end-to-end platform. As a technology, BPM is really a natural convergence of EAI and B2B technologies. It's really a business oriented integration framework that knits IT operations and business strategy together.

Darcy Fowkes on Aberdeen's Business Process Management practice [source Aberdeen]

Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Standards bodies and software vendors are putting the final touches on a number of Web-services specifications that could revolutionize the way companies collaborate. The standards are related to XML, a language used by businesses to model enterprise data that's become an instrumental part of Web services. While the technology that underlies each of the new specs marks up data similarly to XML, its capabilities go far beyond that of XML's. "This is something weird and different," says Howard Smith, chief technology officer at Computer Sciences Corp. Europe. "It's not Web services, it's not the reinvention of workflow, it's not process-management workflow, it's new. It unifies those things. It's like taking the best of every other paradigm and building a nice new model." BPML, the Business Process Markup Language, is published by the Business Process Management Initiative, a group backed by dozens of major IT vendors, including BEA Systems, CSC, SAP, and Sun Microsystems. It released the first draft of the language in August. Compared with XML, BPML lets users model a company's business processes from top to bottom.

A New Way Of Collaborating [source InformationWeek]

Tuesday, December 03, 2002

Imagine a world where people speak a language that brilliantly describesI the molecular structure of a large object, but can’t tell you what the object is — or that it’s about to fall on you. You’ve just glimpsed the arcane world of business process applications. Fortunately, an emerging Business Process Management Language (BPML) standard is beginning to change all that. BPML is versatile enough to describe the process of hosting a dinner party, yet sophisticated enough to handle describing how computer system “A” talks to computer system “B.”

BPML: Automating Business Relationships [source EAIJournal]
Building off technology gained in its acquisition of Holosofx, IBM next year will begin customizing a set of management consoles that let users in vertical industries monitor business processes pertinent to them. Such industry-specific dashboards represent the next iteration of an existing trend around creating pre-built integration processes for banking, insurance, healthcare, and other sectors. Out-of-the-box processes, for example, address a business event such as "settle claim," and are designed to reduce manual, connect-the-dots-like coding needed for a process to properly execute and pull data and logic from back-end systems.

IBM to 'verticalize' management dashboards [source IBM/InfoWorld]
With the SAP Exchange Infrastructure, which includes the business engine, SAP delivers a new software component for connecting heterogeneous components in a system landscape, even when many of the components come from non-SAP software vendors. It is message-driven, that is, loosely coupled, to enable each system in a heterogeneous system landscape to remain independent. Incoming messages are converted and routed directly to the relevant system; however, sometimes the response depends on what messages have been received previously. This means that the SAP Exchange Infrastructure has to keep track of the messaging to determine what to do next. Business process management (BPM) is the name given to this science of tracking and driving processes in a heterogeneous environment. If you already use workflow management this may sound familiar to you, but there are differences.

SAP using BPML [source SAP]
Popkin Software, a leading developer of enterprise modeling tools, today announced full, integrated support for the first public draft 1.0 of the Business Process Modeling Language (BPML 1.0) in its flagship enterprise modeling tool, System Architect. Created under the auspices of the Business Process Management Initiative (BPMI.org) within which Popkin is a leading author, the new BPML standard provides a formal model for modeling executable end-to-end business processes that address all aspects of enterprise business processes. The new BPML standard also offers support for XML Schema-based process definitions for streamlining communications among the heterogeneous systems and modeling tools used in Web services. "With the introduction of BPML 1.0, the IT community now has a long-anticipated standard for modeling and execution of business processing," said Jan Popkin, CEO, Popkin Software. "We have worked long and hard to help bring this idea to reality. This new standard will bring all the advantages of a shared business language to companies and their communications with their customers, suppliers and partners. Plus, it sets a strong foundation for modeling future technologies, such as Web services."

Popkin Software to Offer Integrated Support for
Release 1.0 of Business Process Modeling Language (BPML)
[source Popkin]

Monday, November 25, 2002

Standards bodies and software vendors are putting the final touches on a number of Web-services specifications that could revolutionize the way companies collaborate. The standards are related to XML, a language used by businesses to model enterprise data that's become an instrumental part of Web services. While the technology that underlies each of the new specs marks up data similarly to XML, its capabilities go far beyond that of XML's. "This is something weird and different," says Howard Smith, chief technology officer at Computer Sciences Corp. Europe. "It's not Web services, it's not the reinvention of workflow, it's not process-management workflow, it's new. It unifies those things. It's like taking the best of every other paradigm and building a nice new model." BPML, the Business Process Markup Language, is published by the Business Process Management Initiative, a group backed by dozens of major IT vendors, including BEA Systems, CSC, SAP, and Sun Microsystems. It released the first draft of the language in August. Compared with XML, BPML lets users model a company's business processes from top to bottom.

A New Way Of Collaborating [source InformationWeek]

Saturday, November 16, 2002

The new book provides the first authoritative analysis of how Business Process Management (BPM) reinvents traditional business reengineering and links business strategy directly to process execution. Written by Computer Sciences Corporation's Howard Smith and acclaimed co-author Peter Fingar the book heralds a breakthrough in process thinking that obliterates the business-IT divide, utterly transforms today's information systems and reduces the lag between management intent and execution.

"Despite the surrounding confusion and hype, BPM is now recognized as the pragmatic path to agility as companies adapt to the current business landscape," said Ismael Ghalimi, BPMI.org's Chair and Intalio's Chief Strategy Officer. "This book provides the accurate and in-depth information that business leaders require to successfully implement BPM projects today."

BPMI.org endorses landmark book: Business Process Management: The Third Wave [source BPMI.org]
A new XML standard for automating business process management was released as a final draft Wednesday, setting the stage for the addition of standards-based workflow capabilities to enterprise servers and applications.

Business Process Standard Moves Forward [source InternetWeek]
The Business Process Management Initiative (BPMI.org) Tuesday took a step forward in its quest to create a new standard for describing business processes within Web services, with the release of the final draft of the Business Process Modeling Language (BPML 1.0) specification and. BPMI.org also released the first public draft of the Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN 0.9) specification.

Standards Group Airs Business Process Spec [source InternetNews.com]

Wednesday, November 06, 2002

Could this be the beginning of a beautiful friendship? Web services and business process management (BPM), two promising if arcane approaches to software design, may prove to be a potent combination. If analysts' predictions come to pass, the perennial question that haunts most companies' software strategies — whether to build or buy — may give way to a build-and-buy approach, with Web services and BPM able to tie it all together. The result, say analysts, is that software now in use — whether packaged applications or homegrown systems — once integrated and recombined with help from Web services and BPM, could provide unprecedented flexibility while protecting current investments. And while the vision of broad "end-to-end" integration is still a ways off, companies are taking early steps.

Web Services: A Work in Process [source CFO.com]

Friday, October 18, 2002

IBM is gearing up to take WebSphere V5 live, as the company offered a sneak peek this week of some of the upgrades over previous versions. Chief among these, according to IBM Director of Marketing for WebSphere Scott Hebner, is the addition of an integrated workflow engine geared to tie Web services together. The Armonk, N.Y. firm claims it is the first full Web services workflow tool for the Java Enterprise Edition. Gartner analyst Jess Thompson told internetnews.com the news is an indication of how IBM is assimilating the assets of such workflow integration and business process management purchases as CrossWorlds, MetaMerge and Holosofx. This, Thompson said, is important because those firms contain certain assets that overlap with features of IBM's Websphere MQSeries integration software. Thompson said he estimates the streamling of those assets may take three to four years.

Big Blue Busting to Break Out WebSphere V5 [source Internetnews]

Thursday, October 17, 2002

Microsoft's web-services strategy, until now focused on the tactical issue of IT plumbing, is shifting to the more strategic, and tougher, set of problems involving business processes. Products in development, described for the first time last week, aim not only to connect employees and companywide operations but also to improve collaboration and maybe even reinvent processes. It's a big step for a company with a 25-year reputation as a platform provider. The new spin became clearer last week, as Microsoft executives appeared at events on both coasts to describe how new XML-based products will address collaboration, business-process management, and real-time visibility of data.

Microsoft's new blueprint aims more squarely at business processes and collaboration [source InformationWeek]

Saturday, October 05, 2002

Lombardi Software has announced version 3.3 of TeamWorks, the company's business process management (BPM) platform that connects people, processes and systems. "Our customers are deploying TeamWorks to tie their business processes with their business objectives, which include improved revenue and operational efficiency," said Rod Favaron, president and CEO of Lombardi Software. "By managing, monitoring and optimizing their processes, they're removing process latency, reducing costs, resolving supplier and customer issues and plugging revenue leaks." Business processes typically span multiple organizations and systems, creating process gaps that employees bridge with time-consuming, manual steps. To solve this problem, TeamWorks branches across various systems, gathering and delivering information from the right application at the right time so people spend their time on the process, not searching for data. Since most business processes require some level of human involvement to resolve process exceptions and respond to business events, TeamWorks can be used for processes throughout an enterprise.

Lombardi Releases TeamWorks 3.3 [source EAI Journal]
FileNET, a provider of Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solutions, has introduced the Process Analyzer, a new reporting and analytics tool designed to help enterprises optimize their business operations and increase the returns they realize from their BPM investment. Using a graphical interface, the Process Analyzer provides visibility into business processes with comprehensive tracking metrics and reports. For customer service intense organizations, the Process Analyzer can help manage performance by analyzing key elements of business operations, such as the types of inquiries processed, processing cycle times, customer response times and productivity per employee. "An organization's processes and its ability to execute on those processes truly define its business performance," said Michael W. Harris, senior vice president, products and strategy for FileNET. "By enabling real-time reporting in an easy-to-use package, the Process Analyzer is the first solution to take BPM out of the back office and make it accessible for executives and line-of-business managers. The Process Analyzer is a powerful tool that enables enterprises to measure and prove the value of their business operations, respond more quickly to market demands and opportunities, develop best practices and continuously improve their operations."

FileNET Introduces Process Analyzer [source EAI Journal]

Friday, October 04, 2002

In late June 2002, Sun Microsystems and three partners introduced a proposed choreography standard aimed at filling in the gaps between existing orchestration technologies. Developed by Intalio, BEA Systems, SAP, and Sun, the Web Services Choreography Interface specification (WSCI)—pronounced "whiskey"—is an XML specification for the flow of messages between interacting Web services. WSCI is the first time you can look at orchestration in a useful way because it brings in the notion of anticipated behavior," Friedman of META Group says. Step-by-step, subprocess technologies like orchestration languages are absolutely necessary to automate business flows, but simply specifying the order of steps in a process is not enough.

Web Services Wars Take Artistic Turn

Tuesday, October 01, 2002

IDS Scheer the leading provider of business process excellence services and tools, today announced that IDS Scheer Inc., Philadelphia, USA, has extended its relationship with Intalio, a most important developer of business process management software. Through the agreement, IDS Scheer and Intalio will develop a joint solution to integrate the Intalio|n3 Business Process Management System into ARIS to offer a complete solution to design, implement, execute, and manage intra- and inter-enterprise processes using IDS Scheer's award-winning ARIS Tools. The announcement takes the IDS Scheer/Intalio partnership to the next step, reflecting a stronger technical integration between the companies' flagship products. IDS Scheer will leverage the Intalio technology to deliver a single solution, enabling its huge customer base to use ARIS, the market-leading software for business process modeling, to manage the entire business process lifecycle from the design and deployment of business processes, to their operative execution and optimization. The companies is also joining forces to provide marketing, sales, and support for the product worldwide. "We are looking forward to continuously growing our relationship with IDS Scheer, and leveraging the synergies between our products and expertise," commented Tom Meyer, CEO of Intalio. "By integrating the Intalio technology with the ARIS solution, we can bring our vision to IDS Scheer's global customer base, and help organizations around the world achieve efficiencies and reduce costs with 'straight-through' process deployment." The solution will enable customers to use ARIS to create executable business processes, including all the required system bindings and messaging for the collaboration of multiple process parties. These processes can be deployed across a wide range of enterprise applications and platforms to enable process-driven automation and collaboration throughout the lifecycle.

IDS Scheer and Intalio Extend Relationship to Develop Joint Business Process Management Solution [source IDS-Scheer]
The new business process modelling language (BPML) 1.0 specification will be given a kick-start with its first implementation in a new release of System Architect enterprise modelling tool from Popkin Software. BPML provides a formal approach to modelling end-to-end business processes. It also supports XML-based process definitions to help communication between multiple vendors' systems and modelling tools used for web services. It is developed by the Business Process Management Initiative (BPMI) organisation, a large consortium of vendors and users that includes IBM, Hewlett Packard (HP), BEA, Sun and SAP, and modelling tools companies Rational, Casewise and Popkin. [BPML] is critical to web services because it defines how partners collaborate together," said Martin Owen, Popkin Software EMEA consulting service manager. "How do you know whether the system is going to operate if you don't consider the end-to-end architecture?"

BPML kick-start from System Architect [Source VNU and Popkin]

Monday, September 16, 2002

A proposal by Oracle that could help unify emerging specifications for orchestrating Web services met with a mostly positive reaction Thursday at a meeting of the World Wide Web Consortium. The database vendor asked a W3C working group to form a new industry-wide working group whose charter would be to find consensus among a handful of emerging Web services standards for choreographing business-to-business transactions. Oracle said it was concerned that too many overlapping specifications, supported by various vendors, already exist. A number of choreography-related proposals have been proposed recently besides BPEL4WS and WSCI. Other proposals include WSCL (Web Services Conversation Language), BPML (Business Process Modeling Language), and ebXML BPSS (Business Process Specification Schema).

Proposal to unify Web services standards gets backing [source Infoworld]

Sunday, September 15, 2002

The recently announced Business Process Execution Language for Web Services (BPEL4WS) is a platform for executing business processes so that they can be more easily reused and integrated with other processes. The specification enables simple execution of such processes in a web services environment. The first review of BPEL4WS suggests that the proposal is compatible with IBM and Microsoft products and therefore the proposed standard may receive de-facto support through adoption of these vendors' products. It is also apparent that almost all the features of BPEL4WS are already represented in the WfMC XPDL specification. However, there are numerous additional capabilities in the WfMC standards, such as Wf-XML, which is the process execution standard, that were not found in the specification announced by Microsoft and IBM. We believe that the WfMC standards are consistent with, but go far beyond those recently announced by these vendors.

WfMC speaks out on BPEL4WS [source WfMC]

Thursday, September 05, 2002

A brighter day is breaking as a slew of technologies are making "straight-through processing" and real-time applications more affordable and pervasive. Going forward, Web services promise to have a dramatic impact by easing application integration and delivering real-time information to places that batch data couldn't reach. In the meantime, technologies for connecting applications, data, and users -- and technologies for monitoring, analyzing, and optimizing real-time business processes -- have already made major strides. "You need a set of technologies that allows you to manage the state of the process," says Stefan Van Overtveldt, IBM program director for WebSphere technology marketing in White Plains, N.Y. If a customer changes an order while the product is being built on the factory floor, for example, a set of pre-established processes based on business rules can respond (such as "redirect other inventory to this customer based on customer priority"). Those processes can be designed and modified graphically, Overtveldt says, and the process model can be kept separate from the underlying IT implementation.

Dawn of the real-time (process) enterprise [source Infoworld]
Fortune 500 companies must face the facts: Their ability to generate shareholder value depends heavily on how effectively they execute business processes. The more efficient their processes, the more revenue and profit they generate. But they face a huge challenge. Consider what the typical Fortune 500 company is up against. They must manage and optimize more than core processes and more than 2000 related sub-processes to run their business. AMR estimates that less than 10% of enterprise applications are integrated into a dynamic framework that lets a company respond quickly to market condition changes.

Key concepts for business process optimization [source EAIJournal and LombardiSoftware]

Tuesday, September 03, 2002

Unlike earlier distributed computing technologies, Web services and XML give the software industry a chance to finally realize the "standardization dream" enjoyed by industries such as transportation and manufacturing, said Iona CTO Eric Newcomer. During his keynote speech at the XML Web Services One conference, Newcomer said that the proliferation of XML-based Web services standards and development -- particularly around application integration -- will enable software "mass assembly" on a wide scale. The era of process manufacturing is close at hand.

Iona CTO touts Web services 'standardization dream' [Source InfoWorld]
Tom Siebel sees an enterprise computing future that's dominated by automated business processes and that's based on best practices and applications delivered as Web services. In the not-so-distant future, applications will write themselves to conform to pre-established business processes, Siebel said.

No Future for individual applications [Source eWeek]
Business Process Management (BPM) technology enables government agencies to dismantle obsolete bureaucratic divisions by cutting the labor- and paper-intensive inefficiency from manual, back-end processes. Faster and auditable processes allow employees to do more in less time, reducing paper use as well as administrative overhead and resources. The BPM layer can manage change, one of government’s most difficult challenges. Organizational impediments such as size and complexity, contradictory policies and directives, and difficulty coordinating across organizational silos all contribute to the challenge of managing change. In fact, many projects fail because of these impediments, and because organizations do not understand the importance of managing change. BPM offers government agencies a compelling solution.

Business Process Management — the Key to Efficient Government [Aberdeen Group]

Thursday, August 29, 2002

BPM is a technology that helps writing complex applications, it is part of the application model as Intalio put it when it founded BPMI.org, it is a component that enables corporations to run and manage the process-oriented business logic of the their applications at a common level as opposed to the current situation where this type of business logic is buried in code in all applications. So how does this application model look like today? How is BPM is positioned in the application model? The current forces when designing new applications are two fold: a) every application must be able to evolve rapidly -this is not so new-, b) most applications cannot be developed in isolation, they must integrate readily with their environment (typically other applications) -this is rather new, as the cost of ownership and the value of the application both strongly depend on how well they integrate with their environment.

The End in Mind and The Infrastructure Battle [source ebpml.org]
One factor that prompted IBM, Microsoft, and BEA to get together in the first place, says analyst Sharyn Leaver of Forrester, was the existence of organizations like BPMI.org and WSCI (which counts SAP, Sun, and BEA as members), which were making inroads into the Web services standards game. "BPMI's language, BPML, was gaining momentum. Also, Microsoft and IBM's separate process standards, XLANG and WSFL, were competing." Leaver says that IBM, Microsoft, and BEA are pushing for standards that could take Web services past the level of internal integration and into full-fledged business process management (BPM) between partners. It's about "using the same terms to represent an event, process, or partner, and interoperating," she explains.

New Web Services and BPM Standards [source line56]
Proponents of the specification BPML (Business Process Modeling Language) came out in support of BPEL4WS, saying the two specifications were so technically similar that they would be a good complement and likely would head toward convergence in the future. "You finally have all the vendors agreeing on a common way, at the model level, to describe business processes," said Ismael Ghalimi, chairman of BPMI.org, which created BPML, and chief strategy officer at Intalio, in San Mateo, Calif.
BPMI position statement can be downloaded from the web site of the BPMI.org.

Steering the course [source Infoworld]

Monday, August 12, 2002

Web services are touted as the new game in town, promising to harvest and harness dynamic just-in-time value opportunities over the Internet. The buzz is to extend, reuse, and redeploy existing technology investments in an effort to capitalize on the wealth of the Internet. These are big ideas and big promises, and like every new thing that crops up in any industry, roads must be paved from the existing infrastructure to the new technology. This Aberdeen Viewpoint articulates how the loosely coupled, self-describing components known as Web services will interact with Business Process Management (BPM) suites, and how these suites will leverage Web services.

Business Process Management - What Do Web Services Have to Do with It?

Friday, August 09, 2002

Businesses need to constantly adapt their processes, yet they are often held back by static IT systems that aren't designed to exploit future opportunities. Business process management (BPM) is a new change management and systems implementation methodology that overcomes this problem. Supporting BPM are new software solutions called business process management systems (BPMS). This report helps software vendors, service organisations and end users determine where the software and service opportunity lies in BPM.

In the current economic climate, business process flexibility is key to organisational survival. But the logic of business process tends to get hard-wired into highly expensive IT systems that are complex and stifle innovation. However, the BPMS is a new kind of software suite that enables organisations to build flexible, responsive systems with speedy integration into existing software infrastructure. Both EAI and workflow vendors are now scrambling to add capabilities to their offerings, while new entrants and service companies are trying to position themselves for what they anticipate to be a lucrative market opportunity. Ovum’s report, Business Process Management: a Systems Solution to Crisis, helps you to understand this technology and what it represents.

Business Process Management: A Systems Solution To Crisis [source Ovum]
Microsoft, IBM, and BEA Systems have pre-announced that they intend to unleash a trio of proposed Web services standards that address several unmet needs of the nascent services-oriented application model, according to sources. With these standards, the companies are looking to solidify workflow and business process execution as well as transaction integrity and coordination. Primary among the new proposals is the awkwardly named BPEL4WS (business process execution language for Web services), which represents the marriage of two rival standards, WSFL (Web services flow language) from IBM and XLang from Microsoft. An executable language, BPEL4WS is designed to ensure that differing business processes can understand each other in a Web services environment. Many industry observers had expected WSFL to subsume XLang as a standard.

Microsoft, IBM, BEA to unleash trio of Web services specs [source Infoworld]
The World Wide Web Consortium has published WSCI as a note.

Web Service Choreography Interface (WSCI) 1.0

Tuesday, July 23, 2002

Computer Sciences Corporation has anounced its adoption of Business Process Modelling Language (BPML) 1.0 as a foundation of its e3 enterprise architecture. CSC identified nine major business drivers forcing the types of changes BPM is designed to address. They include consolidation, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, divestitures, regulatory compliance, business model shifts, changing customer expectations, industry standardization and business process outsourcing.

CSC adopts BPML as foundation for E3(SM) enterprise architecture [source CSC]

Wednesday, July 17, 2002

Forrester says "Almost two years after inception, BPMI.org -- now backed by more than 130 members -- has released the first public draft of its Business Process Modeling Language. Our take? Firms should bet on BPML for describing end-to-end business processes."

BPML 1.0: A Step Toward Process Interoperability [source Forrester]
BPM is a hot topic these days – and the financial figures behind BPM show why. This article looks at the business case and ROI of BPM. Barry Murphy, a market analyst with Delphi Group expects "a market explosion" for Business Process Management (BPM) solutions. He notes that over 70% of companies are deploying or evaluating BPM solutions within the next year. "Today we are just scratching the surface", he said. What will become of BPM? Does it have the staying power to endure within the enterprise? Can it provide sufficient value to cross the chasm and achieve mainstream market adoption, or will it gradually disappear into the sunset and be added to the list of higly touted technologies that never met expectations?

The Economic Benefits of BPM [source EAIJournal]
Almost every enterprise has made substantial investments in business applications and databases. Millions of lines of code have been written. One could even argue that almost every important business function is already coded and in production. In an ideal world, all these business functions would be individually packaged and fully interchangeable; building new applications would simply be a matter of putting the functions you need in the proper order. This notion has great appeal. The term "composite application" is gaining momentum in the industry as a way to describe such a program. Put simply, a composite application requires very little new code; instead, it relies on other systems to do most of its work. In effect, it is a composite of many applications, and the majority of its business logic is stored and executed on other enterprise systems.

Integrating Legacy Environments: How Reusable Business Components Accelerate the Process [source ebizq.net and WRQ]
Understanding your organization's processes and process management is critical to running it, especially when it is directly related to the key performance indicators of the business. The penalties of not managing knowledge and business processes correctly can be as minor as losing market share or as major as losing an entire company. That's a lesson the U.K.'s Barings Bank learned in 1995 when a lack of procedural checks on rogue trader Nick Leeson led to the former Barings investment officer losing $1.2 billion of his employer's money in unauthorized trades--and bringing down the entire bank.

Managing Knowledge: The Rise of Enterprise Process Management and Content Management Tools [Source ebizq.net and NimbusPartners]

Sunday, July 14, 2002

The Business Process Modeling Language (BPML) is the next frontier destined to give companies competitive advantage in managaing their value chain relationships. Large companies currently spend more than 30 percent of their IT budgets integrating their business applications under the banner of enterprise application integration (EAI), trying to get their internal act together for yet another step, business-to-business integration (B2Bi). Why are they going to all this effort and expense? They are tying together fragments of their stovepipe applications to create end-to-end, multi-company business processes—those activities that bring ultimate value to customers. It is indeed the entire value chain, not a single company, that delivers the goods or services. Value chain management is now clearly recognized as the next frontier for gaining new productivity and competitive advantage. If end-to-end business processes are the focus of internal and cross-company integration, why not deal directly with the "business process" instead of "applications?"

Integrated Value Chain [source Internet World]

Wednesday, July 10, 2002

For years the industry has dreamed of modeling business processes in software and combining them like Tinker Toys. Web services orchestration, the new term for that old idea, becomes more interesting as raw services multiply behind firewalls. But as integration vendors point out, the orchestration layers of the Web services stack aren't yet baked. The standards pioneers -- Microsoft, IBM, and now Sun Microsystems and BEA Systems -- are busy in the kitchen.

Two proposed XML grammars for describing the orchestration of Web services -- Microsoft's XLANG, used by BizTalk, and IBM's WSFL (Web Services Flow Language) -- were widely expected to have merged by now into a joint World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) submission. That hasn't happened. Meanwhile, Sun, BEA, SAP, and Intalio have introduced a third candidate: WSCI (Web Service Choreography Interface). The relationships among these three proposals -- and others, including Intalio's BPML (Business Process Markup Language) and ebXML's BPSS (Business Process Schema Specification) -- are murky.

Orchestrate services [Source Infoworld]

Thursday, July 04, 2002

The WSCI consortium publishes key web services orchestration standard based on BPML. "Interoperability of Web services needs to extend beyond basic messaging, and WSCI enables Web services to interact with each other in specified ways to accomplish the needs of complex business processes," said Richard Green, vice president and general manager, Java & XML Technologies, Sun Microsystems. "This is a major step forward for the industry and will provide a key piece of technology to support Sun's Java Web Services software initiatives."

"Web services need to be flexibly combined to drive collaboration," said Karl-Heinz Hess, member of the Extended Management Board of SAP AG. "SAP contributes its long-standing business expertise to WSCI ensuring that comprehensive automated business processes can be adequately described."

"BEA believes that a workflow interface language is a key next step in the evolution of the Web Services architecture," said David Orchard, W3C Lead and W3C Architecture Group member, BEA Systems. "This work is clear indication of BEA's support for community and other efforts in Web Service technology development."

"Intalio is delighted to co-author the WSCI specification with a distinguished group of leading software companies that share the vision of bridging the gap between business process management and Web services. With its strategic participation in WSCI, Intalio builds on its commitment to open standards," said Ismael Ghalimi, Intalio co-founder and chief strategy officer. "Our collective efforts on the WSCI specification will enable customers to more easily and cost-effectively deploy end-to-end processes across value networks. Intalio will leverage the WSCI specification in its strategic product offerings to help customers reduce process design-to-production cost, control total cost of process ownership, and deliver strategic return on process investment."

BEA, Intalio, SAP, Sun publish Web Services Choreography Interface, take web services collaboration to new level

Wednesday, July 03, 2002

Imagine a world where people speak a language that brilliantly describes the molecular structure of a large object but can't tell you what the object is - or that it's about to fall on you. You've just glimpsed the arcane world of business process applications. Fortunately, an emerging Business Process Management Language (BPML) standard championed by Sterling Commerce is beginning to change all that. "BPML is prosaic enough to describe the process of hosting a dinner party yet sophisticated enough to handle describing how computer system 'A' talks to computer system 'B,'" said Jeanne Baker, director, e-business integration solutions for Sterling Commerce and board member of the Business Process Management Initiative (BPMI), developer of BPML.

BPML: Launching A New Era In Business Process Management [source SterlingCommerce]
This analyst claims "Workflow technologies are everywhere, having been embedded in a range of development tools, network applications and Web services. Workflow standards are everywhere, too, but they never seem to jump the gap from hopeful press releases to broad adoption. So it's with considerable skepticism that we should greet the recent announcement that the Workflow Management Coalition (WfMC) and the Business Process Management Institute (BPMI) have agreed to converge their efforts to define XML-based workflow-process definition standards. Potentially, the alliance could bring WfMC's XML Process Definition Language (XPDL) and BPMI's Business Process Markup Language (BPML) under a common standards initiative."

Still no universal workflow [source NetworkWorld]

Sunday, June 30, 2002

Denver, CO - June 26, 2002 - The Business Process Management Initiative (BPMI.org) today announced the immediate availability of BPML 1.0, the first public draft for the 1.0 release of the Business Process Modeling Language. BPML 1.0 Supports the Modeling of End-to-End Processes Including Private Implementations and Public Interfaces for Transactional and Collaborative Business Process.

The Business Process Modeling Language (BPML) specification provides an abstract model for modeling executable end-to-end business processes. BPML defines a formal model for expressing abstract and executable processes that address all aspects of enterprise business processes, including activities of varying complexity, transactions and their compensation, data management, concurrency, exception handling, and operational semantics. BPML also provides a grammar in the form of an XML Schema for enabling the persistence and interchange of process definitions across heterogeneous systems and modeling tools.

"The publication of BPML 1.0 is a significant achievement for those involved in the process movement," said Howard Smith, BPMI.org co-chair and Computer Sciences Corporation CTO, EMEA. "For vendors, BPML offers a stable semantic foundation that is supporting the development and extension of process technologies. For systems integrators, BPML defines a reference architecture governing round-trip process lifecycle within enterprise IT architectures. The upshot for end user organizations is that a BPMS provides a coherent, robust and efficient approach to top down process design, deployment, and evolution-centered on business strategy and customer requirements."

BPMI.org releases BPML 1.0 [source BPMI.org]

Wednesday, June 12, 2002

Most computer systems are designed to process transactions, discrete events that take place in a moment and then are complete. But many business processes take place over a period of time, often involving a sequence of discrete activities, typically with variable outcomes. In the past, business processes have been automated and managed using proprietary technologies that involved a high degree of customization. Whether in a document workflow or process automation environment or using application integration technologies, traditional approaches were well suited for automating high-volume production processes that justified the substantial consulting costs associated with such projects.

In the new model of the agile enterprise, software should be componentized for easy reuse and adaptation in service-oriented architectures. Orchestration is business logic that sequences, coordinates, and manages conversations among Web services. To program a complex activity—a process workflow or an online transaction, for example—orchestration technologies make it possible to logically chain discrete functions into interenterprise business processes, allowing them to take advantage of the quickly growing ecology of Web services.

Orchestrating Web Services [source XML and Web Services Magazine]

Tuesday, June 11, 2002

As a general rule functionality is more important than presentation. But for BPM, advanced visualization techniques are intrinsically part of the function, helping users to analyze modeling and communicate process models.

BPM: Don't neglect the user [source EAIJournal and ILOG]
The Web Service Choreography Interface (WSCI) is an XML-based interface description language that describes the flow of messages exchanged by a Web Service participating in choreographed interactions with other services. The WSCI 1.0 specification was codeveloped by BEA Systems, Intalio, SAP AG, and Sun Microsystems to add an additional layer to the Web Service stack to describe the required behavior of a Web Service relative to the message exchange it must support.

WSCI describes the dynamic interface of the Web Service participating in a given message exchange by means of reusing the operations defined for a static interface. WSCI works in conjunction with the Web Service Description Language (WSDL), the basis for the W3C Web Services Description Working Group; it can also work with another service definition language such as BPML.

Think of WSCI as defining the public interface to a process or between processes, in much the same way as the coin slot of a Coke machine is an interface that supports the end to process of obtaining a can of Coke. Whereas the end to end process, specifically the internal processes of the Coke machine and the thirsty human would be defined in BPML, the interface between the two participants would be defined in WSCI.

Web Service Choreography Interface (WSCI) [source Sun, SAP, BEA and Intalio]

Wednesday, June 05, 2002

IBM says ... The EAI subdiscipline known as business process management (BPM) or business process integration (BPI) has now evolved to the point where EAI vendors are touting their ability to seamlessly integrate an organization's intra- and interenterprise business processes. Although choosing the correct BPM "engine" to meet the organization's integration requirements is certainly key, maximizing the benefits of integrating business processes requires an organization to first have a commitment to delivering business logic via software components. This article discusses why an IT organization must be committed to a component development strategy before it can realize the full benefits of BPM tools.

Business Process Management Requires a Commitment to Components [source ebizq]
One of the supreme ironies of last year's AIIM/Gartner user survey is that while virtually every company polled claimed to be using workflow to automate key business processes, so-called workflow vendors were starving. That's because workflow has become less a tool for interapplication integration than an embedded feature of individual enterprise applications, like Siebel or SAP. The success of these monolithic, packaged applications is itself a direct result of the difficulty of custom application integration using tools like workflow. Many CIOs have judged it easier to change their business processes to fit the CRM and ERP packages than to try to integrate the menagerie of disparate systems spread across their front or back offices.

CRM takes on process integration [Transform Magazine]

Thursday, May 23, 2002

The transition to web services transcends technology, which means it's too important to leave it just to the geeks anymore. Last week's O'Reilly Emerging Technologies conference was a geekfest par excellence, and BEA's VP of engineering Adam Bosworth had plenty of geekery in his presentation of WebLogic Workshop, the vendor's new visual development platform for web services applications. But the most telling part of his presentation was earlier on in his session — the geeks didn't get it. As Phil Wainwright reports, the heart of BPM is message processing, not database.

This is not a geek thing anymore [Source LooselyCoupled.com]
Siebel, like other application vendors, have recognised that they cannot provide all the applications an enterprise needs, and are therefore making proactive moves to incorporate BPM middleware within their offering. Universal Application Network represents an example of a platform for multiapplication integration. Siebel's objective is to provide a standards-based, best-in-class solution that fully meets the key objectives of enabling organizations to deploy end-to-end, industry-specific business processes while reducing the cost, complexity, and time of cross-application integration. Siebel claims that Universal Application Network transforms application integration from a complex and expensive technical challenge into the strategic ability to implement customer-facing business processes across and beyond the enterprise.

In fact, what Siebel is doing is nothing new. Consulting firms such as CSC with the e3 architecture have been doing the same for over 3 years. What's interesting is that Siebel and other application vendors now acknowledge that such a BPM approach is required. Siebel are developing specifications for their UAN to which middleware vendors have to comply. Who will own the processes supported by UAN? It is a key question for corporates and consulting firms that work with application vendors.

Universal Application Network white paper [source Siebel]

Monday, May 20, 2002

Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) has made early progress with its e3 architecture, which is designed to allow a centralised and abstracted process-based view of multiple legacy and proprietary software applications. The short-term and tactical objectives can be seen as integration-centric, but the longer-term vision is a much more far-reaching and fundamental opportunity.

CSC e3: From Evolution to Revolution in BPM?
The BPMI.org's Business Process Modeling Language (BPML), a new meta-language to define business processes that span applications and corporate boundaries through firewalls and over the Internet, has several unique and increasingly necessary components:

  • Participant abstraction, recognizing that participants in a business process will not only be people but will also include data, applications, trading partners, exchanges, and the like.
  • Recognition that process participants must include enterprise software application processes, allowing business processes that span multiple enterprise applications and company boundaries to be managed from a single management console.
  • Reliability standards for an all-or-nothing process guarantee on short- and long-lived processes that span various protocols and organizational boundaries.

Business Process Management vs. Workflow--What's the Difference? [source AMR Research]

Saturday, May 11, 2002

Business process innovation and improvement are now recognized as the paths to huge gains in productivity—something companies are desperately seeking in the current down-turned economy. Unfortunately, our current software architectures and application development methods pose technical hurdles that block the execution of the Business Process Management (BPM) vision—they simply were not designed to take companies beyond where they are today. Undaunted by current limitations, resourceful business and technology thinkers and doers have been busy charting a new path to productivity and pushing the technology envelope by placing business processes, their representation, and surrounding software architecture on center stage in the world of information technology.

A New Software Category Powers a New Way of Competing [source Internet World]
Basically, Microsoft and IBM have succeeded in cajoling the industry into agreeing on a few XML protocols, which together provide a common denominator for exchanging XML messages. But that common denominator is extremely low. The basic Web services protocols say nothing about how Web services might work together to emulate the complicated interactions that occur among enterprise applications--or among different enterprises that want to collaborate in a supply chain, engage in ongoing B2B e-commerce, share customers or vendors, and so on.

For Web services to support that kind of complexity, new standards will need to be derived from the world of business process management (BPM), which combines elements of workflow software, enterprise application integration (EAI), and graphical modeling of business processes. Ideally, you model processes by dragging and dropping objects and hooking them up, while, under the hood, code is generated that enables Web services to talk to each other according to rules embedded in the model.

Web Services meet Process Management [source ZDNet]
Web Services Flow Language [PDF file] (WSFL) has been proposed by IBM as a specification for modeling business processes when using web services to create or integrate applications. The Business Process Management Initiative (BPMI.org) was formed in August 2000. Just as there is a relational database model that underpins today's RDBMSs (relational database management systems), BPMI.org expects that its language for managing business processes (BPML) will enable BPMSs — Business Process Management Systems. At first glance, WSFL and BPML sound almost identical, except of course that modeling is not quite the same as management. In fact, the difference is a chasm.

Composition versus orchestration [source LooselyCoupled.com]

Friday, May 10, 2002

"Workflow, which can be defined as the interface between automated and manual processes, is one critical facet of Business Process Management. While BPMI.org has defined with BPML a generic language for the modeling of collaborative and transactional business processes, the WfMC has for the last ten years built a very strong model for end-user workflow," said Ismael Ghalimi, BPMI.org Chairman and Intalio Chief Strategy Officer. "By projecting WfMC's workflow model onto BPML, companies will be able to develop end-to-end processes that include reliable back-end transactions and rich front-end user interfaces, in a standards-based manner."

BPMI.org and WfMC.org to collaborate on workflow standards using BPML and XPDL [source BPMI.org]

Wednesday, May 08, 2002

The convergence of two major trends is creating a rapidly growing demand for a new breed of software that facilitates automation of business processes both between enterprises and within the enterprise.

The first of these trends is Web Services technology: a collection of XML-based standards that provide a means for passing information between applications using XML documents. The ability of Web Services to reach beyond the firewall, the loose coupling between applications encouraged by Web Service interfaces, and the wide support for core Web Service standards by major enterprise software vendors are the key reasons why Web Services technology promises to make integration of applications both within the enterprise and between different enterprises significantly easier and cheaper than before.

The second of these trends is a business driver. In order to increase an organization's agility in responding to customer, market, and strategic requirements, the information flow between the IT systems that carry out these business operations must be streamlined. This includes not only the organization's own IT systems but also those of its partners. It is the task of electronic business integration to automate this information flow as much as possible in order to streamline operations.

Business Process Standards for Web Services - The candidates [source Web Services Architect]
A definition of the business process being managed is key to workflow management technology. Accordingly, some experts feel that workflow technology is a superset of business process definition technology. Conversely others believe that, because business process management goes beyond workflow, workflow is a subset of business process management. The WfMC and the BPMI have acknowledged, at a minimum, a substantial overlap in process definition exists. Informal discussions have recognized that both organizations would benefit from common techniques for defining the business processes. These informal discussions have led to this forthcoming historic formal meeting.

WfMC-BPMI Announce Historic First Joint Standards Meeting [source WfMC, PR Newswire]

Saturday, April 27, 2002

As a general rule functionality is more important than presentation. But for BPM, advanced visualization techniques are intrinsically part of the function, helping users to analyze modeling and communicate process models.

BPM: Don't forget the user [source EAIJournal]
Most IT departments expect business process management and integration tasks to expand -- hence the search for news ways to streamline management functions.

Process plays [source Infoworld and IDC]
Infinity Pharmaceuticals has what some companies would consider the IT panacea. The 1-year-old drug discovery company has built its entire company architecture on the Microsoft .Net platform; all applications have been designed with Web services as the fundamental architecture. As such, the Boston-based company has a library of componentized business processes that can be reused to build applications in a matter of minutes.

Linking up process pieces [source Infoworld]
As enterprise processes become more automated, and more interconnected, one piece of technology refuses to go away: the human being. As a result, workflow systems, which handle processes involving human input, have begun to play a larger role in the world of BPM (business process management).

Workflow engines, originally used for document-and people-intensive tasks such as processing insurance claims, are now moving into the mainstream, getting incorporated into most major BPM offerings, which must increasingly handle processes involving both computers and people.

Workflow meets BPM [source Infoworld]

Tuesday, April 02, 2002

What has surprised everyone in the past few years is how challenging it has been to actually conduct e-business. One of the reasons is that companies have found it difficult to manage their business processes, especially when those stretch across multiple companies, countries, software applications, and systems. But that is about to change. It must change, because shareholders still expect companies to fulfill the promise of e-business. Companies are under pressure to perform better, faster, to do more with less, and to be super-pleasing to customers. This means changing the way they manage their business processes, allowing them to innovate around their own strategic processes, while simultaneously collaborating with partners and customers.

Making Business Processes Manageable [source Internet World]

Thursday, March 07, 2002

BOSTON, MA - March 7, 2002 - Aberdeen Group, a leading provider of technology market consulting and research, states that the Business Process Management (BPM) and the integration software market will represent a $16.7 billion market opportunity by 2005. Addressing this growing market is the new Aberdeen Market Viewpoint, Business Process Management: an Emerging Category of Software. This Aberdeen Market Viewpoint sizes the BPM segment of this market, describes the business value derived from deploying BPM solutions, differentiates this technology category from other integration segments, and presents the market forces that are driving the adoption of BPM across specific vertical segments. Suppliers and the vertical segments they target are also presented.

Research Practice Director Darcy Fowkes says, "This category of software may arguably provide the greatest return on investment compared to any other category of software available on the market today. BPM gives organizations the ability to cut operational costs at a time when the economic downturn makes it increasingly difficult to boost revenues. BPM defines, enables, and manages the exchange of enterprise information through the semantics of a business process view that incorporates employees, customers, partners, applications, and databases."

Business Process Management and the Integration Software Market to Become a $16.7 Billion Opportunity by 2005 [source Aberdeen Group]

Tuesday, March 05, 2002

What's exciting is that BPM tools used by business systems analysts will be integrated with those used by application developers. Business analysts will be able to leverage the work of application developers to integrate applications by linking components of software. But most IT organizations are completely unprepared. IT organizations have blurred data and business process logic to the point where they can't tell where one begins and the other ends. That's why, in the short term, the best thing to do is hire people who have studied ontology, which Webster's defines as "a branch of metaphysics concerned with the nature and relationships of being."

Ontology and the revenge of the [BPM] systems analyst [source Infoworld]

Wednesday, February 27, 2002

A series of eight articles about BPM by David McGoveran, published over the period Jan 2001 to August 2001.

Part 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 [source EAIJournal]

Tuesday, February 26, 2002

Delphi’s BPM Market Milestone Reports combine research conducted with both technology vendors and end-users. The BPM report is a view of technology sectors, including spending habits, growth areas, customer needs, and vendor solutions. The only true “killer app” is that which provides greater value from existing software assets. The scrutiny of IT buyers centers on the investments that will cut out the fat, speed their processes, and allow them to do more with less. This means the ability to collapse the business process by capturing and dynamically managing business logic with integrated application services. Every organization is looking for optimal leverage of IT resources, how to connect business processes with business partners, and how to integrate process knowledge within the business desktop.

BPM 2002 - Market Milestone Report (02/20/2002) [source Delphi Group]
Jeanne Baker is the director of BPI development for Sterling Commerce, a director of BPMI.org and a faculty member of expoQ, ebizQ's new virtual tradeshow for e-business integration. In this white paper, she explains process-oriented middleware, how it differs from other integration approaches and how it can benefit an organization.

Simplifying IT with Process-Oriented Middleware [source ebizq and Sterling Commerce]

Friday, February 08, 2002

Hurwitz Group has identified 10 elements that must be at the core of a strong BPM solution. Enterprises should look for them when choosing a solution. Senior management may be prepared to quickly change business processes, but often the IT infrastructure cannot keep pace with change. Both business and IT management will benefit from a flexible software solution for managing business processes. BPM is a strategic proposition, so enterprises should understand fundamentals of available solutions. The following is a checklist of the key BPM requirements.

Ten Pillars of BPM [source EAIJournal and Hurwitz Group]

Thursday, February 07, 2002

Business process automation is what e-business is all about. The essence of an "electronically" powered business is its ability to streamline operations, making information available where and when it's needed, thus increasing customer satisfaction and improving efficiency and effectiveness. However, implementing a solution for automating business processes presents significant difficulties at the business and technical levels.

Through the years, enterprises have adopted various means for automating processes, from hand-coding a solution to using integration products and middleware technologies. The key characteristics for each of these solutions are that they are proprietary, expensive and complex. Additionally, they require a lot of time and a high skill set in order to succeed in an integration initiative.

Revolutionizing Process Automation with Web Services [source Attunity and ebizq.net]
In the context of integration, a business process refers to any multistep activity that manipulates data or business logic from multiple systems. Business process integration (BPI), on the other hand, is typically described as the ability to automate entire business processes within the enterprise as well as with suppliers, partners and customers.

This industry definition is straightforward enough, but it doesn't address questions that frequently come up in discussions of BPI. For example, are other integration technologies a prerequisite for BPI? And, if so, how does BPI differ from or complement other integration technologies?

Simplifying the Integration Market: BPI Is Here to Stay [source Metaserver and ebizq.net]
Tampa -- Q-Link Technologies, Inc., the leading provider of Business Process Management (BPM) software, has shipped Q-Link 4.0, establishing a new benchmark for rapid process automation by providing the fastest and most complete solution for developing, integrating and deploying scalable, web-based business applications. With Q-Link companies can significantly increase productivity and collaboration, integrate their processes with customers and suppliers, and re-claim business agility lost in the deployment of rigid enterprise applications (e.g. ERP,CRM).

"One of the biggest challenges companies face today is resolving the disconnect between their desired business processes and the capabilities of their existing enterprise systems," explained Steven Horwitz, Q-Link CEO. "in most cases, this gap results in an endless backlog of IT projects to customize current systems or create new applications that provide the desired functionality. Q-Link solves this problem by enabling companies to run their business the way they need to while leveraging, not replacing the existing technology infrastructure."

Q-Link 4.0 Establishes New Benchmark for Business Process Application Development and Integration
SAN JOSE, Calif. - January 31, 2002 - Fujitsu Software Corporation announced the general availability of two new editions of its INTERSTAGE i-Flow™ business process management engine. i-Flow 5.0 Enterprise Edition and i-Flow 5.0 Advanced Edition meet industry demand for Java 2, Enterprise Edition (J2EE™) technology-based business process management products that allow the rapid adaptation of internal processes to meet changing business needs. i-Flow is a component of INTERSTAGE, an e-Business infrastructure platform that also includes the INTERSTAGE Application Server.

Fujitsu has extended the architecture of i-Flow 5.0 Enterprise Edition around Enterprise Java Beans (EJB) technology, enabling deployment on several leading application servers, including Fujitsu's INTERSTAGE Application Server 4.0. By embracing EJB technology while continuing support for CORBA and RMI, Fujitsu provides customers the flexibility to deploy i-Flow in any environment, thereby preserving IT investment and avoiding the risk of vendor lock-in.

Fujitsu strengthens its business process management offering with Interstage i-Flow 5.0

Monday, February 04, 2002

Of all the words in the e-business dictionary, none is more overworked today than 'process.' Take the words "business process," and now add any one of the following: 'management;' 'integration;' 'optimization,' 'automation;' 'modeling;' or 'simulation.' All of these combinations have some meaning and historical context, but mainly, they're flung about interchangeably, often by software vendors positioning their products for maximum implications in a business setting.

Lately, two versions, 'business process management' (BPM) and 'business process integration' (BPI) have been getting a lot of air. What are we talking about? "I say it's a solution that gives you end-to-end visibility and control over the contributing parts of a multi-step information request or transaction and those contributing parts could and should include applications, people and partners," says Tyler McDaniel, director at research firm Hurwitz Group. This might include all the steps in an order management or fulfillment process, for example. "That's a big loose framework, but from there, you can drill down into incumbent parts."

What's BPM [source line56]
CSC Research Services have announced a new report on the Emergence of Business Process Management - what it is, why you should consider it and how it is being implemented.

All across the world, firms are under great pressure to perform better and faster, to do more with less, and to be super pleasing to customers. To meet these challenges, firms must do themselves only that which they do well. For everything else they must work with others. Evidence of this imperative is found in the annual CSC survey of IT executives. The number one issue last year, around the world, was connecting electronically with customers, partners and suppliers. However, achieving this connection requires the integration of many internal systems with many external systems. Solving this kind of many-to-many problem, as the Net Markets learned, is hard. Fortunately, recent technical developments have come together that promise a dramatic increase in the ability of organisations to describe, change, and execute business processes, both within the firm and across the networked enterprise. This technology works from the top down, not from the technical details up. The vision is that the business, not IT, will design, deploy and revise business processes. Analogous to the management of business data in a DBMS, we are starting to see a new breed of Business Process Management Systems (BPMS) that support the management of end-to-end transactional and collaboration processes: discovery, design, deployment, execution, interaction, operation/maintenance, analysis and optimisation. BPM is emerging as a key enabler of collaborative commerce.

BPM is being used today to evaluate, redesign and customise existing core processes and to rapidly integrate processes and applications within and across enterprise boundaries. A key capability is proving to be the ability of these new systems to carry data along with the execution of the process so that metrics are inherent to how work is done, not just clumsy add-on's.

The Emergence of Business Process Management [80 pages]

Friday, February 01, 2002

Process Collaboration is Needed for Value Chains to Work. These new relationships involve companies forming virtual corporations powered by virtual business processes owned not by one company but by the value chain itself. So important are the business needs for process collaboration and agile Business Process Management (BPM) that the OMG is developing new UML modeling standards and BPMI.org is developing an XML-based business process modeling language (BPML).

Process, Process, Process [source Internet World]

Tuesday, January 29, 2002

All organizations have competition on some level, so they need to follow sound business principles to maintain their base of customers or constituents. As part of this, they incorporate technology to increase efficiency and competitiveness, but they must balance the benefits of technology with accompanying restrictions. For nearly two decades, business and public service organizations have responded to market and constituency demands by embracing a number of efficiency-enhancing tools designed to improve processes and the products delivered by those processes. Each has exhibited shortcomings and inflexibilities that limited their usefulness.
Business process management (BPM) technology is a new approach to efficiency and competitiveness. BPM is designed to extend the capabilities of past business process solutions and overcome their shortcomings for process automation. In this document, BPM is defined and distinguished from its technological predecessors. There also are guidelines on typical BPM features and classifications, as well as technical details on implementations.

The Case for Business Process Management: Driving Efficiencies and Mission Advancement [source ebizq.net author Metastorm]
Despite its track record, reengineering is making its way back into managerial conversations, as Hammer's The Agenda and the re-release of Hammer and Champy's Reengineering the Corporation (HarperBusiness, 2001) attest. The primary reason for the renewed interest is that the current downturn may turn out to be "much steeper than people think," says Thiagarajan, director of investment research at Mellon in San Francisco. But this time around, "cost-cutting alone may not be enough. Wall Street has set growth targets, implicitly or explicitly, that companies must hit to sustain their current stock price." To do that, companies must also find new markets, new sources of revenue. Can the new version of reengineering offer any help here? Today's reengineering—let's call it collaborative reengineering to distinguish it from the early 1990s version—combines the austere method of process reengineering with the pliable, collaborative medium of the Internet in ways that weren't technologically possible a decade ago.

The Return of Reengineering for Recessionary Times [source HBS working knowledge]

Monday, January 28, 2002

What is business process management? Antony Adshead of Computer Weekly reports on a roundtable discussion which brought together those in the know. Imagine a future where there is no divide between IT and the business, where changes to the processes of the business are simultaneously mirrored in the enterprise software. The business process management movement (BPM) wants to realise this vision by developing a structure for application development that is as agile as the data that applications handle.

Roundtable: Think alike [source Computer Weekly]

Tuesday, January 22, 2002

BPM emphasizes the management aspect of automating processes to achieve maximum ongoing flexibility with minimum development cost and time. To do this, BPM products must implement the entire business process as much as possible within the product, using minimum custom code. This requires that BPM products have separate runtime engines; require validation, testing and monitoring tools; and create new applications. Process-centric EAI that implements and manages business processes through new applications with associated business rules is an evolving, advanced form of enterprise integration.

Business Process Management and EAI [source ebizq.net]
This latest release in Delphi Group's Insight Research series explores two rapidly emerging technologies: Web services and Business Process Management (BPM). Both promise to impact profoundly the way that organizations use the Internet to conduct business internally and with partners, suppliers, and customers.
The report identifies the key trends in the adoption of these technologies, including their effect on business strategy. This research will help you understand the opportunities and challenges that early adopters have faced when deploying Web services and the future plans of those who are formulating their strategies for and evaluating this set of related technologies. Similarly, the report chronicles the experiences, expectations, and plans for BPM of companies of all sizes from a wide variety of industries.

Delphi Group report on Business Process Management

Wednesday, January 16, 2002

Action Technologies, Inc. has announced the release of Metro 5.2. Metro is an e-process application platform that rapidly automates and continuously improves the business processes that drive e-commerce initiatives. Metro enables impeccable customer interactions that cross enterprise boundaries. Unlike workflow systems or enterprise applications that control static routine processes, Metro provides a closed-loop, customer-centric, business interaction model that supports dynamic, adaptive processes that enable the acquisition, servicing, and satisfaction for customers online. Metro 5.2 improves system performance and scalability and increases reliability and security.

Action Technologies, Inc. Releases Metro 5.2, E-Process Application Platform

Thursday, January 10, 2002

Staffware strengthens its position in BPM market with launch of Staffware Process Suite. The Staffware Process Suite, launched at the International Staffware Conference, is heralding a new suite of fully integrated Business Process Management products, developed over the last 18 months to meet the demands of all high volume mission-critical business process requirements of any organization.

Staffware Process Suite announced
Moving quickly after its merger with C-bridge, the new Excelon Corp. has released a new software suite, called Universal Platform, which is designed to help developers define, automate and measure business processes and then create composite applications to take best advantage of those processes.
The platform consists of Excelon’s Business Process Manager, a workflow engine based on ebXML to support collaborations within an organization or with its outside partners, and the Extensible Information Server (XIS), which allows high-performance, recoverable business services to be deployed across the Internet

New Excelon, New Platform - creates way to manage processes, create custom composite apps [source sdimes.com]
HAMMER: Process management is critical. Processes are the Clark Kent of business ideas. They’re mild and unassuming but extraordinarily powerful. End-to-end processes—not products, not departments, not divisions—should be the primary axis around which a business is organized. Processes must be managed, improved, and occasionally re-engineered. This applies not just to transactional work like filling orders, but also to sales and product development, which traditionally have been chaotic and improvisational. At too many companies, when sales and product development do succeed, it’s largely through unsustainable, heroic efforts from individuals.

A new set of process-based measurement systems must be developed so we can understand what’s happening in real time with our businesses and focus on making improvements. The financial measures that companies use now only tell us what happened a quarter ago and don’t indicate anything about why things happened or what to do about it.

(re)made in the u.s.a. [source ContextMag.com]

Thursday, January 03, 2002

December 4, 2001 (San Diego)-- BPM ’01 Summit - Q-Link Technologies, Inc., the leading business process management software firm, and Novarra, Inc., the innovator of instant wireless software, today announced an alliance agreement to extend the power of real-time business process management (BPM) beyond the desktop to the new breed of wireless handheld devices. The combined Q-Link and Novarra solution extends any process, to any person, anywhere in real-time. For the first time, key employees in the enterprise will be able to participate in automated processes even while away from the office.

Q-Link and Novarra alliance delivers Business Process Management to the mobile workforce