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]
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'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 ( was formed in August 2000. Just as there is a relational database model that underpins today's RDBMSs (relational database management systems), 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]

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 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, 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." and to collaborate on workflow standards using BPML and XPDL [source]

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]