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]