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]